Interviewing celebrities is a definite perk of the job. There’s an element of thrill when you get to be so close to your favorite actors and characters. However, I also love the playmakers – the writers, producers, and directors of films and television shows. As Troy Bolton in High School Musical would say, “You know, the one who makes everyone else look good.” So when I found out we were interviewing Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios’ EVP of Physical Production & AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Executive Producer, I did a happy dance. Then it turned into a therapy session I didn’t know I needed.
Thank you to Disney for inviting me to #InfinityWarEvent and providing travel and accommodations. All fangirling opinions and girl crushes on Victoria Alonso are my own.
Are You All Moms? |Victoria Alonso
As we sat down with Victoria Alonso, I didn’t know what to expect. The moment she walked into the room, her presence was known. Everyone in the room was tired as we had just attended the Avengers: Infinity War premiere the night before, but her enthusiasm woke us all up. Immediately Victoria wanted to know us and wanted us to ask her whatever we wanted.
“Are you all moms,” she asked. Most of us in the group of 25 bloggers were mothers. She wanted to know how many children we had. We all yelled out a number, with me saying, “five.” I’ve gotten used to the looks of surprise when I say I’m the mother of 5 girls, but what Victoria said next pierced me.
“You’re my people. We need to work harder.”
We Need to Work Harder
I just wanted to respond, “I know.” The interview started, and I listened as she talked about being a mother to a 7- year-old daughter. She implored many words of wisdom, but I couldn’t get what she said out of my head, so I asked her what she meant when she said we need to work harder.
“I think that women need to believe in their core that they’re equal. Because I see it in my daughter at seven, and, boy, she’s gonna take it over. And there’s a shift somewhere along the way, I think when they turn between 12 and 15. And something shifts. Something shifts, and I think it’s within us. You gotta believe it in your heart.”
As she’s saying these words, my eyes fill up with tears. Victoria notices and comes to give me a hug, so then of course the tears turn into an ugly cry. She asks why that stirred things up for me.
Honestly it was a combination of things. First, she hit the age ranges of my daughters in her comments. Second, her statements about women needing to believe that they’re equal hit hard being the mom of 5 girls. Third, I felt guilt for being away from my family. Fourth, I was really tired, which always makes me more emotional.
The Power of Women at Marvel
When I look at the picture above I think, look at that bright pop of red amongst those neutral colored suits. I scream, “You go, Victoria Alonso!” Then I get a little mad and frustrated. Why aren’t there more women in that picture? Why is it one out of eight? Sure, it could be there weren’t any others nearby and that was just who they grabbed. But amongst the executives and producers and presidents, why is there one woman?
Victoria said, “My mom used to say if it has been done, it can. And if it hasn’t been done, it should. And here I am.” And yes, here she is. Victoria Alonso is the role model. The one I point to my Marvel-loving girls, and say yes, you can do it, too.
When my middle child, the one who adores Captain America like her mama, chooses a Captain America Build-a-Bear instead of a My Little Pony one, she gets a questioning look. When she wears her Captain America mask around Target or out to dinner, she gets looks and whispers from other little girls. But you know what? I may sometimes feel the sting for her, but she doesn’t care. She is a changemaker like Victoria Alonso, and the emotion that came to me that day was also a sense of pride, because I know I’m raising these girls to say, “Here I am.”
The power of women at Marvel is here. It started with Victoria Alonso and continues on with Black Panther and Captain Marvel. She is finding roles for women to be represented. Victoria said, “That is gonna be change after change. And it’s not as earth-rocking as Black Panther perhaps was, but every little change is gonna create something that will allow for our girls and our boys to be identified and be included.” Poco a poco, people.
“When you go to that table, you sit at that table, not on the side, not behind. You sit at the table. And own it.”
-Victoria Alonso when talking about sitting at the Big Boys’ table
Marvel Movies for Kids
There are so many things I learned from this interview, I need three more posts! However, another thing Victoria said about raising children is, “Expose them to stories that you in your true self believe that will inspire you, and it will go in, and it will inspire them. Show them all kinds of art. Show them all kinds of music. Show them the differences of this world.”
Well you know what? Those movies are Marvel movies. I am not a comic book reader. It’s not that it wouldn’t have interested me as a child, but I didn’t have anyone to show me or expose me to them. My Latino father was handing me issues of Condorito. But I have fallen in love with the MCU, because these are the kinds of stories of hope and love that inspire me. Here’s a world full of superheroes that want to protect the world and sacrifice themselves for the good of the people.
I also am an admin of a Facebook group called Marvel Moms. It’s full of 150 women (who are not just there to gawk at the attractive men) who want to talk about these stories, these characters, these plot twists! These stories are also important for our kids. I often write Marvel movie reviews for parents, because they want to know. They’re looking to me to tell them, is there too much violence? Is there too much language? Can I take my kids?
Victoria said that having children changes who you are as a person. It’s also impacted her decisions with movies and how she’ll explain things on the playground. She asks, “Is that stab necessary? Do we need to see that blood? Can we just stop the punchy punch?… I think it’s a constant question as a parent.” Yes, I completely agree! I want to share these stories with my daughters. The Dora Milaje in Black Panther? This is who I want to show them. But there was so much violence I couldn’t bring the youngest girls.
I would take it one step further and ask is this language necessary? Yes, humor is an important element to these movies. It’s one of the reasons I think many females have become Marvel fans, but do I need to explain what an orgy is to my child? I couldn’t let them see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. One of the biggest laughs in Black Panther for me was when Shuri says to T’Challa, “What are those???” No profanity, no cheap laugh. Just well written, witty banter.
I need to share these stories with my children, my girls. They don’t need to be G-rated, but I just ask that you ask, “Is it necessary?”
Avengers: Infinity War is Now in Theaters
Victoria Alonso is an Executive Producer on Avengers: Infinity War. It will blow your mind. This interview is one that has changed me for the better. I will be a better mother, a changemaker, a storyteller. The picture above is one of my favorites. All my tears had washed off my makeup, and here I am sharing a laugh with the most powerful woman at Marvel Studios. Cheapest therapy session ever. Move over boys, my girls are coming for spots at the table.
Go see Avengers: Infinity War now in theaters!