The Atlantic has a long-form profile of psychologist, comic-book and cosplay enthusiast, and Under the Mask blogger Andrea Letamendi, discussing her background as an academic who slowly allowed her geeky passions to infiltrate her professional life.
Of particular interest, Letamendi discusses her relationship with Batgirl author Gail Simone, who made her a character in the series (as, appropriately, Batgirl's psychologist), and the surprisingly supportive reaction she received from her professional community.
Her role in Batgirl brought her a level of celebrity status within the comic world. It wouldn't be long before the rest of the world caught on. A UCLA campus magazine called Letamendi "Superhero's Shrink." Her secret was out.
"I realized that I was the one expecting this to invalidate me," she said. But her colleagues reacted with surprise and delight instead of disapproval. By now, Letamendi had earned respect in her field. She knew she was no imposter. She could unite both of her personalities, and use them as a force for good.
Letamendi, who recently spoke on an anti-bullying panel at LA's Comikaze Expo (dressed as Battlestar Galactica's Boomer, no less), hopes to be able to marry her passions going forward.
In her day job, she works on education initiatives for children's mental-health programs. In her spare time, she hosts a podcast called The Arkham Sessions devoted to psychoanalyzing the characters in Batman: The Animated Series, and she is regularly called upon to speak to audiences that range from Yale University scholars to comic-book crowds and Nerd Nites (gatherings in which crowds gather at bars and listen to on paleontology, deep space, neuroscience, and other topics over beer). Each time, she draws real-life conclusions about what superheroes' backgrounds can teach the rest of us about adversity and resilience.
"Yes, they are fictional characters," Letamendi said, "but we can learn from their stories, and learn from their recovery. We can all relate."
Image via San Diego City Beat.