Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.
Olympia Kiriakou is a Visiting Instructor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies at Florida Atlantic University. Her research focuses on stardom, gender, and genre in classical Hollywood, Disney, and new media fandom. Her book, Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy, and Legacy (Bloomsbury Academic) is a historical critique of the development and reception Carole Lombard’s star persona and career. Today, Olympia talks about her article in Transformative Works and Cultures.
How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?
My first encounter was when I joined Tumblr as a high school senior in 2008. I first developed an interest in classical Hollywood back in high school through my job at a local video store – I must have spent all my wages on DVDs! While working there, I became fascinated by stars like Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, and Orson Welles. As I began to research them online, I eventually discovered a wonderful community of like-minded fans on Tumblr who shared their personal photo collections, fanworks, and research. I eventually started my own Tumblr account called “The Screwball Girl” dedicated to old Hollywood stars and, specifically, Carole Lombard (the blog name is a reference to her). Although I don’t update my account anymore, I have adopted the same username for all of my social media accounts as an homage to where my fandom flourished!
Thanks to Tumblr, I realized I love researching and writing, so I decided to pursue grad school. I also began to accumulate my own small collection of old Hollywood memorabilia including vintage fan magazines, movie posters, and scripts. Over time, I was inspired to write my PhD dissertation about Lombard and ultimately, this culminated in my first book, Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy, and Legacy.