by Alice Balagia, Guest Writer

One of the interesting things about mystery guest panels is, well, they’re a mystery. You go into the panel having no idea who might walk across the stage when the host announces the guests. You also don’t know what kind of chemistry might exist between the guests, considering in most guest panels the guests are a variety of actors/actresses who probably haven’t interacted much in the past. On Saturday in San Diego, Nerd HQ’s Bad Ass Women panel consisted of Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), Retta (Parks & Rec), Missy Peregrym (Rookie Blue), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon A Time), Ming-Na Wen (Agents of Shield), and Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones). As to their chemistry? It worked.

The Bad Ass Women panel at Nerd HQ was quite possibly one of my favorite things in a weekend full of things to do during San Diego for Comic Con weekend. Tears were shed; the panelists and audience laughed nearly non-stop for the full hour; and everyone learned a little bit from each of the women as to their experiences and opinions on portraying strong women on television.

Ming-Na and Retta discussed what it’s like being a minority in television and how your parents and loved ones can impact your career choices; they ended the line of questioning by urging the audience to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams. Jennifer Morrison emphasized that at the end of the day it’s okay to say no to things that you aren’t comfortable with. Over her career, setting boundaries has helped to establish her limits and what she will and won’t do as an actress. She mentioned being appreciative of being on a show like Once Upon A Time that has such strong female characters and allows her to play a role like Emma which speaks to female viewers.

I went into the panel with middle to low expectations, and I ended up being simply blown away. Four days have passed since the panel, and I still find myself thinking of it at random times throughout the day. It left an impact on me as a woman, listening to these amazing women and what they had to say on such an important subject as female portrayal in mainstream media. If there is a Bad Ass Women panel at next year’s Nerd HQ, I strongly advise you try to get tickets to it. If this year is any indication, you will not be disappointed!

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