Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women and non-binary folks who inspire us. This includes fictional characters in geeky media and creators as well. These people are a prime example of empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for Netflix and V.E. Schwab‘s First Kill.

Cal Burns

Fast Facts:

Cal standing in the dark with her hand at her mouth contemplating something.

Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2022

Calliope “Cal” Burns (Imani Lewis) is a monster hunter from a long, long line of elite monster hunters. Since the time she could walk, she was trained to hunt and kill supernatural monsters that hide in the shadows alongside her brothers Apollo (Dominic Goodman) and Theo (Phillip Mullings Jr.). At the age of 15, Cal failed to get her first kill when the monster tricked her into thinking it was her mother, Talia (Aubin Wise). Since then, the family has been cautious about letting Cal get too close to danger.

But Cal is dead set on getting her first kill when she moves to a new school and meets Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook). It doesn’t take her long to realize that Juliette has a rather serious secret – she is a vampire. And not just any vampire. Juliette is from a long line of legacy vampires. Cal makes it her mission to have Juliette be her first kill, and she almost succeeds if it wasn’t for the whole legacy vampire bit. But what Cal really didn’t expect to happen was to fall in love with Juliette.

Cal spends the majority of the first season of First Kill navigating her life as a monster hunter, her relationship with Juliette and her family life. She is torn between loving a monster and being sworn to protect the world from them. But is love enough, or will Cal’s obligations to her family and lineage change everything?

The Real Deal:

Cal Burns is the real deal. She is a strong monster hunter fearless in the face of supernatural terror. Cal isn’t just quick on her feet, but her knowledge of how to uncover the mysteries around her and how to deal with the monsters is incredible. But she isn’t just a badass. Cal is a complex character who, throughout the first season, is forced to take a good look at herself and the life around her. She is forced to ask herself if she is willing to look past what she has been taught her whole life and beliefs to continue her relationship with Juliette. And is Juliette just different, or are her opinions on all supernatural monsters wrong?

Why She Matters:

Talia holding Cal's face in her hands as she leans in close to talk to her.

Cr. Brian Douglas/Netflix © 2022

So, why does Cal matter? She is a badass, monster-fighting strategist with a headstrong will to do what is right based on what she knows and has been taught. When she is confronted with ideas that differ from her own, like her relationship with Juliette, she seeks out knowledge to help her understand. Cal is also devotedly loyal to her family and willing to do anything to protect them. But she also understands that even they might not have all the answers.

Cal is also a great representation of the LGBTQIA+ community. First Kill is a sapphic romance that isn’t a “coming out” story and instead focuses on queer existence. Cal doesn’t suffer because she chooses to love Juliette based on gender. Her family accepts her choice, and it isn’t questioned. We need more queer stories told within the fantasy genre; hopefully, this is the start of that movement.

So, be like Cal. Be strong and fearless in the face of monsters, seek out education when faced with differences of opinion, and stand by your friends and family.

RELATED: Looking for another strong female or non-binary crush? Check out our Geek Girl Authority Crushes of the Week here!

RELATED: TV Review: First Kill Season 1

5 Books FIRST KILL Fans Have To Read

Catch Me