Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold and Danielle Jablonski
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 publicised 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.
Besides the demise of Clexa and other LGBT characters that year, what were the other reasons the founders had that made you all form CC?
It was really hard for us to see so many young people struggle with the way LGBTQ women are featured in television and film. It was shocking to us that these forms of media seemed stuck in the same repetitive trope cycle. We want to help push our communities narrative along, and what better way to do that than to provide them with the opportunity to learn from the best? ClexaCon is more than a fan event. Attendees can attend workshops on how to use YouTube as a platform, how to create a web series, how to write for TV, and much more. We want LGBTQ women creating content, fighting their way into writers rooms and onto set. ClexaCon was built to inspire.
Who are the founders of CC?
ClexaCon is run by Holly Winebarger, Ashley Arnold and Danielle Jablonski along with a dedicated team of volunteers who work year-round to ensure an incredible event.
Referring to the inaugural festival, did any of you envision the overwhelming success that CC was?
ClexaCon 2017 was an incredible experience! It was hard to imagine what it would be like before it happened but the event itself and the number of people who attended from around the world definitely blew our minds.
Based on last year's success and this year's response, what's the dream goal for the future?
We hope to continue to grow. This years event is going to be so much bigger than last years. We have more guests, we have more attendees and we even added a day on either side for community building!
Can you share the initial feedback on your invitations from showrunners, actresses, directors etc to attend CC?
We’re 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.
Do you think the TV landscape has changed towards gay characters and the relationships told about us since the initial rallying cry 'Lexa Deserved Better' first began?
The landscape is slowly changing. I think creators are definitely becoming more aware of the power of the LGBTQ community.
Can you tell us who are the headlining panelists in this year's CC? And were there any surprises to this year's invites to attend, good or bad?
We’re super excited about our latest addition Nafessa Williams (Black Lightning), the first black lesbian superhero! Some of our other featured guests for 2018 include Chlyer Leigh (Supergirl, Grey’s Anatomy), Caity Lotz and Maisie Richardson-Sellers (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), Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, Dark Matter).
Finally, if you had carte blanche over invitees/panelists, who would be in your Top 5 list?
We all have our personal wish lists :) We’ve been incredibly lucky to have had so many fantastic guests in our first two years. We hope that each year we’ll be able to add more amazing guests and also keep bringing guests back!
ClexaCon 2018 will be held in Las Vegas from April 5 – 9. Tickets are still available!