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 for this round is Emma Fyffe! An actress, producer, Twitch streamer, host, panelist, and just about the biggest Sailor Moon enthusiast you’ll ever meet, Emma knows the the nerd world like the back of her hand. We had the incredible opportunity to “sit down” with her to chat about her geeky background, how she started off, and who some of her biggest inspirations.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Emma Fyffe: I was a geek from birth. I was passionately obsessed with Ninja Turtles as a tiny child to the point that when, in nursery school, we had to fill out a book about our favorite things, basically every single one of my answers was Ninja Turtles-related. I’d seen the entire original Star Wars Trilogy by the time I was four. My first fictional crush was Wesley Crusher. I am not sure I really realized I was a geek though until middle school, when my friends with whom I had played an elaborate Xena Warrior Princess game during recess throughout all of 4th and 5th grade suddenly weren’t so interested in that anymore. On the weekends when other tweens wanted to hang out at the mall or participate in athletic endeavors, I discovered the internet and obsessively researched the storylines of every video game I was playing.
I guess you could say very little has changed really, only now I am making my geeky presence known on said internet. I participate in a LOT of nerdy internet video based endeavors including TV Talk every week on Collider wherein I am known as the resident “Anime Queen.” I actually recently had the honor of hosting the official Twitch Stream for Anime Expo. I am the “Golden Mic” post-game interviewer on the Movie Trivia Schmoedown and have also competed — and done quite well — in the Inner Geekdom Fatal Five Way. I produce and host a Sailor Moon podcast called “Love and Justice.”
But perhaps the geekiest thing I am up to right now, and one of my favorites for sure, is being part of the cast of Pencils and Parsecs, which is a Star Wars RPG based around the Edge of the Empire roleplaying system [that airs] every Friday night on Hyper RPGs Twitch Channel. I play a runaway New Mandalorian turned pirate who is now the brash yet unsure captain of a ragtag group of smugglers. She’s got so much emotional baggage is a total mess. I love her.
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?
EF: So my background is in Musical Theatre, but I always kind of thought I wanted to become a host/broadcaster because Paige Davis, the host of TLC’s Trading Spaces, was also originally a musical theatre actress. So when the opportunity came up for me to go try out a hosting workshop out here in L.A., I decided to give it a go. I’ve almost always been really comfortable with being myself in a way that some of my other actor friends weren’t, so I found that I really enjoyed hosting.
After that, I started to pursue hosting in earnest, basically just submitting for every hosting job I could find on Actor’s Access, L.A. Casting, etc., and auditioning whenever I got called in. A LOT of the projects I auditioned for never even saw the light of day. Eventually, I did book a job hosting a segment on a video game news show for on the Buzzmedia (now SinMedia) blogs that lasted maybe a month. Around the same time, I got hired as a Studio Tour Guide at Universal Studios Hollywood, where I continued to hone my hosting skills facing backwards on a tram.
About a year later, I auditioned for yet another hosting position for a project that never went into production. This was also around the time that Geek and Sundry launched their now-defunct [vlog] channel on YouTube, which turned me onto the idea of simply creating my own content.
Two of my best friends and I decided to start our own vlog that was basically just ladies talking about nerdy things. It was super fun at first, but we eventually determined that our videos were just too long and there was no real incentive to watch them on YouTube as opposed to just listening to them as a podcast. So we decided podcasting was the way to go, and since we were all longtime Sailor Moon fans, and [with] the new incarnation Sailor Moon Crystal, we launched “Love and Justice,” which we continue to produce to this day.
Hoping to get more visibility for my podcast, I ventured forth in search of more hosting gigs. Several other tour guides were hosting shows for AfterBuzz TV, so I was fortunate enough to A) get myself in there and B) eventually end up the panel for [it], and [then] ultimately take over the role of lead host of the Sailor Moon Crystal After Show. I also ended up taking over lead host duties for the Star Wars Rebels After Show, which led to Joseph Scrimshaw, who was hosting the show at the time, asking me to be on an episode of Jedi Alliance on AfterBuzz’s sister network Popcorn Talk. He liked working with me, and recommended me to Ken Napzok, one of the co-hosts of his ongoing Star Wars podcast “Force Center,” who was a producer at Screen Junkies. Ken brought me in for several shows there, including Mega Movie Get Together (RIP) and TV Fights. Then, when Ken moved over to Collider, he and Roxy Striar, the host of TV Fights, recommended me to Kristian Harloff over there. Just a few shorts days after Kristian and I met, I was co-hosting the SchmoesKnow Live Show.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
EF: Getting paid for my work. Haha. But seriously, it’s difficult to balance knowing when it’s time to stop doing stuff for free. Early on, I really do believe that there is merit in “working for free” so to speak, because you’re gaining experience and getting your face out there, making connections so that you can ultimately get paying jobs. But once the paying jobs start coming in, there comes a time when you have to stop working for free, because you’re no longer gaining any benefit from it and ultimately hurting your bottom line. I’m at a point in my career [where] I am frequently faced with this dilemma because I’m not QUITE to the point wherein all employers necessarily see the benefit in actually paying me to talk about the stuff I like on the internet. But I am proud to say that, after two years of hustling, I am getting there and I am saying no to any longterm, unpaid gigs.
GB: Picture yourself at ten years old. What advice would you give her? What would she love to know about present-day you? Anything by which she’d be surprised?
EF: Keep doing what you’re doing, little Emma. Keep reading your Bulfinch’s Mythology and studying the booklets that come with your Sega Genesis games. Some day the passion with which you devour the things you love is going to pay off. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t fit in, because some day you’ll grow up and meet tons of other people who are just as passionate as you are about the things they like.
She would love to know that present-day me gets paid to play video games. And that video games now [have] extensive wikis dedicated to them will all the story/characters details you worked so hard to uncover. Also ALL of Sailor Moon is on Hulu and with a premium subscription you can watch it, commercial free, whenever you want.
I think she’d be surprised that I am not living in New York doing plays on Broadway, and she’d probably be a little disappointed. Adult me isn’t disappointed at all with the direction my life went, but it’s hard to have that perspective at 10 [years old].
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
EF: Felicia Day is definitely one of them. I absolutely loved The Guild — I got super into it when I first moved out to L.A. back in 2010. It made me feel like anyone could create content and connect with an audience if they were passionate about it. Plus I loved that Cyd (Day’s character) was such a mess.
I also adore both Amy Poehler and Tina Fey because they also very much had to forge their own paths in the largely male-dominated field of comedy. Poehler’s motto of “say yes and figure it out later” is exactly the approach I take to tackling my career. And I, like Tina Fey, was for much of my early adult life “an achievement oriented, drug-free, adult virgin” who’d had “a strong father figure, bad skin, and a child-sized colonial-lady outfit.” She gives me hope that if I just keep persisting and figuring it out as I have been, then maybe some day I, too, will be successful enough to write a book that inspires girls of the next generation.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
EF: Well, obviously, Sailor Moon! Though Sailor Venus is actually my favorite of the Sailor Guardians. She’s very much the big sister archetype, and I admire/relate to how she puts her own needs aside for the sake of her duty as the leader of the Sailor Guardians.
This might sound silly, but I specifically love Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda episodes of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show. She was totally the hero and Link was her well-meaning but not too bright sidekick. I was always super confused in the video games when she wasn’t out there kicking ass.
I’m obsessed with both Hera and Sabine from Star Wars Rebels. They’re both so beautifully flawed, emotionally vulnerable, yet closed off with some serious family related emotional baggage that they’re making strides to overcome.
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
EF: The internet geek space is definitely gradually becoming a more welcoming place for women. Not just for creators, but also consumers. It finally feels like women are beginning to be regarded as legitimate members of fan communities, and people are recognizing that the hosts they once tried to brand “fake geek girls” are truly nerdy women.
That being said, I think that women still have to fight harder to be taken seriously and win over (specifically male) audiences than men do. I think it has something to do with men seeing a woman host and immediately feeling like he can’t identify with her simply because she is female — which is why it’s so important for women to keep fighting the good fight to gain respect for women in this space, because it gives more women fans the opportunity to get involved in geek communities and to meet some truly awesome people.
What I’d like is for people to stop asking women nerds to “prove themselves.” If a girl, or a guy for that matter, says they like a thing you like, but hasn’t read all the comic books or can’t recite the entire IMBD page of a film, it doesn’t meant they’re not a true fan. I’d like for us to celebrate people liking the same things we do and welcome them into our fandoms with open arms. Because if people don’t feel they’re being judged or that they constantly having to prove themselves, they’ll be more open to interacting with other fans and will ultimately learn more about the thing they have perhaps just recently discovered that they like.
I feel so fortunate to work every day with lots of awesome, passionate, nerdy people. We have different interests but we’re all accepting of everyone’s personal taste. I want everyone to be able to establish the same kind of community for themselves and, thanks to the internet, that is definitely possible. But we have to be kind to each other in order to make that happen.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
“Love and Justice: A Serious Sailor Moon Podcast” — www.lnjpod.com
On Collider — www.youtube.com/user/ColliderVideos
– “TV Talk” every Monday
– “Movie Trivia Schmoedown” on Tuesday and Fridays
On Hyper RPG — twitch.tv/hyperrpg
– “Adventures in Fyffedom” Gaming with ME! Tuesdays 3 PM PT
– “Pencils and Parsecs” A Star Wars RPG Friday at 9 PM PT
Thanks again to the lovely Emma Fyffe for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!