Girlhack Origins: Veronica Belmont - A Geek Girl's Geek Girl
Girlhack Origins is put on in collaboration with WITI.com and aims at featuring women who help represent being geeky, girly, and whoever they want to be, so that we can do the same.
Veronica Belmont is truly the geek girl’s geek girl. Currently she is co-host of Revision 3′s Tekzilla To keep up with Veronica on a day to day basis, check out her Twitter @Veronica
What was young Veronica like?
Young Veronica was a little tomboy, that’s for sure! I was a rough and tumble kid, I played outside a lot, but also spent a lot of time playing NES and computering. “Computering” is not a word, but it should be. (GH: I agree.)
What toys did you play with? My little ponies? She-Ra? Legos? Teddy Ruxpin?
So, both of my parents worked for toy companies when I was a kid... I was like their little test subject. One of my favorite toys were the Crash Test Dummies, you could build crash testing courses and slam mini cars in them, with the dummies inside! They would break up on impact. It’s actually kind of disturbing to think about now. I had a ton of Legos and Micro Machines, too. Basically, my house was full of choking hazards.
What was middle school and high school like for you? Were you in clubs? Do you remember awkward moments you now like to laugh at?
Well, middle school and high school are never a picnic, no matter what. I don’t care how “cool” you were, it sucked in one way or another. I fell into a few different circles, the geeky "we watch Monty Python after school together" crew and the punk rock / alternative crowd, I guess you would call it. I was in a few clubs, like Amnesty International and our local community youth group. The funniest thing I remember from high school were my clothes. My pants were insanely baggy; you could probably fit three of me in one pant leg alone. My geek friends liked to play computer games together, and would would stay after school and construct these giant ball bearing roller coasters or play with computer programs. We had a very cool science teacher that let us loiter around after the school closed.
Was there a definitive moment that tipped you towards the direction your life took off in?
There was a guy in town that was a little older than me, and I thought he was the coolest person I had ever met. He ended up going to Emerson College, and he was telling me about the school and the classes he was taking. I immediately knew that was where I wanted to go, and I decided that since I loved music I should study audio/radio production there. It was the only school I applied to, and I got in. Had I not been accepted, I have no idea where my life would have taken me… I met all of my best friends there (who I still have to this day), figured out who I really was, and it was my audio training that got me my first job at CNET.
What is your first memory of going online? What did you do?
Hah! I was a chat room addict. I became totally obsessed with chat. But the first website I remember visiting was Discovery.com, because it was the only URL I had ever heard advertised on TV.
What is the girliest part of you and what is the geekiest part of you? (Guilty pleasures welcome!)
The girliest part of me is that I love fashion and makeup, and that only happened because I realized that none of my clothes were suitable to wear on-camera. The geekiest part of me? Wow. Well, I do have a science fiction and fantasy podcast and book club called The Sword and Laser. I’ve been reading SFF ever since I was a kid, because my Dad has a huge collection that he would lend to me.
If you could combine all the stereotypical geek parts of you with all the stereotypical girl parts of you, what would be the resulting item? (as in – high heels that project where you should be walking on your path, Cher’s clothing software program from Clueless).
Cher’s closet program was amazing, wasn’t it? Nothing today even comes close to that. In a way I’m already kind of combining my love of fashion and tech using an iPhone app called Pose. I post my favorite outfits, you can check out what other girls and guys are wearing, and find great stores in your area.
I tend to think that as women see tech more and more as a tool that can make their lives easier and continue to persue their passions with tech, there will be better adoption rates and cross over into women going into STEM fields. Would you agree? What’s your solution to getting more ladies into tech?
I think youth programs are really important, to foster that early love of science and math that girls may have. Groups and programs like Microsoft’s DigiGirlz and Dot Diva (from WGBH in Boston) are great groups that are focused on preparing girls for careers in computing and technology.