Nerd Con: Nerd HQ 2016 Badass Women (Mystery Panel)

I was incredibly fortunate to attend seven Nerd HQ ticketed events including six panels this year. I’ve also been very fortunate to have attended all Badass Women panels since 2014. They are by far, the best panels and my favorite! I’m sure others would argue their favorite, but no one can deny the substance and conversation that take place at the Badass Women panel cause extreme levels of inspiration and awe. This year was no exception.

Hosted by Zac, this year’s panelists included Retta, Vanessa Hudgens, Elizabeth TullochSonequa Martin-Green, Caity Lotz, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

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Photo by @wookiegirl75

One of the many things that make NerdHQ special is the quality of questions at the panels, especially at Badass Women. The questions are always thoughtful and educational and soul searching. I believe the panelists as well as the audience equally learn and gain from the interaction. Below are a few of the key lessons from this year’s badass women.

Collaboration and Being in Excellence

The first question was about what qualities the ladies preferred in a stage manager, which stemmed into a discussion of always doing the best work you can, collaborating while accepting and giving guidance willingly, making sure that you’re not hindering anyone from doing their job, everyone is equally important and necessary, and passion are key.

You Do You

“We are all in this together.” Yvette passionately said when asked about how to handle trolls. All the ladies discussed the anonymity of the internet community and how each has dealt with angry fans and haters and how it relates to the societal climate at the moment. Some prefer to block and move on while others engage in a discussion with trolls. One of my favorite quotes from Yvette was “Know your lane.” You do what feels right for you. All of the ladies had fantastic insights and quotes from this second question. I may have started shedding tears at this point.


When asked about the standards that women of color are held to, Retta, Sonequa, Vanessa, and Yvette shared wonderful insights. “Everyone wants to be known for the fullness of what they are.” Yvette shared. I may have shed some more here.

What Women Inspired Them

Many of the ladies found women that were driven as inspiring. Elizabeth shared that activists and women who didn’t shy away from their beliefs and owned them were inspiring. Yvette quoted the late Gary Marshall, “It’s nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.” She admires folks that live their lives to make others feel important.

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Photos by @wookiegirl75 & Laura @Nerdfitter

Not being out done, Zac concluded the panel by innocently asking if we all thought it would be a mystery panel. He was unaware that the panel was advertised and sold as mystery and no one knew it would be badass women, as well. It was serendipitous that all of the talent available for the time slot were badass women. I felt so lucky to have nabbed this golden ticket. At this point I was ecstatic that I had not ugly cried like the past badass women panels. Then, this happened. “…the plan is, we want to make you guys feel like you guys are worth something in the world, because you are, you’re worth something.” Re-watching this panel and listening to his closing words as I write this, I still can’t hold it together.

The Dam Broke

I was overwhelmed. I had not realized how cold and disillusioned I allowed myself to become due to society right now. The fuckery that is thrown at us on the news, online, in newspapers, everywhere we go; we are bombarded by negativity. It is easy to get lost in it all. That panel and Zac’s closing remarks overwhelmed me with positivity, love, and hope. Three things I didn’t know I was running low on. It was too much, I burst. I managed to make it outside of the museum where I completely broke down.

It was an unexpected reaction from me and it felt like a dam had broken open. For the remainder of the trip, the slightest thing would set me off. I laugh at how silly it may sound, but you have to acknowledge that we spend so much of our day to day censoring ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves to feel things to the fullest because it may pose to be an inconvenience. I was overdue and was overwhelmed by the generosity, openness, authenticity, and goodness. Fellow nerd, @wookiegirl75 said, “…the Badass Women panel this year is my 2nd favourite ever… (it) had me walking out of the room with the need to change things, to be better, to give more, to love more, to aspire for more.” That is exactly the feeling.

Go out and be the best you and make the world better nerds! I really hope you found this panel inspiring. If you weren’t able to watch it, I recommend it. You can find it below. Please let me know your thoughts.

You are awesome.

Nerd On!
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