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GRRLTalk: Yetide Badaki
Women's History Month is a sacred time here at SYFY FANGRRLS. This year, we've got a brand-new series to bring to the table: GRRLTalk. We sit down with some favorite ladies to learn all about their relationship to fandom. Today, let's get to know Yetide Badaki, star of American Gods and The Magicians.
Name: Yetide Badaki, actor
What are you currently FANGRRLing over?
I’m FANGRRLing over quite a few things right now. I was late to the party but Watchmen is exquisite! I am also currently having a blast with Altered Carbon Season 2. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts and The Dragon Prince have been delightful animation discoveries. I recently read Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed which is just beautiful and have really enjoyed the Taiwanese Netflix anthology Till Death Do Us Part. There’s so much more I can go on about, like The Aerial or my undying love for The Good Place but just that last one in itself would take pages to fully express. I love these worlds because they are a stunning reminder of how beautifully diverse sci-fi and fantasy realms truly are.
What was your first fandom?
Star Trek was one of my first major TV show geek-outs, specifically TNG. I also remember as a kid actually taking the leap and joining an online fan group for Roar starring a young Heath Ledger. I’m always excited whenever I meet anyone who has actually seen that show because it is a surprisingly small demographic. Speaking of leap, Quantum Leap was another huge favorite but, like TNG, I didn’t realize while I was a child in Nigeria that there were large groups of people I could geek with over just how much we loved these shows.
When you were a kid, what was your most prized geek possession? Do you still have it?
I traveled a lot when I was young and so there are not many material objects from my childhood that I still possess. I can say, however, that my most prized geek possessions to date are my Converse shoes by Canvas Warriors. My [American Gods] character Bilquis is painted on one shoe and Storm on the other. In essence, I am really just a big kid and only got those shoes in the last few years so yes, I definitely still have them.
Who was most instrumental in getting you into geek culture?
I would say my elders in Nigeria were most influential in getting me into geek stuff, because the stories and mythology they shared led to my discovery and subsequent love of all things sci-fi and fantasy.
What are you geek-curious about?
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Castlevania and am looking forward to checking that out. Beyond simple curiosity, there are a couple of projects that I am waiting (not-so-patiently) to see premiere. I am beside myself waiting on Black Panther 2 and for Nnedi Okorafor and Wanuri Kahiu’s adaptation of Wild Seed for television.
Do you collect nerdy stuff? If so, what?
I have definitely accumulated some nerdy stuff over the years. Some were given as gifts because people know what a geek I am and some I bought for myself. A few favorites are are the Funko Star Trek: The Next Generation bridge crew, my Black Panther earrings and the Evenstar from Lord of the Rings.
Do you cosplay? Follow up: If yes, what's your favorite that you've ever done? If not, what would you dress as?
I would love to cosplay, I absolutely adore the incredible creations that I see people come up with. I don’t think it is a surprise to anyone that I’ve always wanted to do a full-on classic Storm cosplay.
What's something geeky that you will always spend money on?
The other day, I was quite tickled thinking about the number of times I’ve been in an airport and bought yet another book while already carrying a couple in my luggage. I will always spend money on a good book.
If you could do a TED Talk on anything fandom-related, what would it be and why?
I love the fact that automatic sliding doors and handheld devices that disseminate immense amounts of information seem to have come out of worlds on our screens and in our books. I’ve always wanted to further explore the symbiotic relationship between the worlds we imagine and the ability to evolve, progress modes of thought in real-time. My TED Talk would be "How the worlds we create help to create our world." I mean the iPhone is pretty much a tricorder.
What's one moment in nerd history you'll never get over?
Black Panther will forever live on for me as one of the greatest moments in nerd history. The implications both onscreen and off continue to ripple throughout genre and beyond.
If a studio came to you and said they would adapt anything you wanted, what would it be and why?
It is no secret that as a dark-skinned woman of African descent I would love to play Storm in her own solo film. I think is high time that the goddess herself received the standalone epic movie treatment we have seen given to so many in her team. I believe I am not the only one who feels passionately that Ororo’s story deserves to be fully explored and shared on the big screen. A Black woman superhero, like Munroe, finally recognized in such a way? That would be a powerful thing indeed.