At its heart, Geek Bomb is fundamentally about celebrating, inspiring, and getting to know women in geek. Founded by our Boss Bomb Maude Garrett and featuring a Bomb Squad filled with diverse, talented, and totally badass ladies, Geek Bomb has a mindset much like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Females are strong as hell. And it’s about time we start celebrating that again. So, we’ve decided to relaunch Women in Geek, our interview series that spotlights, shows off, and talks about the wonderful ladies who are leading the geek entertainment field.
Joining us this week is Anastasia Washington, an actress, writer, host, and total Wolverine lover who has made impressive waves in the nerd world. We had the amazing opportunity to “sit down” with Anastasia for a chat to discuss how she got started working in entertainment, her hopes for the future of women in geek, and the advice she’d give to her younger self and those wanting to create their own path and find their own voice.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Anastasia Washington: Oh gosh. I think I always knew. Star Trek was huge in family because, coming from a bi-racial family, Star Trek was so huge in civil rights in entertainment. It was essential to raising a woman in the industry like me. So, always a Trekkie. Always. I remember telling a kid on the playground at like seven that I wasn’t going to marry him, I was going to marry Wolverine or the Crypt Keeper. I think then my family knew there was no hope… I was a geek.
I keep up with geek culture through my podcasts Nerd Up or Shut Up, Geek Girl Social Club, Legion of Leia, and soon more… I just can’t seem to stop. Also, producing nerdy content in the form of web series and my YouTube Anastationtv.
GB: Let’s get our foot in the door by asking how you got your foot in the door. What’s your industry origin story – how did you get started? What advice can you give to those looking to break into your industry?
AW: Well industry-wise, as in entertainment, I auditioned… at three years old for a manager [by]singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and got my manager. From there I was in Lamb Chop, Addams Family movie series, albums, and more.
As for my geek origin story, I just was always the geek girl and I would have these amazing conversations with my friends that were so wrong and so right. So I just said, “Let’s make a show.” We submitted it to one station and we became a live show, and from there I was like, “I wonder if we could go to cons.” So I asked and surprising[ly], people said yes.
I think that’s so important to know: all they can do is say no. Submit, ask, no one will hate you; in fact, so much good can come from it. I asked, and thats how I started going to cons, meeting the most wonderful people, and having so many cool opportunities. Also, don’t forget to help others at whatever level you are at. Bringing people up with you is the best. Helping others out is truly a rewarding thing. Remember, someone took a chance on you, [so]take a chance on others.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
AW: I guess the hardest thing has been my self confidence. Working in the industry as long as I have, I pretend really well that everything is great and I’m so confident. The truth is I’ve battled eating disorders, unhealthy relationships, and some days I just cry and let myself have a moment and then just get back out there and kick ass!
GB: Picture yourself at ten years old. What advice would you give her? What would she love to know about present-day you?
AW: I would say, “Who cares if you weren’t the youngest girl to win an Oscar?” first off, ’cause I know how destroyed I was by that back then. I would say you are different, and thats wonderful.
At 34, you are still modeling, acting, singing, and more, while most have quit. So, you are a rock star. You are a curly-haired, curvy, beautiful girl, and don’t let people destroy–not even you. Give yourself a break. Stop beating yourself [up], and know your value, and never let anyone drag you down. Also, we can totally have cookies whenever we want now and the kitchen’s never closed ’cause we are over 30 now, so that rocks.
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
AW: So many. I surround myself with amazing women. My family is absolutely inspiring. We are like the nerdy Karadashians, hopefully “Watching the Washingtons” will one day be a show. But in all realness, [it’s] my mother Alice Washington, who has survived so much and even now is pursuing her dreams. My sisters Tabitha and Jaimene, who are raising amazing families and inventing amazing things. My friends like Shannon Quinn, who can style your life into shape. My hosting friends like Maude and Tiffany Smith, who just inspire me with how hard they work and how good they are. My co-hosts Emalee Burditt, Maggie Olbrich, Jenna Busch, Melissa Howland, and Miley Yamamoto, for all the work they put into our podcasts. Oh god, so many more. Every single woman I see, I see this spark of inspiration this spark of admiration that we can do amazing things together.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
AW: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is basically the only reason I made it through high school, and she will always be my favorite. Also She-ra, ’cause who didn’t want to be a princess and a superhero? Elvira taught me that embracing your dark side could be sexy, and I think that really helped me realize I wasn’t weird for loving horror.
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
AW: I would love to see people be accepted. I know that sounds so general, but being half black, I always am not white enough [or]not black enough, not skinny enough [or]not fat enough. I just want talent and support to soar. I want us to build each other up, [and]know there’s room for us all. And if we have each other’s backs instead of stabbing them, amazing things are possible. I think its just inclusion; I’m seeking inclusion and respect. I hope to start that change with myself and hope it catches on, like Insta stories or fidget spinners.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
AW: You can find me on my website: www.anastasiawashington.com
Nerd Up or Shut Up Podcast: http://apple.co/2Aqajb7
Legion of Leia Podcast: http://apple.co/2ka5axi
Geek Girl Social Club Podcast: http://apple.co/2BxNsb9
Thanks again to the lovely Anastasia Washington for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!