I met Gillian Anderson five times at Emerald City Comic Con. No big deal. (the biggest deal of all time).
This is entirely tl;dr but go for it if you are here anyway. There are also videos
Prefaced with the fact that I plan on writing about the entirety of the experience for my own personal record later. But the following isolated encounters are the most important. Frankly I do not want these memories to ever fade and the human minds’ own frailty has never been more frustrating. I will do my best to get it right and I apologize for any slight paraphrasing or jumbled sentences. But I have faith that this will be mostly accurate.
(Do also note that every single second of every single moment of this I felt as if my organs were going to fall out of my nose. Even trying to muse on it creates a kind of happy manic anxiety. To avoid being repetitive, however, I will just let readers assume this is the case so I don’t have a passage that reads as such, “so she blinked and I died then she moved her head a fraction and I died…then HER HAIR… and I died.”)
★ ★ ★
Meeting 1 (First photo)
First in line.
We had seen her through the curtain (a tiny pathetic inch of curtain gap). Her hair was long and down. Beautifully colored. She had on clog-esque heels and a black shirt and pants. She turned and we could see the bridge of her perfect nose (holy lord this sounds like fanfiction). Then I was stepping up and around the curtain. I was jittery and I looked across and about 15 feet away sitting cross-legged on a stool there she was drinking some water and talking to someone off to her right. I felt something cool wash over me and I knew I would not blubber or become incomprehensible. I would be the perfect doting and respectful fan (while inside I just wanted to ask her to lick my face for the photo). And indeed I was.
They had tape marked on the floor. Some green tape set up in two partial boxes for where the star was to stand and where the peasant (me) was to stand and some purple tape off to the left for people to line up in front of. There was some tape marked as well for the cameraman.
Gillian swallowed her water and stood up. The top she was wearing billowed around her and she grabbed the ends and sort of tugged it straight since I suppose it had crinkled from her sitting. She strode over toward me exclaiming, “ok! Lets do this thing.” She pivoted and walked to the (wrong) tape on the floor for then caught herself. “Oh! No I am over here…” stands on proper tape, adjusts hair, takes breath, “ok lets see if I remember how to do this shit—OP! Shouldn’t say that, kids might be around.” During this brief little movement and exchange I was almost toeing forward but was not yet walking up to her. She saw me and most likely noted my hesitation so she made a grand arm gesture (twice), “come’ere. Come’ere!” So I walked over and said, “hi there!” She replied, “hello! How are you doing?” She had this unrushed way of speaking, just a notch slower with all her nuances. She glanced at my Scully shirt and smirked, “who’s that?” I smirked right back with an “I don’t know!” She grinned hugely at me, “ok lets do this.” When she put her arm around my waist she in fact… meant it. I could feel her grip pulling me closer to her own body. So the picture was snapped and she ran forward toward the camera mumbling something (I assume she wanted to look at the photo to make sure she was standing correctly or that her own flawless face hadn’t cracked the lens). Well I had said, “can I—“ just as she turned toward the camera so she whipped back around and said “Yeah?” All smiles. And I put on my best humble-fan non-creeper face and said, “….may I have a hug?” “Sure sure!” She bent a bit (she was taller) and hugged me under my arms so I put my arms around her. She was so small and thin. I closed my arms around her and then…squeezed just a tad. I could feel her hair crinkling under my right hand and her shoulder blades shifting under her shirt. She kind of laughed, “ok ok enough of that.” And admittedly for a half second I thought I had done something so offensive but she remained super smiley and her eyes were warm. She went to pivot again to look at the camera and I blurted the most sincere thank you of my entire life. She turned back to me a bit slower, grabbed me by both shoulders and exclaimed, “you’re welcome!” She shook me a bit to emphasize the statement. I could feel her hands gripping my shoulders and her face was so close to mine. Her blue eyes were bright and glorious and her face seemed to be nothing but teeth. She was right there. I assume I said thanks again or some such and I assume also that she said no problem or you’re welcome. I walked out of the booth with a single backwards glance. (I found out later that after Theresa got her hug the man working there stated, “ok sorry! No more hugs we have to keep things moving.”) I was, and still am, thrilled.
Meeting 2 (First signing)
Third in line. There was a lot more dialogue here. So here goes…
I was right at the front (per usual of course). She opened the curtain and came through looking a bit down as to where to put her feet. She had a jacket draped over her arm. I believe she looked up and greeted us all. We clapped and cheered. Then she sat and looked around and smiled, “well some of you look familiar.” More than one person said something back. I mentioned, “yep, except I put on a cool jacket this time.” She glanced at me and grinned a bit before generally scanning the crowd. Then she pulled over a little cup of dark purple wrapped Hershey Kisses. She took one out and ate one. She picked a second kiss up with her thumb and forefinger and held it out with a smirk, “twenty dollars.” Loralee in the line next to me replied, “careful how you advertise that, kisses could mean a lot of things.” Gillian made a very adorable oh-you-don’t-say face. Then we were all told to stand and begin moving forward. In this scenario I was essentially there for both Theresa and Britney’s experience. Unlike meeting one where I was already out of the booth before they were finished. So I will relay those as well. Prepare for paraphrasing. It is so much easier for my mind in general. Oh and she was sitting back in her chair and the way she held the pen and formed words was most satisfying.
A girl in front of us asked her about The Fall. And I piped up “oh yes we are all dying to see it.” And she said, “I don’t know, I don’t know if I am excited. I don’t even know anymore.” And I said, “No its going to be awesome!”
At some point, I am forgetting the order of a few things but not the details of the things themselves, Theresa leaned over and said “I just wanted to say…” “Yeah?” “…that I loved you (you did a great job?) in Straightheads.” “Wow, yeah…not many people remember (mention?) that one.” To which I leaned over and fake whispered, “we actually love you in everything, but lets keep that on the down low.” To which she smiled and laughed a bit.
(There was some sort of moment where I said something about being “let in even before the VIP because I think they were impressed with our enthusiasm” To which she gave a sort of nod smile. I am not sure when I said this though.)
Theresa handed over her photo and mentioned how the shirt looked similar. Gillian held the photo up saying that yes, yes it did look familiar and she was even wearing similar trousers. Then she began to sign Theresa’s name and got momentarily confused on the spelling. Very cute. She looked down at the silver marker she had used and made a face, “I am not to sure about this silver. Do you like this? Should I change it?” Theresa who presumably was too shocked to actually care if Gillian had used invisible ink smiled, “just surprise me!” “Ok then!” Gillian then signed in red, made a face, and then in blue and was laughing about it. “I’m sorry, it’s sort of multicolored, but it’s sort of like red, white, and blue.” I said something along the lines of look at the colors, AMURICA (and yes I pronounced it that way) and everyone chuckled. Then I turned to Theresa, “the quote!” “What? “The quote, lets ask about it.” Theresa turned back, “we wanted to ask you—-.” I cut in, “and we don’t mean to presume.” Theresa finished, “a friend of ours couldn’t come and she wanted to get the word courage in your hand writing. She wants to get it as a tattoo. And your initials.” Gillian made a gesture basically saying sure! What do I sign? (She may have said “ok”) I jumped on it, “you can sign one of my extras…I brought a ton, keep one hahah! But here, is this ok?” She took it and flipped it over, looking at the photo. “Hmmm, oh what was this…I remember this, oh yes! Screen Actors Guild Awards. Yes. Ok, so what does she want?” “Courage.” And she wrote it in a fluid precious way. “And your initials.” And she slowed and very carefully wrote the G then dot then A then dot. “Thank you so much.” I probably said something else but I don’t remember. I stowed it in my bag.
Then it was my actual turn. I handed her my photo. “Hello again.” “Hi there.” And she wrote my name. I do not think she had to ask me how to spell it. She may have said, “with a kay right?” But then she wrote my name and said, “Ok what do you want?” I said “only for a—-WAIT” and she had written an O. “Well it better start with an O or something. (or we have a problem?)” I had momentarily blanked. I glanced around and said, “no its…oh my god. What was it?” Gillian laughed to herself, “oh my god” and faked like she was going to write that. And we were both laughing and I said “Even…even for a moment! Sorry” She said “Oh that’s fine we can do that.” Then turned the o into an e and added an ellipsis of her own accord. Perfect. I think this is where Theresa asked her how she liked Seattle so far and she said, “well I just got here, how do you like it?” I replied, “well we just got here today, we actually came all the way from Maryland.” “Wow! That’s far.” She gave me a look; “you know I am doing one closer to there? Yeah.” “Well…I know, but when I bought these tickets you weren’t doing that one yet.” “Ohhhh ok.” Smile.
Then Britney mumbled in my ear, “…wait what was mine what was mine.” I reminded her and she asked Gillian to write Keep playing by heart. I piped up (again), “may or may not be another reference to one of your films.” (more sort of smirking innuendo from me. I was trying to keep it light. We love you, but know you don’t want us to say it). Gillian laughed at the photo, which pictured her cross-eyed. When she looked up at us for a moment, for whatever reason I said, “oh yeah I can do that.” I made my eye go and she said, “wait…what?” To which I realized what I had done and said, “oh I –uh- I have nerve damage so I cannot look to the left with the one eye.” Gillian watched me carefully do it a few more times, “that’s cool! You could make a lot of money of that.” “Yes, it’s my parlor trick.” (Note: I humbly swear that this exchange was actually really casual and not awkward at all. She put me so much at ease that I was way more chatty/silly than I ever thought could be possible). She just continued to smile. I said, “see you tomorrow!” and she said. “Oh KAY.” With a nod, “bye.” We all three totally had noticed that the top of her bra was showing as we stood over her. The end.
Meeting 3 (Second photo)
(If the above isn’t the funniest thing you have ever seen then I just don’t know).
Technically first in line (Due to VIP I was 9th).
I was wearing my pretty dress that day and had toyed for hours with whether I had the balls to ask her to smile with her teeth. Lets just say I worded things wrong but it all ended up being hilarious.
Damn VIP. I had not seen her through the curtain this time. I got to go up and watch her do quick photos with a few other people. She was wearing epic wedge boots and another flowy top. White and black this time. She saw me “Hi again,” with a smile. I smiled, “Hi, I am wearing nicer clothes this time.” “Yeah!” We went to go in for the tuck thing and I said “could we do cheesy face?” “Cheesy face?” “Yeah like smile with your teeth?” To which she semi stopped putting her arm around me and instead brought her hands together in front of her. She was leaning on one leg and looking down at me a tad (she was a hair taller that day) but I was looking right into her eyes.
She looked at me in all seriousness, “you know? Yesterday nobody asked be to do anything. Nobody!”
I laughed, “I think I know why. With all do respect.”
“Can I tell you?”
“Ok, well with all do respect” (yes I said it twice. I am probably an idiot) and as I said this I put a hand briefly on her elbow and forearm. I was directly facing her and she was facing the camera but with her head (turned left) looking at me. We were inches apart. I somehow noticed all of this while also noticing nothing. I tend to be slightly touchy with people when I am being sincere. So during the following exchange I was either touching lightly on her elbow the whole time or for some of the time. Since I also use my hands to talk.
“I think yesterday most people were kind of like Gillian Anderson…” I emphasized this by making my voice higher and make a hand motion that meant ‘in awe of’. “…And they were just so thrilled to see you at all that…that they weren’t really thinking of asking for anything…does that make sense?”
“Ohhhhh! Ok ok! Yeah!” She tossed her head back with the ohhhhh and in my humble opinion I really think what I had said made sense to her.
She leaned in to do the photo again and I turned my head to the right and said “But I am an old pro at this now.” I made a sort of toss away hand gesture. “Cheesyface?” “Yep ok!”
“See you for a signing in 20 minutes!”
“You got it (alright? Ok?).”
And as you can see from the photo she did what I technically had said but it is not what I meant. I was initially slightly bummed since I had gone through all the trouble with the dress and the cameraman shot it horizontally and what even is her face? But honestly it is so silly and adorable that I only wish I had been making a ridiculous face as well. (This is not me being a pity party…she could have been mid-blink O face and I would have been ecstatic….it just wasn’t what I entirely had in mind when I saw it finished). But on a different note she, for some reason, asked me about the day before. She talked to me and hadn’t to the others in line. Cha-fucking-ching. I think this makes me legally adopted.
Meeting 4 (Second signing)
Fifth in line.
Gillian was absolutely beginning to show her tiredness at this point. She was just as lovely and polite but not as heinously interactive. So these were briefer. I was about fifth in line. I also didn’t make reaction/aftermath videos of this or my final photo. So I am grasping at the finer details. She said, “hello again.” But I am not sure what I replied. I may have mentioned that I had seen the photo and thought why not. And she said “Ok Karen, what do you want me to say.” I replied, “Scully would not have given up William. And underline the not please.” I realize that behind that statement was rage and anger and disgust but she chuckled and went “Ok.” I am sure she found it a bit odd, but I didn’t feel embarrassment so she can’t have cared too much. She also underlined the not twice. I leaned down and said “oh…and I just wanted to say.” “Yeah?” “I just wanted to say that I am sorry…sorry for the panel…and for everything…I just…I just hope you…um don’t think we are all that way.” (trying to truthfully emphasize that this was not me at my most tactful but I was trying and I do think I sounded sincere if not entirely eloquent.) She sort of smiled, tiredly and said “oh…no.” I thanked her and said “thank you again for coming…and start calling people about The Fall! We can’t wait.” “Oh kay!”
So yes, still a cherub kissed by angels, but one that was maybe beginning to be rubbed slightly the wrong way by all the gushing. I do not blame her in the least and only hope I was not a part of the problem.
Meeting 5 (Third photo)
Technically first in line. (Due to VIP I was 2nd).
She was wearing a black loose knit sweater and black pants and the boots from the panel. She was definitely tired. The girl in front of me did back to back “Back to back, yep we can do that yep. Ok. Thank you.”
“Hi..one more. Why not.” I sort of scooted over to her.
“Ok” She held out her arm.
“Can we do a kind of…hug in…thing?” I had seen a VIP yesterday do this with her. They were much taller than me so I think I got lucky with her hand placement that I will be drooling over shortly.
“Ok” I leaned in and very very carefully put one arm on her shoulder around the back and another across her. The last thing I would ever want is to touch her boob. (Or, is it the first thing we all always want to do? Oops.) She put her hands around my waist again but this time she interlocked her fingers. I had no idea until seeing the photo in a few hours that she had given me such a snuggle since I was too busy thinking about where my hands were and hoping I wouldn’t get arrested.
“Thank you so much. Thank you. And have a safe trip home. Bye!”
“Thank you. Thank you.”
★ ★ ★
She smelled like clean air and just…clean. Not a type of soap or shampoo or fruit but literally open air, and laundry, and angels.