Nerdlocker Interview: Little Miss Suicide (NSFW)

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Wednesdays with Whitney: A chat with SuicideGirls founder Missy Suicide

I write for a nerd blog. I review comic books, write witty pieces about nerd culture, and every once in awhile do an interview. When my editor offered up the opportunity to interview Missy, the founder of SuicideGirls, I jumped at the chance to get some insight into this group of ladies that I’d heard about. When I was in high school and college eons ago, every girl I knew wanted to be a SuicideGirl. I admit, even I wanted to possess the confidence, beauty and bravado that the girls seemed to portray. However, I resisted the urge to give into my inner SuicideGirl and never died my hair or got any tattoos. The truth was, I just wasn’t confident enough to do it.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I figured out that one of the things that I was missing in my life was the ability to truly feel like I was looking, acting and feeling like how I wanted to, not how I thought other people wanted to see me. I was yearning to have those SuicideGirl qualities and embody the badass goddess. So after research, thought and channelling every badass babe on the website, I took the plunge and got my tattoo, put blue streaks in my hair, and felt amazing.

Missy and the folks at Suicide Girls have just published another book, Suicide Girls: Geekology. The book is “tribute to the gorgeous geeks, naughty nerds, and captivating cosplayers that makeup Suicidegirls. I had the ridiculously awesome opportunity to ask her a little bit about the background of Suicidegirls, on what had just been their 13 year birthday.

Missy was soft spoken, with a sweet voice. I was surprised for a moment; I had imagined someone with a louder voice. What I started to realize however was that she exuded confidence in the voice that she was most comfortable in. I was grinning when the thought occurred to me; of course she was confident, she was the queen, and her kingdom of the most beautiful confident women were a testament to her heartfelt desire to showcase the beauty around her.

Nerdlocker (NL): Who are the SuicideGirls?

Missy Suicide (MS): I started Suicidegirls.com in 2001. We created it to celebrate alternative beauty in indie culture from all over the world – hundreds and thousands of models have submitted millions of photos to our website hoping to reach official SuicideGirl status. There’s three thousand girls on the site now and tens of thousands that are hopefuls. Our community helps us choose the most indie, beautiful women from those submissions. From there we invite them to join our sorority of badass bombshells.

NL: Wow that’s so awesome!

MS: (laughing) Yeah, so we put ourselves out as the sexy, smartest most dangerous collection of outsider women in the world, kind of like a badass sorority. We also have movies and comic books that we’ve published with IDW two years ago, geekbooks, and touring burlesque shows.

NL: What made you think that this was something that needed to be done?

MS: I think that the girls I knew were sort of pierced and tattooed girls with crazy colored hair and were some of the most beautiful girls in the world – at least the most beautiful girls that I had ever seen. But at that time in 2001 there were two types of beautiful. There were [like] way skinny blondes like Kate Moss and big boobed blondes like Pamela Anderson and that was it as far as beautiful iconic women and so I kinda took a cue from Betty Page and the Bunny Yeager photos. And I thought there was something so beautiful about Betty Page’s familiarity and comfort with her own body and it came out in such a wonderful way through Bunny Yeager’s photos that I wanted to give my friends the same opportunity to be comfortable and to express how they felt sexiest about themselves. And so I started taking pin up photos of my friends and it got really popular in Portland and Seattle and 13 years later, here we are – and we’ve got photos from every continent including Antarctica. We’ve got girls from every type of place imaginable.

NL: So do you feel like it’s almost become less of an alternative movement and more of one that’s all inclusive?

MS: Yeah the reason I called it SuicideGirls in the first place is because it’s girls who chose to commit social suicide by not fitting into the norms. But alternative is always a word I bristle at you know? It’s like… alternative to what? Like, there’s as many things to be anti as there are to be proud of and I’d rather be known for something, not what I’m not. And so, SuicideGirls mantra has become ‘I chose not to be what you want, I want to be my own thing’.

NL: I am just flattered by this whole idea, that these women are out there, showing their confidence and encouraging others to embrace that side of themselves. The thought of being wildly sought after and wildly accepted because of movements like this empowering women to stand up for who and what they are, just floors and inspires me. I attend a lot of Comic Cons, and I love to see women taking the initiative and cosplaying whatever the hell they want because they feel and look beautiful doing it.

MS: Yeah the self-empowerment [parts] of cosplay defiantly plays into SuicideGirls. Confidence is the sexiest thing you can have. If putting on a costume gives you confidence than yeah, be slave Leia it’s that level of confidence that the SuicideGirls try to portray as well. People see you as sexy as you feel about yourself – that’s the little secret that I wish I could tell every person of this generation. If you think that you’re sexy than other people will too. Be proud of who you are.

NL: There are a lot of young women who are having trouble accepting who they are based on things that they like, people they love that is either not accepted by their families, peers or conservative society. Do you feel like movements like SuicideGirls provides an outlet at least for their feeling about their body or appearance?

MS: Yeah, I feel like SuicideGirls is a closed – membership only based community so you don’t get the same level of comments as you get on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. It is a safe, supportive environment where people can express themselves and find like minded people. And we have had hundreds of people who have met up on our site, got married, had babies and everything. I get countless emails from them thanking me for starting SuicideGirls because they didn’t see women like themselves being celebrated and beautiful any place else in media.

NL: Have you had any sort of backlash against this? I took a breif informal poll before conducting this interview. 80% of people were in love with everything SuicideGirl, and a few people commented that they felt like this was just another form of pornography.

MS: I feel like the female nude form is one of the most celebrated art forms in history. You can walk into any museum in the country and you’re going to see more naked people than you will on my website. Our bodies are beautiful. Everyone should embrace their body, their sexuality and the more people who are happy and confident in that, the happier we can all be overall.

NL: Ok, so tell me a little bit more about the new book.

MS: It’s Geekology. We wanted to collect all of the girls who are into transformers or steam-punk girls – girls that are a dungeon master. We wanted to give them a place where they could be showcased and be proud of their [geek] identities.

NL: Amazing, thank you so much for what you do, it’s an amazing message, and I cannot wait to see the new book.

MS: My pleasure, thank you so much.

Suffice to say, I’ve spent countless hours surfing those confident files of beautiful women, learning with each one how to exude that badass beauty everyday.

Geekology is available on the SuicideGirls website HERE

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