The Queen of the Geeks
Felicia Day embraces her weirdness, online and off
“If you're familiar with my acting work,” Felicia Day writes in her memoir, You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), “you know that one of my best qualities is that I'm super-killable. No insult. I'm the Sean Bean of sci-fi women.” Often self-deprecating, always encouraging and usually very funny, Day's memoir chronicles her unusual upbringing, her life as a gamer (and subsequent World of Warcraft addict), and the creation of the web series, The Guild, that brought her fame. Since then, Day went on to star in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural and Eureka, earning her the title that George R.R. Martin so graciously bestowed: “the queen of the geeks.” Now “before you say, 'wow, this chick is on a nerd plane of existence I can't relate to <slams her into locker>,” as Day writes in her book, pause and consider her ability to contextualize her experiences for insiders and outsiders alike in the “Cthulhu-like miasma of life” and provide a roadmap to how it led her to where she is now—a successful writer, producer, actor and Creative Officer of Geek & Sundry, a company she started—and how she did it all on her own terms. To promote the recently released paperback edition of her bestselling memoir, Day will visit UNM's Woodward Lecture Hall on Friday, April 29.
Alibi: A lot of You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is about your path, early in life, moving from one obsession to the next. Are you currently so wildly enthusiastic about anything?
Felicia Day: I guess what I've trained myself to do in the last six months is to … just enjoy life a little bit more. Which is a very odd feeling for someone who is such a workaholic, to take time to go out and see friends, see shows, adding to the fire instead of always outputting. That's not necessarily an obsession. I am obsessed with redecorating my house … I'm obsessed with podcasts … So, I still have obsessions, but it's a very odd thing to be a workaholic who's not working as much.
How was writing your memoir different than writing the semi-
Writing a memoir was radically different. I guess I could consider it a year and a half of self therapy … Thinking of your life as a story, objectifying it so that other people find it useful … Putting your life into perspective allows you to see patterns in your behavior that you never have before, so I would encourage at a crossroads in life … to maybe look at your own life and the story of it.
Do you have any advice for women who aspire to be self-made and stay true to themselves as you have done? Particularly in industries that might not be easy to navigate that way?
I bet even Einstein had haters … Really, there's always a skill that you know that you own and you can perfect and it's all about making yourself better at it. Then you own yourself a little bit more in an industry where frequently you're dependent on other people's permission … Never place your livelihood in other people's hands completely … [And] we need more women behind the camera … We need more women behind the scenes to really drive the kind of content that needs to be made.
How do you stay motivated?
I sometimes think that I'm just going to have a goat farm because life is so frustrating. If we all followed our dreams there'd be so much goat cheese … I would encourage people to sign up for the daily work you want to do for your life, whether its your career or your hobby, you need to have something that you can do everyday that you can control and get meaning from.
Do you think sexism is still prevalent in the gaming industry?
It's interesting how much media plays a role in how we perceive things ... Gaming is [so] diverse, [it's] not a monolith. To me gaming has always been a wonderful place and the place that I found myself. I was always gaming with women and men of all ages and backgrounds … when we have people who are attacking other people … we just have to raise our voices up more and represent the majority of gamers who want to be inclusive.
What things are you excited about lately?
I'm working on [the reboot of] Mystery Science Theater 3000 which is very exciting … There's this podcast called Hello, from the Magic Tavern ... it's about a guy who's doing a podcast from a fantasy world … his co-hosts are a magician and a shape-shifting badger … I'm really into Revolutions podcast as well, it's a history podcast about revolutions, it's really fascinating and I feel smarter because of it.
I know you're pals with George R.R. Martin. Do you watch Game of Thrones? Do you have any season six predictions?
It's probably one of my favorite TV shows … I won't say any spoilers, but I'm very excited about Arya's arc. She's my favorite character and this is the juicy stuff.