The TV show Supernatural (SPN) as I have mentioned before is more than a TV show to me, it has become a big part of my life now. Continuing the 3 part series, I am interviewing people making a difference with the organization called Attitudes in Reverse (AIR). One of the stars show Jared Padalecki who plays Sam started his own campaign Always Keep Fighting (AKF) a year ago. Since then he has also helped this organization and speak at one of their events during a free moment at a previous convention. One of the best things about my site so far is interviewing people who are making a difference.
Kat is now running the Phoenix Arizona Chapter of Attitudes in Reverse, she has been working hard at raising funds and collecting shoes for the upcoming "In Their Shoes" Exhibit. The exhibit will be at the Supernatural Convention in Phoenix Arizona in June. I came across her and her mission for what she wanted to do at the Phoenix Convention and knew I had to help spread the word anyway I can. Its not too late to take a quick glance at Part One. Here is Kat a Supernatural Family member, what she's doing, and how she is making a difference!
Can you tell us a bit
about yourself, what you do and how long you have been a fan of Supernatural?
|Kat on the left with one of the founders|
of AIR Tricia when they met at the
Supernatural Convention in Pasadena
I joined the fandom in 2013, a friend told me to watch Supernatural. I'd been watching Arrow and loved the look of it so I decided to give Supernatural a try, and anyone who's a fan knows how that story ends. I am a 41 year old massage therapist, Supernatural got me writing. I have written way too much fanfiction. I started with an idea for an Arrow/SPN crossover fic, which I wrote. People loved it and told me to write a sequel, I am now plotting the tenth one along with writing stand alone fics. You can check them out if you are interested. In between fanfics I wrote two self published novels as well, they are on Amazon for those who like supernatural/urban superhero type works.
Before Supernatural, I was never a part of any fandom, no TV show ever
seemed to hook me, that plus not having cable TV for long periods of time kept
me fandom free, as it were. Now with Netflix and streaming, I still don't have
TV but I can watch all these shows. So far though, Supernatural is still the only one
that I would call myself a "fan" of. I like Arrow, Flash, iZombie and
now Fox's Lucifer and loved the Netflix version of Daredevil, but Supernatural
holds my interest more than the rest of them. Somehow the story line continues
to surprise me, which is very hard, and so I really look forward to the next episodes
and seeing them live. The other shows, not so much, except maybe for Lucifer
right now, but it's only a few episodes in so it's still fresh and new.
You are partnering
with Attitudes in Reverse (AIR) to bring the In Their Shoes Exhibit to the
Supernatural Convention in Phoenix Arizona in June. What is the In Their Shoes
exhibit? In Their Shoes is an exhibit designed to do
two things, draw attention visually through the hundreds of empty pairs of
shoes to the impact of mental health disorders, and suicide among the age group of 10-24, it's also designed to educate. Stories are shared, resources listed and
handed out on fliers and speakers discuss how these issues have for too long
been swept under the rug, ignored whether it's because of lack of knowledge,
stigma or both. It's also a presentation of solidarity and support, to let
those who fight these battles that they are not alone, that their struggles are
felt by all kinds of people and to not hide from it, but to seek help. Here's
the link to the AIR homepage about the Exhibit.
In doing this it looks
like you are starting an AIR Chapter for Phoenix Arizona. What are some of your goals for
the chapter? I would love to say I
am looking that far ahead but right now my main focus is getting the funds and
shoes for the Phoenix Con in June. My goals beyond that are a bit more
nebulous. I think getting AIR out not only to schools and wellness fairs but
out into other events as well, like Phoenix Comic Con (which is something we
are working on) would be wonderful. The California and Jersey chapters of AIR
have done a lot of presentations at schools already and my hope is to get into
that in September, after I secure what I need to do so. The goal of AIR as a whole
is to reach as many people as possible, so any and all ways I can do that I
intend to pursue. I just started with them in January, so still sorting
things out in my head.
|Phoenix, Arizona AIR Chapter Logo|
You also run a site called SPN Family central how is that going? How is it helping with the goal to bring In Their Shoes Exhibit to the Convention? The SPNFamilyCentral is my attempt at cataloging all the amazing things our Cast, Crew and Fans do, along with film projects that Cast and Crew do outside of the show. It did take off, then I got sidetracked writing fanfic so I haven't posted much on it as of late. It does however have quite a few articles that give you a look at what the fandom does for each other. The connections I made interviewing people for it has helped me get the word out about the AIR chapter, which has been very helpful. I will be doing another article soon about another amazing group of people doing great things to help others. Stay tuned! You can like the SPNFamily Central Facebook page for updates.
You are helping AIR because you mentioned you went through a stage of depression on your site, What are some words of encouragement you have for those that are going through it right now?
My dark years, or as I call them, the Seven Lost Years, weren't due to clinical depression but just having too many relationship crash and burn, it finally pretty much made me stop caring about everything in general. Yeah, I went to work and paid bills, but there was no joy, no hobbies, no interests, nothing. I called it walking through a world of shadows. What got me out of it was getting interested in photography, then photographing amateur models through which I met a group of people who do Parkour. They were, and still are, some of the most positive, chill, mentally balanced people I have ever known. Being around all that happy energy and actually doing parkour for a while started getting me out of the funk, but what really did it was when I turned 35 and realized it had been seven years since I gave up on everything and what a waste that was. It was a real wake up call.
Around that time I got into my shows, started meeting fans online etc, finished up my massage license and got out of customer service/call center work. Things have been great since. That is not the case for everyone, I understand that, but that was my story.
What I tell people who are going through a similar streak is to try new things, pick up a new interest, even if you don't think you'll like it, do it anyway. Help others, even in some small way. Misha (Collins) and Jared (Padalecki) are right when they say helping others can help you through tough times. Even if it's just smiling at or complimenting a complete stranger, that bit of positivity that comes back to you and can do wonders. So, Always Keep Fighting and don't give up. The thing that may change your whole perspective could be right around the corner.
You are making a
difference in people’s lives big or small with things like supporting the In
Their Shoes Exhibit and AIR How does that make you feel?
|Some shoes donated for the Phoenix Exhibit|
I see my involvement in AIR as a furthering of that, things like the AKF shirts or the AIR presentations don't solve the problems people have, but they help them fight through them, and, in a lot of ways, that's more important than a solution. Especially in cases like mental health disorders where there's no actual "solution" to the problem. There's no easy fix, there's just coping, battling and getting support where ever and however you can.
At the Pasadena Con this year I got an autograph with Jared and told him about the shirt page, not to get props for myself, but because I wanted him to have another example of how the fandom helps each other. He was stunned and overwhelmed, which moved me seeing him pause in the act of signing, stare up at me with gratitude and amazement on his face, put his hand on his chest and say "That's awesome. Wow." The thing I had him sign I sent to my friend who helps me with the page as he doesn't get to attend cons very often and may never get an autograph. I got the experience and he got the autographed item, I thought that was a good way to share the moment with him, after all the help he'd given me.
|Kat with Jared Padalecki|
How about in other works you do for the Supernatural Family?
A friend and I also run the J2 (Jensen & Jared ) Shirt Page on
Facebook, which pairs people willing to donate AKF shirts to people who cannot get
them while the campaigns run. Since the J2 shirt we have matched over 500 ppl.
donors have sent shirts, literally, all over the world to people that they will
never meet. Shirts have been sent to South Africa, Iran, Russia, Brazil,
Canada, the US, the Philippines, pretty much to every corner of the globe. When
my friend Kai and I are in the thick of a campaign, it doesn't seem to hit, at
least to me. It's after when people start posting pics of getting the shirts or
the tear filled thank you messages we get when you realize that to many of
these people, those shirts are a lifesaver, and not metaphorically
The one we sent to Iran, the recipient was lesbian, which is
still condemned in that country. The shirt was something she could cling to get
her through all of that ostracizing and hate sent her way. Some of the donors
actually connected with their recipients (which is up to the donor, we keep
people anonymous for a multitude of reasons) and have built relationships with
them, connecting over shared struggles.
What makes the Supernatural Fandom Family so different from others out there?
I am peripherally involved with the Arrow fandom, well really the Amell fandom and I am a bigger fan of Stephen Amell than I am of Arrow. I think both fandoms are incredibly generous and have a sense of family, but I think SPN's idea of family is perhaps stronger than the Amell/Arrow fandom. I know the Browncoats (Firefly fandom) had a similar sense of charity help and helping each other.
My personal theory about the Supernatural Fandom is the themes of the show hit a different nerve within the fans than maybe other ones that exist, but without first hand knowledge I hesitate to really state one way or the other. It seems like our cast members that have been in other fandoms, like Mark Sheppard (Crowley), seem to think that we are very different breed of fan so I will defer to the King of Hell (Mark Sheppard's Character) on this question.
What are some ways that people can get involved with helping raise funds for the exhibit and AIR?
For the AIR Phoenix Chapter you can like our Facebook page. In the to the albums, we have some wonderful fanmade gifts and charity shirts that have been donated to help.
You can donate directly to the fundraising page on Classy.org
We also need shoes! If you want to send some, comment on the Facebook page and let me know, I will shoot you an address you can send them to.
You can purchase a Phoenix Air Chapter Shirt by March 29th from our Represent Campaign.
Thank you so much Kat for your time and this interview! Be sure to check out Kat, follow her on social media and you to can help make a difference! Anything from donating to sharing things on social media is a great start.
Do you Watch Supernatural? Has the Fandom Family impacted you?
Follow Kat and AIR on Social Media
Labels: Interviews, Supernatural