QFX Staff Interview: Ashley
Position: Social Media Manager
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m from a really small town in Northern Maine, basically the Canadian border. I moved to Texas when I was 14, which was quite the weather adjustment! I’m looking forward to moving back up north with my girlfriend soon. I have an amazing queer daughter, she’s going to be 21 this year! A few of my biggest passions in life are art, animals, conservation, LGBTQ+ and disability rights and awareness. I have several invisible disabilities. I’m completely open about them, so if you have questions - ask me! I’m obsessed with elephants, and I have the best and cutest dog to ever exist. His name is Bruin.
How did you get involved with QFX?
I became friends with Holly and Divina through other conventions. When I heard Holly was organizing a new convention, I knew it was going to be awesome. So, when I was asked to join the team, I jumped at the opportunity to help out something I’ve been supportive of since the beginning.
There are a ton of conventions out there, some that do cater to the LGBTQ+ community, how do you feel QFX is different?
From the beginning, QFX has made it a priority to be diverse, inclusive, accessible, and queer. Their guest list alone proves that those are more than just buzzwords. I remember reading the accessibility policy and crying because it was the first time I felt like a convention addressed my needs as someone with invisible illnesses. Also, everyone involved with QFX genuinely cares and believes in the core values and mission. It’s really been amazing working with this team, seeing time and again how much they care and that they truly mean what they say. I think that really sets QFX apart.
Of all the guests that one could possibly ask for, who would you love to see or meet? Gillian Anderson and Jamie Clayton.
QFX has made it quite clear they are all about diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. What does this mean to you?
Giving individuals a safe space to enjoy something they love, while simultaneously allowing them to be unapologetically themselves is really special. As a queer woman with invisible disabilities, having a convention that is a safe space for both my sexuality and my disabilities is a pretty amazing. QFX is making it possible for people like me to enjoy the con experience in ways they wouldn't otherwise be able to.
We’ve all heard the phrase “representation matters”, but it can ring hollow in our current times. What do you feel or think when you hear it?
Simply, we all want to see ourselves in the characters we watch. Represented honestly, stereotype free, and as the non-token.
If we were sitting in your living room, wanting to watch a show or movie, what are the top five you would recommend we binge?
In any particular order:
Star Trek (all of them), Doctor Who, Wynonna Earp, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Schitt’s Creek... and Sense8, The Crocodile Hunter, Xena, The Witcher, Vikings, Lucifer, Buffy, One Day at a Time, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park (just the original)... wait, you said top 15 right? :)
According to your Twitter account, you’re an artist. What kind do you do?
Fluid painting. I mainly use acrylic paint, but enjoy experimenting with other mediums. I love anything artistic or crafty though and want to try everything at least once. When I’m not painting, I’m cross stitching.
I also noticed you are a “wildlife warrior”–as a scuba diver, I am a huge defender of the oceans. What do you think the average person can start doing at home to help protect wildlife? Are there any charities you recommend?
Learn about the issues and then spread that new awareness. Knowledge is power. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but nothing will change if we stay in the dark and don’t use our voices. Research companies and products to find out their cruelty-free status, whether a company supports things that negatively impact wildlife and/or their habitat, or if business owners negatively impact wildlife (such as Jimmy John’s). There are affordable alternatives, it just takes a little research to find them. A few of my favorite charities are Defenders of Wildlife, The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Wildlife Warriors.
Name one thing you do (hobby, quirk, or something else) that people might find odd?
I grew up in Northern Maine, basically on the Canadian border, and my mom's family speaks French and Swedish, so I emphasize “weird” syllables in certain words. For example, instead of saying suV, where the emphasis is on the V, I say Suv. Another example is CamPAIGN, but I say CAMpaign.
To game or not to game… Do you? If so, which systems and what is your favorite.
Definitely game! Playstation mainly, I don’t have a favorite, but I love games like Diablo. And Nintendo forever. Mario is a classic and so much fun, I play it a lot with my sister.
You have a ton of fandoms listed on your twitter account (and I love them all) is there a specific one that reaches out to you the most? Why?
Star Trek for so many reasons (and this is where my girlfriend tells me to be brief since she’s typing for me)! It has been inclusive and diverse since before it was “cool” to do so. They frequently tackle important issues (political, environmental, ethical, social, etc). They have queer characters, and the fact that they’re queer is not the focus. They have interracial, interspecies and queer relationships. They have strong, intelligent women for lead characters. If you want a show with diversity, action, comedy, love, drama, queer representation... watch Star Trek. Okay, I’m stopping. :)
You’re a Ravenclaw, but that’s Universal/WB. I have to ask what Disney character would you be?
Definitely a mix of Pocahontas and Belle.
Final question, what do you hope people who attend QFX leave saying or feeling?
I want people to feel seen. To say that QFX did this whole diverse queer convention thing right. When and WHERE is the next one?!
Nothing better than finishing up an interview with my ‘QFX Writer in Crime’ buddy, Ashley! If you want to talk more about being a wildlife warrior or artistry follow her on Twitter: @piscesdaydreams or Instagram: @ravenclaw_earper.
**Until next time, this is Kimberly “impossibility is a kiss away from reality” Amato, signing off.**