Positive representation and seeing oneself on screen is vitally important. The web series Carmilla has long been an example of a series getting LGBT representation right and showcasing queer characters in a positive light. It was only fitting then that its two stars, Natasha Negovanlis and Elise Bauman, were featured guests at ClexaCon, held this past weekend at Bally’s in Las Vegas. The convention celebrated LGBTQ women in entertainment and the Carmilla stars were very active participants. They spent all three days doing a variety of activities that included signing autographs, taking photos with fans, participating in a Carmilla panel and screening their movie Almost Adults at the con’s film festival.
Somewhere in their busy schedules, Negovanlis and Bauman found a few minutes to speak exclusively with The TV Junkies. They discussed why being a part of ClexaCon was so special, and the lessons about representation and its importance they’ve learned through fan interaction and their time on Carmilla. With Almost Adults, a film about two best friends in their final year of college transitioning into adulthood, screening at the con, Negovanlis and Bauman shared why filming it was different from filming Carmilla together.
Negovanlis also spoke some about her new project, the web series Clairevoyant with Carmilla costar Annie Briggs. The pair star as best friends Claire and Ruby who decide to pull a con and pretend they are psychics to collect extra cash. Together Negovanlis and Bauman will also star in the Carmillamovie which will be released later this year in 2017.
The TV Junkies: You have been to some conventions in the past, but how does ClexaCon and this experience compare?
Elise Bauman: The biggest difference for me is that we have a bit more time to interact, which is so lovely. A lot of times these events can feel a bit like a cattle call where we are trying to give everyone the opportunity to come up and say hello, that we often feel like we don’t get a chance to really connect to people. It’s been so lovely to take the time to be able to have a more human to human connection with people this time.
Natasha Negovanlis: It’s exactly what Elise said, and we were discussing how pleased we are about how much time we get to spend with everyone. It’s been an overwhelmingly positive and beautiful celebration. My favorite part about meeting fans and doing autographs this time around is that we actually get to listen to them and hear how our work has impacted them. That’s been really reaffirming for us because sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the industry and the commercialism of what we do. So it’s nice to be reminded that what we do has some social responsibility.
TTVJ: Carmilla has been such an important piece for positive LGBT representation. What’s been your biggest takeaway from hearing these stories from fans?
NN: It was something that was always important to me and I always wanted to play a queer character. I feel very lucky that I play multiple queer characters now, but I don’t think I realized just how important it was until I started interacting with fans. Particularly because I live in Toronto, Canada which is a very liberal, open city, I didn’t truly know how behind some states are until I started hearing fans’ stories. It’s shocking and disgusting.
EB: I agree with Natasha in that for the most part everyone I surround myself with and my surroundings are all very inclusive and open. Inclusive is such a funny word though because it makes it seem like being queer is a disability. That’s really where the work needs to be done. It is easy to forget that there are so many people that don’t have that net of people, so to be a part of a show that helps people accept who they are is something that’s really special.
NN: It made me realize how much I took it for granted and how free I get to be. It’s taught me to be very grateful and gracious.
TTVJ: Not only are you here for Carmilla, but the film you did together, Almost Adults, is also being shown in the film festival. How did that experience differ from working on Carmilla together?
NN: The most obvious thing is that we had a lot more time to shoot that than we do on Carmilla. Carmilla is a pretty unique experience because we shoot it so quickly and so many pages of script. So it was pretty wild to say ‘what we’re only shooting 10 pages instead of 50?’ It was such a gift to have more time as an actor to play, improvise and experience the characters in great depth.
At the same time, it’s funny that it’s only coming out now because we shot it so long ago and already said goodbye to it in many ways. I feel like a monumentally different actor and person than the actor that worked on that movie. It’s been an interesting learning experience to look at it and take it for what it was. It’s easy to criticize yourself, but I have to remember that this was my first feature film.
EB: I think one of the things that was really interesting for me was that Natasha and I got to explore a different side of our relationship. In Carmilla we play love interests, and this was really cool to work on a different project and relationship together. In many ways, Almost Adults reflected our life at the time because our characters are reaching the end of college and about to embark on the world together as separate people who had grown up so much together. In a way Carmilla feels like college, in the sense that we grew up together and next to each other and now we’re branching out as our own individual people, which can be a scary thing. It was so cool to work on a project where art got to imitate life a little bit.
TTVJ: Speaking of new projects, Natasha a lot of people are excited about your new project Clairevoyant. What can you tell us about that and how that idea came about?
NN: Annie and I had the idea for the show several years ago now when we first finished Season 1 of Carmilla. We didn’t ever think it’d come to fruition and then we had pitched a number of show ideas to Smokebomb Entertainment. They were interested in Clairevoyant and we started developing the show more seriously, and now we’re navigating what it’s like to be writers and producers in addition to actors. We’re applying for funding and trying to learn how to make a show.
It was inspired by our mutual love and fascination with psychics and the occult, and wanting to write female characters that we felt are a little more real. One of the most important things for us in the show is that these girls are broke and we want that to show on screen. So often you watch shows where it’s broke millennials that live in these incredible apartments and wear designer dresses. We want to show some girls that are beg, borrowing and stealing.
Did you meet Negovanlis and Bauman at ClexaCon? Are you looking forward to the Carmilla movie? Sound off in the comments below!
Carmilla Season 3 can be found on KindaTV.Almost Adults is available on iTunes, Amazon and other streaming services.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.