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Geek Girls are Real: Andrea De La Ossa

Found another unicorn! We continue our mission of debunking the fake geek girl stereotype by introducing Andrea De La Ossa (28), an amazingly talented makeup artist! Ever since she was a little girl she has been a geek, although she prefers to describe herself as "awkward and obsessive". Her family introduced her to geek culture when they collectively played Zelda on the original Nintendo. Because of this, gaming was her first geek interest. Like she said: "What wasn't attractive about Punch Out?". Agreed. Nowadays, her interests have expanded: "It's a rad time to be alive! I love Doctor Who (or the BBC in general), Sandman, Harry Potter, Zelda, Supernatural, horror films, everything Marvel is doing, DC on occasion... I'm one of those people who will never be happy with Batman because I had Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy"

Even though Andrea has lots of interests, she confessed that she really likes Sandman. She said: "It was the first series of comics I'd completed that made me feel lovesick afterwards. Each time I re-read the series, life has happened in its gloriously complicated way, and I'll find a portion of the narrative I didn't notice or didn't appreciate before. It grows with me. Or I grow with it."  In addition to her love for Sandman, she also shared how Kevin Smith has been a huge influence in her life and creativity: "I was 12 years old when I saw Dogma and that movie was talking about a lot of things. It started a conversation in my soul and I'm still having it. Not one of an existential crisis but more like *How the hell do I tell a story LIKE THAT?*. I've watched the *An Evening with Kevin Smith" recordings where he fills probably 2 hours and answers maybe 4 questions. THAT is what an amazing storyteller is."

When she was little, Andrea remembers that the word "geek" felt very negative: "...jocks yelled it at skinny boys in movies".  Something she can identify with since she was bullied in school because of her geeky interests: "I've been called nerd and usually it was when a popular girl felt I should understand my lot in life. I was myself. I didn't dress fashionably (still don't) and I read a lot of books". These days, she feels the word geek is more like a replacement for "enthusiastic" and she is glad it is no longer a derogatory word.

Staying true to herself has definitely helped Andrea achieve her goals. With more than 39,000 Instagram followers, Andrea consistently shares amazing creations and has become an inspiration for many artists. She uses her own face as a canvas to create truly stunning works of art. When asked what her favorite makeup creation has been so far she shared: "I haven't made it yet. I know how that sounds, but it's true. Give me a week and I can hate my most recent look because I am never satisfied".

Andrea has been interested in makeup for as long as she can remember but it was the behind the scenes footage of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video that made her realize someone was doing what she loved for a living. Andrea said: "Someone was making these things! I used to check out stage makeup books from the library when I was a kid just to read. I never thought I could be included." But two years ago, she decided to go for it and start sharing her art: "I decided I was going to make a hard run at it. I thought, why not me? I have the Cosmetology background, I can learn. So I created an online presence just by posting. It kept me motivated".

Like many talented and successful female creators, Andrea has unfortunately been a victim of sexism in the industry: "I've been accused of only being interested in things to impress men on several occasions. Apparently I'm not a nerd, I'm just another whore with glasses". But even though she's had to deal with these types of comments, Andrea continues to work on her art and pushes herself to make more ambitious creations every single day. Thanks to her determination, talent, and courage, she is quickly becoming a force to be reckon with.

Andrea had the following advice for aspiring artists:  "FUCKING DO IT! That's half the battle! It's so easy to look at someone's success and not even try because how could you get there? I see Jordu Shell all the time, blowing raspberries on clay and there... he just made a masterpiece. And of course your instinct is to compare, but your behind the scenes footage can't be compared to someone else's highlight reel. You have something they don't. You have your story, your voice, your experience. You just need the hours in the craft. Whether it be music, painting, stand up, calligraphy, WHATEVER... you just need to learn by doing!". This geek girl is clearly an inspiration and proof that you can accomplish anything by putting the necessary effort, time, and passion. She is not an unicorn, she exists, she is amazing, and she is living her dream.

 

Make sure to follow Andrea on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

 

 

Geek Girls Are Real: Leandra Jacoby

Photo by Aurora Cruz

Photo by Aurora Cruz

Found another unicorn! We continue our mission of debunking the fake geek girl stereotype by introducing Leandra Jacoby (33), an amazing hair stylist, mom and geek!  Ever since she was a little girl, Leandra has been interested in geeky and quirky things. She explained: "Because I was the oldest of four kids, I was often left to my own devices so I watched a lot of TV. I always enjoyed things that are really funny and smart. Witty humor"  Her favorite shows included Alf, MacGyver, Punky Brewster, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Thundercats. She said: "When I was little, my mom didn't allow me to watch The Simpsons but she would let me watch The Kids in the Hall on Comedy Central. A lot of the things I find hilarious were totally influenced by that show too."

Photo by Aurora Cruz

Leandra is also a self-proclaimed horror geek. She absolutely loves monster movies and anything related to zombies: "I will go see most horror movies no matter what. I don't care if they are good or bad, I’ll see them anyway. I like the thrill and the artistic expression of the monsters. I love how the mood can be set in a horror movie by just using light and color. They can paint a story even before you get to hear something." But even though she is obsessed with horror movies, there's one specific type that she doesn't enjoy. She jokingly said: "Paranormal movies scare me, they make me feel unsure about what’s crawling on my ceiling at night. I’m not scared of what’s underneath my bed, but I’m scared of what’s crawling on my ceiling when I’m not paying attention".   

Photo by Aurora Cruz

Leandra also really enjoys anything related to superheroes, her favorite being The Hulk. And like she said:  "...not just because Mark Ruffalo is a total fox". The reason why she loves The Hulk's as a character is because she identifies with the struggle between being vulnerable and tough at the same time. She explained:  "When you’re guarded, sometimes you don’t realize that you’re acting that way and start creating your own green monster. I like being able to embrace both sides of my personality and having them be compatible within me. The Hulk says: "I'm always angry" and I love that because for me it means that you can’t control the green monster inside of you until you accept it." In fact, Leandra loves The Hulk so much that when she played roller derby under the name DollFace Nutcase, her tagline was: “You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry, Dollface smash!”.

Photo by Aurora Cruz

For Leandra, being a geek means being passionate and excited about something no matter what it is: "If I'm geeking out about a piece of cake, it means that I really love that piece of cake. You can tell when somebody is a geek just by talking to them. Being a geek doesn't have a genre. You are a geek if something makes you want to high five people and scream HELL YEAH!". She appreciates how supportive the geek community is and how the people in it respect each other no matter how weird or out of the box their interests are. When she was younger, Leandra mentioned that she experience bullying for being different, which is why finding a community that celebrates differences is very important to her: "When I was in high school I remember being picked on because I had this awesome astroturf green Pumas that made me feel like a badass. I would hear people talk about them and make fun of them. I hate the fact that it made me doubt what I liked. Nowadays, I am more confident in liking what I like and not apologizing for it. I would totally wear those shoes today." 

Photo by Aurora Cruz

As an adult, Leandra mentioned some of the challenges she encounters when openly admitting she is a geek. As a single woman, she often has to deal with the fact that men consider her "one of the guys" and sometimes fail to acknowledge her feminine side:  "A lot of times I meet someone that I think is cool and I‘m placed in the friend zone very quickly because of my interests." She explained that this is a form of sexism:  "It's sexist to assume that I am less feminine because I like comic books, zombies or things that are considered to be boy stuff. As soon as we tell someone what they are allowed to like based on their gender, that's sexism. I'm still feminine even if I like those things." 

Photo by Aurora Cruz

When I met Leandra, I immediately knew I would become friends with this fellow lady geek and not only because she is responsible for giving me the best haircut I've ever had. She is indeed extremely talented. Before being a hairstylist, Leandra was actually a nurse's assistant. After spending some time in that profession, she realized that she wanted to follow her real passion. That's when she decided to pursue cosmetology: "I always liked doing my hair and giving people advice on how to do their hair. Now that I'm a hairstylist, I absolutely love being able to make something new every day and make people feel amazing." 

Leandra is an amazing woman, geek, artist, and proud mom of a little boy and girl. She allows her kids to be who they want to be and is the best example not only to them but to everyone that as long as you are yourself, you will be happy. Like she said: "I want my kids to like what they like and be as weird as they want to be. I want them to be comfortable with who they are." Wise words. Leandra is definitely not an unicorn, she exists and she is extraordinary.