Geeking Out: An Interview with Felicia Day

Geeking Out: An Interview with Felicia Day

ABQ Free Press spoke with Day about her unusual upbringing, her memoir and the MST3K reboot.

BY RENE THOMPSON

Felicia Day (Photo credit: Christina Ganalfo)

Felicia Day (Photo credit: Christina Ganalfo)

Actor, author and producer Felicia Day got her start in the City of Angels and on the Internet.

In 2002, Day scored a recurring guest role on the final season of cult classic TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Her character, potential slayer Vi, arrived at the Hellmouth early on. When Willow unlocked the Power of the Scythe, her slayer powers were unlocked.

Seductions

Day would go on to create, write, direct, produce and star in the iconic web series “The Guild.” The pioneering comedy chronicled the existence of socially awkward gamer Cyd Sherman and her kooky circle of online friends as they play a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, a.k.a. MMPORG.

The narrative arc of “The Guild” was informed by Day’s addiction to MMPORG “World of Warcraft.” From 2007-2013, the iconic web series offered to marginalized female gamers six seasons of representation in geek pop culture and ultimately became a cult classic in its own right.   

Day’s adventures RPGing her way to Internet and pop culture sensation have afforded her a funny, relatable perspective with both millennial and ’80s gaming generations. Her autobiography, “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost),” shares the origin story of an American geek superheroine.

Bookworks hosts Day in an author appearance and reading starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29, at UNM’s Woodward Hall. For more info, visit bkwrks.com/felicia-day.

In her memoir, Day recalls her sheltered childhood, which was later complicated by anxiety and depression brought on by the pressures of becoming a musical and math prodigy at an early age and muddling through adversity as a working actress in Hollywood with an online gaming addiction.

ABQ Free Press spoke with Day by phone about her unusual upbringing, her memoir and the MST3K reboot.

“I was sheltered to an extent, and I have to say, it’s definitely the reason that I am the person I am today,” Day said. “But it wasn’t an easy road when I got out into the real world to learn those things that [most] kids learn earlier, like not taking things personally, learning that failure is just a step to improving yourself . . . and that you’re not going to always fit in everywhere.”

(Photo credit: Touchstone)

(Photo credit: Touchstone)

Day counsels surrounding oneself with positivity and holding steadfast to your identity over trying to please others and trying to fit in.

“Those are all things that I’ve really come to terms with just in the last five years,” she said.

“So maybe I bloomed a little bit later in certain respects, but I certainly grew up in a sort of vacuum. Not having the idea of what a girl is ‘supposed’ to be imposed on me led me to the career that I have now, so I definitely have to be thankful for that.”

Released in August 2015, “You’re Never Weird” quickly landed on the New York Times Bestseller list. With a foreword by director Joss Whedon and praise from authors such as George R.R. Martin and Ernest Cline and actor Neil Patrick Harris, the masses yearn to share literary experiences with their heroes.

A paperback release less than eight months after the first run is a testament to the work’s popularity, and Day is on tour in support of the work. Nicknamed “Queen of the Geeks,” Day helms YouTube premium channel Geek & Sundry, which showcases nerd culture with shows on topics ranging from LARPing (live action roleplaying) to tabletop board gaming with Wil Wheaton (“Star Trek: TNG”) and new sci-fi/fantasy comedy series “Riftworld Chronicles” starring Tahmoh Penikett (“Battlestar Galactica”).

Day was recruited alongside comedian Patton Oswalt for a coveted host gig on the forthcoming “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” reboot project. “I’m having a blast just writing jokes for bad movies.”

See Day in episodes of crowd-funded web show “Con Man” with Nathan Fillion (“Castle”) and Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”). Day audibly beams her appreciation for Tudyk’s project, especially how hard he’s worked on “Con Man.”

“I know how that is because ‘The Guild’ was my baby. I know just how much he’s putting into it. All the writing, producing and directing is done by him, and it’s really inspirational to be on a set that is so grassroots,” Day said.

On women’s evolving role in the industry, Day notes that while women still deal with sexism and stigma, struggling to break into directing or to sustain an acting career over age 35, new media has genuinely enhanced opportunities for women.

“There are more opportunities overall,” she said. “You’re not guaranteed anything in life, but if you’re faithful to what you want to create and what you need to create, there will always be a path to getting there.”

This won’t be Day’s first visit to New Mexico. “I went to George R.R. Martin’s [Jean Cocteau]  theater [in Santa Fe],  where he shows mostly art films. I was really happy to be there last fall to talk about my book,” Day said. “I do look forward to coming back and enjoying that wonderful food you guys have there.”

 

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Rene Thompson is a staff reporter at ABQ Free Press. Email her at rene@freeabq.com.

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Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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