Here’s a Q&A we did with Alex St. John, who those of you who attended the second cast reading & screening of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic at Cinefamily in May might recognize as the guest-starring Rarity for the reading who was chosen to fill in for Tabitha St. Germain! Alex did a great job; here’s what he had to say about the experience!:
Hi Alex! Tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, how old are you, do you go to school/or where do you work, etc.
Hello! I’m Alex St. John, a 19-year-old brony from Tempe, Arizona. Right now I’m studying Game Programming at the University of Advancing Technology. I also work part-time teaching children at Arizona Wado Karate on the corner of Warner and Alma School. *shameless plug* I really enjoy teaching, even if it’s the very-little-kids classes that nopony else wants to teach. In fact, one of my little seven-year-old boys is also a fan of MLP! Sometimes we talk about the show before or after class. Not during, though. I’m responsible.
How long have you been a My Little Pony fan, and how far did you travel to be at the Cinefamily screening on May 12?
I joined the Rock Band Club at my school last fall, when I started. Slowly I noticed that the other members were all making lots of MLP references, and that they had even put some songs from the show onto the game! So, maybe five months ago, I finally started watching the episodes, and you can guess how quickly I became a fan! There were five of us driving down to the screening, cramped in a sedan. Normally it would be a six-hour drive, but we had a very skilled driver who took us the whole way in four and a half (which, at times, was terrifying!). We started the trip at 4 am the day of, and we went home right after we were done. We ended up getting home at 4 am the next day, so it was a 24-hour trip.
What was the first thought that went through your head when you were chosen to be Rarity for a day?
“OH MY CELESTIA.” I didn’t really believe that it could be happening. There was NO way that I could be that extraordinarily lucky! I still had trouble believing it was all true, even while I was reading! I was so excited just to be there in the first place (it was the first time I’d seen the voice actors) that I couldn’t even comprehend how awesome it all was. Don’t worry, though, I’ve figured it out since!
Is Rarity actually your favorite pony, or do you have a different fave character?
Well, this may surprise you, but going into the theater that day, Rarity was my least favorite of the Mane Six! Not that I didn’t like her or anything, but I just hadn’t found a defining moment to make her special for me, like the rest of them. (For Applejack, it was in the Mysterious Mare-do-well, when she told us the names of her back legs!) I still volunteered, not because I really loved Rarity, but because I really love reading and acting. Of course, once I started reading her part, I couldn’t help but love her! Nowadays, I could never decide between the mane six, but I still have a personal favorite: Apple Bloom!
Have you ever performed in front of an audience before, or was this a first? Were you nervous or pretty confident?
Well, I can’t lie, I’ve actually performed many, many times before. I’ve been a few professional stage productions, and I’ve been in a number of improv troupes (not a big number, but a number nonetheless). You see, my parents are both professional actors, so I’ve practically grown up in the theater. I haven’t been in anything big since I started college, but I couldn’t resist taking a few theater classes while I’m here. Even with experience, though, I was still super-nervous onstage! After all, I had never acted with stars like Tara Strong and Ashleigh Ball! But even though I was scared, I tried to stay in the moment and not lose focus. Being a newer brony helped, I think: I know guys who simply wouldn’t be able to handle the times in the reading where Twilight calls Rarity “master!”
Did you find that having seen the episodes a lot helped, or did you end up relying on the script?
Seeing the episodes 2-3 times each definitely did help me with Rarity’s voice, but I also held onto the script for dear life! Hearth’s Warming Eve is one of my favorite episodes, but there were several extra lines in the script that weren’t in the show. I was very sure to read carefully and not get any of the words wrong. That made it extra-special for me when I noticed Ashleigh Ball stutter and almost miss one! (She didn’t miss it, though. She’s amazing.)
What was your favorite moment from the performance?
Oh, there were so many great moments! That day as whole was probably my favorite day ever! But some moments did stick out. I really loved it when I got to speak at the same time as the other actors. Andrea Libman (who is just as adorable in real life as Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie put together!) would count off, 1, 2, 3, and then I spoke right along with the other ponies! I’ve never felt so IN the show, and it was wonderful. Also, I can’t forget how wonderful Cathy Weseluck was. Right after I said the line, “I’m a princess!” which everyone laughed at, Cathy was so supportive (and in-character!) that she started stroking my hair! She was just so nice, I could hardly stand it.
How did it feel to be up there with the cast members? Did you get to talk to them at all after the show?
I’ll tell you what I told them: of all the things that could have happened that day, it was the. Best. POSSIBLE. THING! We didn’t chat too much right after the performance. It was just the usual pleasantries, like “Great job,” “Nice work,” and “This was such a great honor, you’re all so amazing, this was the greatest day of my life.” I think you can guess who said what.
Did you come to the signing at Toy Art Gallery afterward, and how was that?
I went to the signing, but I almost didn’t get in! Several people stopped me on the way out of the theater and asked me for my autograph, which was a little embarrassing, but very gratifying. I was near the back of the line when they announced that the actresses wouldn’t be staying for very much longer. Luckily, a woman who was running the event recognized me, and pulled me out to the front of the line. I would have been too shy to walk in front of all those other poor bronies who had waited in line just as long as I had, except that I really REALLY wanted those signatures! I’d also like to go ahead and apologize to the guy who was right behind me in line, with the amazing hand-made mlp skateboard. He asked me to sign it, which I was happy to do, but he didn’t get to the actual actresses. Now I’m the only signature on his cool work of art! That’s awkward… But it was great seeing the actresses again. They signed the script I stol- I mean pilfer- I mean innocently kept from the reading. Cathy even called me best pony! It was a great time.
Overall, what would you say about the entire experience, and will you come to another MLP event if we have more?
I would say that it was the greatest single day ever, ever, ever, EVER! Although I may have had a more special experience than some. I would certainly love to go to another event like this, but I’m still sort of a starving college student. Between money issues and my work responsibilities, I’m really surprised I was able to go to this one. Which reminds me, this is as good a time as any to give a shout-out to HeyLasFas! He saved me a seat in the carpool and helped me get my ticket even before I was sure I could go. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be a brony at all if it weren’t for him, so thanks Lasfas! You should check out his tumblr and things; he has an album coming out soon.
And because we have to ask – what is your favorite MLP shirt on WeLoveFine.com?!
You’re asking me to pick a favorite? Oh, I always have trouble with this… I do love the pixel-art “RAINBOW DASHED” shirt. Also, Fluttershy saying “I have a PhD in adorableness!” although I’m not sure I’m confident enough in my masculinity to actually wear that one. Derpy dressed like a sir, saying “Riveting tale, gentlecolt,” is fantastic as well. My absolute favorite, though, even though it’s not a t-shirt, has to be the Rainbow Dash hoodie with the mane and ears! I would definitely buy one if they were in men’s sizes, or if I were sure that an XL women’s would fit me. Rainbow Dash is best hoodie. <3
Thanks again for chatting with us, Alex!