One of the joys of fandom is being able to share your passions. And thanks to Ashley and David Eckstein, that just got a lot easier (and cooler) for women.
Representing one’s fandoms can be a difficult task for the female gender. I say that from experience; I’m all about showing off my allegiances. One of those happens to be to the San Diego Padres, and I went on a rant when there wasn’t a T-shirt for my favorite second baseman, a certain David Eckstein. You can imagine my delight to hear that someone that I am a huge fan of was making it easier for me to represent the things I love.
Ashley and David have stepped in to help out the female fan with their company Her Universe, which is oriented toward the ladies who love Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and yes, even Sharktopus. The merchandise they’ve come up with is certainly different; check out these awesome Battlestar pilot wings, for example.
What makes Her Universe even more unique is that they approach the business as people who are both fans, and part of two huge fandoms: David is a two-time World Series champion and Ashley is the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. They know what they’re talking about, because they’ve been a part of the fandom experience in every way possible.
I recently connected with Ashley and David to ask them about the company and their own fandoms. Read on…
This is a really great concept. What inspired you to create the company?
Ashley Eckstein: It goes back to sports, because Alyssa Milano started her own line called Touch, and it’s for female sports fans. She started with baseball and I know she’s expanded now. Half of all baseball fans are women, and we were stuck buying the boxy men’s jersey. She approached MLB [Major League Baseball] and wanted to do a line made for women. The second her line came out, I was just so grateful. I enjoyed wearing outfits made for me.
Once I got the job on Star Wars, I started going to events, and I’m a big Star Wars fan. I just wanted clothes and merchandise made for women. I thought it existed!
You’re not just business partners, but also happily married. I know people who can’t stand being in the same room with their relatives, let alone working with them, so what’s the secret to your success?
David Eckstein: It goes pretty well. Ashley handles most of the stuff, and I just come around for the big meetings. (laughs)
Ashley Eckstein: The thing is, I respect David’s opinion more than anyone. He’s usually the final say when I have a question. He doesn’t specialize in designing women’s clothes, but I know I’ll get an honest opinion from him. We just trust each other.
At the same time, Ashley, you’re still a working actress. How do you two balance this with everything else that you do?
Ashley Eckstein: A lot of travel. Once David stopped playing [baseball], you’d think that the amount of travel would slow down, but it really hasn’t. The nice thing is, especially last year, we were together all the time. We sometimes didn’t know what city we were in, but we experienced it together.
This is a company for the fans – so what would you two say that your fandoms are?
Ashley Eckstein: I’ve always been a sci-fi and fantasy fan. I was a Star Wars fan growing up as a kid. Playing a role on Clone Wars was a dream come true. I’m also a huge Disney fan. My dad worked for Disney. I grew up in Orlando. I love Alice in Wonderland. I’m going to put together an Alice in Wonderland room.
David Eckstein: Other than baseball, my thing is, I love wrestling. I watched wrestling non-stop as a little kid.
Ashley Eckstein: He DVR’s it.
What’s the biggest geek moment you’ve ever had?
David Eckstein: SyFy had a Christmas party and [pro wrestler] Cody Rhodes was there. And I just get so shy, I can’t even speak, and Ash had to walk over there.
Ashley Eckstein: He made me watch the documentary on [Cody’s father and wrestling legend] Dusty Rhodes one day, so I got the rundown and I knew how excited David was.
Give me the coolest piece of memorabilia in your collection.
David Eckstein: I’ve got John Cena’s heavyweight title belt. It was on auction at a fundraiser and Scott Rolen bought it for me.
Ashley Eckstein: One thing that’s cool that we did as a fundraiser is, Louisville Slugger was kind enough to donate bats to us for the Boys & Girls Club of America. The worldwide Star Wars fan group painted each bat to look like a lightsaber, It was David’s bat painted to look like Ahsoka’s lightsaber. Some of the Padres players signed it [and] some of the Star Wars cast.
You’re both significant in certain fandoms, with Ashley being in Star Wars and David as a World Series MVP. Do you ever stop and reflect on your place in that history?
Ashley Eckstein: Oh, gosh. I don’t think we really think about it. We’ve just been very blessed to have the opportunities we’ve had. I definitely pinch myself and think, “How did I get here?” Because we’re fans, you don’t take it for granted.
David Eckstein: It was more in the sense of, it was something I always wanted to accomplish. It was what I dreamed about as a kid. It was a dream come true.
Aside from the obvious, is there something in your respective careers that you’re particularly proud of?
David Eckstein: It goes back to the two World Series. To look back and say that you were part of two teams that won, that was really cool to me.
Ashley Eckstein: I always wanted to work on the Disney Channel growing up, and I had the opportunity to do that on That’s So Raven. I’m working on a new show for the Disney Channel; I can’t really say details yet, [but] I grew up watching the Disney movies, and to be involved in this project is very similar in many ways, In front of the producers, director, and my husband, I geeked out. I rambled for like five minutes with tears in my eyes. “You don’t understand, this is a dream come true!”
I [also] always wanted to play the good guy and with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, that’s been really cool and rewarding. Working in children’s programming, you realize you’re making a difference in kids’ lives. To play such a positive character for kids has been such a rewarding experience.
What shows are you currently watching?
Ashley Eckstein: We’re big TV watchers. Where do we even start? We love Face/Off, on Syfy. We’re big fans. We actually picked that up before anyone ever knew about it.
We watch Desperate Housewives, American Idol, The Voice, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, Biggest Loser. The Mentalist, Person of Interest, Being Human, The X Factor, Parks & Recreation.
My thanks to Ashley and David for taking the time for this interview! You can find more on Her Universe at the website (http://www.heruniverse.com) and on Twitter at @heruniverse, and keep an eye out for them at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con in July.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.