I’m Dana Piccoli, I was born and raised just outside of Detroit, Michigan. While there I went to an all-girls high school, which was incredibly important to shaping the person I am today. I went to college and majored in Musical Theatre and did a lot of cabaret work and song-writing post-college. When I moved to NYC, fate had other plans for me and I worked in a number of fields including music publishing sales, a speaker’s bureau agent, and even an executive assistant for a dental start-up company. Luckily, I also met my wife, Lana. While I was working in fields that were, let’s say, less than emotionally fulfilling, I also started getting really into queer fandom via Twitter and Tumblr. I wrote silly songs about tv shows I loved, and one day a song I posted on Youtube about Pretty Little Liars got the attention of some folks and put me on a new career course that would change my life. I started writing for AfterEllen (this was back in 2012, not the AfterEllen that exists now) and soon worked my way up to one of the key writers. Eventually, I became the Staff Manager, and while that only lasted a year, I learned so much. Now I write about queer pop culture and have for the last eight years professionally. The writing and knowledge of my subjects, combined with my theatre background sort of merged and led to another profession, which is event hosting and panel moderating.
Photo by Beth Shoemaker Photography
We love your nickname 'Fairy Gaymother', how did that all come about?
It’s kind of a combo of things. My friend, actor Natasha Negovanlis, started calling me her fairy godmother a few years ago. When I told my group of friends, someone said, “more like Fairy Gaymother.” I mentioned that to Natasha and from then on it was Fairy Gaymother. I try very hard to live up to that standard, too. It means a lot, you know. It’s an important role and I want the name to conjure good and supportive things. I even trademarked it, though I don’t really make a big deal of that. It’s really more about trying to protect what it means to people to have someone they can trust in their community.
What panels can we catch you moderating at this year?
Oh, I can’t tell you that yet! You’ll find me at a few mainstage panels this year, of course, but I’m also the moderator mentor for ClexaCon and I’m excited that we’ll have some new faces moderating on panels of all sizes. I was also asked to be on a couple of panels which is a nice change of pace.
Who or what is a constant source of inspiration for you?
My community, the friends I’ve made in fandom. I know that Twitter can be a messy place but I have met my best friends there, and people from all over the world who have enriched my life in so many ways.
How can the community follow and support your upcoming projects?
Certainly follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I wrote a book last year called Savor the Moment, published by Bella Books. It’s a queer romance with a little comedy, and people have responded really well to it. The audiobook version came out on February 18th.
What's next for you in 2020?
Wow, 2020 is shaping up to be quite a year. I was approached by TomboyX to be a champion for their company, so I got to take some cool photos and share those with the world. I got to do a little fun campaign with Hunt a Killer, coz I love true crime and that was a pleasant surprise. I’ve also taken on a larger role with ClexaCon this year, helping their fabulous team bring you the best con yet. And, finally, I have become an Advisory Board Member for an LGBTQ travel startup called FabStayz. FabStayz teams up with LGBTQ and LGBTQ-ally hosts that are already working with Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. I really love the creator, Robert Geller’s energy and his excitement about helping LGBTQ travelers find comfortable and welcoming accommodations. I’ll be traveling with them this year and visiting some places you wouldn’t think of as queer destinations, but actually have a lot to offer LGBTQ travelers. I’m really excited about that.
What's something you're looking forward to? All the new films and tv shows that are bringing positive and complicated portrayals of LGBTQ to the big and small screens. Working more on travel and proving to the travel community that queer women actually do travel and do it frequently. Launching the Fairy Gaymother Initiative, which will be a program working with new LGBTQ+ writers and critics, helping them get their feet in the door and develop a style all their own.