The Unicorn Files: From a Model’s POV
By: Meg Humphrey
What most people who know me through conventions and fan communities don’t know is that I’m actually quite shy. When I’m out of my element, I tend to feel pretty embarrassed for no reason and have a hard time striking up or keeping conversations. Even places I think I might be okay, like being surrounded by tech nerds or serious gamers, I end up shutting down with the feeling that I don’t belong.
Even in places where I should feel part of the group, I’m still forced to have heightened awareness of what’s going on around me – is that creeper going to talk to me (or worse)? Is this dude going to vett my Star Wars to knowledge to see if I’m a “fake geek girl?” Are they whispering about my cosplay showing “too much skin for my size?” Am I going to be in danger if I turn this guy down?
This is why projects like The Unicorn Files matter.
What The Unicorn Files does is show women in their homes, surrounded or covered by what makes them geeky – what makes them THEM. It gives women the opportunity to show who they truly are without the possible negativity or anxiety of being out in a space where women may not feel completely safe or welcomed.
I was one of the first models for Terra and Nate. I generally enjoy taking photos (no selfie hate here), but “modeling” got me all nervous. I never know what to do what my hands or if my smile is too fake. Thankfully, this dynamic duo made it easy! Nate was an expert at setup and staging, even in my cramped living room. He was very patient and I never felt like I needed to rush. Terra would give plenty of suggestions on posing and movement while keeping the atmosphere relaxed and jovial. In any of the pictures where I’m smiling really big, no doubt I’m laughing at something she said!
Outside of the photographs, just inviting The Unicorn Files into my home was a personal, but restorative experience. I took them around to my shelves, displays, and work areas and told them “this is me. This is what I do.” There was zero judgement (but a lot of enthusiasm!) and they did a magical job of taking my things and me to outwardly show the entirety of me.
Modeling for The Unicorn Files ignited a spark in me to feel more secure to be vocal and showy about myself and my passions. Since then, without even seeing any of the photos, I have done more to be present, positive, and confident that I belong in the communities I participate in. I’m still awkward at parties where no one is wearing nerdy t-shirt, but there’s always time to improve.
So if you have a few dollars because you skipped buying that bubble tea or didn’t snag that convention exclusive, think about sending it over to The Unicorn Files Kickstarter so we can continue showing women that they belong here as they are.