Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Sandmeier.
Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Watertown, NY but after a few years my family and I settled in my father’s hometown of Lodi, CA where I started my schooling and spent time with my father’s family. Shortly after my brother was born we moved to Los Angeles where I transitioned into a different lifestyle. In LA, I was intrigued by the diversity of the population. Whilst attending John Burroughs Middle School I not only felt insecure of what my body was turning into but also began to experience what was later diagnosed as anxiety and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) but we’ll get to how that matters later.
After learning what anime conventions were throughout high school, I met a woman who I consider a sister, Rayko. She welcomed me into her life and this is what later led to me working with her band “Lolita Dark”, networking at conventions, and building my self-esteem. Through this growth, I met Cyril Lumboy, designer of “dolldelight”. We not only became friends but later co-workers when MyxTV started filming “The Doll Life”. During those two years, I enjoyed hanging out with the film crew, embracing the filming life, and learning what sacrifices comes with these experiences. This sparked a new interest in what goes on behind the scenes. I met Nerdbot Media and with my experience and drive, I was given opportunities: hosting live-stream shows, coordinating panels, fashion shows, and after parties.
I would never have met Stan Lee, be on a reality show with Cyril, do photoshoots and music videos with Traci Hines, find my amazing quarantine companion, or have a diverse resume if it weren’t for Perseverance. Being diagnosed with Anxiety and PMDD in my twenties, I finally had a label to what was making the journey difficult. There have been plenty of times where I stared at myself in the mirror and questioned if anything I did was worth it, good enough, or beneficial. Every individual is capable of doing something they’re passionate about. The challenges in life will always be there, but it’s how you approach each challenge and what you take away from them that helps with growth. Having a close network of friends is also very crucial, especially if they are honest and loyal because any business has its sharks that will jump at any opportunity to attack weakness. Having that support group to give me advice and cheer me on is genuinely what has kept me moving forward instead of calling it quits.
When people ask me what I do it’s not that I don’t do anything but it’s more of what have I done that can help me move forward at this very moment? I’m constantly thirsting for knowledge and skills that spark my interest. Currently, I’m a recluse in my apartment using all the free time in quarantine being productive and investing my time on projects that were put on hold. By doing this, I’m in pre-production for a couple of podcasts, a YouTube show, and am a recurring guest on Nerdbot’s “Retro Crew Review” as well as fashion coordinator for Anime Pasadena. Long story short, I am just a lucky girl who geeks out on Cosplay, Fashion, and Food that also likes to keep busy with creative outlets with a goal to be financially comfortable while doing things I love to do.
Has it been a smooth road?
Life is never smooth. Just being Asian American I’m already categorized as a specific type of person (on and off camera). I had to go against the stereotype by being honest, opinionated, and standing my ground. By doing these people that didn’t take me very seriously are intimidated and labeled me as “that crazy chick”. We are slowly transitioning into a new generation where sugar coating really shadows the points one can try to make. I stand my ground and if one door closes, another will open.
Another challenge is my mentality; I am my biggest critic. If I didn’t meet my deadline, faced writer’s block, had no feedback, or received negative feedback I would immediately beat myself down and belittle myself. I would have anxiety attacks thinking no one cared about me. It sounds pretty extreme because that is the reality of it.
There are people who are unable to work because of the severity. Whenever I fell into this downward spiral I either cried myself to sleep wallow in my own self-pity or swallowed my pride and reached out to a friend desperately asking what I accomplished. This is where having a group of honest, loyal friends comes into play. They give me the honest truth and remind me, “You have done so much already, why break that cycle? Take a mental day off and try again tomorrow.” Just because I fell off the path doesn’t mean I should quit, the road to success isn’t perfect.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business are my set of skills. I work with Nerdbot Media as a host, writer, fashion show coordinator, and front desk after party management. I was the host for their nerdy debate livestream “What’s Better?” and up until quarantine “Foodie Function”. Now I’m a recurring guest for their show “Retro Crew Review” where we discuss one film from before 2000 from casting to special effects.
I’m also writing a few short stories for my partner’s podcast that we are in pre-production for, working on scripts for a future series, and prepping an online show concept about food. With conventions being online or postponed it’s all been preparations and concepts until it’s safe to get back into the grind.
I’m extremely thankful for Nerdbot Media’s faith in me and giving me opportunities that help me grow alongside the company. To have contacts in so many genres of entertainment excited about their projects and concepts is a drive for me; I love being a part of the team if it’s being a panelist talking about mental health, the safety of convention goers, fashion designers, musicians or running a fashion show from beginning to end. It’s exhausting, the grind is real, but the reward knowing I’ve accomplished something is worth every minute.
I’ve noticed I am given these opportunities because of my passion and drive. I ask questions to get the details, I reach out to my network to see who wants to be a part of it and how it can benefit them, and with larger events it’s hard but to be there to make sure everyone is having fun is what makes me beneficial and different from others. Let’s get the job done but have fun while doing it!
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Our city is HUGE! There is space to do what I do and the great thing about it is that I’m not restricted to one region. If someone was starting out I would say to start small first. If you want to start a podcast, video series, or live-stream you can do it anywhere! Reach for the stars, just don’t forget to build that spaceship.
Los Angeles is big and one person in a sea as big as this can get lost or overwhelmed if they’re not ready for the harsh reality. Start small and take your time getting bigger gigs. I have coordinated fashion shows for about five years but if I had an offer to work at Los Angeles Fashion Week, I’d accept a small role because I know, ego aside, that I am not ready to take on huge responsibilities. It’s okay to say no and go slow.
There are so many locations that are perfect for fashion events, but we can’t grow and evolve as a city if we can’t better our society and surroundings. It’s such a beautiful city with lots of history but you also have to weigh the good and bad, see if it’s worth it. Los Angeles has many wonderful opportunities so if you do want to start out here you have to have contacts, you have to have a hard shell, you have to be committed in what you’re pursuing.
- Website: www.nerdbot.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/stephaniesandmeier
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/realrisu
Dr Alan Grant cosplay image: Nick Ryu @magicstarfire, Jedi Mulan cosplay image: Geo Mtz @olympian_studios, White dress dolly image: Cyril Lumboy @dolldelight