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Crowd at ClexaCon 2017

ClexaCon 2017 (Photo by Dana Pleasant)

An interview with ClexaCon Director Ashley Arnold

Returning to Sin City for the second consecutive year, ClexaCon is a unique kind of media and entertainment convention for LGBTQ women and allies. Taking place in Las Vegas April 5 – 9 at the Tropicana Hotel, ClexaCon celebrates queer female characters and stories, comics, books, fans, celebrities, creators, and journalists.

ClexaCon was created and is run by Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold, and Danielle Jablonski with the goal to provide a safe space and a world-wide community of LGBTQ women and allies who love TV, film, comics and books; to encourage more LGBTQ women to get involved in content creation; to embolden allies to improve representation for LGBTQ characters in their creative work.

“We hope attendees feel empowered. We want them to leave knowing this industry, like all industries, is in desperate need of more diverse voices. Pick up a camera, grab a pen, start writing, start creating because there are other people who care about what you have to say,” says Arnold.

Featured guests for 2018 include Chlyer Leigh (Supergirl, Grey’s Anatomy), Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow), Isabella Gomez, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce (One Day at a Time),  Anna Silk (Lost Girl), Dot Marie Jones (Glee), Nikohl Boosheri (The Bold Type), as well as many returning guests including Amy Acker (The Gifted, Person of Interest), Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest, The L Word), Katherine Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Emily Andras (Wynonna Earp), Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla), Elizabeth Keener (The L Word, Skirtchasers), Rachel Skarsten (Lost Girl, Reign), and Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, Dark Matter).

We spoke with Arnold to talk about what people can expect from ClexaCon this year.

 

Why did you start ClexaCon?

ClexaCon was inspired by and created for fans. 2016 saw an unprecedented number of female LGBTQ characters killed off TV shows. One of the most publicized was the death of the fan-favorite character, Lexa, from the CW’s The 100. The convention was named in honor of the on-screen relationship between Clarke and Lexa (‘Clexa’). For the first time we saw media consumers demand better representation on an organized scale. It was amazing.

The death of so many female LGBTQ characters and the attention that fans were able to bring to the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope led us to create an event that celebrates the characters we love and allows fans to come together from the around the world to celebrate our favorite stories from TV and film.

 

What type of feedback have you received from last year’s ClexaCon goers?

We’ve had a ton of positive feedback. Amy Acker recently said in an interview that ClexaCon was an amazing space she wishes she could live in. From our growing lineup, you can see the word got out that ClexaCon is a great event.

 

You now have a ClexaCon scheduled in London? How did that come to be?

We’ve gone global! We recently announced our first international event which will take place in London November 2-4, 2018. We hope that in years to come we’ll be able to have ClexaCon pop-up events at locations around the world. We know that many members of our community do not have the resources to travel internationally for an event like this and we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to participate.

 

What would say to people who are interested in attending but aren’t familiar with the Clarke and Lexa background?

Not everyone who attends knows the ClexaCon story and that’s okay. We are bigger than a fan convention. We hope that attendees come to see ClexaCon as a force driving change. We are providing a space where creators can come together to share ideas and work together.

 

What are you most looking forward to?

We’re really excited about the Pitch to Production session this year. Last year attendees’ had the opportunity to participate in a pitch workshop. This year, they have a chance to win a production deal with Tello Films. This is really big and exciting. We’re also excited to featuring Nafessa Williams who plays Thunder on The CW’s Black Lightning. We’re looking forward to a one-on-one main stage interview of the first black lesbian superhero.

 

What do you hope to accomplish this year?

We hope to inspire attendees to become creators. We want them to leave knowing this industry, like all industries, is in desperate need of more diverse voices. Their voice matters. Pick up a camera, grab a pen, start writing, start creating because there are other people who care about what you have to say.

 

 

 

 

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