Supernatural Cast At Asylum 16 (But Is There More To Life Than Celebrities?)

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Supernatural Cast At Asylum 16 (But Is There More To Life Than Celebrities?)

Kathryn Newton / Supernatural at Asylum 16

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Dear cast of Supernatural,

This is a letter for you, but I have to start with something that has bothered me for a while now.

A few weeks ago, I spent an evening with a very dear, old friend of mine. As usual, we were exchanging stories from the past few months and of course, I told her about all the filming location travels, premieres and other fun things I’d experienced lately. I also gushed about Asylum 16 that me, Satu and Johanna were planning to attend. At some point I noticed how she grew impatient, or maybe bored, scoffed and said:

“You know there’s more to life than celebrities.”

Now, as TV bloggers and very devoted fangirls of many, many shows and films, me and Satu are both used to this sort of attitude, and comments like this amuse us more than hurt us these days.

However, it does catch me off guard when the criticism comes from someone who’s known me for a two decades, who’s aware of my ups and downs in life, and who very well knows how Fangirl Quest has changed mine and my best friend’s lives for the better, for good.

I usually just shrug and let it go, not wanting to explain our passion and fangirling to anyone. But I’ve been mulling these particular words over for a while now, wondering what I would have said if I’d bothered with it.

Jared Padalecki, Ty Olsson and Jensen Ackles / Supernatural at Asylum 16

The fans aren’t the only people having fun at these events

And I kept thinking about it, even during our weekend at Asylum 16.

I thought; well, here’s just another thing my friend would criticize. She’d probably tell me that you actors are there just for the money, that we’re wasting our time on really stupid stuff. And I would tell her she’s wrong, but she wouldn’t get it. How could she? She’s never done anything like this in her life.

Matt Cohen and Richard Speight Jr. / Supernatural at Asylum 16

Richard Speight Jr. and Matt Cohen on karaoke stage with fans

What bothers me most about what she said is the way she seems to completely misunderstand our motives. Because we don’t come to these events to meet celebrities.

We come to these events to hang out with similar-minded people and the cast of Supernatural, our favourite show of all times. Which is why I think her words kept ringing in my head for so insistently. It’s quite a bothering thought, thinking that people close to us might think that we’re really so shallow: that all that matters to us is fame itself. But that’s where she gets it wrong.

You are not celebrities to us.

Adrianne Palicki / Supernatural at Asylum 16

Adrianne Palicki being adorable while answering fans’ questions

I mean, of course, in a way you are. We watch you on our screens, and we look up to you. Most of us are super nervous and very excited to meet you in person, but that doesn’t mean it’s your celebrity status, no matter how big or small, that appeals to us.

We love you for all the time you take to show kindness and gratitude towards your fans, and all the ways you use your platform to inspire us to do good in the world.

But most of all, we love you because you bring all these stories and characters to life for us. We love you because you love us back, because you bring all of us together.

And because you do it intentionally. You actively encourage your SPNFamily to stick together. That’s why we were all at Asylum 16 in the first place, in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, in our very own Supernatural bubble, without a clue of what’s going on in the outside world for 2-3 days. We’re safe from our real life troubles.

We’re safe from judgmental people.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles / Supernatural at Asylum 16

Jared and Jensen during their Asylum 16 panel

 

Asylum 16: new friends, lots of laughter, memories that last forever

I’d love to have this superpower that would allow me to insert experiences and feelings inside the minds of other people. Why? Because it wouldn’t matter how many words or hours I’d use to describe the happiness we experience when we watch these shows, when we get together with people who love them as much as we do, and when we meet the people who make them. The muggles would never get it. It’s not an easy concept to grasp, if you’re completely lacking the geek gene.

So it’d be much easier to just cram all the happyfeels from a convention weekend into their heads and go: “SEE?” instead of trying to explain it with any existing words.

Jared Padalecki / Supernatural at Asylum 16

A big fan lifting an even bigger idol.

Of course, I could try. I could tell my disapproving friend all about the love, support and trust we have among the Supernatural fandom. Strangers helping out strangers, giving them their support, be it mental or physical and often, even financial.

I could tell her about fans encouraging fellow fans when they’re getting their moment in the spotlight and get nervous about it.

Matt Cohen and Richard Speight Jr. / Supernatural at Asylum 16

Gracie, a supercute, gigglenervous fan on stage with Matt Cohen… and the whole hall cheering her on.

Or maybe I could tell my friend about Mark Sheppard‘s 10-minute Asylum 16 monologue about this family we all have in Supernatural, and the importance of human connection and how everyone deserves to have it in their lives?

And his encouraging words telling us to “open the door just a little bit to let people in” just to make new friends at these conventions, and all the incredible stories us fans have shared with the cast that have inspired and moved him.

Mark Sheppard / Supernatural Asylum 16

Mark making us tear up for all the right reasons

All this coming from a guy who’s usually considered the Grumpy Cat of the bunch.

Maybe I could tell my friend about tearing up during Mark’s speech. And about all my fellow fans in the audience exchanging nods and smiles with complete strangers around us while patting the corners of their eyes with tissues.

Family really doesn’t end with blood, boy

For some people, a fandom can be all the family they have. They might be lonely back home and in school, or feel like outsiders in their adult lives and at work. But when they’re among fellow fans, they will always have someone to talk to. Someone to laugh with. Someone to email after the event and meet up in real life.

At these events, they will always have someone to share their experiences and happiness with. To many, a fandom can be a huge bunch of friends they just haven’t met yet.

And without you , dear makers of Supernatural, none of this would exist.

Asylum 16 Supernatural

One big patient queue, one big happy Asylum 16 family

And that is the most beautiful thing about fangirling over “celebrities”. Yeah, of course it’s a little bit ridiculous to idolize you guys just because your work is what it is. Yeah, of course you’re all people like us, with your flaws and your worries and the mistakes you’ve done. We all know this.

The concept of fame is a weird one, but at best, it can be something life-changing – for many more people than just the person holding the celebrity status.

Ruth Connell / Supernatural at Asylum 16

Ruth Connell hugging a young fan during her panel.

I know you’ve heard hundreds of stories of how you’ve all affected our lives, even saved some, by inspiring us to carry on, to create art, to be brave and go out there and meet new people. To keep fighting, always.

But it’s all true. Without your fame, we wouldn’t have met the dozens of amazing people we now call our friends in our lives outside our Supernatural bubble. And without Supernatural me and Satu wouldn’t have started this blog and travelled the world.

And I know you’ve heard thousands of thank-yous before, but the only thing I can say to you right now right here is THANK YOU.

And to my disapproving friend: Yes. There is more to life than celebrities. I would definitely call having a few million supportive, approving friends as “more”. Wouldn’t you?

Peace out. The rambling fangirl has rambled.

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Click on this link and you shall be rewarded.

 

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Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Tiia / Fangirl Quest
Photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, copywriter, marketing assistant. I once traveled across North America in flipflops. I love dogs, ketchup and many inspiring people. Visit my photo portfolio here.

14 Comments

  1. Annette says:

    These are beautiful word! I have never been on a supernatural convention but I met fans and it was a bit like meeting family.
    When I read this, you had me in tears. I feels good to belong to something outside of real live! Something good!

  2. […] Inspired by the SPNFamily, I wrote a letter to the cast, which also serves as a note to all of our disapproving, non-geeky friends. You can read it here. […]

  3. foundmyzen says:

    This was beautiful! I’ve met so many wonderful people because of this fandom. It feels like home to me when I’m at a con. I fit in there in a way I never have anywhere else. If someone has never had that feeling, then they can’t possibly understand what it means. It’s like teaching poetry to fish. My response to people who make fun of me for loving this show, cast, and fandom is…it makes me happy and I will never apologize for anything that makes me happy. Not ever.
    Thank you for sharing your perfectly worded thoughts on this SPNfamily with the world!

    • Thank you for the lovely comment! Yes, it’s very very hard to explain the whole thing to an outsider, but I’m loving the fact my words made sense to those who are part of the family. STAY STRONG SPNFAMILY! AKF! :)

  4. Manda says:

    really love this post, so many times I’ve wished I could find the words to explain what conventions can mean, if only that superpower existed!
    I got a little teary too and wish I could’ve been lucky enough to meet you at asylum!

  5. Vic says:

    I’ve been following you girls for a few years, that was Wonderfully put. Being a part of a fandom gives hope and friendship to a lot of people and to someone on the outside it can seem an “obsession” (I’ve had that thrown at me a few times!).
    Years ago, I frequented message boards for Eddie Izzard and became friends with a great group of people who were what I needed in my life at that time. Thank you for reminding me of this and keep blogging!

  6. Melissa Hunt says:

    Absolutely spot on. Asylum 16 was my first ever convention. Marks speech made me cry and I think I melted when he looked at me and said Hi. But more than that I could be myself there. there were no worries and lots of amazing people there. I met a lovely woman in the Que for registration (we got to spend about 3 hours together lol) The whole event was just amazing! I am hoping to share it with my family someday as they wont get it until they come to one with me!

    • So happy to hear you had a fantastic time! Mark’s speech was a big surprise, and seemed so very genuine. We’ve seen him / listened to him / met him a couple of times before and this was the first time he made us tear up like this :)

  7. Siobhan says:

    You know, I used to feel this way exactly when people asked about doing cons, or going to gigs, or anything else that seemed ‘celebrity obsessed’. And then I went to asylum 13 (my second asylum) and actually, my mind was changed even from this standpoint. Because we kept saying to the actors in panels and lounges that they made a difference, even if they were in one episode, and that we were bonded over our love for some of their body of work. And they all turned it around on us, and said that we were the reason they got parts, and got to do conventions and meet the people who essentially create their paycheques. They are grateful to us. And I think that’s a concept that people wouldn’t understand, that these conventions exist because genuinely hard-working people want to give back to the people who make it all possible. And it’s hard not to love them even more for being so genuine and considerate and humble about their situation.

    Likewise, at asylum 16 I was listening hard to Jared. Jared, who has put so much of himself out there for the last year and bore so many people’s depressing stories because he wanted to start a dialogue on mental health and take away some of the stigma attached. He was candid about having therapy, and how he’s felt travelling in the last few years, and how he’s changed in the last year. And although he didn’t say it in as many words, you could tell he was grateful for the support he’s had in all that time too. that’s the thing that people don’t see, how the fans help the actors too. How we’re all in it for each other. Footballers don’t do that for the masses in the stadiums. Hell, Justin Bieber has recently said he won’t pose for fans when out on the street. And Jared and Jensen call us family and invite us over, any time. That’s why we do conventions. Because we’re made to feel like fans matter too.

    • Amazing comment! Thank you so much (and sorry it took a while to notice this). Yes, it’s not about them being in the public eye for us or practically anyone in the SPNFamily. It’s about inspiration and support. And what a lovely thing that is to be a part of :)

  8. […] that I have these nine favorite actors of mine, and it’s for some very real, genuine reasons. I recently read a letter to the cast of the show Supernatural, penned by Tiia Ohmen, one of the co-creators of the website […]

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