Learning to “Flaunt Our World.”

Dream your world. Be your world. Flaunt your world.

heruniverse_logoHer Universe’s motto starts off its message to geek girls with the encouragement to dream your world. Sometimes, people have goals and dreams that they set for themselves that seem so far out of reach that they swear that they cannot accomplish them, so they never do. However, sometimes people have goals and dreams that, although they seem impossible, they push themselves to believe in not only the dream, but also in themselves, and they make that dream a reality.

Several young girls, who I am now proud to call my friends, made that dream a reality when they met the voice behind Ahsoka Tano, actress Ashley Eckstein, at Star Wars Weekends nearly five years ago. It was an experience I will never forget, and neither will any of the other girls: We each fulfilled a dream of meeting the voice behind one of our favorite Star Wars characters.

In middle school, the age the majority of us were when we met Ashley for the first time (except for a few young adults had already embraced their love of geek!), we were a far cry from society’s standards of a “typical” girl. We defied the standard goals of most girls our age: We loved Star Wars.  We had braces. We wore glasses. We didn’t burry our faces in makeup. We were geeky, plain and simple. We were often teased, but we dreamed of being accepted for who we were.

In 2010, Her Universe, the clothing line for women that enables female fans to embrace their geek and make it chic, launched and revolutionized what it meant for a girl to be a geek. Her Universe showed us that being geeky is its own kind of beautiful. It subtly tore down the walls that had been built in front of our faces by television shows and movies that expressed that geek was nerdy, that geek was unpopular, and that geek was a laughing stock. Her Universe helped pull girls who would rather trade Lisa Frank folders in for a G.I. Joe one out of their shells.

It has been four years since the launch of Her Universe, and now, four years older, the girls who I met through Her Universe embrace their geek because they are proud of who they are and the young women they have grown into. Some of us still have braces (I even miss mine), embrace their glasses (have those!) and are confident without without a pound of makeup on–we grew up geeky. We’re still not the “typical” girl–but we don’t ever really want to be and we love that about ourselves. We’ve learned that it is important to “be your world.”

Recently I had the opportunity to help coordinate a “fangirl dinner,” with Ashley Eckstein and a few of the same incredible young women who met Ashley and were inspired by Her Universe years ago. Underneath, we’re still the same giggly middle school girls who are prone to falling into a fangirl attacks, but we’re older, more mature, and coming into our own. We have jobs, we have other interests, and we have  goals.

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The Fangirls (plus one brother!)

I don’t think any of us could have been more grateful for that evening of fellowship, giggling, and, naturally, fangirling. We donned Her Universe attire for the occasion, and transformed the night into the ultimate Her Universe Friday (#HUfriday.)

Star Tours was definitely a 10390037_1439718616279796_3133395302440421018_nhighlight of the evening. We had a large party, but managed to squeeze into the back rows. Grace was the Rebel Spy…naturally. They must have taken the hint from her red sequined Rebels shirt ;) We finished off the night by viewing some spectacular fireworks, all set to the Star Wars score. Memories from the fangirl dinner will bring back smiles to our faces for years to come.

I don’t think any of us can really imagine what path we might have taken if we hadn’t met Ashley Eckstein and learned about Her Universe years ago.  Although  we probably would have heard of Her Universe eventually, growing up with the company’s positive message of being confident in your interests and learning about what Her Universe hoped to accomplish from Ashley herself made the existence of Her Universe special and more meaningful.

Now, the next four years of our lives have begun. Although our paths may take us different ways, we’ll always cherish what brought us together: Our love of sci-fi, Star Wars, Her Universe, and the call to flaunt our World.

Group pic

Highlights From Star Wars Weekends

IMG_9751 Star Wars Weekends, where Storm Troopers heckle the crowds, the Cantina Band mingles with their intergalactic fans, and diehards have a chance to meet and interact with their favorite Star Wars celebrities,  is a Star Wars fan’s delight.

Although I have attended Weekends over the past few years, every year has its own special moments, memorable photos, and exciting stories that I tell to my friends and family over and over again until they finally remind me that I’ve already told them that story.

Here are a few of my Star Wars Weekends (weekend two) Highlights in no particular order:

Cab Ride - I took a cab at four o’clock in the morning to get to Hollywood Studios to stand in . It was an adventure and I loved it.

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Hanging with Chewbacca - Chewie has always been one of my favorites, but meeting the “real” Chewbacca definitely pulls at a fan’s heartstrings. He’s huge, sweet, and huggable, just like the Wookiee fans all know and love. In the past, I’ve waited an hour to meet this guy, but I got to the park super early and made meeting the Wookiee my first task of the day. I was in line by 7:55 (ish) and getting a picture with him by 8:15! Who says a Bounty Hunter and Han’s sidekick can’t be pals?

Behind the Force - In the past, Behind the Force featured interviews with Clone Wars actors and exclusive clips from the series. Now, the show has transitioned to showing content from the upcoming series Star Wars Rebels, and has been a great way to create hype for the show and introduce fans to the new cast. Ashley Eckstein sat down with Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabine Wren, to talk Rebels and her acting career.

Meeting Tracy Cannobbio - Tracy Cannobbio not only has a last name fit for working at Lucasfilm, but she’s incredibly sweet and amazing to talk to. She has one of the coolest jobs in the galaxy (she’s a publicist for Lucasfilm!!) and ensures that awesome people like Dave Filoni and the Rebels cast are represented well. I honestly could have talked with her all day. We will get a picture together next time, Tracy!

Don’t Blink!

 

Meeting Tiya Sircar (and James Arnold Taylor!) Because James Arnold Taylor ran out a few minutes before Tiya came out for her autograph session to let fans know that Tiya was loosing her voice and to encourage her to rest it! Snapped a quick selfie with him before he dashed off!

I was second in line to meet Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabine Wren in the upcoming series Star Wars Rebels). She was really sweet, and since it was her first time at Disney and her first Star Wars Weekends, I welcomed her to the Star Wars family and let her know that the fans were excited for the show.

Veggie Burgers – This is extremely random, but I’m a vegetarian and just found out that there are Veggie Burgers at Disney at select restaurants! Who knew?! I was pleased.

Familiar Faces - I ran into several other fangirls! I met Molly from the Lakehouse, and got a picture Tricia Barr (Fangirlblog.com and fellow Year of the Fangirl Contributor).  I also saw Tracy at the Her Universe section of Darth’s Maul, who was sporting full HU gear. I even ran into my old friend Brad who just happened to be at SWW the exact same day as me.

Bith Kissed!

Bith Kissed!

Alien Fiancé - I was kissed by a Bith, and a pretty famous one too. Does this make me a Cantina Band groupie?

Get to da Chopper! I got to hear Chopper’s “voice” for the first time, and I love it! Whereas R2 speaks through beeps and high tones, chopper whirrs and grumbles. It’s adorable! I love that there is a distinction between the two droids’ sounds!

I had a blast at Star Wars Weekends this year, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to make the trek to Orlando…going to these events definitely makes a galaxy far, far away feel a lot closer to home and to the heart.

Legion of Leia Interview: Ashley Eckstein from Star Wars: The Clone Wars

LillianSkye:

Check out this interview with Ashley Eckstein from Legion of Leia!

Originally posted on Legion of Leia:

Today we begin our Legion of Leia profiles of amazing women in all aspects of sci-fi. We begin with Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ashley also started Her Universe, a company that sells sci-fi clothing for women and girls. We’re so proud to feature this awesome lady and her work!

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Legion of Leia: What did playing Ahsoka Tano mean to you? How has it changed things for you?

Ashley Eckstein: Being the voice of Ahsoka has truly changed my life. Most important, it instantly gained me an entire Universe of family and friends that have my back and are forever there for me. For that, I am most grateful. Star Wars fans are some of the nicest fans out there and I consider being a part of this franchise an honor that I do not take lightly. In terms of being the…

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Please “Recommend!”

If you’re willing, please follow this link to vote for an essay I wrote about how my love of  Star Wars inspired my passion for journalism. The piece is titled Never Tell me the Odds: Pursuing an Intergalactic Dream. 

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If my essay is in the “top 12″ most “read and recommended,” it will be considered by  panel of eight authors. The three essays that they select will be awarded a scholarship which goes towards college. My academics have always been important to me–I’ll graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree, and I hope to complete graduate school by 2018.

I’ve already asked several friends and family members people share and read this piece, and am trying to receive as many “recommends” as possible! All you have to do is follow the link, and when you read and get down to the bottom of the article, click the recommend button and sign in with Twitter–it’s that easy! If all my Twitter and blog followers clicked that recommend button, I’d most likely be in the lead.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I’ll always be grateful for all of the support I’ve received over the years from the Star Wars community, and am blessed by all of the friends that I’ve made along the way.

MTFBWY…Always

How TV Influenced my Career Aspirations

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Television has become an important device in American households. From spending evenings watching a favorite comedy series to crowding your family into the living room to enjoy a movie together on a Saturday night, Television has been an influential aspect in many people’s lives.  A television set brings news, humor, action, drama, and adventure into a household, and people can learn about the latest political debate or be thrust into the latest sci-fi series all from the comforts of home. TV has also contributed to people’s careers, as many jobs are created through television through different TV series and the media.

Different television series impact people differently. While one person may be drawn to the competitiveness and awe of the talent displayed in shows like Dancing with the Stars, The X-Factor, and American Idol, another viewer may be drawn towards the action and adventure featured in shows like ArrowSupernatural, and Star-crossed. Season_5_clone_wars_logo

One television show that has inspired my academic career was the series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The series started when I was in middle school, and now that I’m a senior in high school I continue to watch it to this day. I watched the show from day one, and I remember racing home from getting ice cream at the beach with my friend, dashing into the living room, and sitting down on the couch to watch the series premiere. Now that I’m eighteen years old, nothing has changed. I still eagerly pull out my DVDs of The Clone Wars and enjoy watching the show with my family.

I was impacted by the show for more reasons than one. The primary reason was because it was Star Wars.  My family is comprised of sci-fi fans, and Star Wars has always brought my family together. The Clone Wars was unique because it was a show that aired on a children’s channel, yet it appealed to people of all ages. The series was phenomenal, and I was constantly interested in the writing, animation style, and the show’s score. I continued to be a regular viewer, and after watching the show for years I was able to meet a few of the voice actors from the series.

In 2012 at an event called Star Wars Weekends, I met Daniel Logan, Ashley Eckstein, and Dee Bradley Baker who are voice actors in the Clone Wars series. Baker shared his passion for voice acting, and answered a few of my questions about his role on the show. Eckstein talked with me about the company she was in the process of launching, which has evolved into a popular clothing line for female Star Wars fans. Daniel Logan played the character of Boba Fett, and appeared during the series finale of the second season. When I was talking to Daniel Logan at the event and asking him questions, he made a comment about how I had the traits of a journalist, which really set the ball rolling.

I’ve always loved to write. In elementary school I won a writer’s award in “recognition of outstanding performance in creative writing.” My love for writing has blossomed in the years that followed; the story I wrote about receiving a box full of yapping puppies in elementary was a springboard. After talking to Daniel Logan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars I continued to pursue my passion for writing with a personal blog, and started to look into the journalism field. When High school opened up the world of journalism, and now I write for Tb-Two* a student newspaper that’s published weekly by the Tampa Bay Times.

Since Star Wars Weekends in 2012, I’ve had the opportunity to write for a few different websites including Eckstein’s website HerUniverse.com, where I’ve been a contributor to her campaign Year of the Fangirl, and at www.starwarsunderworld.com, where I regularly write articles for the website.

Now, I’m starting college in the fall and am majoring in Communications, with the desire to pursue a graduate degree in Public Relations. I hope to intern at different newspaper offices in college, and after I graduate I want to continue writing for different websites and get a job at a newspaper. I also want to get involved with entertainment public relations, and eventually promote and represent a company that I can be passionate about representing.

TV and different television shows have a unique way of inspiring people, and I’m thankful that I found my niche through Star Wars: The Clone Wars.