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 Mandie Roman, a producer, Twitch streamer, and the host of Game Talk Live whose interest perfectly align with our own (gaming! nerdy fashion! esports!). We recently spoke with Mandie about how she entered the world of geek, who some of her biggest inspirations are, and what advice she’d give to those aspiring to start a career in the entertainment industry.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Mandie Roman: For a while, I didn’t realize the things I was into were geeky. In high school, I got introduced to Japanese RPG video games, anime, and eventually cosplay. I’d say once I started working at GameStop and being immersed in that scene every day is when I realized, “Oh… not everyone wants to talk about which Final Fantasy couple they ship.” All those days spent at GameStop and conventions led me to my current job, as a host and producer on video game debate show, Game Talk Live. We talk about issues and news in the video game and esports industry.
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?
MR: I actually got started by networking and going to as many gaming and geek events as possible. I got a job at a gaming lounge, where folks could pay by the hour to play any video game, and met my lovely friend Jessica Villarreal. Jessica and her sister, Jennifer, worked for Nintendo doing promotional events for new Nintendo products and put in a good word for me. All those folks you see working the Nintendo booth at Comic Con or in your local Best Buy? That was me! That eventually led to more gaming jobs, a degree in Game Design, and here I am!
How to get into the industry? Go to events. Even if you live in a city with a smaller geek scene, use any opportunity to network and meet folks. Most every state has multiple conventions now, a comic book shop, clubs, or meet-ups. I know it can be nerve-wracking but at least just go, even if you don’t talk to someone on the first outing, people start to remember the regulars. Also, comment on people’s social media accounts. Don’t just like their photos, say something. I’ve met so many of my closest friends and even gotten jobs simply by building online relationships.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or are maybe even still overcoming?
MR: Though it’s improved slightly from my early GameStop days (where I’d get quizzed on a regular basis), I’m still having to prove myself as a woman in gaming. I am shocked that there are still folks out there who don’t believe women play video games, or that women develop video games. GET OUT FROM UNDER YOUR ROCKS.
GB: Picture yourself at ten years old. What advice would you give her? What would she love to know about present-day you?
MR: I think 10-year-old me would be surprised by the path I’ve gone down. Ten-year-old Mandie was a very girlie girl who wasn’t into anything geeky or nerdy. I would have told her to have bought a Playstation 2 much sooner!
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
MR: Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe is a big role model for me. I will never forget finding her first booth at the Star Wars pavilion at Comic Con and being so thrilled to find fashionable Star Wars gear for ladies. She saw a void in the industry and hustled to make Her Universe a go-to for geeky ladies of all shapes and sizes. I feel like Ashley is a positive light in a space that feels kind of dark sometimes.
Side note: The Her Universe Fashion Show at Comic Con is one of my favorite events of the year.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
MR: Commander Shepard from Mass Effect. (FemShep all day, erryday).
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
MR: I want us to stop being so toxic to each other online. Joking around and obvious trolling are one thing, but when we’re literally telling people to kill themselves, get cancer, threaten to rape them, etc., it’s really alarming and problematic. “Just a joke” is not an acceptable excuse. I want YouTube stars and streamers to realize people of all ages watch their content. Many of those viewers are impressionable, young kids who think [that]because their favorite online star does something, it’s okay for them to follow suit. I want to set better examples and create a more welcoming, inclusive space for everyone.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
MR: I am on all social channels as geekyglamorous! You can check out my show GameTalkLive live on Facebook Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 pm PT. facebook.com/gametalklive. Thanks! xo
Thanks again to the lovely Mandie Roman for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!