When I was watching the “Twilight Forever: The Compete Saga’s” documentary on the fandom I ended up in tears. I was overwhelmed by not only so many friends and memories who appear, but also my role in it. Earlier this year, because of my position with Page to Premiere, I was asked to submit a self-recorded interview for a fan documentary. After I sent it in I had one request from the team for a link to my fan fiction and that was it. Two weeks after seeing the fandom documentary for the first time I am still in awe of what ended up in the segment. I can’t even begin to imagine how much footage the editors had to go through from the many “Twilight” events that Summit’s documentarians captured over the last five years, but in all of it they found me in the dark, in crowds and featured some of my favorite memories – meeting Elizabeth Reaser for the first time ever at Comic Con 2011, sitting in the dark in the front row of Hall H, and across the street in the bleachers at the “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” when Elizabeth came over to me because of my Team Esme sign. I guess you never know when a camera is on you, and I feel very blessed that I now have these moments on film forever.
Finally, in the credits for the new segments on the “Twilight Forever” special features, in between “Eclipse” director David Slade and visual effects extraordinaire Phil Tippett, my name is listed. The world stopped for a moment. How did I go from a girl with a book to my name appearing under “special thanks” on the credits of the culmination of all things “Twilight?” Well, first of all…I was late.
Some time in 2008, I remember being at the movies and girls in the theater were super excited for this terrible looking, MTV-ish preview for a movie called “Twilight.” The movie came out in November. “Twilight” mania erupted. My roommate loaned me the first book around that time. This borrowed copy of “Twilight” flew cross country twice and was never opened. It wasn’t until the commercials started running for the DVD release that I finally started reading the book. I didn’t get it. “This boy is a jerk! Why does she like him? The writing is terrible! I can’t stop reading it! This Carlisle character is really interesting – I want to learn more about him!” I often tell people that Chapter 16, “Carlisle,” is what pulled me into the Saga forever, but it had to have been more than that. Traveling back to California from the east coast I had a connection in Houston and with just a few chapters left to read in “Twilight” I found myself rushing through the airport to find a bookstore because I could not get on my next three hour flight without the second “Twilight” book – I didn’t even know what it was called! In the Borders Express the two cashiers were talking about “Twilight,” with the one dismissing the books and the other one saying she didn’t know what it was, but she was hooked. I chimed in to agree that I didn’t get it either as I verified that “New Moon” was the second one and that I had to have it before I boarded the next plane.
I’m a slow reader and it took me two months to read the Saga all the way through that first time. I didn’t allow myself to watch the movie until I finished reading “New Moon” so I had established who the characters were to me. I was surprised by some of the changes and cringed at others. The casting for some left me slight perplexed, although I have grown to love all of them with time. I knew that I had seen Carlisle somewhere else, but it was several hours later that it hit me, “Oh my God, Carlisle Cullen is Mike Dexter!” I went on to read “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn,” and then I went looking for more! I found “Midnight Sun,” the outtakes, and the life changing “Personal Correspondence” with Stephenie Meyer on Twilight Lexicon. I say life changing because it’s where I was able to learn Carlisle and Esme’s backstory as well as Esme’s history. I was fascinated by the woman who won Carlisle’s heart after centuries alone, but the books told us practically nothing about her. I reread the series again almost immediately and looked to see if I missed things about her, but it wasn’t there.
In June 2009, I happened upon twitter accounts for “Mad Men” characters, which intrigued me and made me search for “Twilight” characters. Most of the Esmes I found were not what I imagined the character to be so I created my own “Esme” and that’s how I interacted with fans for months, completely in character as Esme Cullen. The role playing lead to fan fiction writing, also in character as I wrote Esme’s autobiography – “The Esme Chronicles.”
That fall a friend asked if I would like to take a trip to Washington state to visit Seattle and go to Port Angeles and Forks. Back then I would have never said “Let’s go to Forks,” but when the opportunity arose I said “Yes.” We were quite giddy as we drove over the Calawah River and then slammed on the brakes as we pulled over at the Welcome to Forks sign. We were blown away by the beauty of the beaches and the rainforest, and laughed about it being the “Sparkly Vampire Tour.” I didn’t buy much of the overpriced merchandise at Dazzled by Twilight or the tons of merchandise that was everywhere in Forks, but I enjoyed being there and experiencing the real small town that was almost the name of the first book.
When we got back the fandom was getting ready for “New Moon” to hit theaters, but I thought the fans were crazy and scary from what I saw on TV and online, and although I thought about attending some of the “New Moon” events I didn’t and continued to hide behind “Esme.” There are some regrets there for the things I missed, but I wasn’t ready yet.
In March of 2010, I attended my first official fan event because I wanted to meet “Carlisle.” Peter Facinelli and Kellan Lutz were appearing at the “Twilight Convention” in Los Angeles. I went for one day. I took pictures with both, got autographs, and did a Meet and Greet with Peter where I actually got to talk with him about Carlisle! I was set for life, right? I also met and witnessed other fans – some who fit that scary crazy fan mold and others who were “normal” like me. For the first time I really did want an outlet to connect with fans as me, not just as Esme. I had an inactive role play twitter account with the handle @OhMyCarlisle and that account soon became “Twilight” fangirl Amy’s account.
A few very short months later I was at my desk at work one late afternoon when the message came out about the “Eclipse Convention” featuring Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. My first thoughts were that I had seen and met who I really wanted to meet, Peter Facinelli, and that I shouldn’t spend the money on it. While driving home after work, I was talking to my Mom and told her about this convention. Mom’s advice is that I live so close and I really love “Twilight” and if I don’t go I could regret it so I should buy a ticket (Go Mom!). I bought the convention pass as soon as I got home and had one of the best weekends ever.
I have never heard anyone talk about the “Eclipse Convention” and say “Eh, it was alright.” It was an epic weekend where many friendships were formed and memories were made. I met people who knew my “Esme” and I met people who just shared this love of “Twilight” with me and we are still friends today. The noise level when the trio hit the stage was deafening. I happened to capture the only image out there of Kristen giving Rob the finger, and with a tweet of that picture my twitter following began to take off. There were other “Eclipse” events, but I skipped the premiere because the idea of taking a week off of work to camp out for a premiere was not even a thought!
We had a big break between “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn – Part 1,” but the fangirling didn’t stop. I went to multiple Twilight Conventions locally and a couple via plane. I had a very memorable Convention encounter/day with Peter Facinelli, that began with Peter following me on twitter that morning and by that evening I would forever be his “Oh My Carlisle.”
I kept in touch with friends from the Eclipse Convention and we met up for Comic Con 2011 for “Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” I had stayed out of the camera spotlight when it came to “Twilight” events because I was a corporate spokesperson and I didn’t want to be filmed talking about something else, but the morning of the BD1 panel that went out the window. That was the morning I met Elizabeth Reaser. After camping out all night my friends and I ran back to the hotel to drop off our gear. Around 6:30 AM we were coming back to the Hall H line when I saw there was an area fenced off by the front of the line and there were camera crews in there interviewing someone. As we approached my heart stopped as I saw it was Esme Cullen herself, Elizabeth. I happened to be wearing my Esme shirt, which caught her publicist’s attention, and next thing I know I was meeting Ms. Reaser. She was beautiful and gracious and I was beaming the entire time, which you can see on the “Twilight Forever” DVD! When we were done her publicist asked if I would do an interview with Elizabeth for Access Hollywood – “Sure! Why not?” So there I was at 6:45 AM bantering with Elizabeth Reaser for Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz. Fast forward to the “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” premiere and I am on the unlit bleachers across the street from the red carpet. Elizabeth had been signing autographs down at the other end of the bleachers and had crossed back over to start the red carpet. I was standing there with my “Team Esme” sign high in the air and yelling “Elizabeth” hoping that maybe just maybe someone would send her over. I watched several people on the other side of the street point at me and the sign and then start tapping people on the shoulder. Next thing I know Elizabeth is making a bee line for me with the same publicist in tow and when they see me the recognition goes off and Elizabeth says, “I know you!” while her publicist says, “Comic Con!” like it was my name. It was incredible and also captured on the “Twilight Forever” DVD.
Speaking of “Breaking Dawn – Part 1” premiere, let’s talk about fan camp. My God! It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. All of us who were a part of the Tent City 3 fiasco now look back at it with nostalgia and humor, but at the time I felt for a while like I was an enemy combative working toward a peaceful resolution. I’m not going to rehash the whole story here. If you don’t know about it you can read about it here and here and the good stuff here. I still look back and wonder how I ended up being the emissary of Tent City 3 working with security, event staff, and the studio to resolve fan issues. I just wanted to camp out for the premiere with other fans and tweet/write about for HisGoldenEyes.com, now part of PageToPremiere.com. In the end I just wanted to help my fellow fans have a great experience and be a part of it too!
It was in summer 2011 that I started writing for HisGoldenEyes.com. Kimmy had tweeted that they were looking for staff and I already has a bit of my own following and was writing about the events I was attending on my tumblr. Writing for HGE would give me a chance for my stories to reach a wider audience and write for one of my favorite websites in the Twilight fandom. I loved that I got to meet so many more fans because of HGE and Page to Premiere. It is so awesome every time that I’m at an event and someone approaches me to let me know they read the site or that they recognize me from the site. I even heard from fans at the “Catching Fire” fan camp that they had referred back to the “Breaking Dawn” fan camp guides I wrote for “Catching Fire” camp.
The most incredible moment at BD1 fan camp was meeting Stephenie Meyer for the first time. She came through camp and gave out signed copies of “Breaking Dawn.” I spoke with her very briefly about the weather of all things – it was cold and rainy that day. Flash forward to Comic Con 2012 when Stephenie was meeting fans who were camping out for the Hall H panel the next day. When she gets to me she states, “We’ve met before.” I was flabbergasted. I had met her once and I told her as much and that it was at fan camp. She says, “I remember you.” It was then that I thanked her for her dream and bringing us all together and gave her a hug. The few times I have seen Stephenie since then she greets me like I’m an old friend and it blows my mind.
You see it all comes down to I was a girl who read a book. I fell in love with a story. Millions of “Twilight” fans can say the same thing. I fell especially hard for a few characters that I have built my fandom self around and it wasn’t Bella, Edward or Jacob!
I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined when I finished reading this series in May 2009 that I would meet the actors who portrayed “Carlisle” and “Esme” or Stephenie Meyer. I remember stopping and standing in the middle of the “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” premiere party and just looking around and thinking, “How did I get here?”
It’s been slightly over a year since that party. I saw Elizabeth Reaser at event the following month where she asked me if I wanted to take a picture for my blog and that she “loves Oh My Carlisle.” I conducted interviews for Page to Premiere on the red carpet for “The Host” and when Stephenie got to me she said, “I wasn’t expecting to see all my friends here!” This fall I swaggered through the ER doors where Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen came into our lives. And Peter Facinelli left Nikki Reed’s side declaring I was the “Best fan ever!” to come over to me at the Twilight Forever Fan Experience event in NYC, and upon seeing me at an event in LA recently the first words out his mouth were, “I love you.” How did I get here?
I got here because of you. Yes, I love the story, the author, the actors and the creative team, and I have memories of moments with them that are precious and priceless, but a big part of the whole experience has been being a member of the “Twilight” fan community. Yeah, there are still some fans out there that I still think are certifiably crazy (God bless you!), but for the most part we share this commonality of loving some aspect of “Twilight” and it has brought us together. I’ve attended conventions with you, urban camped at Comic Con and premieres with you, been to Forks with you, tweeted with you, partied with you, raised money for charity with you, shared stories with you, squeed with you, roadtripped with you, had cocktails with you, and cried and laughed with you. Thank you for living and loving it with me.
I’ve been meaning to write this story for a while as a wrap up to my fandom experience, but a year after “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” was released “Twilight Forever” has never been a more accurate statement. Whenever I have thought the door might be closing for good this time, I find that someone sticks their foot in the doorway and says, “Not yet.” So I’m keeping it open and welcome anyone to share their memories or chat about “Twilight” with me at any time. The films may be over, but the fans are still here and I will forever be proud to call myself a member of the “Twilight” fandom.
While maybe not as cool as being in the “Twilight Forever” credits my Special Thanks include my camping crew: Nikki, Desiree, Jillian, Jessica, Allye, Karlee, and Lauren; the Twitarded crew who has adopted me for trips to the Pacific Northwest; the So Cal TwiFic Meet Up group, my betas past and present: Ali, Heather, Laura, Melissa and Arianna; my Twilight Lexicon heroes Laura and Lori; and while the list of friends could go on forever I have to give special shout outs to Natasha, Mandy, Anna, Angie, Jackie, Jennifer, Dawn, Melissa, Sara, Sarah, Amanda, Madison, Alyssa, April, Lee, Princess, Rachel, Lynn, Sandra, Kara, Alison, Flavia, Rob, Lindsay, Jodi, Kimberly, Dana, Michelle, Desarie, Amber, Sheila, T.J., Christine, Kallie and many more friends; Stephenie Meyer, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Erik Odom, Marisa Quinn, Kellan Lutz, Jack Morrissey, Eric Kops, Ryan Fons, Matt Creem, Ramzy Zeidan, Jennifer Sandler, Kevin Shah, Lara Hoefs, Chad Hudson, and of course, Charles. Last but certainly not least, I have to thank Kimmy for giving me the opportunity to write for HisGoldenEyes.com two and a half years ago. It has been a gift to share stories and interact with fellow fans of the stories I love on a wider basis thanks to HisGoldenEyes.com and then PagetoPremiere.com. I may be more apt to cover the latest Disney, Marvel of YA adaptation film now, but in my heart it will always be Twilight Forever.