INTERVIEW: Ruth Connell Talks “BeWitch” Stands Campaign

Ruth Connell has launched her BeWitch campaign with Stands, benefiting My Hope Chest.

Ruth Connell, known for her role as the powerful witch Rowena MacLeod on the show Supernatural, has recently launched a campaign titled “BeWitch” with Stands.

The off-the-shoulder top and T-shirts (available in women’s and unisex) feature a protection symbol in purple and silver with the word “BeWitch” in silver across it. The campaign also features a black hex bag with a silver scripted R, a stainless steel flask with the word “Brew” in purple, and a necklace with a pendant featuring the “Slay” design from Ruth’s first campaign and a tag pendant that says “The Witch is Back.”

Ruth’s campaign with Stands is to support My Hope Chest, a nonprofit that supports breast cancer survivors and helps with the costs of reconstructive surgery.

Ruth answered some questions for Nerds and Beyond about the campaign, her chosen charity, and reclaiming witchcraft. Check out our conversation below, and click here to join the campaign.

NERDS AND BEYOND: Why did you decide to do this campaign?

RUTH CONNELL: I support My Hope Chest. It’s a very small charity and a big thing that people can do to help is to follow them on social media and give them more of a presence online because that helps them get bigger sponsorship. So I can help raise awareness about My Hope Chest and we give a percentage and that’s what usually happens. So I think that’s important but I’m proud of the campaign because I like the top. We took time. This is something I would wear, and the hip flask and I love that, I love the idea of the brew brouhaha. I want the campaign to do well like as a business. I’m quite proud of it.

I’m interested in spreading the coolness of witches and I do this Wednesday Witch Wisdom that I’m trying to do as often as I can because I’m learning so much about where the definition of witch/witches came from and I think it’s in the last four or five years in popular culture that that really changed, and I’m really proud, like I have learned something about it because I play a witch.

I want the campaign to do well because I want Rowena to do well and the fans to do well. I love that the fandom responds, that they care about what I’m doing or Rowena. So to me it’s about a lot of different things as well as the charity. So yeah, Alaina (Huffman) and I talk about that, cause we live in America and it’s OK to be like…to want to do well. It’s not just about being a good person and giving something back. I want to contribute in different ways.

NERDS AND BEYOND: Why do you support My Hope Chest?

RUTH CONNELL: My Hope Chest is the only charity in America that does what it does, and it’s paid for about 50 different women’s reconstructions after breast cancer. What can happen is that you’re underinsured and also what can happen is you don’t make the decision quickly enough about having the reconstruction and then it’s too late. I just think dealing with cancer is one thing, dealing with the cost of cancer is another, dealing with the fact that you can’t afford, can’t have reconstruction or something that can help you heal. Not everyone wants it, but the thought of someone not being able to have breasts or implants or whatever it is that’s going to help them heal, the thought of them not being able to have that after going through the ordeal of cancer to me is really awful.

So [My Hope Chest] is a small charity and they have partnerships with different surgeons and they raise money slowly one by one; they pay for this person’s reconstruction, and you get to know the different individuals. So it’s not a big humongous charity, it’s run by someone who’s gone through it herself and who calls herself the “Lop-sided Showgirl,” because she had to go through losing one breast.

To me, it’s a woman’s charity, it’s something I can identify with, care about and where the results are tangible and practical. This thing about breast cancer awareness is there’s no such charity as breast cancer awareness. It’s a marketing ploy in that a lot of these things are contributing 1%. Either they’re selling a pink pen or something and they’re benefiting more than any charitable aspect to do with practically helping people.

NERDS AND BEYOND: What does the design itself mean to you?

RUTH CONNELL:  I love off the shoulder things. I like to be comfortable so it’s not tight on your waist or form fitting, so you can let your belly hang out. This is the protection symbol and I asked the fans. I was like, I love the word glamour and like the way it’s spelled different ways and like magic and the way it’s spelled different ways. And I liked bewitch, you know to beguile, but I also like that it’s be witch, like be a witch and all the connotations. It’s like reclaiming the word boss or bossy. To me, there is a lot of different meanings and I love the purple and I think that’s affiliated with Rowena. I love the fact that she’s got these violet eyes. So there’s many different things, a lot of thought going into it.

Brew made me laugh, like in Scotland, you say “Ya, Irn Bru,” and that’s actually a drink, and witches with brouhaha and we still have “slay” and “The Witch is Back” because you know Rowena keeps coming back. So a lot of thought went into all the little bits and pieces. And the little hex bags, which you can put whatever you want in them, and the fact that they’re like $2.99, so everyone can have something from the campaign… So we’ve got all the different price points and the only thing we don’t have is a hoodie, but maybe we’ll keep that for when we do support something else or do a different thing.

NERDS AND BEYOND: How do you hope people feel when they wear something from the campaign?

RUTH CONNELL: I hope they feel fabulous and that’s a word that I improvised very early on with Rowena. In like my first speaking episode with (Supernatural executive producer) Bob Singer, he was like “Do you want a writing credit as well?” It’s one of the things I enjoy about Rowena, she’s not afraid to be fabulous and I think you know having an off-the-shoulder top or having something that says “BeWitch,” something that’s fun and I think it’s a good design, like I like the things. I don’t want like a… my taste is not to have something that’s just a logo slapped on. I hope people feel a little slinky, classy, sexy, fabulous, and I hope they feel part of it. I hope they feel in touch with their own bewitching abilities, their own magic. That’s the fun about witchcraft and reclaiming it and what it means to be a witch.

NERDS AND BEYOND: So you were pretty hands-on with the design?

RUTH CONNELL:  I’m a pain in the ass, yeah. Actually when they would ask me something and then I would come back straight away with “That’s great,” they would be like “Are you okay?” Stands would ask, “Are you okay?” when I just said something was great, because I would be like “Can the R on the hex bag be a little bit bigger” and they would send me the same one and I was like “that’s great” and they’d said “It’s the same thing!” So I’m like pernickety…I couldn’t sell something I didn’t like. I wouldn’t do that or want to be associated with something like that. I like this so I’m happy to be associated, otherwise I don’t want to do it.

NERDS AND BEYOND: Other than the money raised, how do you think a campaign like this can affect change in the world or for people in general?

RUTH CONNELL: Growing up I didn’t have a lot of clothes and things, and not to be totally consumerist about it, but I use clothes and accessories now as an adult. I’m an actor, to me, I wear something, that’s like a costume, like I feel different according to what I wear and I do think it is like a badge, like I’m a part of this team or I’m part of this thing which is a big part of being in this family. So I hope it’s fun, I want to see pictures of people having taken the pendants and turn them into an earring or made them into bracelets, feeling good in their tops, or feeling like they’ve got the protection symbol, that they’re proud to be a witch. I hope it’s fun and empowering, in that way if it’s a tiny little change like a butterfly flap, wing flap ripple effect, then that’s good enough.

NERDS AND BEYOND: What are your hopes and goals for 2019 or the end of this year?

RUTH CONNELL: I’m excited. Our careers, when you’re freelance or self-employed, are so up and down and I work hard as everybody does all the time and sometimes you have a burst forward and then a stagnant period. And I just had some changes happen last week. Again it’s like do you talk things into existence or do you jinx it by saying, but I’m excited and I feel like I’ve got roots now in America and Los Angeles. I am developing, I work on myself constantly and with other people’s help. I’m riding ups and downs slightly better, I think, so I’m excited for that. I’m excited for my career, for what can be added, and I’m excited about feeling empowered in my own femininity and in the feminine, rather than femininity, and I’m tapping into my powers of magnetizing. So I’m excited in lots of different ways and I am also excited to even go home at Christmas for the New Year and connect with my family, go to my friend’s wedding. So I feel optimistic and I have to tell you, I don’t care how it looks, but my psychic lady was like this year has been about putting things in place, so things will come to fruition next year. So I’d rather be a silly optimist, than to be too pragmatic…maybe a tightrope is a bad analogy but there’s always like a middle path the way through and when you’re a sensitive type, you can be like “it’s terrible” or “it’s brilliant” and it is really there can be like finding this middle so the pendulum isn’t swinging crazy.

NERDS AND BEYOND: Finally, what would your lightsaber color be if you were in Star Wars?

RUTH CONNELL:  It would be like a violet purple and I also think that’s, it’s one of the chakra colors, this one here [points to her forehead], so like purple, ultraviolet yeah. Not quite like Rowena’s eyes, which I just, I can’t believe I got that color, I don’t think anyone else has had that color….so like that ultraviolet, kinda purple-y blue, that “you’re not actually sure what it is” color, cause it’s okay for it to be a mysterious color you can’t quite name.

Once again, thank you for your time, Ruth. We wish you the best with your campaign!

You can participate in the campaign here.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a journalist-turned creative writer who loves nothing more than curling up with her laptop to write fiction and poetry. When she’s not writing, she’s painting, cosplaying at comic conventions, or trying to catch up on reading from her overflowing bookshelves. She’s a self-professed nerd in love with all things Marvel, Supernatural, science fiction, and fantasy. She currently resides with her cat son, Dean, and her extensive Funko collection.

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