Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media, but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for kids to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following is rife with spoilers for Syfy’s Wynonna Earp. Make sure you catch up on all the Earpin’ madness before proceeding.
Very little is known about Rachel Valdez (Martina Ortiz-Luis). We know that her mother, Dr. Gloria Valdez, worked for the Black Badge Division as a scientist. Unfortunately, Rachel’s mother perished from a BBD experiment gone terribly awry. When Rachel, Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano), and Nicole (Kat Barrell) discovered Dr. Valdez’s body, they learned that she was protecting the entrance to the Garden. Rachel’s mother was keenly aware of just how dangerous that faux paradise was.
After her mother’s “disappearance” (and before the Earps), Rachel subsisted entirely on her own. She was under the impression her mother simply vanished, so Rachel camped out at BBD until the latter returned. Additionally, Rachel befriended a boy named Billy Clanton (Billy Bryk) and they traded used items for selling. It’s unclear how long Rachel spent sequestered away in the abandoned BBD facility, but it was at least a few years before she discovered that her mother had actually passed.
Later, Wynonna jumped over the threshold into the Garden. Rachel was left with an immensely injured Nicole, but thankfully they managed to escape the horde of former BBD employees-turned-zombies. Rachel joined Nicole on a trip to Purgatory, where the latter was relegated from sheriff to civilian.
Next, she spent 18 months, three weeks, and four days aiding Nicole in keeping the Homestead safe for Wynonna, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), and Doc’s (Tim Rozon) return. She was quite handy at fending off the plethora of demons that lurked outside the Homestead. After the trio emerged from the Garden, Rachel made the Homestead her permanent residence.
The Real Deal:
Now, Rachel Valdez is the real deal. Despite her young age, Rachel can be quite levelheaded. Well, unless those pesky hormonal teenage pheromones take over. Rachel has endured more than her fair share of trauma and she came out stronger on the other side. She’s a teenager who learned to survive on her own and how to kill demons. Even after she found shelter with Nicole, Rachel still had to put those survival skills to good use. She’s spent more time adapting to her surroundings like an adult than being an actual kid. It takes a massive amount of smarts to be capable of surviving on your own, especially as a teenager.
In addition, she’s very intelligent. She’s also quick-witted and always armed with a sardonic quip. But beyond her intellect, Rachel is loyal almost to a fault and a tender soul to boot. She essentially made herself at home with a pack of strangers. Now, she’ll do anything to ensure their safety. Not to mention, she’ll stop at nothing to save Billy from his own fate. Rachel is resilient in every sense of the word.
Why She Matters:
Why does Rachel matter? She’s a strong, multifaceted woman of color kicking ass and taking names on a fantasy series. Seldom do we see a Latina woman in that kind of role. Now, young girls everywhere can look to her as a role model. An occasionally moody, clever, resilient, strong, loyal, and quick-witted role model.
So, be like Rachel Valdez. Be resilience personified. Find your strength in your found family. Kick ass and take names. Oh, and always sport that leather jacket. You know you look better in it than Wynonna, anyway.
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