Star Wars Geek Girl
When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, the world was set abuzz by the promise of three new Star Wars films. To most of the population, this was exciting, an extension of the beloved series. However, for the Star Wars fan-base, those more invested in the franchise than just the seven existing movies, were thrilled.
Zoe Hinton, a freshman at Solanco High School, is one of those fans. Star Wars, for Zoe is not just a collection of movies as it is for most people, but Star Wars for Zoe is a lifestyle, the fourteen year-old has her own podcast called Star Wars Geek Girl. I had the privilege of talking with both her and her father as well as her cohost about the podcast.
Zoe grew up with Star Wars and credits her father as the reason for her love. From a young age she was watching the films with him and playing with Star Wars toys. When I asked her about it, she said “I don’t remember seeing them[the Star Wars movies] I just remember Star Wars.” However, while she was in a second grade, the animated Star Wars film Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released, which Zoe credits as a major factor in her current love for the space saga as it was the first Star Wars movie released during her lifetime. Following the movie, the two television series, Star Wars the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, emerged, both of which Zoe also cites as fuel to her already expansive love.
As Zoe’s love for Star Wars grew and was nurtured by her father, who also loves Star Wars, the creation of a podcast was a natural next step. Zoe and her father often listened to Star Wars podcasts together, but they noticed how they were all hosted by men, and they thought it would be neat if she made one, to provide a fresh and different view on the franchise. Her first podcast episode was a tribute to her favorite Star Wars character, Ahsoka Tano.
However, Zoe does not make the podcast by herself. Her father helps with the nuts and bolts of the operation as well as with some of the guest contacts. Lizzy Perales, Zoe’s cohost, also helps with the show, the catch being she lives in California. Lizzy, like Zoe, credits her father with her love of Star Wars, as she saw it as a great opportunity to connect with him. Zoe and Lizzy met through a connection their father’s made while Zoe’s father was making her Sabine Wren costume and thought that Lizzy would be a fun guest. After that initial episode, they became fast friends and now they produce the podcast together. When the girls make an episode, Zoe messages Lizzy with a possible date and time, and Lizzy checks to see if she is free. If she is, she quickly does her chores after which she connects with Zoe via skype. After they review the show’s notes, they begin recording.
Zoe’s favorite podcast(Episode 10) was when her and Lizzy were contacted by Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera Syndulla on Star Wars Rebels, who asked if they could make a podcast episode together. After they agree, they setup a thirty minute interview session to interact with Marshall, but twenty minutes into their interview, the questions they had prepared ran out, so for the last ten minutes, they made up questions for the actress, a moment both of them enjoyed.
For the future of the podcast, there is nothing set in stone, but the two girls are planning several more round tables, which are episodes in which multiple people are on the show at once, participating in a conversational style recording. They are also in the process of lining up some other guests, whose names they cannot divulge, but they are excited about.
Not only does Zoe have her own podcast, but she also uses her love for Star Wars to do charity work. Both her and her father troop for the 501st, an international group of Star Wars costumers who support charities. Charities will ask the legions to troop for them to help raise money as people love to see their favorite characters. The Hintons have participated in several troops, including toy drives, hospital visits and food drives. When they troop Zoe often costumes as Sabine Wren, the bounty hunter from Star Wars Rebels, while her father dresses as a stormtrooper and her youngest sister as a Tusken Raider.
However, there is another side to Zoe’s story. Though she has always loved Star Wars, she was often made fun of as she was a girl. With the recent release of the new movie, it has been easier for her, but only by so much. Zoe is passionate about Star Wars. A passion that has allowed her to start her own podcast and allowed her to do a lot of good through her charity work. A passion she was told she could not have because she was a girl. The sad reality is most people do not understand passionate people because most people never experience passion. Zoe is a role model for not only girls who love Star Wars, but anyone who was told they could not love something for any reason. She shows that you can be passionate about anything you want, and you can thrive doing it. In many ways Zoe is like Ahsoka Tano; finally, a leading lady with lightsaber.