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GRRLTalk: Riley Silverman

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Apr 2, 2020

It's GRRLTalk, where we sit down with some favorite ladies to learn all about their relationship to fandom.

Today, let's get to know comedian, podcaster, professional tabletop roleplayer, and SYFY FANGRRLS writer Riley Silverman.

What are you currently FANGRRLing over?

Baby Yoda, Galaxy's Edge, and Disney+ have really rekindled my lifelong love of Star Wars. I've especially just grown so obsessed with Ahsoka Tano. I'm so stoked that we're getting more of her stories now with the new Clone Wars season. She's really grown into my favorite SW character. The Jedi have always been the most appealing part of that universe for me and even though she is no Jedi, I feel like she best represents the ideal for me. She's better at being a Jedi than the actual Jedi. 

What was your first fandom?

I was into a ton of nerdy stuff as a kid, so I'd say the first thing I engaged with in a way that would be called "fandom" was probably Buffy. That definitely coincided with the internet becoming big so it was possible to go online and look for spoilers, fan theories, slash fic, etc. 

When you were a kid, what was your most prized geek possession? Do you still have it?

I had a truly ludicrous number of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. A big purple duffel bag just overflowing with them, pretty much any TMNT figure I could get. Even random characters from the comics that I didn't really know much about. I don't have them anymore — I had no idea as a kid that those toys could be worth money. 

Who was most instrumental in getting you into geek culture?

I think I was kind of a self-starter. My parents got me movies and stuff that I'd watch, but they weren't really into them. My brother had a casual interest in stuff when he was younger but grew out of it. They'd all be watching sports while I'd read or do nerdy stuff on my own. 

What are you geek-curious about?

I've gotten majorly back into tabletop roleplaying games the last few years but it's been mostly D&D and adjacent-type stuff focused. I really want to play the Star Wars RPG. 

Do you collect nerdy stuff? If so, what?

Way too many Funko Pops. I thought I was limiting my addiction by giving myself a rule that I could only buy female characters. Turns out that barely limits it at all. I've had to cut down.

Do you cosplay? What's your favorite that you've ever done? 

Yes! I think my favorite is the one I did this year at the Doctor Who convention, Gallifrey One. It was "Rey Who," a mashup of Rey and the 13th Doctor. And then Rachael Stott, a comic artist who has drawn the actual Thirteenth Doctor comics surprised me by drawing my cosplay in her comic style!

Images: personal collection

I've also gotten super into "bounding" lately which is sort of a more subtle cosplay. It started at the Disney Parks where they don't allow adults to wear full costumes, so people started dressing up in color schemes or outfits that evoke their favorite characters but in what could also pass as street clothes. I've bounded as Ahsoka and Elsa and generic Rebel/Jedi type stuff too, and a few different Doctor Who looks too. 

What's something geeky that you will always spend money on?

Whenever I start to super connect with a character, I'll start buying up all these little knick-knacks about her, like stickers and action figures, Funkos, shirts, coffee mugs, etc. It's a real problem. 

If you could do a TED Talk on anything fandom-related, what would it be and why?

I'd tear down the knee-jerk reaction to remakes and reboots. I think that people immediately push back against it as a concept, but I think there's a lot of power and historical precedent in taking older stories and adapting them and reshaping them. I'm all for original ideas and new concepts as well, but I think people just hate bad stories more than they hate remakes. There are so many great remakes and when they come along people cherish them. Look at how strong the legacy of SYFY's Battlestar Galactica series is, as just one example! 

If a studio came to you and said they would adapt anything you wanted, what would it be and why?

Neil Gaiman's book Anansi Boys. It's loosely connected to American Gods and I believe elements were incorporated into that series, but it has a tone and a voice entirely of its own, and I'd love to see what a director like Henry Selick would do with it. We know with Coraline that he's able to translate Gaiman's vision to film, so something kind of surreal like he did with Monkeybone. A single-season limited streaming series akin to Good Omens would serve it very well. 

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