October 1, 2014: an excited 16-year-old fangirl prepped her posters for the concert experience of her life. She was sure that this would be the night to change everything for her. One Direction, opened by 5 Seconds of Summer, the two groups that had defined her up to that point, were performing, and she had seventh-row seats in a stadium designed to accommodate tens of thousands of fans. This was the night that they’d look out into the audience and look back at her.
Was it for some misguided thoughts of Wattpad romance? Maybe a little. But it was mostly to be seen. To know that her hard work to support, promote, encourage, and uplift the people who had brought her so much joy would be noticed for at least a brief second.
So, she put on her makeup and carefully selected her outfit from a curated wardrobe; a selection of skinny jeans and plaid shirts. She made her way to the center of Atlanta with the anticipation that this night would change her forever.
And it did.
From the opening bar of 5 Seconds of Summer’s set to One Direction’s encore, the night was filled with music that made her heart soar. Her adrenaline was through the roof as one poster after another was pointed out by different members of each band, earning the recognition she’d dreamt of.
Did she meet any celebrities that night? No. Did Wattpad romances materialize, or a phone number get slipped to her by a burly, unsmiling security guard? No. What she got was all she needed: laughs from Niall, a head nod from Michael, a wagging finger from a sassy Louis who recognized her humor in the “Hi. I like you. Run!” poster.
She went home that night and recounted the tales of her experiences for weeks, months and even years to come, the excitement fading to nostalgia as the events of that night became cherished memories and her life expanded to include new artists, new passions, and a greater understanding of what being a fan meant to her.
Fast forward seven years, and the same fangirl passions live today. Whether you live for K-pop (same) or still cry over 1D’s “hiatus” (sigh), the fangirl mentality remains one of the few hobbies or pastimes that are the fodder for jokes even amongst other fans. And as the current generation evolves into the most sensitive, plugged in, and compassionate one in history, the question has to be asked: why do you still embrace the mindset that being a fan of a musician or artist is something to be ashamed of?
Why do we continue to let people shame us for caring about our faves? Why do other people care at all how we spend our money, energy and time?
Just over a year ago, THP was born. And so many people have asked why. What prompted it? Why are we so focused on being a positive and uplifting light for artists who don’t know we exist or care that we do?
The answer is simple. Because it doesn’t matter who cares about us, what matters is that we care and want to be a change.
Not much has changed for the young girl who attended that concert so many years ago. In an interview, Michael Clifford of 5 Seconds of Summer was asked, “So what color are you going to dye your hair next?” It was the same token question he’d been asked in every interview since 2013, despite not having dyed his hair in years.
The realization that there are better questions to ask and the fans are the ones who usually ask them resonated. We can do it better — and we DO do it better — because we care. We’re different because the people we’re interviewing matter to us. We are different because our goal, like theirs, is to spread the word of their music and help them achieve their dreams.
Fan and fangirl are not dirty words. They’re labels that we at THP proudly embrace. Yeah, we’re fangirls. And we’re training an industry and general public who have long thought of us as a joke that we’re to be taken seriously.
Want to join us? Want to add your passions to our platform? What are you waiting for? The only prerequisite is that you love music and believe there’s a better way than the status quo and it’s as simple as clicking: here.
Featured image source: The Honey POP logo designed by Andreea Farcas