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Kardelen's Story

In the first of a collection of interviews with fans from around the world, I spoke to Kardelen to hear about her experience with fan culture

Kardelen with some of the cast members from the FOX series GLEE

Tell me a little bit about yourself?


My name is Kardelen and I'm a 26-year-old woman from Turkey. I studied Sociology in college but I'm currently working as a Project Manager at an Incentive Travel Agency in Istanbul because I love the event industry - and we do loads of different events!


When was your first experience with fandom/fan culture? What was it like?


I believe it was around 2009/2010. I signed up to a fan forum about Twilight and made a bunch of friends that I still see! Sharing things we had in common was great, especially when you don't have people with the same interests directly around you.


Social media plays a huge role in fandom - what has your experience been like using social media as a way to communicate with other fans and create friendships/relationships with these people?


Social media was and still is a huge part of my life. It's where I get most of my news and connect with my friends around the world that I made because of fandoms. I think there are two sides of social media - the good and the not-so-good. There's a lot of lies, bullying and rubbish but I choose to stick to the good side which is the one connecting me with the world. I use mostly Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp to communicate with my fandom friends (who I just call "friends"). Twitter is the place where I meet people and get to know them through their tweets, Instagram is where I can look into their lives and WhatsApp is where we share everything else.


When did you go to your first convention? What were your initial feelings before you attended?


I attended a Glee convention in Paris in 2015. I was 21 and it was my first time going abroad by myself, with the money I had earned and for a convention as well! So there were a lot of emotions. I wouldn't save so much money and take a trip to another country if it wasn't for this show that I loved so dearly. I was counting the days and was super excited but also very scared.


What was the experience like at your first convention? Did you enjoy it?


It was the best weekend of my life at that time. Meeting with the faces I had seen on TV every week. Meeting with internet friends and seeing an amazing city with them was an out-of-this-world experience for me.


What was it like meeting the big star(s) that you'd paid money to finally see? Was it a gratifying experience?


Of course! There are stars that you want to see the most, and there are ones that you don't care much for, but in the end, there's rarely a bad moment. The whole experience is just glorious. Especially if you get to have a special moment with the stars you have paid to meet.


Kardelen with star of ABC's Once Upon a Time Sean Maguire

How many conventions have you attended?


10 I believe.


Did you maintain contact/friendships with the people you have met at conventions?


Yes. Of course!


Obviously, Coronavirus is having a huge impact on the convention industry - did you have any plans this year to attend any events?


I was going to attend a music festival with the friends I met online, not a convention, but I was also hoping for a chance to go to a convention if I had the money and time.


Now many companies are choosing to run online/virtual events - what do you think about this? Would you or have you attended one?


Especially as someone who is in the events business, I encourage online events and I would like to see this type of event to grow for the people who can't travel. But for me, I wouldn't choose online conventions because it's all about the environment, travel, face-to-face meetings that make it so special. There are some stars I've met more than a few times now and I would only attend their online meetings if I wanted to catch up with what they are doing. But I think it's a great amount of money to spend for a few minutes of screen-talk so I would only do it if it were somehow free.


What do you think the future holds for the convention industry? Will it be able to recover from COVID?


It will recover from COVID, without hesitation. The entertainment industry isn't going anywhere so conventions will be fine. It's just the existing companies that are in danger, especially the ones who couldn't figure out what to do with their online events. I think some companies will continue to use online events as part of their event styles and I think it's a good takeaway from the whole COVID situation for the events industry. There are great examples of virtual events but the future of the event industry may be difficult without face-to-face events. Especially for conventions because that is the spirit of the event itself.



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