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.
The next incredible woman in geek joining us is Trisha Hershberger! A quick-witted gal, YouTuber extraordinaire, cosplay expert, and Twitch streamer with a knack for makin’ everyone laugh, Trisha does it all. Dive into what being a geek means to her and how she got started in the exciting world of nerd.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Trisha Hershberger: As a little girl, I had a hard time fitting in. The things I was interested in — mostly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, tabletop RPGs and video games on the original NES — were definitely “outside the box” of what other little girls my age were into. Other boys in my class, for the most part, didn’t want to hang out with me because I was a girl! This lack of elementary school social life gave me an opportunity to delve deeper into the things I was passionate about and, to me, that’s what being a geek is all about: being extraordinarily passionate about whatever fuels your happy.
As a more grown up person, I still love video games, Ghostbusters & find a splendid escape in a good campaign of D&D, but I’m also incredibly into fantasy literature – Tolkien, George RR Martin, JK Rowling, etc. I’m more of a PC gamer than a console gamer ever since I realized how simple it was to swap components and maintain a gaming rig that can handle the latest titles with ease. I’m a bit of a control freak like that. I love taking apart computers, smartphones, and tablets to find out what makes them tick and if and how I can make them faster, better, stronger. Finally, I adore conventions. No longer do I feel isolated in my love of what is now considered “pop culture” because there are thousands of others that share these interests. It’s really pretty amazing!
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?
TH: I always say that I tripped and fell into YouTube. My love of D&D goes hand in hand with a love of make believe and play. This led me to be very involved in theatre throughout my life. I majored in theatre, moved to LA to pursue acting and accidentally landed in the digital world thanks to an audition for a channel called SourceFed. Before that audition, I was always trying to be something other than myself, whatever character the project called for, but for SourceFed — as in other digital mediums — it’s better to just be yourself! This was before being a “geek” was generally accepted as cool, so you can imagine my surprise when I was asked about video games, TV shows, and tech and they seemed happy to hear what I had to say! What an awesome moment.
My advice for anyone looking to break in to this industry would be to BE YOURSELF! No one can be you as well as you can. If you spend all your time trying to be someone or something else, by the time the perfect opportunity for YOU rolls around, you won’t be you anymore.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
TH: The hardest thing for me to overcome is being judged on appearance. As a tiny, busty female with a perky demeanor and unusual voice, I am constantly seen as outside the norm in many areas I enjoy. I know I’m weird! But, to people who are just seeing/meeting me for the first time, they think there must be something missing because I’m not what they expected. I find that I have to prove myself to people all the time. Now let me emphasize, I do not think this is intentional or malicious in anyway on the part of the person making assumptions, it just is. It’s a natural and logical to assume something is off when we see something unexpected. My hope is that more people join these communities, of all different race, sex, age, sexual orientation, etc. people will start to realize that there isn’t really a “type” for what a geek or nerd must be.
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?
TH: Yes! There’s quite a bit I’d say and I made a video on it a few years back when the #DearMe movement was going strong. If you wanna check it out, you can do so here:
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
TH: When I was younger, I was obsessed with Grace Kelly, Academy Award-winning actress who went on to become a real life princess. To me, she was the epitome of someone who did it all — at least, what my elementary school self considered “all” haha. But this fueled me, even later in life, to pursue the impossible because maybe it was possible after all. I also always looked up to Lucille Ball. What a career woman! She pushed boundaries, ran the show, and proved that you can make stupid faces and still be sexy and feminine.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female character of all time?
TH: I really like Scarlet O’Hara, Morticia Adams, and Jessica Rabbit. When I was younger, I was always enamored with incredibly strong and incredibly feminine women. These weren’t women who needed to act like men to compete. They fully embraced their feminine qualities and were strong in their own way. It may seem simplistic, but to me, Scarlet grew from a spoiled child into a career/capable woman — even more so in the sequel. Morticia was so sexy and passionate and smart and nurturing — she made “momming” look cool. And Jessica taught me my number one lesson in life “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Don’t judge people based on how they are “drawn” – let their actions define who they are.
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
TH: I’d love to see digital content taken more seriously. I think networks, aka where the money is, are still very unsure of the digital space. They tend to value talent/production teams that have worked on a tv show once 15 years ago as more valuable than those making content for YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Snapchat. “This person is better because they work in TV!” even though those TV ratings may pale in comparison to the number of viewers on a particular digital channel. It’s interesting to watch the entertainment industry struggle to figure it out, but I hope that more creators like The Fine Bros, Grace Helbig, Harley Morenstein are able to get the chance to bridge that gap.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
TH: I post weekly to my YouTube channel — youtube.com/trishahershberger — and I stream at least twice per week on my Twitch channel — twitch.tv/trishahershberger. I also host, write and produce for a variety of other digital channels including Geek & Sundry and Kingston Technology. To follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat, you can find me @thatgrltrish <3
Thanks again to the lovely Trisha Hershberger for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!