NYCC 2017: Geeking Out with Bilquis from American Gods
New York Comic Con 2017 was a blast. I got to see the premiere of Pacific Rim Uprising before everyone. I got to bid Peter Capaldi farewell as The Doctor. And I got to hang out with some of the cast of American Gods. Specifically, Yetide Badaki. This woman is not only gorgeous and talented, shes’s a huge nerd! I quite literally ran into her as she was on her way to Artist Alley to peruse some art from the immensely talented David Mack. Mack, amongst many other things, did the variant covers for American Gods series from Dark Horse Comics.
Assistant Editor Christina and I sat down with Yetide with the intention of finding out all we can about American Gods season 2 (release date TBD 2018), but it is being kept under wraps at the moment so we ended up geeking out over all things pop culture.
We started off talking about the new IT and Dark Tower movies. This busy woman has yet to see either but was glad to share her thoughts on Stephen King and his works.
Legion of Leia: I love that we were talking about horror. When it comes to horror you were saying how much you love Stephen King so which book or movie is your favorite?
Yetide Badaki: I carry around my tattered copy of the Drawing of the Three from The Dark Tower series. My favorite characters of all time, and in pretty much any media, is Detta Odetta. She’s very fascinating and I absolutely want to play her. So Stephen [King] or whoever make it so! *laughs* I love the whole series. It’s been with me basically for a lifetime but specifically Drawing of the Three. It’s some of the most beautiful writing.
LoL: So you’re a Dark Tower fan? Have you seen the movie? I know a lot of people didn’t like it.
YB: You know what, I love Idris. I can’t get enough of that man. I want him to win everything. I hear from the reviews the acting is incredible but it also seems like it’s strays quite a bit from the canon but I have not seen it.
LoL: It’s another turn of the wheel and a lot of people did not fancy that. Stephen’s books can be really hard to capture and interpret into movies otherwise you end up with stuff like The Langoliers. Monster Pac-Men eating space,which was horrible. *laughs*
YB: We can’t forget all the really great ones like The Shining. Room 1408. There are so many times where it all comes together. Some of the genius that is Stephen King is that he gets you as the reader to substitute your worst fear when you’re reading. So you are absolutely terrified because he has given you the space to concoct the absolute scariest thing you can encounter in your mind and so it can be a little hard to do that on screen. That’s where genius directors come into play.
[We chat for a bit more about what movie terrified her as a child but she can not remember the name of it but remembers that watching it scared her. So I suggest that she should play a vampire. To which she would delight in possibly playing a certain Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. Anne and Stephen, make it so!]
LoL: You had this great experience with American Gods and you’re a big Gaiman fan. We know you can’t say much about Season 2 buuuuut…what can you say about it? Do we get more Bilquis?
YB: [sly smile] What I can say about season 2, is that I am even more excited about it than I was about even getting to be a part of this [series]
LoL: I will take that. *laugh*
LoL: How does it feel to be a role model, not just for women of color but women everywhere. You are a love goddess. People a lot of times don’t see us (black women) as that and here you are being the new poster woman.
YB: It’s interesting and we joke, I talk about how men approach me and say “I love your character but I’m scared of you.” but after a laugh, I say there is something there that we forget in the every day. The absolute power that is available to all women. Creation exists within us. Universes exist within us. So maybe its right that men remember to have a bit of awe when approaching ANY woman. Being able to have that convo, I don’t think I thought I could ever dream I would be a part of that.
People reach out and say “[Bilquis] is a woman of color and she is a *dark* skinned woman.” On so many levels I have to be thankful to Neil because he wrote her as a woman of color and then to a network (Starz) that wasn’t trying to do anything else to it. And then Michael [Green] and Bryan [Fuller] who are saying “This is the way it’s got to be.” You don’t always get individuals like that. Talk about allies! They will say “I don’t necessarily know about this experience but talk to me. What is your experience with all of this.”
This is the kind of group that we’re working with. I am beyond myself that I get to be a part of that.
LoL: You are a multifaceted woman so is there something else that you want to do? This is opening up even more doors for you? Do you want to dance? Sing? What other talents do you have?
YB: I love to sing but I don’t know if you would enjoy it. *laughs* Beyond the genre, I’m looking at the idea of production, creating and writing. Which is scary. It took a long while to admit it. It was a bit of a secret. People know I have a huge interest in being an UN ambassador. So it’s baby steps right now and I laugh because Star Trek influenced my world view and I said “The UN is like the Federation and I would like to be a part of that!”
LoL: Speaking of Trek, favorite captain?
YB: Do I have a favorite captain?! You know who my 1st crushes were right? Data and Captain Picard.
LoL: I’m a Riker girl.
LoL’s Christina J: But Picard all the way *all laugh*
LoL: If you were a flavor of ice cream what would you be and why?
YB:I’ve never been asked that before. This Barbara Walters level. *laughs*
LoL: I come with the hard hitting questions!
YB: Strawberry, because there are hidden notes in there.
LoL: Fav candy? Its a dangerous question because if people read this, they’re going to start bringing you candy.
YB: Ooo! I gotta think it through…ok, there are 2. You have to have the different types of flavors. I have a weird thing for Twix bars. Plain Twix. I can eat them all day. I shouldn’t but I would. *laughs* But you have to have the sweet, tarty taste as well. For that, I love Sour patch Kids especially at the movies.
LoL: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for? What is the lasting impression you want to put on people?
YB: That I made them want to do good.
LoL: So be like Peter Capaldi as The Doctor and “Just be kind”?
LoL: Fav Doctor?
YB: My 1st intro after the original series was David Tennant. So him but I’m a Tennant and Capaldi girl.
LoL: Fav companion?
YB: Amy Pond. As soon as she showed up, I was just drawn in. I just very much enjoy her and she [Karen Gillan] is a sweetheart as well.
LoL: See, you get to meet your heroes! Who is your #1 get? That person you would walk up to and not be able to talk to them because you’re so starstruck.
YB: Funny thing, at the Blade Runner 2049 premier, I met Harrison Ford and I lost it. My friend kind og pushed me toward him and I was just standing there smiling and nodding as he was talking. It was brilliant. *laugh* Let me think.. Sir Ian McKellan. I just want to go to a pub with him and Patrick Stewart and have a pint with those 2.
LoL: Who is your favorite Batman?
YB: I was watching the Adam West documentary and he’s great one but I love Bale. I understood the voice thing too. If I hung out with you all the time, I’d need a different voice otherwise it’s like “Bruce?” I enjoy the different iterations. I’m always up to see who’s next.
LoL: How is working w Pablo [Schreiber]?
YB: He’s a sweetheart. [Pablo Schreiber and Ricky Whittle] are absolutely wonderful. I have to stare at those lovely people all day. [Jokingly] Oh no, its so hard! They are both incredible dancers. They can break it down! They are incredibly focused and talented. They are family.
LoL: If you were an adult beverage, what would be in it and what would you name it? Also, what’s your drink of choice?
YB: It’s seasonal. In the summer, a sparkling wine or a frosé but then in the winter, gimme a whisky. And let’s watch some Outlander while we’re at it! As far as a drink made after me, I don’t know how it would taste but it would be some prosecco, a shot of whisky. Hmm, I’m mentally tasting it and it will definitely knock you out. Needs something a little sweet in it. Like lemonade. And a dash of mint!
As you can see, this woman is ambitious, nerdy and an absolute delight. I look forward to more of her work and can’t wait to see what she and the rest of the cast of American Gods has in store for us in 2018. You can follow Yetide on Twitter and on Instagram.
But wait, there’s more! No, really. We get to sit with Yetide again at the American Gods, Season One release party at the Stitch Bar and Lounge. You can read the interview here. Be on the look out for another interview with Shadow Moon himself, Ricky Whittle, later this week!