photos by Nina Penalosa

Vlogger, comic convention darling, model (for Her Universe and 1138 Clothing), and former pro ghost hunter Amanda Jean (a.k.a. AJ) hails from Thousand Oaks, CA and has been living in San Francisco for the past 5 years. She’s quite popular within the geek community as she vlogs nerdy inspired DIY tutorials on her YouTube channel and her Instagram account is full of her geeky escapades from different comic and fan conventions across the U.S. including Star Wars Celebration and San Diego Comic-Con International, to numerous trips to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Where does this girl not go?!

I remember stumbling onto her Instagram account a few years ago via a picture of her wearing a felt DIY’d Chewbacca hair clip upon her head of blue hair (that she dyes herself) and thought, “Damn, this girl looks hella cool.” And there’s no denying that AJ has awesome personal style too. I had the chance to hangout with her and learn that she is, in fact, hella frakkin’ cool and a total sweetheart as we roamed around J-Town and dug through comics and toys at her favorite local comic shop Cards and Comics Central. I also picked AJ’s brain a bit about her fashion process when it comes to both creating DIY projects and her own personal style.

WYV: You have a lot of cute DIY tutorials on your YouTube channel. How do you come up with the ideas for them?

AJ: Usually when I come up with DIY ideas it’s either something that in my everyday life, I’m like, “Why can’t I find this anywhere?” and then I think, “Oh, I can just make it myself.” Then I figure out an easy way to make it, because I’m crafty, but I’m not like expert level usually, so I just come up with an easy way to make it myself and then I want to share it with everyone else.

 WYV: What inspired you to start vlogging on YouTube?AJ: I really like editing videos, because right now I’m going to school for multi-media communications, so putting together videos and editing is a lot of fun to me. I saw that YouTube is a really great space to share ideas and stuff, and there’s a lot of really creative people on there. I found a lot of really good fashion vloggers and make-up people, but noticed there weren’t that many nerdy people doing that kind of stuff, so I thought that would be a great space to share my nerdy ideas.

WYV: How’d you get into DIYing your accessories and other things?

AJ: Basically, if I thought of something I wanted… it’s kind of the same idea with the DIY tutorials where if I thought of something that I would like, or if I think, “Oh, a dress like this would be really cute,” but I couldn’t find it anywhere, I would try to figure out how to make it myself. That especially goes with girly nerdy clothing because y’know in the dark ages before nerd girls were accepted there was only men’s t-shirts and stuff. Like, I wanted to wear [nerdy] dresses, but this was before Her Universe, WeLoveFine, and all those brands. Before there were official nerd dresses I had to make them out of t-shirts and stuff like that. So it just came out of me wanting something that I couldn’t easily find.

WYV: What is one of your favorite DIY fashion accessories you created for yourself and why?

photo courtesy of Amanda Jean

AJ: That would have to be the pair of Mickey Ears that I bedazzled last year. I have a big collection of Mickey Ears from the [Disney] parks and I decided that a pair covered in sparkles would be the greatest thing ever. I also just taught myself how to crochet a scarf from a YouTube video, so now I’m working on a book color Ravenclaw scarf — blue and bronze instead of blue and silver. So that will probably end up becoming my favorite DIY accessory for Fall. 

WYV: How would you describe your personal style?

AJ: It changes a lot. I’ll go through phases where I’ll only want to be wearing dresses and be girly, and there’s other times where I’ll want to be more… not rocker, but tomboyish in jeans and my leather jacket. I used to work at Urban Outfitters and when I was there I started getting into the habit… because I was part of the merchandising team, my job was to dress mannequins in different styles, so I started being able to see the different kinds of styles they [the company] wanted on the mannequins which was feminine with masculine tones, so I find myself doing that a lot. Like today I was wearing a dress, which is super girly, but then I’m wearing a graphic tee which is more masculine, and my floral boots. So just having a balance of feminine and masculine I like to do. But it’s all really based on mood. I dress based on mood, where I’m like, “I feel like wearing a dress today.” That’s the reason why when I go somewhere I pack so much because I never know! I might wake up and be in the mood to wear this [points at outfit] or something else.

WYV: Do you have any favorite fashion icons that you look up to for style inspiration? They can be fictional too.

AJ: Luna Lovegood [from Harry Potter] of course, especially in the movies. I really love mixing patterns [like she does]. If I’m not wearing more than two patterns in my outfit, I’m probably just wearing all black, but as for a real person [I like] Sheri Dupree Bemis. She’s in the band Eisley, and she has really cool multi-colored hair and she dresses really cool. There’s fashion bloggers that I follow where I’m like, “oh they’re so cute!” Also bloggers like Zoe London and A Beautiful Mess. Kat Von Dee and Dita Von Teese too.

WYV: Where are some of your favorite places to shop local or elsewhere for fashion things?

AJ: Nerdy places like WeLoveFine, Her Universe, but I also really like Forever 21 and H&M… like those kind of places… Disneyland, nerdy conventions. Haha! I like to do online shopping mostly, and get things on Etsy, and vintage-y stuff of course. I like looking through the graphic tees at Goodwill too because a lot of the DIY things I do for clothing is taking one thing and making it into something else. So something that’s super oversized and ugly and turning it into something else is what I like to do.

WYV: When it comes to fashion, what are 3 items you can’t live without?

AJ: My leather jacket is number one. Oh man, I love my leather jacket. Cardigans, I really love cardigans. And anything stripes. Does that count? Am I allowed to say that?

AJ effortlessly mixes stripes, florals, and Star Wars all into one ensemble.

WYV: Yeah, that counts! You’re wearing stripes today.AJ: Stripes are like my number one. Awhile ago I read an interview with Tim Burton, because y’know he’s very stripey too and someone asked him why, and he said that he really likes stripes and he tries to wear stripes every single day. He’s like “today I’m wearing striped socks.” So for awhile I was like okay, I need to try and wear stripes in some form every single day and just see if maybe that’s what makes Tim Burton successful. I know that totally isn’t, but I’m just like “oh man, I could totally be Tim Burton if I wear stripes every single day” and I tried it and it lasted awhile. If you open my closet it’s black, stripes, and I love floral too and polka-dot so… people always ask me what my favorite color is and I always say it’s stripes.

WYV: So Tim Burton could definitely be considered as one of your fashion icons.

AJ: Yes! Definitely. Helena (Bonham-Carter) is one of them too, the way she dresses in all of his movies.

 WYV: Is there a particular one where her style was completely on-point for you?

AJ: I think Sweeney Todd. Like her makeup and hair. I can’t do that with my hair, but it’s just so cool. It’s like that Victorian version of her. I’m also a huge fan of her as Bellatrix Lestrange [from Harry Potter]. There’s also Lydia Deetz [from Beetlejuice], Wednesday Addams… oh my God, I’m going so dark here! Those three are also definitely fashion icons for me.WYV: So if you were to come up with a title for your style it could probably be girly masculine goth?

AJ: Yeah!

AJ’s outfit details:

Dress – Forever 21
Graphic Tee – Star Wars Muscle Tee from Target
Cardigan – Forever 21
Wallet – Loungefly
Boots – Dr. Martens
To keep up with AJ on her geeky escapades and fun DIY tutorials, you can follow her on the following sites: