Welcome to the next installment of my Spotlight series, in which I chat with awesome Buffy fans and share their work and story with the BTVS community. Today, please give a warm welcome to Jill Robi, lifelong Buffy fan, and fan girl extraordinaire.
When reading through the following Q & A with Jill, you will find that she is the ultimate Buffy fan. She writes wonderfully crafted (and award winning!) fan fiction, has met and interviewed many Buffy cast members (with AWESOME pictures to prove it), writes original fiction, and still finds time to admin for Whedon World on Facebook and her very own entertainment website and Facebook page, Fangirl.
Frankly speaking, I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Jill does. As she discusses in one of the questions later on, being a full time fan girl is a lot of work, especially when you have to balance real life responsibilities. But when you have passion and drive, you can make it all happen. As a newer Buffy fan (I discovered it around 2012/13), it’s heartening for me to see that Jill has stayed a Buffy fan after all these years, and continues to find new ways to spread the Buffy love and draw inspiration from the show on a daily basis. Every day I become more and more convinced that this show will never die, and it’s because of great people like Jill that the fandom continues to grow and stay loyal to the Scooby Gang.
Coming up, I invite you to read the Q & A with me that Jill so graciously and thoroughly answered, and be sure to visit the links at the end to follow Jill on social media!
1. What originally made you start watching Buffy?
My aunt loved movies, and often took me with her to see them. One of our trips included seeing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which I loved (which is a minority opinion, but seriously, we wouldn’t have had the show if not for the movie, flop or not). I was a little kid, but I remembered thinking, “Where’s the sequel?” About six years later, the show came out. I was skeptical, because it wasn’t the original cast, but gave it a chance anyway. I loved it.
2. What is it about Buffy that keeps you hooked after all these years?
BTVS was basically the perfect storm. I literally grew up on that show—upper grades through high school. But it isn’t just that, obviously. There were a slew of shows I watched at that time, but didn’t rewatch. It was probably the acting, the writing, the shipping…and fandom. I discovered fandom during season six, and it introduced a whole new world of geeks and meta and fan fic and fan art…I have a lot of ties to this fandom that are rooted quite deep. But even if it weren’t for fandom, I imagine this show would still hold a special place in my heart.
3. Can you tell us a bit about the different Facebook pages you run, Whedon World and Fangirl?
Whedon World—Initially started to get some beloved fandom actors to Wizard World, then slowly evolved to a general Whedonverse page, celebrating the actors, writers, and of course, Joss himself. Anything Whedon goes!
Fangirl—Initially started as a page to promote my first book, Fangirl (which is a chick lit based on some fandom experiences), and slowly evolved to an entertainment page, meant for updates and general geeking out. I post about any fandom, even if I’m not in it. The cover photos though—all the stuff I personally fangirl over.
4. You have an extensive collection of BTVS fan fiction online. Which one of your fan fiction pieces are you most proud of to date?
My proudest work is probably…kind of torn. I have a short piece that I think has perfect pitch Spike voice (“The Lighthouse”), and then I have a very dark piece, also Spike centric (“Work in Progress”). The latter won a plethora of awards, and took me to a new place with my writing at the time. I’m proud of both of them for very different reasons, but they’re both so vastly different. It’s like choosing between your children. Please don’t make me D:
Jill’s right – why choose? Grab a nice hot mocha, get settled, and head on over to her profile at The Bloodshedverse for some great reads!
5. Living the life of a fan girl can be hard at times; juggling work, family, friends, and other obligations alongside work like writing blog posts, fan fiction, keeping social media updated, etc can be very difficult. How do you balance your passion with your life outside of the fandom? What gives you inspiration to keep being such an active fan?
You know, I remember nights when I had school, high school, and had to be up at like 5:30 AM. I would stay up all night reading fan fic, and write some during classes.
One year, I missed like, twenty days from being too tired. I was still on the honor roll by the end of it, but the short answer is, fandom came first. Even though I’m an adult, it’s still a top priority. I don’t expect that to make sense (unless one is a dedicated geek), but that’s what it is.
6. What are some of your most interesting encounters thus far with actors/actresses from the show?
First I have to say that of all the cast members I’ve personally talked to, they’re just such amazing people. I’ve met a lot of famous people, and some can be fairly douchebaggy, but I haven’t encountered that with this cast (and I sincerely hope I never do).
Most interesting…I have a slew of them, so I’ll just rattle off a few off the top of my head:
- Taking off my heels when I met James [Marsters] for the first time cause I felt too tall.
- Having Amber Benson run into my elevator, and through the curtain of her hair, I totally knew it was her, and geeked out like a big lame.
- Having Charisma Carpenter telling me to “stand up straight, honey. Don’t slouch” during our photo op
- Nick Brendon remembering that I wrote poetry, and asking me about it [a year later]
- James and Nick doing Fangirl promos for me
- Nearly every photo op I’ve ever taken with James
- Is there anyone else from the cast that you would like to meet in the future?
That’s a tough one, but probably Tony Head.
8. Would you ever entertain the idea of a Buffy re-boot for the small screen or a Buffy movie?
On one the hand, part of me loathes reboots [in regards to classics]. Like, there would never be a need or a reason to reboot, say I Love Lucy. There is no way to improve on that. EVER. But reboots happen like crazy, and I know the Kuzuis want one, and let’s face it, the show is a reboot of the movie anyway…
That being said, I don’t think a show reboot would work, but I think it would be well suited for a film only if it’s done vastly different from the show. Doing a hard PG-13 or an R noir version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could work. Or hey, why not just do a slayer movie about a totally different slayer from another point in time like Nikki Wood, or hey, how about a period piece Aurelius film? Things that are connected to the ‘verse without infringing upon it. There is so much depth of story that the show built up (and that the first film didn’t have the time to do), that you can pretty much leave Buffy alone. Hell, a competent fan fic writer could do it…I don’t think it’s that complicated. Come on, Hollywood, let’s get it together.
9. There are a lot of people out there who haven’t discovered Buffy yet. Being a lifelong fan, can you describe in one paragraph or less why people should watch the show?
It’s so hard to put into words why one should watch Buffy. For entertainment reasons….if you love genre TV, watch it. If you don’t love genre TV, watch it anyway. It’s not just about monsters of the week. It’s so much more than genre TV. This is not True Blood or The Vampire Diaries or “Twilight.” Don’t let the vampire mentions fool you. It pertains to matters of the heart. It has brilliant acting. It has engaging storylines. It will move you. There will probably be a moment where you’ll cry. I’m not a crying at fiction type of gal, but I have shed tears during some moments of this series.
And you will laugh. And you can experience the joy of sharing what you just watched with a community of awesome people.
BTVS GRAB BAG QUESTIONS
1. The end of the world is upon us: you get to choose ONE character from BTVS to protect you in the upcoming apocalypse. Who is it and why?
Spike because, I know he would risk anything and everything. Even if he didn’t have the answer, he’d find someone who had the answer. If we’re talking Angel, Wesley for the same reasons.
2. If you were forced to choose only one BTVS season to watch for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
That’s a tough one…probably season 5. I think 5 is my favorite season, with 3 as a close second.
3. Which big bad would you NOT want to run into in a dark alley?
Torn between Glory and Adam. I feel like I could reason my way somehow with the others (or have a quick death), but brain sucking and/or escaping a hell god…don’t feel too good about that. And Adam with his arm rocket, well, good luck out running that one.
**all photos of Jill with BTVS alumni were used with her permission and can be found on her Flickr profile here**
And that concludes this Fan Spotlight! A huge thank you again to Jill for reaching out to me and taking the time to answer my questions. You are awesome!
Please check out Jill’s many online outlets by clicking the following links, which will open in a new window:
Visit the Fangirl website
Check out her fan fiction
and browse her Flickr albums (you’ll see tons of cool pictures with BTVS alumni!)