Some might think that comic book conventions are the latest trend in the wonderful world of "Geek Land, but I'm happy to report that these shows have been around for a long time!
The "Wonderful World Of Comics" show was created by comic retailer John Barrett and friends back in 1987 in Oakland, California. In 2002, Comic-Con International: San Diego (Which began in 1970), took over the show, and relocated it to San Francisco. The show stayed there for 15 yeas, evolving into one of the best conventions on the West Coast, many now know as "WonderCon". In 2012 the convention was forced to move to Anaheim due to construction happening at the Moscone Center, and the show still hopes to someday return to where it left it's heart in San Francisco.
The show must go on, and WonderCon is happening at the Anaheim Convention Center March 29th-31st. The convention is embracing all of the programming similar to what it's sister convention San-Diego Comic Con offers: celebrities, comics, movies, exhibitors, the Masquerade, games, and panels and more.
I have attended and participated in many conventions over the years, and one of my personal favorite activities that are offered during the conventions, are the educational panels and workshops! The panels cover topics ranging from celebrities sharing stories about projects they worked on, "how to" sessions in creating comics, costumes, and new media, to industry people sharing "Tricks Of The Trade" on how to find work in the industry, one on one portfolio reviews, panels that empower you to be who you are, and so much more!
When I heard about one of the panels that will be happening at WonderCon this year, I was truly excited! The panel is called "All Shapes & Sizes Welcome". The topics being discussed on this panel are difficult for some to bring to light, but the brave ladies that will be participating on the panel will be opening their hearts, and sharing their stories about topics that need attention! Not only is this panel important, it is being moderated by Actress/Host/Writer/Producer Leah Cevoli, who is an amazing woman and friend! With that being said, I would like to share with you not only what the panel is about, but how it came to be. Thank you Leah Cevoli for creating this panel & for taking time out of your hectic schedule on the road to answer some of my questions:
-Tell us about yourself?
This question always makes me pause, as my "self" is always changing! I'm from Philly originally, but have spent the majority of the past 13 years in Los Angeles. Since 2010, I've successfully transitioned to bi-coastal living, and on any random day I could be on either coast. Currently, I'm in Nashville! I'm a free-spirit who enjoys acting for television and film, hosting live events, writing, producing, and just all-around creating and completing projects! If it inspires me, I do it. I'm also a huge rock music fan, love karoake, road-trips, roller coasters and scary movies!
-What inspired you to want to do a panel called "All Shapes & Sizes Welcome"?
The actual inspiration came from a face book comment! I posted a recent full-length casual photo of myself in jeans and a tee, and a gentlemen that I had done background work with many, many years ago, posted a comment on my photo saying, "I've seen you look better, Leah." My friends and fans responded with much passion to this comment, but for me it struck a much deeper chord. Firstly, he's right, I have looked better, the last time he saw me in real life I was about 80 pounds thinner, but I wasn't healthy. I had done a master cleanse for 40 days, depleting my body of pretty much everything it needs to survive and I was stick thin to the point where in some angles you could see bones. Secondly, it made me think, what/who/why do people/men/strangers feel it's appropriate to comment on a women's weight. And thirdly, as a female in the entertainment business I know that a comment like that is just the tip of the iceberg. If I was a popular mainstream actress, ... whew, I can't even imagine the type of criticism that would be coming at me on a daily basis. So long story short, even though this topic is something I've thought about for awhile, that one comment, was the spark that lit the fire for this panel.
-Will you be moderating it? What kind of topics will you be discussing?
Yes, I'm going to moderate it! I do a lot of hosting and public speaking, and with panels I typically like to be the panel guest, but for this one I felt like I should moderate it. It'll be fun!
-When & where will the panel be held? Time, date, location?
Our first public appearance will be at Wonder Con in Anaheim, California. The panel is on Saturday March 30th at 2pm.
-Why did you choose WonderCon as your platform?
Wonder Con is such a cool convention. It's a smaller version, the baby sister to San Diego Comic Con. It's only an hour from LA, where all of the panelists live, and it was actually the first "Con" I ever attended back in 2006.
-Who will be on the panel? Why were these women selected?
My panel includes Helenna Santos Levy (Actress and Founder of MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder of BodyHeart.com), Lynn Chenn (Actress and Founder of TheActorsDiet.com) , Miracle Laurie (Musician & Actress- Joss Whedon's Dollhouse) and Adrianne Curry (Top Model, and Adrianne Curry's SuperFans on Stan Lee's World of Heros).
These ladies are all very outspoken about health, fitness, sexulization of women and body image/issues in the entertainment world already. They're all very strong women, who outside of their own careers are committed to inspiring others and making a difference in the world. Many of them have created their own organizations and companies to do just that, and most if not all of them, have felt the sting of what the entertainment world expects women to look like.
-What do you hope to achieve with this panel?
Well, I know for myself, it's a healing process. I've been battling with binge eating for a few years now, and as far back as I can remember I've had a warped sense of my body and self-image, regardless of what the scale said. It's taken me awhile to speak out about it, in a public forum, and so for me this is scary and awesome all combined into one. Overall, I hope this can be an inspiring panel to our audience and prove to be a stepping stone and a conversation starter for more discussions and awareness around these topics.
-Where can people learn more about the panel?
As of now, we have a facebook event page that you can access at
-Where can people find you on the internet?
Twitter is my favorite, you can tweet with me at twitter.com/Leah_Cevoli
and IMDB: www.imdb.me/LeahCevoli
-Anything else you would like to add?
I'm really excited to be doing this panel, and hope that we have the opportunity to do it again at various conventions across the country. I had so much support, love, and interest from other women, especially the League of Extraordinary Ladies and I'd love to give everyone a chance to participate in this panel one way or another! And Thank You Denise for reaching out to me for this interview!
You're welcome Leah! Like I always say "BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, BELIEVE"! Thank you for being all of the above!
WonderCon is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center located at 800 W. Katella Ave Anaheim, CA 92802 March 29-31st, 2013 For tickets and more information visit http://www.comic-con.org