Before our interview started, I had to gush to Alicia Lutes that I was a fangirl of Fangirling. If I could have, I would have spent our whole conversation just bringing up moments of the show that I loved so far and her ability as a host to bring various topics to the table and not be afraid of the emotions that it elicits. But it would have been selfish of me to hog her to myself and not let others discover the girl power of Fangirling.
Are you aiming to have every episode be a panel that celebrates intersectional feminists?
“It’s definitely important to have panelists that have strong interests,” Alicia Lutes adamantly states. There’s a wide range of women of different cultures that love everything nerdy and that was a major driving force behind the show. Which is why she challenged herself to have many interesting voices and different angles to look at the stories and events that take up our conversations. “A personal rule that I have for the show is that the panel can be no more than half white.”
Lutes tells me that she hopes that if the show gets more successful she can find different formats for discussing the topics and have the show evolve from being just a panel show. The show has definitely evolved since its first season and it is clear from the second season so far that Lutes and the rest of the crew truly want to make the show the best it can be to tell as many stories as it can.
Do you have a hard time ending every show? I could listen to a group of women fangirl about different topics forever!
Lutes laughs sweetly at this stating her and the guests could go on and on but the show needs to end at some point. And maybe keeping people wanting more will cause the public to want to hear more people from varied backgrounds give their thoughts?
I guess I should backtrack a bit here and ask how did Fangirling start?
Fangirling was an idea back in 2015. When Project Alpha was just beginning she pitched the idea of having a show full of women. “It would be nice if women could have the same table as most white men that have their own shows.” Despite the importance of the topic, she still wanted the show to be a mixture of fun and deep.
“I wanted to show the dimensionality of women on screen,” Lutes says earnestly.
Working on the first season pushed her to keep going with her original vision. The response of everyone involved and those that watched helped her to realize what she was making was vital and she worked on refining the show for season two. “It was terrifying to figure out how to push for what I wanted, including making the show as diverse as possible.” She internally fought with the show because she really wanted women to be able to see themselves represented. This was hard because Lutes admits that she is insecure. A fact that she doesn’t hide about herself and which I believe allows her to be a host that can elicit real responses from her guests.
“I wasn’t anticipating people crying in every episode but our show allows that to be powerful and transformative.”
Speaking of crying, I’m obsessed with Jen Bartel’s work. How did you react the first time you saw the set art that she created?
“I lost my f*cking mind when I saw Bartel’s art!”