Pretties With A Purpose
Fan interview by Teresa Martin (@Teresa__Martin)
The cast of Once Upon A Time has inspired thousands of fans around the world to help people in the world community. Rebecca Mader (affectionally known as Bex) inspired Oncer Jordan Wright (@JNWSinger) to raise money for charities as a birthday present. Jordan spoke with Teresa Martin about her project (@wicked_2016).
What made you become a Oncer?
I have been a fan of Once Upon A Time since the beginning. I saw a promo commercial for the pilot and thought to myself, "This is a show about Disney. I love Disney. I'll give it a shot and hope they don't mess it up." Haha. And the second Lana, aka Regina, burst through those doors and crashed the Charming wedding I thought, "THAT'S The Evil Queen?? Yeah, I think I'm going to like this show". And I did. I loved the messages of hope, standing up for yourself and really going after the things you want. The show came at a time where my personal group of friends was breaking up, and in the fandom I ended up finding some of the best friends I've ever had. All thanks to this show.
How did you become a fan of Rebecca Mader?
I went to Vancouver in 2014 with one of those great friends named Laura Rhinehart (@suzieloublog) and we went to one of their sets to watch them film. We stood outside for about twelve hours and got to meet a lot of the cast. Bex was there the whole day, and every time she walked by she'd wave and say "hello". Towards the end of the day she was still filming and we hadn't technically met her yet. Plus, it being around freezing temperatures and me being from a hot, southern climate, I was freezing and couldn't stop shaking from the cold. So I basically chose to save my toes over meeting Bex. Haha.
Fast forward a few months. I went to the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, FL. My friends and I walked into the autograph room, and I think Bex was the only member of the cast who was there because it was basically just the check-in day. I got in her line and when she saw me she yelled out, "THANK GOD!!! ANOTHER RED HEAD!!!" She pulled me into the tightest side hug I'd ever been in, and she said, "Ooh! You're warm! Let me pull you in closer!" And basically used me for body heat! We took a picture and I showed her a hand sign I'd made up combining the evil regal sign with her wicked sign, which she loved and it was just a really funny, entertaining moment.
A few months later I went to see her in Atlanta for Dragon Con, and the minute she saw me in line she gasped and said, "Jordan! You're here!" And came around her table to give me a hug all before I could even say hello. From those two moments I could tell she was a really special soul and I guess from then on I was a hardcore #Pretty. All those things that were just funny, sweet and human are what made me really love her for who she is and realize she wasn't like most actresses. She's relatable, pays attention, remembers and truly values her fans and having quality interactions with them. On the 4th of July that year she followed me on Twitter.
What gave you the idea to raise money for the Charity Birthday Project?
In 2015, a friend of mine and I came up with the idea to start organizing charity projects for Bex for her birthday instead of rounding up fans and sending her stuff she may not really need. We decided to use her birthday to raise funds for charities she supports and help people. Last year we raised over $1,300 for UNICEF, created a birthday video recognizing all the donors and created a book filled with cards from each donor along with a sheet of paper telling what each person donated towards (school supplies, medicine, blankets, etc.).
This year we wanted to continue that and make it into a sort of tradition. So, knowing Bex was a long time supporter of providing clean, safe water to the people of Africa, we decided to make that this year's project. My friend was unfortunately unable to participate so I took over the project in February and have been running it ever since. I created the birthday video and released it on her birthday, and have kept the project open in hopes of reaching our goal of $3000 and helping as many people as possible. We are currently at $1,779, and I make it a point to tell people that the donations don't have to be big. Even as little as $10 can help a lot, but the donation amount is whatever donors are comfortable with giving. And if they can't donate, then spreading the word helps too!
Video for this year's project
What is the process of raising the money?
The process of it all is really just finding trustworthy organizations, setting up a fundraising page and communication with some of the organization's people. So if there ever were any questions or mishaps, I always had a contact I could refer to or from whom I could get help. The whole goal of the process is to make it as easy as possible for our donors.
Anything else you would like to share with Oncers?
Lastly, I suppose the main reason we do this begins with Bex. She has a genuinely good heart and she inspires a lot of kindness from people all over the world. She's hilarious, makes people happy, is an advocate for some really important causes, loves spending time getting to know fans and, just from a personal point of view, she's shown me so much kindness and support when really she never HAD to. That makes it very easy to want to do something kind for her in return! Also, I've loved doing charity work since I was very little as my dad was a volunteer with this local organization called Magic Moments, which grants wishes for kids just in Alabama (where we live) and I would go on wish reveals with him. The cast of Once Upon A Time and the friends I've made through the show have really helped me grow as a person. It's become a gateway to provide positivity and do some good in the world with Bex and this show as a common denominator for the fans who get involved with our projects. This world doesn't really need more "stuff," but it's starving for positivity and hope. I believe, what better way to honor someone for being such a good-hearted person than doing good for others on her birthday? It feels good to do good, and goodness is what the world needs more of. This show, the cast and all my friends in the fandom have taught me so much, helped me become a better person and have supported me through many prominent moments in my life. This is my way of saying "thank you" and passing along the good Once Upon A Time has brought me.
Find out more about Rebecca Mader's Birthday Project and donation information here!