It’s not often that the comic-strip character from The Addams Family, Wednesday Addams, is seen in the light of day.
Her dark hair, pale face and grim expression are more appropriately seen somewhere dark, but that wasn’t the case last Sunday at Earls Kitchen + Bar in Dadeland Mall.
There, nearly 40 women came dressed up in costume for what they called a Geek Girl Brunch, an international social event organized throughout different cities to bring together women who enjoy cosplay and the occasional mimosa.
“I’m a super nerd,” said Taimara Dietsch, a mental-health counselor in North Miami who painted her face white and wore a black wig to cover her natural red hair and resemble Wednesday’s.
In the light of the morning, the Wednesday costumes were easy to spot. They posed with scowling faces and broke character to laugh with the other members in costume.
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” Dietsch said. “I’m very loyal.”
Dietsch, 35, stands true to her word. She has attended each Geek Girl Brunch since the first brunch in April.
Miami’s Geek Girl Brunch officers Melissa Lovio-Sanchez and Aurora Rodriguez applied to start a Geek Girl Brunch in Miami sometime around January.
Lovio-Sanchez said Miami needed more of a geeky-girl scene.
“There’s not a whole lot for us to do in terms of events or meet-ups,” said Lovio-Sanchez, who proudly refers to herself as a geek girl. “I wanted to make sure that everyone who identifies themselves as a geeky girl feels supported and has a positive environment to be in.”
Not so long ago, kids were often picked on or bullied for idolizing sci-fi epics like 2001: A Space Odyssey or for reading anime graphic novels. But today, thanks to the growing popularity of films like Star Wars and the countless amount of Marvel comics turning into movies and television series, geek culture is becoming popular and trendy.
Still, Lovio-Sanchez stresses the importance of women being themselves and having a safe place to dress up without attracting unwanted attention.
“I really believe in empowerment within women,” Lovio-Sanchez said. “There’s a lot of hateful attitudes between geeky girls and fan girls in general. I really like the idea of providing a community that is positive and supportive.”
By the time Lovio-Sanchez and Rodriguez organized the first Geek Girl Brunch, membership was at 60. Today, the Miami chapter has reached 125.
“It was shocking to see how many girls registered; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Lovio-Sanchez said.
“It’s all just fun,” Rodriguez said. “It’s fun to be a girl and be yourself and not worry about what other people think, and just focus on meeting people that are like that because it really creates a sense of community.”
The original Geek Girl Brunch started in New York and was created by Yissel Ayala, Rachel Parker and Jamila Rowser, a blogger famous for her widely known site GirlGoneGeekBlog.com, which she launched in 2010.
She said Geek Girl Brunch began as a means to meet other women with the same interests as hers.
“It was a way for me to meet other geek girls,” Rowser said. “I had a lot of non-geek friends, but I didn’t have a lot of friends that liked the same things as I did.”
Geek Girl Brunch began picking up momentum after Rowser networked with women she had met at different Comic-Con events.
“I would meet up with my fellow geek girls and have brunch,” Rowser said, adding how the brunches eventually grew more organized. By 2013, the three women began organizing the first of the Geek Girl Brunches. “They began having themes, and that’s when we knew we wanted to share it with everyone else.”
Today, Geek Girl Brunch is active in more than 50 cities around the world, including cities in Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.
Cree Chancley, 22, is a Geek Girl Brunch officer in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She lives on a military base and started a chapter to get other women involved in something that reminded them of home.
“I hadn’t but one friend, and I thought that needed to change,” Chancley said. “Once I started the chapter, I realized just how many other ladies needed this just as much as I did.”
Geek Girl Brunches are organized by the city officers who are appointed by the Geek Girl Brunch founders. Applications to apply in your city are free and can be found online at geekgirlbrunch.com.
The last Miami Geek Girl Brunch was organized by Rodriguez and Elsie Alarcon. It marked the chapter’s fourth brunch, and in the spirit of Halloween, Alarcon said the organizers wanted participants to come dressed as they pleased.
“This theme was open fandom,” Alarcon said.
Some women wore T-shirts flaunting their favorite fictional characters, others dressed as them.
Jenny Wake, 33, who wore a bright green outfit with two huge eyeballs attached to a headband, came dressed as Kermit the Frog from the Muppets.
Suzanne McDonough, 36, wore a blue Starfleet officer uniform to express just how much of a Star Trek buff she is.
“Star Trek was a way of bonding with my dad; it’s the core of my foundation,” McDonough said. “It’s got a good message: peaceful exploration and research.”
At the brunches ladies are free to drink, socialize and play trivia. Raffle giveaways, posters and geek memorabilia are almost always included.
Rodriguez hopes to push the Miami chapter further by branching out to include community organizations and volunteer services.
“As we grow, we want to get involved with charities and maybe help at the comic conventions that visit Miami,” Rodriguez said. “At the end of the day, what’s better than making new friends? I think there’s nothing more important than meeting new people that add something to your life.”