Friday, July 24, 2015

#EBRSquad: Celebrating the Birthday of Arrow's Emily Bett Rickards

When I looked up how old Emily Bett Rickards was turning today, I almost did one of those 90s comedy spit-takes because, as it turns out, she's two years younger than I am as of this moment. I was stunned because the amount of grace and poise and class that Emily exudes -- and the degree of sophistication and effort she puts into her craft -- makes it feel like she's older than she actually is. I love Emily Bett Rickards: as her alter ego on Arrow, Felicity Smoak; as her witty Twitter handle; as a person, in general, etc. I've only had one brief interaction with EBR and that was waving to her from the press pit as she exited the stage at the Arrow Comic-Con panel this year. That's it. That's all it was. But I can tell from the way she presents herself that she's an awesome human being.

There was a segment on my local radio station today where the DJ asked callers who they would choose as a celebrity best friend. I feel like Emily Bett would be the Taylor Swift of her friend group, and I'd be happy to be rolling in the #EBRSquad.

So today, I wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate our favorite precious star and thank her for essentially being who she is and being unafraid of that. When I began watching Arrow, I knew I would like Felicity Smoak. Tumblr told me as much. But I wasn't prepared to absolutely adore the blonde IT guru and that's really thanks to Emily. She's the one who brought this character to life. Lest we ever forget, Felicity wasn't supposed to have a huge role in this show. She certainly wasn't planned to be Oliver's love interest. But Emily breathed so much life into this show and to her character that it would have been absurd for the producers to let her go. And that is exactly what Emily has continued to do throughout this series and beyond -- she is fun, vibrant, bringing levity to the darkest of situations as Felicity and bringing sass and wit wherever she goes.

The fact of the matter is that Felicity is relatively normal apart from her intellect regarding computers and technology. She struggles to do sit-ups. She dyes her hair. She babbles and can't wield a gun. But she's a strong woman (I've talked about this numerous times before) because she believes in her worth as a human being. She fights for hope and for happiness in others. She messes up sometimes. She's victorious other times. She's sensitive and strong; snappy sometimes and sappy the next. Felicity Smoak never needs to wear a mask to be a hero. She already is one. She's a hero simply because she never stops fighting for what she believes in. And Emily Bett Rickards has shone for three years in this role because she understands all of that about Felicity implicitly.

So thank you, first of all, for being born today EBR. But thank you for proving to everyone that you don't have to wear a mask or a costume to be a hero -- that your worth is determined by what you fight for, not how you fight for it. I'm not the only one in the world who appreciates Emily though. I took to the Interwebz and here are some reasons why others love this actress:

Just About Write contributor Chelsea says:

Happy Birthday EBR. I'll forever be shocked that you are only a day older than me. To be that wise and elegant while I continue to be a ridiculous mess. Kudos on crushing it at life. #Leos4Lyfe

Just About Write contributor Maddie says:

One of the reasons why I love Emily Bett Rickards so much is because she brought my a character to life that isn't only my favorite but also means a great deal to me. Felicity could have been a cliché pining nerdy girl. Up to that point that was how I had seen girls with glasses and awkward rambles be portrayed. However, Emily gave her a warmth and a realness that everyone gravitated towards. But what is so important is how even when Felicity role on the show changed, who felicity was did not; and that is because of how protective Emily is of Felicity. 

They could have gotten rid of the glasses and dressed her "CW sexy" once she became a regular and a viable love interest for Oliver, but that didn't happen. The glasses, the ponytail, and the awkward rambles stayed, showing that girls like us could be more than a cliché or joke -- we can be the one that gets the guy and is CEO.

So I am so thankful that we, as fans of the show, get a leading lady who truly understands, believes in, and loves her character. 

Just About Write contributor Hope says:

Felicity Smoak is one of the best characters on television right now. And it’s very clear that EBR is just as awesome a person in real life as her character is on screen. She plays such a relatable, strong, funny character so naturally with such grace and skill. She brilliantly portrays a character who is the kind of role model we need not just for women, but for everyone. Felicity embraces her personality -- her tendency to awkwardly babble and talk to herself included -- fearlessly. Felicity can be completely herself, “flaws” and all, and still be an awesome, respected, and truly strong woman. And then we, the viewers, realize that we can do the same. It takes a certain kind of amazing person to bring to live such a human character and leave such an impact on so many people. So this is me sending birthday wishes, many thanks, and a literal ton of respect her way. Happy Birthday, EBR!

Just About Write contributor Megan says:

Why do we love EBR? Ugh, because she's absolutely amazing and Felicity is the beating heart of the team.

Just About Write contributor Laura says:

Emily Bett Rickards is turning 24 today which is a thing I'm mostly excited about because it means she's now a year older than me and I don't have to feel inadequete in comparison for at least the next 9 months. While this reason is important, there are many other better reasons to be excited for Emily's birthday. Primarily because if Emily wasn't born 24 years ago then the world would be missing out on one of the most delightful human beings ever.

Like the character she plays in Arrow, Emily is an actual ray of sunshine, bringing joy and happiness everywhere she goes. It was in large part due to the introduction of Felicity Smoak into the series that I became hooked on it (okay, Stephen Amell's abs didn't hurt either). She brought a levity and lightness to the show that was needed to distract from all the darkness that surrounded it. Simply put, Arrow wouldn't be Arrow without Felicity and Felicity wouldn't be Felicity without Emily. So that's one very significant reason to be glad Emily was born.

Outside of the character she plays, Emily is in general a beautiful tropical fish. Whether she's rapping lyrics to learn her lines or composing love letters to Canada via Twitter, she's always doing something weird and crazy and awesome. If I could pick one celebrity to be BFFs with, it would be her because I'm almost positive that it's impossible to be in a bad mood when she's around. That being said, I want to wish Emily Bett Rickards, my potential future BFF, a very happy birthday. I hope it's as full of as much happiness as you bring us every day through your portrayal of Felicity and by just being yourself.

From Twitter:

I told Twitter users to tweet using the hashtag #WeLoveEBRBecause so that they could explain why they love Emily so much and want to help make her birthday special. Twitter has been super supportive of EBR and Felicity Smoak, which is wonderful. Social media often gets a bad reputation -- because aspects of it can be really bad -- but the people who love and support Arrow are some of the greatest and they have the greatest things to say, too:

So happy birthday, Emily Bett Rickards! May your day be full of only the best kind of shenanigans and celebration of the wonderful person you are. :)