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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a superfan!

By Marit Björnlund

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Students decked out in jerseys, costumes and even headdresses Oct. 10 for superfan day. Their outfits supported professional sports teams, colleges, T.V. shows, musicians and more. The Black & White talked to three students who went all-out to prove their fandom is the best. As it turns out, fandoms run in the family.

Senior Nalini Pillai has been a University of North Carolina superfan since childhood, when she started to watch the basketball games with her family. Photo courtesy Katherine Durham.

Senior Nalini Pillai

Fandom: UNC basketball

Black & White: How long have you been watching UNC sports games?
Nalini Pillai: For as long as I can remember. My dad went to UNC, so he used to watch games when I was little and I was probably five when I started watching with him. When my brother was two, we really became fans because he was all sporty and everything.

B&W: When did you realize you were a superfan?
NP: When I was 10. I watched all the games. I really, really loved the team.

B&W: Do you feel connected to other UNC superfans?
NP: I think when you’re a UNC fan, you’re united by their basketball games because they’re really good. And you’re united by your hatred for Duke. And then when you go there [to a game] and you’re in your UNC outfit, it’s like, you know, you’re just part of the crowd.

Junior Abby da Silva is dressed as Princess Mononoke. She became interested in the films after her father introduced them to her when she was a child. Photo courtesy Katherine Durham.

Junior Abby da Silva

Fandom: Princess Mononoke movies

B&W: What is your fandom?
Abby da Silva: My fandom is Princess Mononoke, which is a movie by Miyazaki. He’s a Japanese director.

B&W: When did you first get interested in this movie?
AS: My dad loves these movies and he showed them to me at a very young age. It was part of my childhood.

B&W: What makes them so good?
AS: I really like the fantasy elements of them, and I like the characters. And I really like the art – it’s animated, so it has really good art.

B&W: How do you follow your fandom? Do you watch the movies all the time?
AS: Yeah, I watch the movies a lot. And of course online there are people who know about it and I can talk to them.

B&W: Why should other people watch these movies?
AS: Well, they’re really awesome, and there are a lot of different ones by Miyazaki and they have a lot of different themes and stuff in them. So it’s pretty generally likeable.

B&W: And where did you get that mask?
AS: I made it.

B&W: For today?
AS: No, I made it because I wanted to have it and I thought it would be fun to make. I made it out of Model Magic and paint.

Freshman Harry Cash dressed to represent his “obsession” with Doctor Who. Many other students also marked tallies on their arms to show their support for the show. Photo courtesy Katherine Durham.

Freshman Harry Cash

Fandom: Doctor Who

B&W: You are a superfan of…
Harry Cash: Doctor Who.

B&W: And what are you wearing today to symbolize Doctor Who?
HC: I don’t have many things that I could have worn, except for this fez. These markings come from a certain episode in which they make a bunch of marks on their body to remember things.

B&W: When did you first get exposed to Doctor Who?
HC: I was around nine. My family likes Doctor Who, and I kind of just found it. And I have a bunch of friends who watch it too.

B&W: What makes you like the show?
HC: The plots are always interesting, and even when they’re not its kind of fun to laugh at them. The special effects are not that great, but you get over it because it has a legacy. It’s been running since 1963. You kind of accept its faults for its sheer awesomeness that it’s lasted that long.

B&W: When did you realize you were a superfan of Doctor Who?
HC: That was probably three years ago, when I started finding a lot more people who watch Doctor Who, and then realizing that there was kind of a fan base. We call ourselves Whovians; that’s fun. As a superfan, I’m kind of obsessed with it. A lot of my life ties in with it. I spend way too much time thinking about it.

B&W: Do you talk a lot with your fellow Whovians?
HC: Yeah, there are actually a lot at Whitman, which is good, so we interact with each other. There was a premiere party, which was super fun, for the season premiere this year.

B&W: Do you think everyone should be interested in Doctor Who?
HC: That would be great, because then there’d be a lot more common ground, and people wouldn’t think that we’re as weird. Yeah, that would be a good thing for many people. It’s enjoyable and fun to watch with others.

1 Comment

One Response to “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a superfan!”

  1. Sincerely A Girl on October 13th, 2012 9:54 pm

    It could’ve been me, but I’m not a dude…
    All my dreams…

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a superfan!