BarGeek Interview: PrettyGeek

If you live in the Philadelphia area and are into science fiction, fantasy, or general geekiness, you have probably heard of the ubiquitous Hugh Casey.  Hugh is a blogger/ubernerd who has served as chairman of PhilCon, the world’s oldest conference of science fiction and fantasy, and is a former president and VP of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society.

PrettyGeekBannerHugh’s newest venture is the somewhat addictive PrettyGeek.net.  Now, if you’re not into cheesecake con pictures of girls in costume, then don’t go a-clickin’.  But PrettyGeek is more than eye candy, it’s a celebration of the fact that geeks (male and female) can be, well, sexy.  It’s not all about skin-tight, revealing Princess Leia slave costumes (although that’s ok, too).  It’s about creativity, and challenging what some of us may think of as “pretty”.  The site does not allow nudity, and is fairly strict about moderating offensive and/or suggestive comments.  I sent Hugh a few questions about PrettyGeek the other day, and he was kind enough to respond in the first ever BarGeek interview.

What inspired you to start PrettyGeek?

Something I’ve noticed over the years is that those of us who self-identify as “geeks” tend to not really think of ourselves as “pretty”, or “beautiful”, or “sexy”.  I think it’s a holdover from our adolescence, when we were gawky, awkward, and had no idea what our bodies were doing.   But adolescence is also when most of us start to identify as “geeks”, whether it’s gamers, SF fans, Techies, Anime fans, or whatever.  So, for a lot of us, the idea that we’re  not “pretty” gets intertwined with our “geekiness”.  Well, honestly, I was getting tired of my geeky friends putting themselves down in the looks department.  So I decided to start showing them that they were, indeed, pretty.  I started posting “PrettyGeek” photos in my personal blog.  Those posts were so popular that I then started a community on LiveJournal, which did pretty well also.  But I wanted to expand it out further.  So I set up PrettyGeek.net.
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What makes someone a “Geek” in your definition?
I think a “Geek” is really someone who identifies themselves as a geek.  I know that some people think of the term as an insult, but I look at it as a badge of honor.  There are a lot of different kinds of geeks, as I said before.  Maybe you’re a fan of a certain TV show, or series of novels, or movie.  Maybe you’re part of a Dungeons & Dragons group that meets every week.  Maybe you go to conventions dressed as your favorite comic book character.  Maybe you’re the best WOW player on the east coast!  Whatever it is, if you love something that people identify as geeky, and you want to be one, you’re a geek.
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Ok, then what makes a “PrettyGeek”?

It’s not enough just to be both an attractive person, and a geek.  You’ve got to be PROUD of who you are.  I plan on using a very inclusive definition for both “pretty” and “geek”, but the important part is that you have to be unashamed of who you are. Like our tagline on the site says… Geek Is Sexy!
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PrettyBoy
What’s up with the lack of male PrettyGeeks?  I’m personally a fan of anyone dressed up as Malcolm Reynolds.
Oh, we fully intend to have male PGs as well!  We’ve only just started taking submissions, and to be honest, I’m not really very good at judging male attractiveness.  *blush*  But as soon as we get a good photo of Captain Tight-pants, I’ll get it posted right away for you!
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Steampunk vs. Anime, who would win a Jell-O wrestling contest?

Neither… they’d both be too afraid of getting their cosplay outfits messed up.
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Do you have any specific guidelines or standards by which you choose your Pretty Geeks?

It’s more what we WON’T take rather than what we will.  No nudity, or partial nudity (although we will take implied nudity, as long as it’s tasteful).  Noting insulting, obscene, or hateful.  We also want the photos to show off not only the person, but also something about their geekiness… they may be in costume, showing off their action figure collection, or hanging out at a con.
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StarWarsHow does one become a PrettyGeek?

First, be pretty, and a geek.  *grin*  Then, you can submit your photos right on the site.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to post everything, but I will consider all submissions.
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What reactions do you expect to get?  What reactions do you hope to get?
I have NO idea what to expect, but I’m hoping that people get what I’m doing, and enjoy it.  I think the world needs a lot more appreciation of the beauty that’s around us in everyday life, and I hope this site lets people do that.
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Would you consider putting together a calendar or other merchandise?

Watch this space.  *sly grin*
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Any convention visits in your near future?
This is something that we’re currently looking into.  I personally won’t be able to get to a con until the end of May (that whole “real life” thing kinda getting in the way), but I’d like to find ways to publicize the site and let our audience know we’re here!

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Do you have a favourite PrettyGeek so far?

On the advice of my attorney, I decline to answer that question on the grounds that I have to wish to incur anyone’s wrath!  *grin*  Besides, they’re ALL pretty!
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Special thanks to Hugh Casey for the interview!

–DB

All photos are courtesy PrettyGeek.net.

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