Sandra Choute is the social media manager for the podcast Fangirls Going Rogue (FFGR). She was kind enough to answer a few questions via email for 365 Days of Star Wars Women.
What was your introduction to Star Wars?
No on one in particular introduced me to Star Wars. I moved to America during the mid-late 80’s. Star Wars was everywhere. I watched on television and VHS tapes and fell in love with the story and characters. I always tell people this. Star Wars was my escape after moving to America.
Which Star Wars characters/stories are your favorites? Have your favorites changed much over time?
There are many Star Wars characters I connect with and I am always excited to see them in films and in the animated series. But, my favorite characters are Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and R2D2. Vader and Maul because their presence on screen reminds of many individuals I know in real life. I am not referring to the acts they’ve committed….But certainly their lives behind a mask. R2D2 is all me. The keeper of secrets.
If you could be dropped into the Star Wars universe at any place or any time where would you want to go and who would you want to meet?
There are two places I’d love to visit. 1. The Outer Rim, Tatooine. It’s the birthplace of Anakin Skywalker and I want to see the twin suns. 2. Takodana is absolutely breathtaking. Rey said it best in The Force Awakens, “I didn’t know there was so much green in the galaxy.”
When your love of Star Wars began did you have a lot of family or friends who shared your passion for Star Wars? When did you start looking for places to talk about Star Wars online and was it easy to find a platform or forum that you felt was a good fit for you?
My siblings are huge Star Wars fans. It was the norm in our home. It was not until I was in my 30s when I realized many of my friends are fans of Star Wars. This included male and female friends. Most of us never talked about it out of fear of being considered weird or different. Over the last few years, I have found more people are willing to share their love for Star Wars. They email or call me about theories and to get my thoughts on certain characters. I credit social media for giving so many the platform to share their passion.
You’re a special education teacher. Do you use Star Wars in the classroom with your kids and if so can you give me a few examples of how you do this?
I have been out of the classroom for a couple of years now. In the past, I have used Star Wars to help my students make connections in language arts and social studies. I taught my students about conflict, war, theme, imagery, symbolism, authority, and civics. The list goes on and on… Star Wars in the Classroom is a huge resource for any teacher who is interested in using Star Wars in their lessons. There are a group kids in my school now that greet me as ‘Jedi Master’…. I kindly respond with, ‘Hello my Padawans’.
How did you become the social media manager for the FanGirls Going Rogue podcast?
A few years ago, I decided to re-join social media. I began to meet and chat with other fans. I blogged for a while for Coffee With Kenobi. It’s time-consuming and it wasn’t really my thing. I decided to step away from that adventure. I reached out to different outlets about getting more involved in the SW fan community. Tricia emailed me and we sat up a time to chat. During Celebration Anaheim, The ladies contacted me and asked if I could post some the events taking place. I gladly accepted. A couple years later, I manage the Facebook page and group, Instagram, and Twitter handle. I have so much fun connecting with people. I love hosting the live tweets, Saturday Night Discussions, and Trivia Tuesday. We plan show topics together. We have video chats together. There’s a not a day that goes by that we don’t check on one another. It’s not just about being fangirls. It’s friendship, love, and caring amongst a group of women.
Do you have a favorite place to talk Star Wars with FGGR listeners?
I know our audience and what they like to see in our various sites. What you see on Twitter is not what you’ll see in our IG or FB group. That’s the fun. I try to keep things relevant and fresh. I love talk Star Wars more on Twitter and in our Facebook group.
You have hosted a few live tweet watch parties for Star Wars films and other popular films like Black Panther. For people who haven’t experienced one of these events how would you describe them?
Fun…Fun…Fun…These films is what connects us fans. It’s amazing to be able to share and read the perspectives of other people.
Do you have to do a lot of blocking and/or warning on the FGGR accounts?
We don’t do a lot of blocking. But, as a team, we agreed to not give warnings. If someone is being disrespectful, rude, and crass, they automatically get blocked.
Have you been to many comic or Star Wars conventions? If so what are some of your favorite memories from these conventions?
I live in the D.C. area. I’ve been to the NYCC, Awesome Con, Baltimore Comic Con, and of course Star Wars Celebration. I enjoy the lowkey conventions but there’s no convention like Celebration.
If you could sit down with three people at Lucasfilm to talk about the future of Star Wars who would you want to chat with and what would you want to tell them?
I have already met one out of the three. I met and had the opportunity to chat with Dave Filoni. As a fan of The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, it was a dream come true to sit down with one of the creators of these two animated series. The other two people I want to meet are Kiri Hart and Andi Gutierrez. I’d love to ask Kiri Hart about the direction of Lucasfilm and if we’ll ever see a Black female lead in a SW film in our lifetime. I want to witness a day in the life of Andi…..I want to be like Andi when I grow up.
Most people don’t take in all Star Wars content and focus on a few things. I’m curious for you what you are drawn to and what you usually skip (films, TV show, fan fiction, comics, books, etc.). Going along with this question I know for me my SW fandom has had highs and lows depending on the content Lucasfilm was putting out and what was going on in my life. Has your fan excitement remained steady over the years or have there been highs and lows for you as well?
I am drawn to the films and animated series. To be honest, that’s all I have time for in my life. The highs and lows in SW fandom….I have learned when to and not to engage with some fans. Some days, I avoid social media altogether. I recently deactivated my Facebook page. It’s not about anything specific. I just did it. Twitter is a different beast. I have been called the N-word and other names for speaking my mind about lack of representation of POC, women, and members of the LGBTQ communities on and behind the screen in films. Despite the negative comments at times, it will not stop me from using my platform for standing up for what I believe.
I know because I follow you on Twitter that you are a fan of a lot more things than Star Wars. What are some of your other favorite movies and TV shows?
All things Marvel….Netflix is my best friend. There are too many shows to list. The Flash and Black Lightning are the only two shows I watch on regular TV. My favorite movie of all time is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My favorite show of all time is Lost In Space.
What are you most excited for in 2019 Episode IX, The Mandalorian, or The Clone Wars and If you could have a cameo in Episode IX what would it be?
I am excited how the journey ends for these characters we have grown to love and hate. I really like that last question. You can call me cougarlicious. I’d be Finn’s side piece. The End.
You can find Sandra on Twitter here.
Check out the entire list of women in 365 Days of Star Wars Women in the Women in Star Wars Index. It includes highlights from each post plus notes which posts include new 365 interviews with actresses, writers, artists, and more.