Let me tell you something about Gillian Anderson. This woman is genuinely the sweetest person I have ever met. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Gillian three times: at Toronto Fan Expo in September 2015, after Streetcar in 2016, and again at Toronto Fan Expo in September 2016.
So, I have panic disorder. I’m really bad in big places full of people, which essentially describes a convention. Needless to say, the first time I went to a convention to meet Gillian, I had a really severe panic attack. I was shaking and crying and I sweat all of my makeup off. Anyway, when it finally began to subside, I decided to wait in line to get an autograph from Gillian. I gave her a handwritten book that I had put together full of letters that people wanted me to give to her. She was so incredibly grateful and kept telling me how sweet it was that I had taken the time to write all of the letters out in the book. At this point, I was still completely red and shaking a little and you could tell that I had been crying. You know what Gillian did? She just reached out her hand, with the most compassionate look on her face, and just held my hand in hers. My hand was shaking a ridiculous amount and she just held it so gently and looked at me with the sweetest, most empathetic expression. I think it’s extremely important to remember that she, too, suffers from anxiety attacks, and yet she still goes to events like Fan Expo to meet us.
The second time I met Gillian was on my birthday in May 2016. She signed after her performance of Streetcar - which, by the way, was the most incredible performance I’ve ever witnessed. Now, it’s important to note that the theatre had a rule about the actors not writing anything for their fans other than their signature (weird, I know). I figured I’d try anyway and when it was my turn to go up, I asked her if she could write “I want to believe” for me. She apologized and said that she couldn’t, and then signed my program. I wasn’t really expecting for her to be able to write it for me anyway, so I just shrugged it off and gave her the gift that I had for her: a first edition, first print copy of A Streetcar Named Desire. When I gave it to her, she was completely floored. She kept laughing in disbelief and leaned forward and rested her head on the counter for a bit. She was concerned because “this would have been so expensive!” but I told her that I wanted to give it to her because of the huge impact she’d had on me. Once again, she held my hand in hers, and told me that she would write “I want to believe” for me. She did, and I now have it tattooed on my ribs.
The third time I met her, at Toronto Fan Expo in September 2016, the first thing she said when I went up to her at the autograph table was, “have I met you before?” I said yes and she told me that she remembered meeting me. She then told me that the first edition of Streetcar was one of the sweetest gifts she had ever received. Then, I told her that I was fully prepared for her to roast me for it, but I showed her my tattoo of “I want to believe” in her handwriting. She was really sweet about it and told me that I’d chosen a good spot. She also brought up the book that I had given her the year before (how on earth she remembered that, I do not know). It is also so incredible to me that, out of literally hundreds of thousands of fans, she remembered who I was.
I’ve left out so much, but in conclusion to this long-ass post, Gillian Anderson is literally the kindest human being I’ve ever met. She’s so patient and empathetic and caring. She is one of the reasons that I’m alive to this day.