QFX Staff Interview: Mel
Position: Director of Operations, Logistics
Hogwarts House: Slytherin
Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
I’m a born and raised NYC girl. Spent all my life in Queens till I followed my heart to NJ last year. I work in the education field, have a master’s degree in counseling and a license for both guidance and teaching in NYS. I love my job and getting to help kids stay in school and find ways to be successful both in and out of the classroom is rewarding as heck.
How did you get involved with QFX?
I knew the other directors from past conventions and are fortunate enough to not only have worked with them, but to call them my friends. When the idea started floating around about putting together a new LGBTQ+ con that really focused on accessibility and community, I knew it was going to be something special and wanted to be a part of it.
There are a ton of conventions out there, some that do cater to the LGBTQ+ community, how do you feel QFX is different?
We are hoping to build up QFX as an experience. A place where all can gather not only to participate in the general convention offerings, but to find a place where fandom becomes family. We want to be known for being accessible, diverse, transparent, and inclusive.
Of all the guests that one could possibly ask for, who would you love to see or meet?
I’m a Buffy gal at heart. I’d love to meet Alyson Hannigan and Eliza Dushku. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Amber Benson, and she's such a sweetheart! I’d love to see her again too!
QFX has made it quite clear they are all about diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. What does this mean to you?
It means making sure all our attendees feel welcome, seen, heard, and appreciated. It means making sure they all know they can pull aside any staff member or volunteer and ask for assistance, or just to chat about whatever. That we are an advocate for those visible and invisible disabilities. We want everyone to be able to enjoy all QFX has to offer.
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?
I think of all that’s happened since 2016, when that phrase started being brought up more. We have made some progress and are seeing more LGBTQ+ individuals represented in the media since then, but we still have a long way to go in my opinion.
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?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, One Day at a Time, Grace & Frankie, Popular, 90 Day Fiancé (ALL OF THEM)
A fixer of all things is one heck of a title. What’s the most difficult fix you’ve had to do in cons past?
Oh, man. I can think of a bunch of stuff that I probably can’t talk about lol. Let’s just say part of being a fixer is making sure none are the wiser about hiccups happening behind the scenes while you get it all worked out.
As a New Yorker myself, I believe Pineapple never belongs on pizza - though my wife would fight me on that. Is there something about NY that you miss by not living there anymore?
Okay first, pineapple always belongs on pizza. ALWAYS. Second, bagels are definitely the best in NY (Queens to be exact), and there was this one Chinese takeout place near my old house that had the best food hands down. I crave it. Sometimes when I am in Queens visiting family, I’ll order from there and bring it back to Jersey lol.
I would do the same thing! Name one thing you do (hobby, quirk, or something else) that people might find odd?
I dip spicy Doritos in pickle juice.
That is definitely unique. To game or not to game… Do you? If so, which systems and what is your favorite.
Not really too much anymore. I was big into those Guitar Hero / Rock Band type games from like 10 years ago. My cousin and I once conquered the Endless Playlist on expert and it is still a proud accolade I like to mention to this day. My girlfriend has like almost every system setup in our game room, but I still always lean towards the classic throwback systems. I have a soft spot for classic Mario games (Mario 2 4eva) and will continue to proclaim that Mario Kart is the greatest game of all time.
What’s your most and least favorite parts of the fandom culture?
Most favorite is all the inside jokes and memes that come up. I still find myself laughing at one's from years ago. Least favorite is how toxic it can be.
You’re a fellow Slytherin, but that’s Universal/WB. I have to ask what Disney character would you be?
I love Disney. I love the classics and the new. I’d be one of those awesome independent princesses that don’t need anyone to rescue them. Runner up would be Archimedes from Sleeping Beauty because he was smart, sassy, and put them all in their place.
Anyway, the final question, what do you hope people who attend QFX leave saying or feeling?
“We found our place.”
I love that. We do truly hope you enjoy your experience at QFX this year. If you want to get to know Mel better follow her on Twitter @cl_sunnydale.
**Until next time, this is Kimberly “take all that away and what’s left” Amato, signing off.**