Jess Walz | The Faithful Fangirl
I like to say that I was born a fangirl. For me fandom is a family affair. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Star Wars and Disney movies with my older brother and reading Harry Potter with my dad. As I grew up I found friends who shared my passions and helped to grow my fandom. We would discuss theories, go to Marvel movies or lightsaber duel in the backyard. Every summer was marked by watching Avatar: The Last Airbender or re-listening to the Harry Potter series. Each new thing I fell in love with ended up being something I could also share with my family. I play DnD with my brother and his kids every Saturday, I quote Hamilton with my little sister, I saw Rise of Skywalker opening night with my brothers, my mom and I went to Harry Potter World on vacation together. It’s been the thing that has connected all of us through the years.
I’m realizing that everything that is so close to my heart starts with the letter F. Family, Friends, Fandom, Faith. It’s only fitting that my show should also be marked by F’s. The Faithful Fangirl is a project that is very close to my heart. I’ve wanted to create a podcast for years, and it took me a while for the idea to take shape. Around the time I was getting serious about my show I was struggling with my faith. I was growing in my faith, and I was starting to worry that I would have to give up the fandom stuff. That I couldn’t be a good Christian and still love the things I love. I felt in a constant tug of war with my identity as a Christian, and my identity as a fangirl. Then one day at church it just kind of hit me that it wasn’t about being one thing or the other, it was about finding a healthy balance in both. I didn’t have to give up Star Wars, or stop watching Disney movies, I just had to love God more than I loved those things. I could still enjoy them, learn from them, and talk about them, I just also had to enjoy, learn from, and talk about God. That’s when the idea for the Faithful Fangirl was born. A place where I could talk about how Jesus reminds me a bit of Anakin or how The Force is TOTALLY an allegory for the Holy Spirit, even if it wasn’t George Lucas’ original intention. I want to talk about how Harry Potter is not evil for being about magic, but can be a really beautiful picture of the gospel and sacrificial love. Avatar: The Last Airbender does have roots in eastern mysticism, but through my Christian lens, I glean some excellent themes on struggles with sin, and the overall fight against darkness. You can expect all of this and more on the show. This show is a journey for me to try and tip the scales of my passions into balance. To shift my priorities into their proper place. I figure that I’m not the only one in the world who struggles in this area or is passionate about their faith and their fandom.
When I’m not working on the show or volunteering at church you can find me at bonfires with friends, traveling to visit friends or family out of town, at the movies (back when they were open), or making a valiant effort to build my athletic abilities so I can compete on American Ninja Warrior. I live in a small apartment in Illinois with my cat Loki, who gives every effort to be heard when I’m recording.
Laura Cassiday | Social Media Manager
Kyle Jennings | Web Designer
I'm excited to be part of such a cool project. I've always been a fanboy, and now I get to help someone else accomplish their fan goals and let my nerd flag fly. Jess is one of the most knowledgeable fangirls I know, so I know you're in good hands while listening to her podcast.