Meet Ellie of Religiously Nerdy. A blerdy community member that I’ve made friends with on The Wonder of Anime Discord Server. Over the past year or so, I was able to learn a bit more about her and the work she does with Religiously Nerdy. Religiously Nerdy is a collective featuring three young Black Muslim women on a mission to identify spirituality in anime, manga, and pop culture. Through exciting conversations on their blog and Podcast.
I reached out for an interview and here’s what Ellie had to say.
- When did you first realize that you were a nerd? And was it something that you struggled with?
Ellie: I first realized I was a nerd in middle school. I had been watching anime and reading manga since elementary, but it wasn’t apparent to me until then and I was in nerdy clubs at school and watching Pretty, Brown, and Nerdy in the library at lunch.
- Music-wise, what are you currently listening to?
Ellie: Currently I’ve been on a Korean R&B binge. I turn on the Crush radio and let it play on Spotify. If I’m not listening to that, then I’m in my nostalgia tunes listening to Kate Nash or Linkin Park – two very different genres haha.
Let’s get Blerdy with Religiously Nerdy
- Name 5 Piece of Media that holds a special place in your heart.
Ellie: Video games, I haven’t played a lot lately, but I enjoy watching my favorite people play them. Blogs like The Wonder of Anime, But Why Tho, and SDE give me a source of inspiration even in my off season. As much as I can’t stand it, Twitter. It allows me to keep up with trends and network. But even more than that, it allows me to interact with people and our similar passions. Discord has a hold over me too.
There are a bunch of groups that I’m a part of, locally and through groups on Twitter that I try to be active in like The Wonder of Anime and Anibaes Anime and Blerdy Otome‘s Blerdy Tribe. I rarely go on there, but Instagram is also a piece of media that I pay attention to. Not just for Religiously Nerdy, but for myself too picking up on manga trends and seeing what the Mangatubers do.
- When picking up a new game, manga, or book. What are things that you look for?
Ellie: When I’m picking up a new manga, I’m looking at the recommendations that I’ve received from people that know my taste. If I’m just out and about and I see something that’s a new release, however, I try to see if it will push me outside my comfort zone of regular Shonen and Shoujo. I’ve been blessed to have found Seinen titles like Gangsta, JJBA, and Wotakoi to name a few. Sometimes when I’m looking for romance manga I find out later that it’s seinen like Ao Spring Ride. It’s always something to learn!
Content Creation Corner
- What does “being creative” mean to you? And how does that affect how you create?
Ellie: Being creative to me means being inspired. Having something you’re passionate about and having that deep desire to share it with the world. That affects how I create now, so much so that I’m on a hiatus from writing because I want to make sure I put out the best of myself and show my passion through my work. I want that to be seen, not just the words on the screen.
- Who or what influenced the beginning of your creator journey?
Ellie: At the time, I had a friend who knew I liked watching anime. He was also Muslim and he brought up the idea that I should start a blog to talk about it. Prior to Covid, we even hosted a watch party to watch Spirited Away for a bunch of Muslims who had never seen the film, and I got to guide them through that journey. You can read more about that here: Spirited Away Viewing Party
- If given the opportunity, Are there any creatives you would like to work with?
Ellie: Religiously Nerdy is very niche and we’ve been fortunate to talk with a lot of people on our podcast that fit that niche. But if we look outside of that, I would love to work with Lisa from The Wonder of Anime and Destiny Senpai. I’ve been following them for so long that I look up to them a lot for inspiration. So if I ever had a sliver of a chance, I’d hop on that opportunity!
- What has been the most piece of content you’ve made? And why do you think it resonated with people?
Ellie: There is a personal favorite on the blog that I have. I didn’t write it though! Toyin, a co-writer on the blog, did. It’s a blog post about Spirituality in Avatar the Last Airbender. This has been one of our most viewed blog posts. I share it anytime I see Muslims asking about spirituality in anime or if there are any good qualities in anime. While ATLA is one of those shows where people debate if it’s a real anime or not, for Muslims who don’t really watch it, or are genuinely curious this is the show we drop first and we have our points to back it up!
- What is something you’ve learned about yourself through content creation?
Ellie: I am impatient! I want the content to flow through me and the words to fly out of my fingers. I have also learned that I can overwhelm myself with all the things I want to do. So I try to make cohesive lists and plan accordingly.
- Balancing work, school, hobbies, and your creative goals is a lot. Which aspect do you find the most challenging, and how do you push through?
Ellie: When I get off work, I try to decompress that way I have the energy to do whatever else I need to do. My hobbies and content creation kinda flow together, since I love reading manga in my spare time. It’s the act of actually creating that sometimes gets thrown in the wayside if I’m being honest. The best way I push through is with the help of the other two, Tobi and Toyin, that pushes me to make posts and be active online. Accountability is key.
There you have it. Our interview with Ellie from Religiously Nerdy. Thank you for letting me pick your brain a bit. Be sure to check out Religiously Nerdy and let them know that I sent you! I’m really happy about how this turned out. And hopefully you enjoyed it too! So let’s us know! With the being said, I’d like to leave you with some tips from Ellie.
“ Be patient with yourself. Let passion shine in the work you do. Always take necessary breaks”
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