Uh, guys? I’m not really aaroncarterfan.

For further info see my interviews on Studio 10
And on Ninemsn

A few months ago my good friend and all-round funny person Alli Reed asked if she could borrow a bunch of my photos to help make an online dating profile. The premise was to have someone that would be considered physically attractive, but have a personality so repulsive that no man would want to go there. At all.

230651Knocking cups out of homeless people’s hands?! Come on, guys – just run!

Alli made the profile, wrote the story, published it on Cracked – and it’s had over 2 million hits in 24 hours. This has led a lot of people to my social networks to debate the article and even ask if I am “aaroncarterfan”.

So here’s a couple of FAQ’s answered – if there is anything else you would like to know, feel free to ask below ūüôā

*I’ve never listened to Aaron Carter. The 90’s for me is grunge, grunge and more grunge. It’s still the 90’s, right?
*Since I didn’t make the profile or write the article questions surrounding it are probably best directed at Alli herself – her twitter is a great place to contact her (she’s also a hilarious addition to your twitter feed).
*The profile image is from a short film in which I played all 7 Deadly Sins. This one was, appropriately, “Lust”.
*No, I won’t pull your teeth out or give you a mermaid tattoo. I am in a happy long term relationship and my activities of choice include spending time with my partner and 12 year old son. Boring, I know ūüėČ
*Most of the modelling I do these days is cosplay related, but I also do lifestyle, bridal and portrait work.
*I primarily work as a video game, consumer technology, comic book and pop culture journalist. I also work as an actor, voice artist and MC.

No, I won’t spoil the ending of Bioshock Infinite for you.

Waiting for a coffee at my local caf√©, ¬†a fellow customer noticed my Bioshock Infinite t-shirt. How did I know he noticed? Because he was glaring at me with what could only be described as haughty disapproval. My curiosity at his reaction was quickly satisfied when he suddenly and venomously accused: “You probably haven’t even played it”.

Despite the overwhelming majority of my¬†colleagues, readers and viewers being completely accepting of my work in the gaming¬†industry,¬†I meet¬†skepticism¬†about my passion for video games on a daily basis.¬†I’m not even going into the abuse I get whilst¬†gaming¬†online. Once people get to know me they quickly learn I am “legit” – but does this happen to my male counterparts? Sometimes, of course, but absolutely not to this extent. Reasons I’ve been given for my “obvious geek fakery” range from having worked as a¬†model, an actor, and having passions outside of gaming or the “geek world” but the most common by far is my¬†physical¬†appearance and ultimately, gender.

This¬†incredulity¬†at my¬†existence¬†not only in gaming media but even just as someone who simply enjoys gaming has even extended to questions about the legitimacy of the event I described in my tweet. Did I believe I should tweet about the best comeback I’ve ever had to someone accusing me of being a “fake geek girl” – to my face? Without question. I tweet about when I’m watching Adventure Time or when I’ve eaten too much cheese, why not this? Did I have any idea it would go viral? Not a chance. I’m hoping with this post I can clear up some questions asked.

I’ve never been a¬†confrontational¬†person. Standing up for¬†myself¬†in person is something that terrifies me, and I was shaking not only with anger but at the thought of responding to this man. Did I consider just ignoring him? Yes – that’s my usual default in situations like this. That, or just saying something like “Oh, yeah –¬†actually¬†I have. I finished it a few days ago – have you played it yet?”. Trying to turn the conversation into something amicable is something that ¬†years of ¬†hospitality training ingrained into me. But this man was¬†aggressive¬†and rude, and I’d made a promise to myself recently to never stand for this kind of behaviour, no matter how difficult it was for me.

My first thought was to tell him the ending as a way of proving I’d played it. Why I should even have to aside, the idea he could have a retort along the lines of “you just read a wiki” or “you probably¬†watched¬†it on¬†YouTube” didn’t occur to me – this happened quite quickly after all. As I’d finished the game¬†myself¬†only 3 days earlier, and discussed it in length as a guest on the GameArena Podcast 2 days before, the key points were fresh in my mind. What I ended up (calmly, mind you, despite my anger) telling him was enough to be obvious that I had in fact played the game, whilst – yes – at the same time spoiling it for him if he hadn’t. In the midst of doing so, I realised by the look on his face he¬†mustn’t¬†have finished the game himself.

I won’t lie, it felt fantastic to have someone who was intending to make me feel awful – on my birthday of all days – have the tables turned on him. Does that make me a bad person? You tell me. I collected my coffee, then walked away with the biggest grin on my face,¬†adrenalin¬†coursing through my body.¬†There were only two other customers at the coffee shop, both sitting some distance away, and I’m honestly not sure if the barista overheard the conversation. I do¬†sincerely¬†hope I didn’t spoil it for anyone else.¬†I can’t even begin to describe how proud I was for standing up for myself. I deal with guys like this online every single day, and to be able to get revenge – with dignity – felt unbelievably good.

I could never have predicted what would follow. Within minutes of tweeting the incident I’d¬†received¬†hundreds of retweets (there has been accusations I¬†receive¬†career and financial gain for this – I can assure you that assumption is categorically false). Within an hour I was trending on San¬†Francisco¬† then the United Kingdom, Canada, Melbourne, Australia and finally my¬†hometown¬†of Sydney. Whilst buzzing from the¬†enormity¬†of what was happening on twitter I was contacted for an interview with media news site IT Journo.

It ended up on tumblr and was reblogged by Gail Simone, a writer for the Wonder Woman comic series, of which I am a huge fan.¬†The Mary Sue wrote a story on it. It hit the front page of memebase. Wil Wheaton reblogged¬†it on his tumblr, then responded to my thanking him on twitter. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more surreal, Forbes wrote an article. Imgur posted it. It was added in a buzzfeed and shared all over facebook and instagram. I was¬†inundated¬†with thousands of people thanking me for standing up to that man. I’ve been called a hero, an inspiration, a badass, a liar and a drama queen.

All I did was what I felt was the right thing, in a moment of frustration, brought on by years of being the target of misogyny online Рculminating in that one real life opportunity to fight back.

I’m hoping this serves to answer some questions I’ve been asked via twitter and in the comments of articles on other sites. If you do have any further questions I’m happy to answer them here. ¬†Also, please – share your stories of similar events – I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been able to manage a killer comeback.¬†I’ll be deleting any Bioshock Infinte spoilers from the comments, so there’s no need to fear scrolling below!

EDIT: It has also come to my attention that Courtnee Draper, the voice of Elizabeth also responded to my tweet! The amount of support I have received is truly amazing, and I can only hope it encourages others to not stay silent in a similar situation.