If I could shed my skin and reinvent myself, I would be the…
By Yasmin Zayed & Aoife Sheridan
Ever wonder why the Mean Girl is so goddamn mean or the heroine is so annoyingly perfect? Wonder no more. She’s Just the… is a podcast-come-personal-reflection from trope super-nerds Yasmin Zayed and Aoife Sheridan.
(in a film, novel, or play) a character whose evil actions or motives are important to the plot.
Villains come in all forms and fantastical realms, from defying the laws of science to the everyday evil we are presented with in the real world. The best villains tend to be the ones struggling with humanity and kindness. Their originally, somewhat plausible, motivations get traded out for anarchy and power. Their fight primarily revolves around the battle for justice in which there is a grey area for the morals that are cast aside. These enfants terribles are the ones to find character development and lessons greater than that of the heroes.
If I could shed my skin and reinvent myself, I would be the villain. Of course, wreaking havoc and hurting others is never something anyone should want to do. My motivation would be more about the fascination of antagonists that their counterparts don’t provide. The average hero’s story consists of a more basic narrative which involves a journey, a struggle, and then ultimately results in their triumph. On the other hand, villains and I share the potential to be wild cards, changing the hands of fate and destiny.
Villains have the ability to lose popularity, wealth, power…everything, and will end up doing so. They gain an understanding of humility from their downfall, which can only be achieved through true loss. These very developments create personal revelations, enlightening both the character and the observers of their story. This enlightenment is one I not only observe but appreciate, making this another pro for becoming an adversary.
The anti-heroes are usually composed of jealousy and hurt, being universally understood to have more flaws and thus more character and personality compared to the nice, perfectly moral main character. So, while the talk of humility and all is great, there are also components of being the archnemesis that appeal to everyone. They create the most glorious musical numbers, have the most elaborate regalia, make a grand entrance, and bring a sense of action that only occurs through the power of an opposing force. So, all in all, at least I’ll know that in my treacherous defeat as a villain, it will be spectacular.
If I could shed my skin and reinvent myself, I would be the…
a woman who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.
Did someone say, ‘show us your ego?’ I can’t help it. The gravitational pull of the star of the show is just too great. It reels me in, keeping me spinning in its star-studded orbit. To be a heroine is my heroin.
From the get-go, scratching around the streets of Dublin, all attitude and anti-femme, I craved the focus of attention. No boogieman besieged nightmares or missing teeth in my nightly dreams. Oh no. I was otherwise occupied, flying neighbors to safety from an imaginary, exploding volcano or swinging into a burning building, Tarzan-style, sans loincloth, to liberate the terrified occupants. Were there no limits to my abilities, no end to my fantasies?
At the altar of fiction, I worshipped, sadly mostly male, superheroes. Not Wonder Woman but Super- and Spiderman. I loved Princess Leia but wanted to be Han Solo. I picked the Three Investigator, when I could have been Nancy Drew!
But there were, in fact, limits. Even in my dreams. A stuttering loss of the ability to fly or a swing rope unraveled. Ultimately an epic superpower fail, bringing me crashing back down to earth.
In life, some bite of reality always intervenes. A bout of imposter syndrome or a glance at a real life heroine. Something to check back that sense of self. A relative ying to my over-inflated yang.
With my mellowing years, I’ve learned to understand and appreciate the joy of elevating others into the spotlight. Seeing someone flourish, evolve and succeed brings an equal and more long-lasting rush. A new addiction perhaps.
But whether in reality or imagination, every protagonist needs their archfoe.
While Yasmin seeks to be the villain, she has quickly become my real world heroine.
Together with words, we can take on the world.
Writing became the passion shared between Aoife and Yasmin, opening them up to a new world of discussion. Largely inspired by “The Bechdel Cast,” the pair began looking at their favorite topics of interest to insert in a conversational podcast. As a somewhat odd start, the first objective became a title for the upcoming work. Names like “Trope talk,” “Improper women” and “Not like other girls” were proposed before creativity struck. “She’s just the…” was thus born, revealing a world of possibilities open for deliberation. Growing into the idea of using a new platform (Anchor) to record these ideas was slightly challenging, as the writing pair found many outtakes, mainly due to their non-stop giggling. However, once they found their balance, the conversations just could not stop! This led to the creation of the prompt: “If I could shed my skin and reinvent myself, I would be the…” resulting in two answers that could not be any more different. A heroine and a villain, traditionally enemies, became the perfect duo.
Check out our behind the scenes drafts and podcast outtakes for a fun insight into the Yasmin/Aoife axis of awesomeness.
Also, the full first episode of the podcast “She’s Just The … Mean Girl” is on Spotify!
Yasmin is a full-time NYC student completing school work, catching up with friends and studying. When she has the time, she likes to harbor her passion for writing, finding anything and everything as her muse. Born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn the hectic city life is not new to her but in fact, an environment she thrives in. Living in Staten Island, she finds moments of peace to document her findings of the world.Her first published project, aside from her first grade short story, is her upcoming podcast “she’s just the…” as a first year mentee of Girls Write Now.
By day, Aoife is an IT Consultant, consumed by binary bits and bytes. By night, Aoife is a creative writer, working on her second novel, blog posts and much poetic nonsense. Her first novel, Cut The Blue, starring Floss McFarland, was self-published in 2013. The second installment to this story is due to be published in 2021. Born in Dublin, Ireland, she is at her happiest when writing quirky, character-based fiction, interwoven into the fabric of Ireland’s capital city. She lives in downtown Brooklyn with her wife, a golden retriever and several imaginary friends.