Geeks and nerds come in all ages, shapes, sizes and yes…sexes. See, if you thought that there wasn’t a very strong female contingent in the “geek set”, you’d be mistaken. The voice of the “geek girl” is getting stronger – and gaining more notice – every day, whether in print or on the internet. This year saw the very first “Geek Girl Con” take place in Seattle Washington, selling out to the surprise of almost no one, and proving that these gals are a force to be reckoned with!
During my tenure as the RedEye‘s resident geek, I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the following geek girls. Some of them are accomplished writers and bloggers; a couple are artists and actors; one is a social media guru for a major entertainment company; and a couple others are serious web-celebrities. Whether I’ve met them on-line or in person, each one has impressed and inspired me with their passion, humor and talent.
I asked them to tell me, in their own words, what they wanted the world to know about them. Each one obliged me with bios that at times made me smile – a couple made me laugh out loud – and that demonstrated to me why they were the Top 11 Geek Gals of 2011:
Jill Pantozzi AKA “The Nerdy Bird”
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist/host who goes by the moniker “The Nerdy Bird” online. You can find her thoughts on all things geeky including, but not limited to, comic books, movies and video games at her personal blog, “Has Boobs, Reads Comics.”
Jill went to school for journalism and spent the first five years after college working as a radio DJ in New Jersey before she made the move back to reporting. She’s been a contributor to sites like MTV Splash Page, Publishers Weekly, Topless Robot and more. Along with other work there, Jill contributes the weekly op/ed column, “Hey, That’s My Cape!” to Newsarama.
She’s currently working full time for the geek girl culture site, The Mary Sue and her first comic will be included in the all-female created Womanthology from IDW Publishing.
Learn more about Jill at:
Jen Usellis – Actress, Commedia Beauregard
Jen Usellis is a Chicago actress & singer with a diverse geek streak. For the past 2 holiday seasons, she has performed in “A Klingon Christmas Carol” and got so intrigued by the language she picked up the Talk Now disc “Learn Klingon”.
Though not what she would consider a “Trekkie” (or “Trekker”), Jen’s definitely gained a huge appreciation for the fans, the universe, and Janeway’s kick-ass spacebun.
More her speed are in-depth strategy boardgames (Twilight Imperium, anyone?), Game of Thrones (the books…but the show’s good, too), paranormal romances (that aren’t Twilight), Stargate, Buffy, Angel, Dr. Who, Firefly, karaoke, and any movie where stuff blows up all shiny and pretty….and she even has a shoebox of some seriously old Magic cards stashed away in her closet (she started playing the year it came out). Qapla’ batlh je!
Follow Jen on Twitter!
Stephanie Cooke – Writer, JoBlo.com
She’s a hardcore gamer armed with a PS3, Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, PSP, and a DS as her weapons of choice.
Additionally, Stephanie is a reader and lover of all things relating to comic books and books in general. While being a fan of so many of the platforms within the Geek Culture, Stephanie also loves to kick it old school with her rad collection of board games.
You can always find her rocking out to her favorite music or devouring movies by the handful. Should you be lucky enough, you can also choose to marvel at her collections of comic book figures, movie memorabilia and more.
You can follow Stephanie on Twitter!
Janna O’Shea – Social Media Coordinator, Marvel Entertainment
Hello! My name is Janna O’Shea and I’m the Social Media Coordinator for Marvel Entertainment! Originally from New York, I’m a dual citizen with the U.S./Ireland and have traveled quite a bit. I enjoy pie, coastal cities, crime novels, and cold weather. I dislike pants.
I’ve always had trouble describing myself, so I asked some of my Twitter followers to do it for me!:
“A natural enemy of the pantsed, Janna is a book-hoarding, Guinness-loving girl next door who may secretly be a Lady Punisher.” – @JCBaggee
“While Janna has never confirmed that she killed a ninja & wrestled a polar bear into submission, she has never denied it either.” – @616Earth
“Queen of the Internet. She’ll rock your socks and tweet about it.” – @ Rawnzilla
“Stylishly bookish with an excellent taste in reading materials & super heroes.” – @bookoisseur
“Her smile can fix the worst of bad days.” – @tishalulle1
Find me on Twitter @dreamyeyed.
Janelle Asselin – Editor, Disney Publishing Worldwide
From little houses on the prairies of Nebraska and Iowa to the posh Chicago suburbs to the mean (gentrified) streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn, Janelle Asselin has carried her nerdity everywhere with her.
Janelle has been a video gamer for at least 25 years, a comics fan for 18 years, and an editor of comic-type things for 5 years. First person shooters make her feel ill but she can shoot an actual gun shockingly well. She will kick your ass at Soul Caliber and she can recite the plot of almost every Final Fantasy game from memory.
She’s worked at a comic shop, at Newsarama.com, and at DC Comics. Now Janelle works at Disney Publishing Worldwide as a magazine editor. And yes, she probably knows more about Rogue and the Birds of Prey than you do. She will correct your spelling mistakes but she won’t be mean about it (unless you really deserve it). Janelle has a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Publishing and a PhD in jokes about your mother.
Sometimes Janelle chooses to speak about herself in the third person, but in the words of comic artist Jamie McKelvie, “Janelle is super awesome.”
You can follow Janelle on Twitter!
Kristin Rielly – Founder of Geek Girls Network
(Editors Note: This has to be my fave bio of the bunch. How many people can write one in the form of a haiku?)
Ms. Kristin Rielly
formed Geek Girls Network for gals
show-off their fandom
She founded a blog
then organizing parties
Blogging and tweeting
used the intarwebs to give
all girl geeks a home
She wanted to be
party of a community
gained friends IRL
scifi, pizza and kittens
this geek does embrace
So check our her stuff
at Geek Girls Network dot com
share, comment & friend
Teresa Jusino – Writer/blogger, Tor.com
Teresa Jusino was born the day Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. A native New Yorker, Jusino has been telling stories since she was three years old, and she wrote a picture book in crayon in nursery school. However, nursery school also found her playing the angel Gabriel in a Christmas pageant, and so her competing love of performing existed from an early age. Her two great loves competed all the way through early adulthood. She attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she majored in Drama and English Literature, after which she focused on acting, performing in countless plays and musicals in and around New York City, as well as short films, feature length independent films, and the one time she got to play an FBI agent in a PBS thing, which she thought was really cool, because she got to wear sunglasses and a dark suit and look badass. Eventually, producing was thrown into the mix. For four years, she was a company member and associate producer for a theater company called Stone Soup Theater Arts. She also produced a musical in which she also performed at Theater For the New City called Emergency Contraception: The Musical! by Sara Cooper, during which she ended every performance covered in fake blood. Don’t ask.
After eight years of acting, Jusino decided that she missed her first love – writing – and in 2008 decided to devote herself wholly to that pursuit. She has since brought her “feminist brown person” perspective to pop culture criticism at such diverse sites as Tor.com, ChinaShop Magazine, PopMatters, Newsarama, Pink Raygun, as well as her own blog, The Teresa Jusino Experience (welcome!), and her Tumblr for feminist criticism, The Gender Blender. She is also the editor of a Caprica fan fiction site called Beginning of Line, because dammit, that was a good show, and if SyFy won’t tell any more of those characters’ stories, she’ll do it herself. Her travel-writer alter ego is Geek Girl Traveler, and her travel articles can be followed at ChinaShop while she herself can be followed on Twitter. Her essay, “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” can be found in the book Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them (Mad Norwegian Press).
In addition to her non-fiction, Jusino is also a writer of fiction. Her short story, December, was published in Issue #24 of the sci-fi literary journal, Crossed Genres. A writer of both prose and film/television scripts, she relocated to Los Angeles in September 2011 to give the whole television thing a whirl. She’ll let you know how that goes just as soon as she stops writing bios about herself in the third person.
Karen Hallion – Artist/Graphic Designer
“I am from a tiny town in Massachusetts, just north of Boston, called Nahant. I went to Ringling School of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Up until a few years ago, I was an elementary school art teacher. Now I am working full-time as an artist. I live with my husband and two small sons who we are raising to be well-versed in all of Geekdom.
“I originally wanted to work for Disney as an animator, so my work tends to reflect that. I am influenced by the amazing work of Glen Keane, Audrey Kawasaki, and Alphonse Mucha.I also speak fluent Star Wars, Firefly, Buffy, Harry Potter and Steampunk.
“I currently live in Swampscott, MA with my husband Matt, my sons Ryan and James, and our dog Tolkien.”
Learn more about Karen and see her work at:
Katie Cook – Artist/Webcomic creator
Katie Cook is best known for her nerd work in the Star Wars and Jim Henson universe. She’s drawn Star Wars comics, created Star Wars drawing tutorials and many images for licensing. She’s also written and drawn Fraggle Rock comics and story books! She had a 1 page story in an actual Marvel comic that had the Hulk making cupcakes. She hasn’t shut up about it since she did it.
Katie also concentrates her work on her webcomic, “Gronk: A Monster’s Story” about a cute little monster that leaves monster-dom in order to explore the human world. It’s adorable. The first volume is also available in a full-color, self-published book!
Katie is “popular on the twitter”, whatever that means.
Katie likes cats.
You can follow Katie Cook on Twitter!
Kat Hill AKA “Action Chick Flick”
Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill stirred up geeky conversation at 2011’s San Diego Comic-Con by bringing together friends and celebrities for the controversial panel, “Oh, You Sexy Geek!” Their discussion on whether displaying the sexiness of fangirls benefits or demeans them led to heated debates that lasted long after the con was over.
Katrina learned to appreciate all things action at a young age by sneaking into the room while her two older brothers watched action movies and horror. At ActionFlickChick.com, she shares her love of these films with everyone, along with interviews, views, news, and whatever else she happens to choose. You can find some of her interviews and skits on YouTube. Over 125,000 follow her as @ActionChick on twitter, and G4TV crowned her their first Next Woman of the Web champion. Her articles have appeared at io9.com, Geek Girls Network, Newsarama, MTV.com, and others. She and her avatar star in “The Action Chick” webcomic.
Coming in 2012: Katrina shot a cameo appearance for the upcoming horror-comedy motion picture “Bad Kids Go to Hell.” She writes and stars in the webseries “Geeks and Gamers Anonymous,” soon to debut, and with friends like Clare Kramer (Glory on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), she’s preparing to knock your socks off with GeekNation.com.
Base of operations: Dallas, Texas.
Favorite Movie: Tremors (1990).
Bonnie Burton – Writer/Editor/Blogger, StarWars.com & Grrl.com
San Francisco-based author Bonnie Burton writes about everything from Wookiees to mean girls. Best known for her Star Wars crafts and drawing books, Bonnie’s geektastic books include: The Star Wars Craft Book (Del Rey/Random House), Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Klutz Books), You Can Draw: Star Wars (DK Children), and Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Planets in Peril (DK Readers).
In addition to her Star Wars books, she recently wrote a teen girl advice book on how to deal with mean girls while not becoming one called Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean To Each Other and How We Can Change (Orange Avenue Publishing). The book features helpful advice written for teen girls, as well as advice from female celebrities such as Tegan from Tegan & Sara, Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go’s, and Hannah Aitchison from “L.A. Ink.”
Bonnie’s ground-breaking first book is an anthology of stories and essays from prominent bloggers, and interviews on why they blog, called Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers: Best of Blogs(Apress). Bonnie contributed to the comic book anthologies Womanthology (IDW Press) and The Girls’ Guide to Guys’ Stuff (Friends of Lulu.) Her writing has also appeared in Wired, Bust, Craft, Star Wars Insider, Geek Monthly and Organic Gardening magazine, as well as Boing Boing, AOL, Huffington Post, CNN, Astrology.com, and Teenwire.com. She currently writes a monthly column for SFX magazine. She works for Lucasfilm as a Senior Editor at Starwars.com.
A recent Google.com search on her name yields 10,000 plus hits! Thanks to her Web site Grrl.com, which gets over 1 million hits a month, and the writing she have done in the last 20 years for various magazines and Web sites, Bonnie attracts a following of craftsters, geek girl and sci-fi fanboys.
As the founder of one of the first women’s pop culture web sites Grrl.com, as well as an influential pop culture author, Bonnie has appeared numerous times on MTV, as well as E! Television, and has been profiled in Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Fast Company, Print, and Teen magazine, as well as the books The Real Bettie Page: The Truth About the Queen of the Pin-Ups by Richard Foster, Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Dating and Relating by Joe Schwartz, Net Chick: A Smart-Girl Guide to the Wired World by Carla Sinclair and Fierce.com: The Exclusive Book for Web Elitists by Tor Hyams.
When Bonnie’s not writing books or making Chewbacca sock puppets, she’s answering questions about ghost hunting, weird candy, troll dolls and bizarre warning labels on her vlog “Ask Bonnie” which can be found on YouTube. She also appeared as the host of for the music video shows “Subculture” (San Francisco) and “Teletunes” (Denver).