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To celebrate the release of the long-awaited MS. INKWELL GALLERY book this fall (co-produced by Harvey Awards nominated Red Stylo Media), the Inkwell Awards decided to release it’s first interview with Holly Black AKA Hailey Skaza-Gagne, their present, fan-favorite spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell. After a brief period of artists mistaking her for her predecessor Anna White, she has carved a path and left an impression all her own. The organization has had a proud history and roster of ladies take on this role but what is it about Hailey that has made her the most prolific and fundraising successful version to date while most of the others only appeared once or twice? Hailey took a few moments to sit down and talk to us recently so you can find out more about her right here:
IA: Where are you from and what is your background with comics/conventions and cosplay?
HAILEY: I’m from New Bedford, MA, just like Bob! I am not a comic buff but I was introduced to a lot of pop culture growing up and I know a few things here and there that have always interested me, especially Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios’ films. I’ve only been attending conventions for the past 2 years or so and I’ve only cosplayed for about a year but it was loads of fun and I plan to do it in the future when I get a chance.
IA: How did you hear of the Inkwell Awards and how did you become the Ms. Inkwell spokesmodel?
HAILEY: I heard of the Inkwell Awards after I became good friends with director Bob Almond through a mutual friend <Inkwell volunteer Darnel Staley>. After I expressed my interest in the comic convention world and my knowledge of geek pop culture he offered me a volunteer position which I was more than happy to take and over time I assumed the role of India Wells AKA Ms.Inkwell which I absolutely adore.
IA: Is your name Holly Black or Hailey Skaza-Gagne? You’ve been publicly listed and called both.
HAILEY: It’s Hailey:) At first I decided to take on persona of ‘Holly Black’ (which BTW was intended to contrast the previous spokesmodel alias of ‘Anna White’) because I felt like using that
alias would make it easier for me to separate my convention life and my real life but, in reality, I’d just rather be called Hailey. Trying to run two, separate Facebook accounts and trying to
keep up the whole Holly thing turned out to be more difficult than I expected so from here on out I’d rather be known now and forever as Hailey Skaza-Gagne, or just Hailey because its way
easier than trying to remember and pronounce my two last names:)
IA: What do you think of the character that you portray? Do you feel that you bring anything extra to reinforce her persona or add to her image?
HAILEY: I really love the character I portray! When I’m working as the spokesmodel I feel like me being my happy, bubbly self is the little, extra kick that I bring to the table and the character. My fangirl enthusiasm is authentic and I’m always thrilled to be at a show, whether a return visit or a new venue. It honestly never gets old.
IA: What do you like best about representing the Inkwell non-profit organization?
HAILEY: In itself, the fact that I am an essential part with raising funds for the non-profit is the best! Besides that I get to meet various artists who donate to us that are a lot of fun to chat with and know. Not just the creators, but also the fellow, volunteer Inkwell members! I’ve made many friends who I’m excited to revisit at various shows.
IA: What shows have you attended with the organization? Do you have a favorite venue and why?
HAILEY: Not counting the ones I attended as a cosplay volunteer who assisted the former Ms. Inkwell Anna White, I’ve attended 9 shows, 1 ceremony and 10 convention appearances to date- from 2015 Heroes Con, Connecticut ComiCONN, Hartford Comic Con, Albany Comic Con, and Rhode Island Comic Con, and for 2016, the Kubert School awards ceremony, Albany Comic Con, Heroes Con, and recently Twin Tiers Comic Con and the Terrificon at the Mohegan Sun <formerly CT ComiCONN>, but my all time favorite location has to be Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. It’s where I first made my debut as Ms. Inkwell and there’s always something exciting going on there wherever you look. And its also the biggest show of the year that we attend!