Get To Know Miah and Leana: The Creators of Unity Days Convention

Danielle de la Torre
By: Danielle de la Torre

Bringing fans of The 100 together, to make new friends or catch up with past friends, and enjoy an incredible experience with cast members of the show in beautiful Vancouver. Not only is this convention set in beautiful Vancouver, Canada but it is also where The 100 films and where you can visit actual places where scenes have been shot. This is a small part of what Leana and Miah can offer you if you attend Unity Days 2018. The bigger part they give you is a trip that will give you memories to last you a lifetime.

Being that the convention is fast approaching I started thinking about how incredible these women were and what they were doing for fans of The 100. Offering a safe place to come love the show, meet cast members, and dive head first into where The 100 takes place. Immersing yourself in everything The 100 while being present in a beautiful town.

I reached out to Miah and Leana to learn more about them and how Unity Days came to see the light of day.

Angsty Nerd: Every fan has their origin story for their favorite shows. What’s your The 100 origin story? 
Leana: I heard great things about The 100 over social media — it’s storyline, representations, detailed sets, and amazing acting. A couple years ago I binged season 1 and 2 on Netflix and I’ve been watching it live ever since.
Miah: I was watching another show that wasn’t grabbing my attention anymore. As I surf the channel, I came upon episode 3 of The 100 (season 1) Earth Kills, and it was an intense episode. I love the complexity of the characters – how it’s not just black and white and how each character has a story to tell. I love how fast-paced the show is that it demands your attention right from the beginning. I was so floored by the ending when Charlotte misunderstood Bellamy’s advice and killed Wells. I was so intrigued by the storyline that I watched the prior episodes on Netflix that same night. I was hooked ever since.
AN: How did Unity Days all come about? 
L: Miah and I were both at a convention in Calgary (separately) and realized there was nothing The 100 related, we met over Twitter shortly after and decided to plan a convention ourselves.
M: (see Leana’s answer) ….to add to Leana’s answer, we also wanted to do a convention that stands for something. We wanted to create and promote a culture of unity and positivity within The 100 fandom. We wanted to show people that this is only possible when you intentionally live out this value in your own life. We are proactive in making sure that our convention follows its value and mission – from our staff and our volunteers.

AN: What has the process been like creating the first Unity Days? Has it been easier or harder creating the second Unity Days? 

L: It’s a lot of work. You need to find a business partner(s) and team who each have different strengths, weaknesses and skill sets and truly elevate each other. We’ve been blessed to have our family and friends support us 100% of the way. The second time is a bit easier since we have the framework from the first one and relationships have been built, but it’s still a lot of work. It’s worth it in the end when you see all of the attendees, volunteers, staff, and talent having a great time.

M: It’s definitely a lot of hard work. You need to be passionate about what you’re doing or you can get overwhelmed with all the work that needs to get done. The first step was doing a lot of research. Leana and I got lucky because we both have the same work ethic. We’re both professional, passionate, have critical thinking and always give our very best to any role or project we do. We play on each other’s strengths really well and make decisions together. Our families and friends were our greatest cheerleaders. They’re always there to support us or lend a helping hand. We couldn’t have done this without them. The second time around is a bit easier, logistics-wise, but it’s still a lot of work as our goal has changed a bit from the first one. We also wanted to offer something different this year to make it an even better experience.

AN: What is your favorite part of Unity Days? 
L: Seeing the smiles on attendees faces when they meet their favourite. Also meeting new people and seeing friends I haven’t seen since last year’s event. The whole event is fun, it’s hard to choose one favourite part.
M: The amazing buzz of positivity that you feel when you’re at Unity Days. It’s so great to see the fans meet their online friends, meet new friends and of course, celebrate the show/cast that they love. My favorite part is also after the event – when I see the attendee’s stories online or by email expressing their gratitude about how much the event has impacted them. It always brings me tears of joy and makes all the hard work worth it.
AN: Do you have any tips or tricks for Unity Days Attendees or first time Canada visitors? 
L: Eat sushi, walk around downtown Vancouver, visit areas where The 100 was filmed.
M: Be in the present and enjoy every moment. Things will happen (actors might be late for their autograph, panels, photo ops, etc.) but don’t let it discourage you. Don’t be shy about making new friends – we’re here to celebrate the same thing. The show, the cast, the crew and the fans. Don’t let your insecurity get in the way of making Unity Days 2018 the best ever. Talk to people in the line with you, sitting beside you at the panel or anywhere at the event. Also, don’t forget to say hi when you see me 🙂
 
AN: What panels are you looking forward to most this time around? Did you have a favorite panel last year? 
L: I didn’t really see any panels last year because I was working. I only saw the opening and closing ones, so I’d have to say those were my favourite because everyone just looked so happy and there was such a positive energy in the room — it was unity at its finest. Also, Jo Garfein did a fantastic job moderating all the panels. We’re lucky to have her again for 2018!
M: I’m in the same boat with Leana, didn’t really get to see a lot of panels because I was working. But I hear from the fans and volunteers, it was awesome and positive. They love the interaction between the cast and the fans. I’m hoping our panels this year will be the same or even better than last year. I’m looking forward to the first ever The 100 Crew Panel. It’ll be great to hear their experience of creating such amazing sets and props. There’s also another one that I’m looking forward to but I can’t share it yet…so stay tuned.
AN: If you could be written into The 100 as a new character what Kru do you think your character would be in? 
L: Probably Skaikru. I’m pretty nerdy and like technology so I’d probably find myself working with Raven or Monty.
M: I agree with Leana. I would probably be Skaikru as well. I don’t think I’d be good at being part of the guards – but maybe work with planning and stuff.
AN: Who is your favorite The 100 character? Why? 
L: I can’t decide! I love every character in their own way. They’re all brave and courageous yet every one of them has made mistakes throughout the seasons — they’re all so human.
M: I love all the characters in The 100 as they’re all very well-rounded and complex. It’s never black or white with them. Each of their character development is so well written. I love seeing each character break its inner demon and step up on the plate to fight for what they believe in. But if I have to choose, it has to be Bellamy. At first I didn’t like him and wished the panther had eaten him – but the more you get to know him you begin to understand him. He’s the type of guy that bottles his own emotion because he doesn’t want to burden someone else. He protects with his whole heart and is always willing to sacrifice himself if he knows it will save the people he loves and cares about.
AN: What other shows or nerdy things are you into right now? 
L: I don’t watch a lot of TV these days but when I do it’s This Is Us, Fear The Walking Dead, Riverdale, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones. I love, love, love, Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially the Avengers and Captain America. NASA and space exploration are also very interesting.
M: I began to watch “The Brave” this fall and totally fell in love with it. It has the same heart-stopping theme like The 100. I love the characters, the storyline and the execution of the show is just FANTASTIC. My family is also currently binge-watching “Once Upon A Time” and “Marvel: Agents of Shield” together. Like Leana, I love Star Wars and Marvel. Maybe that’s why Leana and I get along so well. My other nerdy things are I love board games. My family can spend long hours at a board game cafe. My ultimate favorite right now is Champions of Midgard, Marvel Legendary, Star Wars Rebellion, Sushi Go Party and Harry Potter Deck Building Board Game. I still need to learn how to play Dominion, the one that the cast of The 100 loves to play.
AN: Our site uses the power of pop culture to help youth and young adults cope with mental illness. There is something about fandom and how people connect over their shared interests and passions. What is it like to see people connect, bond, and make friendships over attending your con?
L: It’s pretty surreal. I’ve seen so many friendships formed because they met at Unity Days. I encourage attendees to say hi and interact with other attendees. You never know how much that person or those people will mean to you in the future. I can only hope that the same happens in January and more connections are formed.
M: I’m not too sure if I could really explain it with words. I’m very honored and grateful that we have this opportunity to create a safe place for the 100 fandom where they can connect, bond and make friendships that could last forever. The overwhelming support that the fans have for each other is amazing. It’s real and tangible friendship!  How words of encouragement from your friends in the fandom can brighten a cloudy day and save you from having a lousy day. And with Unity Days 2018 coming this January, my hope is that we deepen those friendships that we already have, create more memorable memories and make new friends.
AN: Since this is the last Unity Days, what is next for you both? Any new events we can look forward to? 
L: I’m focusing on my personal career and growth, family, puppy, and CrossFit. No new events for me anytime soon!
M: As a mother of two young boys, a lot of my time for the last two years have been spent with preparing for Unity Days. Although they are supportive of it, I’d like to spend more time with my husband and kids. I also would like to focus more on my career at NorQuest College and being a better mentor for the youth group that I lead with my husband.
These two women inspire me to believe in my passion. They make me love The 100 even more and I can not wait to hug them and thank them in person.
UNITY DAYS LAUNCHES JANUARY 19-20! Get your tickets here!

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