On art and one fandom in particular, actually: Tom Hiddleston’s Army. Cyndi Fox is part of this army and also one of the admins of Hiddlestoners*. She will be the one to speak of this group and of what it means to allow beauty and curiosity shape the way you look at the world. All I want to say is that I am happy to have found Cyndi, a lady who is always kind, strong and, if you ask me, a true fan.
“We’re all stories in the end”, we hear the Doctor say in Doctor Who. What’s yours? In a few words, who is Cyndi?
Cyndi: A very creative and caring woman who masked and eventually beat depression with laughter, a loving husband and a very interesting life!
How do you enjoy spending your free time?
Cyndi: In no particular order: interacting with folks on Facebook, especially as admin in HFB, listening to books, embroidering, reading, walking.
Tom Hiddleston says in an interview: That’s the power of art. It changes you forever. What does art mean to you? Can you imagine a world without it?
Cyndi: Art, to me, is a vehicle for creative expression. No, I cannot imagine a world without it, as I think it is an innate human need to express one’s feelings, perceptions, etc. in a myriad of artistic forms.
What is your favourite book? Which are the stories that speak to you the most?
Cyndi: Favorite book is probably To Kill A Mockingbird. I’m also exceedingly fond of a little, obscure volume of fantasy fiction, The Face in the Frost by the late children’s book author John Bellairs. He wrote regular fiction for many years, but transitioned to children’s lit and Face is considered to be the novel which bridged the two – its combination of fantasy and dark magic are reminiscent of much of today’s YA fiction and yet the cultural and literary references Bellairs includes are beyond many young readers ken. If you are a fan of fantasy fiction and can find a copy or reprint anywhere, I would like to recommend it as just a lovely little gem!
You are one of the admins of a gorgeous group, Hiddlestoners. How did you learn of Tom Hiddleston? Do you remember how you became a fan?
Cyndi: I first became aware of Tom back in late 2011 when I watched Return to Cranford on PBS here in the States. His character and his portrayal of same totally captivated me and I then started looking for everything I could find on him online. Although I’d watched Thor on DVD when my husband rented it, the character of Loki didn’t really stick with me as I, like many others, was more focused on the main character rather than his errant brother. But even before watching Thor again I watched every interview of Tom’s I could find and was extremely impressed with his eloquence, obvious intelligence and erudition and also his humor, wit and humility. Just a really nice guy who just happened to be thrust into the spotlight. A rabid fan was born!!!
Tell us a little something about the group. Where can we find it? How did it come to life, why and by whom was it created?
Cyndi: Hiddlestoners on Facebook was actually started, in May 2012, by a handful of folks from the US and Europe and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not quite sure who the founders were. Most of them are no longer active on the page although Soni Ka, who joined shortly after the group got started and whom I consider part of the “Founders Circle”, as it were, is still one of the admins for HFB. I joined the bunch sometime in June 2012 and was asked to come on as an admin in November of that same year. I loved the group immediately as it was just SO awesome to be able to fangirl to my heart’s content with others who felt the same way about this extraordinary man.
The other huge bonus for me was being introduced to a growing circle of interesting, and, in many cases, very talented women (and a few men), just the sort of community I was looking to interact with. I don’t know that I could have articulated that specifically before I joined but realized very quickly that this was something I’d not had occasion to find on my own in the area where I live.
How do you see it now, shortly after its second year anniversary?
Cyndi: At 2.5 years old, the group has, for better or worse, gone through a great many changes, almost all due to its increasing size. What started out as a pretty tight knit group grew very quickly as each new project of Tom’s rolled out. It grew steadily to about 1500 members, between May 2012 and October 2013, until the release of Thor: The Dark World at which time the floodgates opened and we were swamped with requests for membership. Again, Shakespeare overlapped with a blockbuster film release when Tom opened in a production of Coriolanus right around the time of TTDW’s release world-wide. Both Tom’s performances – as Loki again, in TTDW, and as the titular character in Coriolanus – galvanized the existing fans and inspired literally thousands more to come on board. From a membership of 1500 about a year ago, we’ve grown to 8000 and counting, an increase of over 533%!!! Whew!
In a large group, we will always see beauty, but also arguments. What do you like and dislike the most about the fandom?
Cyndi: What I like is the diversity of the fandom, the chance to glimpse the lives of so many varies cultures, traditions, backgrounds, day to day realities. It’s fascinating, humbling (when one realizes how well one lives compared to so many others), and a constant learning experience.
What I dislike actually has nothing to do with this fandom specifically, but is a function of that same enormous range of personalities, cultures, levels of education, etc. among the membership of this and every other fandom of this size or larger. The biggest thing I notice people having to overcome (and some never do or see any reason to) is allowing others to have different opinions, different codes of behavior, dress, beauty, etc. In a word, intolerance. The thing which has prompted the most flare-ups among members has been someone’s self-righteous criticism of someone else, be it member or someone at large, from a position that the critic’s perspective is the only “true” or “right” way to see a situation. A close second is the inability of the printed word to express nuance, leading to misinterpretation of the intent of what is written.
Stepping into this “new world” of Tom Hiddleston and his fans, how has this influenced you? Has it changed you in any way?
Cyndi: It has changed me profoundly, made me more compassionate, more tolerant, more forgiving of everyone’s quirks and foibles. It has made me “walk the talk” of my philosophy of inclusion and appreciation for the unique point of view of every single individual. I truly feel profoundly blessed that my admiration for the singular soul that is Tom Hiddleston has led to me a community, a family of so many wonderful people.
What other artists do you admire? What brings them close to your heart?
Cyndi: The only other artist to whom I have been as drawn as I am to Tom is Viggo Mortensen and for many of the same reasons I admire Tom. Viggo, so far as I can tell from interviews both written and videoed, is shyer than Tom, but no less intelligent or creative (he is a prolific and published poet and photographer) and, most importantly, no less compassionate and tolerant of other points of view.
Finally, what inspires you? What makes your life beautiful?
Cyndi: Life and its embodiment in the people, places and things which make up this astonishing and fascinating world in which we live. I am inspired by the love I see all around me and the beauty that love can create or focus on to share that love with others.
by Elena Atudosiei