This past weekend, I attended Wonder Con. I’ve been attending conventions since aprox. 2005, and have been speaking regularly on panels for about 2 years now. However, this was the very first time I had pitched the panel topic and signed up to moderate it.
I was nervous and excited the days leading up to it, not necessarily about speaking in front of a few hundred people, that is something I can handle, no problem, but more so about the topic and the gals on the panel.
For one thing, out of the 5 panelists I had chosen, only one of them is a good friend of mine, the rest required research on my part, in order to formulate the best questions for each one.
And for another, typically I’m on panels where we get to talk about ourselves, our work, career highlights, and give advice to others, but this one was different.
I pitched a topic, called “All Shapes and Sizes Welcome: Body Image & Women’s Issues in the Entertainment Industry”, my guests included women who have recovered from eating disorders and disordered eating patterns, women who run their own body positive organizations, women who are on the National Eating Disorder Association, and women who have modeled with and for some of the best in the business. This was a real-deal type panel.
I submitted the panel idea one day, after receiving a not so nice comment on my photo on facebook, it inspired me to do something about it, rather than just sit quietly while someone insulted the way I look. I was excited and fired up, but I had no idea the panel idea would be accepted! The day I received notice that it had been accepted was one of those, “Oh shit! Now, I gotta deliver moments.”
It was such an amazing experience, and everything turned out just absolutely fantastic. From start to finish, my day at Wonder Con was perfect.
We had a super-fun autograph signing session for Cupcake Quarterly Magazine at the Geekscape Booth. (Get your copy at www.cupcakequarterly.com )
Ran into so many wonderful friends who had come out to support the panel.
And the panel itself, was at capacity. 200+ people in the audience. The hour went by so fast, and I barely got to ask any of the questions that I had stressed and fretted over the night before as I was typing out my outline.
It was organic tho, and that’s the best kind. Once, we got thru the introductions and started talking, these ladies were honest, and real. Sharing their own stories, their truths, and their wisdom and advice to the audience.
It was a positive panel, and even tho we’re talking about some pretty heavy topics, the panel had a happy and fun energy about it, because after all, we’re here to talk about these issues for positive change.
After the panel, I lost track of how many men and women, came over to say thank you, some with tears in their eyes, and many who said they could relate to the topics and thought it was so important to have this sort of discussion at the Cons.
I truly hope that this panel will be accepted at Comic Con and many other Cons, as we have so much more to say, and so many more lives to touch.
That’s what speaking on panels is for me, it’s a way to connect with people, touch more lives then you can on a regular day, and hopefully walk away having made a positive change in someone’s life.
That’s what this weekend was for me. As part of my own healing with a warped self-esteem, and a recent battle with emotional binge eating, the more I talk about it, the more I step in the right direction to life-long healing.
Thank you to all of my friends who came out to support us, you’ll never know how much it means to see a familiar face in the crowd.
Thank you to all of you who came to our panel, without you, there is no panel.
Thank you to all of the press who took photos and did interviews afterwards, with your help, we reach even more people.
And special thanks to this guy.. Collin Pelton, who was my co-adventurer for the day, and kept me sane, happy, and on-course.
And a very special shout-out to Helenna Santos Levy, who helped me from start to finish with this panel, from referring panel guests, to designing our promotional materials and everything in between.
THANK YOU HELS!!
Hope to be able to do it again, real soon!
Live Love. Love Life.
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