Welcome to November’s #SciFi Women Interview! I am delighted to have Sandra Choute with us today. I discovered her through the Star Wars blogging and Twitter sphere, which has been a wonderful place to meet intelligent and talented ladies! I was very happy when Sandra accepted to be a guest for this feature.
Sandra Choute was first introduced to Star Wars after moving to America from Haiti. She fell in love with the story, characters, and the idea of traveling to a galaxy far, far away. As a special education teacher, Sandra incorporates Star Wars in many of her lessons to help her students understand and make connections. She is a proud member of Star Wars in the Classroom. Sandra loves Sci-Fi, reading, Zumba, and connecting with people. She also serves as Social Media Manager for the Fangirls Going Rogue Podcast, and is a contributor to FANgirl Blog. You can find more about her here.
NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?
CHOUTE: I love sharing this story. You can also learn more about it in the first blog post that I wrote for Coffee With Kenobi. It’s titled “As I Am”. Lost in Space is the first Science Fiction show that I watched on television. I enjoyed the concept of space travel and aliens. When I moved to America, I loved reading Sci-Fi books and fell in love with Star Wars. The movies and books were my escape to deal with living in a new country. Honestly, when I am having a bad day and need some joy in my life, even now, I watch Star Wars.
NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?
CHOUTE: Over the years, I have met so many wonderful people that have this one thing in common. Our love for Science Fiction. It’s fascinating to see and hear different perspectives about films and books. It’s wonderful to have a connection like this with a group of people. You know what’s better?…..Meeting them in person!
NG: What are your three favorite Science Fiction books, TV shows, and movies?
CHOUTE: Books: 1984 – George Orwell, The Time Machine – H.G. Wells, A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle.
TV Shows: Stargate SG-1, Earth: Final Conflict, Stranger Things.
Movies: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back.
NG: What are some of the elements you like most about the Star Wars universe?
CHOUTE: I love many different aspects of Star Wars. If I were to pick my top three, I would choose character development, theme, and conflict. As a Special Education teacher, I get to teach various subjects. I use Star Wars in the classroom to help students understand and make connections. Showing video clips to teach these topics makes it an enjoyable experience for the kids.
NG: Can you tell us about your experience with Fangirls Going Rogue?
CHOUTE: I became a part of the team two years ago. I engaged with Tricia, Teresa, and Sarah online. We became friends. During Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, they asked me to help with their social media sites. The rest is history. We officially met during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando.
I love what I do for Fangirls Going Rogue. I get to engage with hundreds of people on a daily basis. I enjoy it. Many of our followers and supporters have become my friends.
A year ago, I lost my mother. It has been hard not having her physically in my life. On the days when it’s rough, my FGGR family is there to pull me through. I’ve had people send me cards, tweet, and send messages to check on me. It’s good to know that people care.
As stated in our pages, Fangirls Going Rogue is a podcast created by fangirls to discuss all things Star Wars. We are a group of women using our platforms to share our passion. It’s a rewarding experience.
NG: What are the Science Fiction female characters you have found most significant?
CHOUTE: Some of the female characters that I have found most significant are Uhura (Star Trek), Leia Organa (Star Wars), Rey (Star Wars), and Storm (Marvel Comics). These female characters are strong, smart, beautiful, and natural leaders. Their journeys in books and in film are empowering to men, women, and children.
NG: Do you think that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to women?
CHOUTE: We have come a long way as a society by accepting the contributions of women to the genre, but we still have a long way to go for full inclusion. I am definitely excited that women now have various platforms to share our passion for the things we love.
NG: How much do you think fangirls can influence the media industry?
CHOUTE: I think it is safe to say that women are here to stay. We have a voice and no one can silence us. Women are resilient. If someone slams a door in our face, we go build a bigger and better door.. We are a force to be reckoned with.
NG: Do you think Science Fiction helps fostering discussion about societal issues?
CHOUTE: Yes. I am movie fanatic. As much as I watch movies for enjoyment, I also look at them from a female and diverse lens. How the characters are portrayed, in front of the camera, matters. Representation matters in films. This is why I believe we need diversity not only on screen but behind the scenes. This includes, directors, producers, screenwriters, production designers, art directors. costume designers, cinematographers, and editors.
NG: What Science Fiction movies or books are you most looking forward to?
CHOUTE: I am looking forward to all of the Star Wars films and A Wrinkle in Time. There are so many books that I would love to read. I need to find the time. I have a new role at work, in addition to working on my administration certification, has been taking up all of my spare time.
NG: Thank you so much for being with us today, Sandra! I am sure my readers will be glad to check Fangirls Going Rogue, if they are not already familiar with it!