Last year, little by little, I became a Tom Hiddleston fan and the first group (dedicated to this actor) I joined on facebook was Tom Hiddleston/ Loki Army. It went through many changes and different admins. Right now there are two ladies who take on this role. I love the group, I saw it go through ups and downs in a rather short period of time and I’d say it’s time to bring it to your attention as well. Helen and Catherine, the admins I mentioned before, agreed to answer a few questions regarding the group, the actor, the fandom… and literature. This first part holds the answers given by Helen Simkiss. To Helen, thank you! To our readers, we hope you’ll share with us your thoughts on this fandom.
Not long ago, I wrote an article about fandoms and how I see them. My first question is: how did you come to discover and become part of these groups of people who share your interests?
Helen: I just happened to have the group come up on my suggestion box so I decided to join, when I was accepted I quickly integrated myself and have not looked back.
How did you learn of Tom Hiddleston? Do you remember how you became a fan?
Helen: A few years ago I watched Tom in Casualty and since then I have kind of followed his career but never acted on being in a fandom. As most will say, Loki is the first time I became aware of him in films and the character stuck, so from there I became a bigger fan. I have been an active fan for over 12 months now so I am pretty new to all of this.
Tell us something about the group Tom Hiddleston/ Loki Army. Where can we find it? What makes it special? What makes fans want to join the party?
Helen: The page is the biggest on Facebook and it still humbles me to know I have helped to make it a better place for people who love Tom and all his characters to share their love for him and discuss him in a controlled environment. Since I have become an Admin, I tend to let the group know of new pics and any news that concerns Tom. I think the page is special because fans from all over the world can post, comment or simply look at all the lovely things that are on the page. The group also has a Twitter Account which is growing slowly in popularity.
With over 14000 members, arguments appear sometimes. But there are also bonds which develop offline. How would you describe Tom Hiddleston’s army? What do you like and dislike the most about the fandom?
Helen: When I became an Admin over a year ago, the page was looking quite bad but with help and support of all the members we have made it into (I hope) something to be proud of. We do get some negativity on the page but with all things it is part of the diversity of human nature. I have experienced some of the good in the fandom. There are some disturbing factors if you dig hard enough, but I don’t like to go there.
Having the possibility to interact with people coming from different cultures and backgrounds, how has that aspect influenced you?
Helen: I have a few people I speak to on the group and they are from different parts of the world and it’s so nice to find people with the same interest as me, in the fandom in general. I have made a few friends on the page and over on Twitter which is nice, I once helped a person in Germany with their English homework so it can be interesting.
Fandoms have been around for decades, but now they are more visible. From your perspective, how would you say that they have changed over the years? How have the dynamics within or among groups have changed?
Helen: Fandoms over the years have changed so much. When I was younger, all we had was a Fan Club to write to and waiting for a letter back, there was no interacting with other fans except your friends who liked the same person you did. Now it is so much bigger; no matter what you like, the internet has changed everything to do with fandoms.
Last year we posted a tag about Reading Habits. Tell us about some of your habits.
Helen: I have read many books over the years from Children’s books to serious Novels. I have just completed The Night Manager and High Rise in preparation of the coming series and film. I love the Authors Anne Rice and Terry Pratchett and I was so lucky to have met Terry a few years ago. At the moment I am reading Fan Fiction.
What are some of your favourite literary works? How have they influenced the way you look at life?
Helen: I don’t think I have a favorite literary work as everything I have read has been excellent and I have enjoyed. I have never read anything fiction or non fiction that is bad. As my reading tastes are so big, my outlook in life has always been influenced by more down to earth subjects as family and work.
Finally, what drives you?
Helen: My family and friends keep me focused and driven, also helping others through our Army in whatever way is possible.
by Elena Atudosiei