Welcome to another edition of PuzzleNation Blog’s interview feature, 5 Questions!
We’re reaching out to puzzle constructors, video game writers and designers, writers, filmmakers, and puzzle enthusiasts from all walks of life, talking to people who make puzzles and people who enjoy them in the hopes of exploring the puzzle community as a whole.
And I’m overjoyed to have Whitney Avalon as our latest 5 Questions interviewee!
Whitney is a quadruple threat, splitting her time between acting, music, comedy, and puzzles, leaving her distinctive mark on each field. You may have seen her on The Big Bang Theory, in the Cheerios commercial during this year’s Super Bowl, or in the delightful viral video series IKEA Heights (which was secretly shot in an IKEA during working hours).
Then again, you might have seen one of her songs or parodies on YouTube, or solved one of her puzzles in GAMES Magazine. When you’re dealing with someone as creative and prolific as Whitney Avalon, you’re bound to have stumbled across her work somewhere.
Whitney was gracious enough to take some time out to talk to us, so without further ado, let’s get to the interview!
5 Questions for Whitney Avalon
1.) How did you first get into puzzles?
That I can blame, with great joy and gratitude, on my parents. My dad has worked in computers since before most people really knew what computers were, and he started me as a toddler on simple graphical puzzles (“One of these shapes is not like the other” springs to mind) and programming languages. Growing up in a family of thinkers meant I got to fall in love with wordplay, logic, and eureka moments. Lucky me!
[Whitney’s vocal chops are on display in this marvelous song about
spending too much time on the Internet, “Going Down the Rabbit Hole.”]
2.) You’re an actress, writer, comedian, and singer, but you’ve also had puzzles published in GAMES Magazine and other outlets. Do you have a particular favorite creative activity or one you wish you could devote more of your time to?
I’m one of those people fortunate enough to have always had one overriding passion (creating) who then gets to make a living pursuing that passion every day. So while the tide ebbs and flows – after all, I don’t get to choose when a TV show casts me, but I’m happy to drop everything else for a while every time one does – I love all the different ways I can make stuff that others might enjoy. I try to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to the next creative project in front of me, even and especially if it’s nothing like the one just completed!
3.) Has constructing puzzles influenced how you approach putting together videos, songs, or other visual media? Or has working in so many creative fields influenced your puzzling style?
I think spending a lot of time solving and/or crafting puzzles has, perhaps, made me more likely to strive for innovation, in that the repetitiveness of certain traditional forms might mean I’d seek more out-there options when it’s my turn to make the rules. Or maybe having a vivid imagination makes me drawn to interesting, elaborate puzzles.
I’m probably not good at analyzing my brain from inside here, but there are definitely parallels between taking the viewer on a good journey through a film or song and taking him or her on a good journey through certain puzzles – one of my published works, for example, is a 1000-word short story that not only contains a solvable mystery but also an additional layer of meta-surprise the reader will discover as it’s read.
[In this pic, Whitney displays some fantastic grayscale makeup
work and costuming. You can check out her tutorial here!]
4.) What’s next for Whitney Avalon?
More television appearances and commercials! (Including Girl Meets World on Disney Channel.) More writing! More singing! (I front pop rock band Strangely Attractive.) And, I surely do hope, more puzzles! (Most likely to appear as exclusive content in my monthly newsletter.) I can’t wait to see where the creative winds take me this year, and I’d be delighted if folks want to join me on my travels. I’ll always do my best to make you smile, laugh, and think.
5.) If you could give the readers, writers, aspiring content creators, and puzzle fans in the audience one piece of advice, what would it be?
Take a moment to ponder how improbable it is that you exist at all. Grin. Be kind. Have fun. Revel in your glorious good fortune.
Many thanks to Whitney for her time. You can follow her on Twitter (@whitneyavalon) for the latest updates, watch her videos and songs on YouTube, check out her website, and sign up for her monthly newsletter! There’s no telling what entertaining endeavors she’ll have for us next.
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