This morning I walked into the office and as I was about to make my morning coffee, I couldn’t help but notice a giant vat of rainbow-colored spaghetti with a big sign that said, “Thawing – please don’t touch!” blocking all the mugs. This put a huge smile on my face as I knew exactly who the culprit of this elaborate mess was… none other than Goldie herself, or rather, the live-action version and star of our new weekly STEM-based web series, “Hack Along with Goldie Blox” – launching today on YouTube.
This whole project began about a year ago when my team and I were brainstorming ways to get more kids inspired by our character, Goldie, the girl who makes engineering even more fun than being a princess! Goldie started as a sketch in my sketchbook, then went on to become an illustrated character in our first toy, an action figure, a rocket skateboarder in our coding app, a toy character on our first ever web show, the star of her own chapter book series and NOW, a live action girl who shows kids how to hack their world every week with cool inventions.
In Search of Goldie
The thought of casting a girl to embody our hero character was daunting, to say the least. We needed to find someone who exuded all the personality traits of Goldie – brave, irreverent, optimistic, playful, individualistic, scrappy, and most of all, authentic. Not to mention bonus points for wild, curly blonde hair and a knack for hacking. We interviewed over 80 girls, but when we met Ashley Jewel, we knew we had our Goldie. What I love most about Ashley is her shining personality, and every session with her is a delight as we get to know her more and more. PLUS, her mom is an engineer! Coincidence? I think not.
Our goal for “Hack Along with Goldie Blox” is to show kids how fun, cool and relatable engineering can be. Every week, Goldie will showcase three inventions, ranging from easy, medium to hard, with simple DIY tutorials and explanations of the basic science and engineering principles behind the hacks. Through this format, we’re excited to spread the JOY OF MAKING to kids around the world with trendy, sometimes silly, but always FUN hacks that involve engineering, crafting, and even power tools.
Hack Your World
My favorite moment in the first episode is when Goldie takes apart an old car charger and uses its guts to build a DIY phone charger. As she pulls out the circuit board, she assures the viewers that these wires can seem intimidating at first, but they’re actually super simple! That’s the message I want to send through this show – let’s not intimate kids with engineering – let’s empower them and encourage them to tinker, maybe mess up a few times, but ultimately use their creativity to become the makers and problem solvers of tomorrow.
STEM Gets Scrappy
Speaking of, today is also the launch of another brand new GoldieBlox web series, “Scrappy Robots with Simone Giertz.” Simone is a roboticist, YouTube celebrity and the self-proclaimed, “Queen of Scrappy Robots.” She takes the intimidation factor out of robotics with her amazing sense of humor, and this web series showcases many of Simone’s amazing robots that have been so popular amongst adults, now edited into a kid-friendly version.
I first met Simone a few years ago at my friend’s apartment in San Francisco. We were sitting around the dinner table watching her pull up a video of a hilarious robot she had made that was very badly pouring cereal and milk. We were cracking up and in that moment I thought to myself, I’m sitting here across the real life Goldie Blox all grown up!
Little did I know that only a few months later, Simone’s robots would explode across the internet, bringing her all the way to the Late Show with Steven Colbert and onto Tested with Adam Savage. Simone and I stayed in touch over the years, and when we finally agreed to collaborate together so that she could inspire little kids with her hilarious engineering antics, she laser cut these amazing Goldie headbands to celebrate our partnership.
I’m so proud of these launches today, and none of this would be possible without an incredible team here at GoldieBlox committed to making amazing and inspiring content for kids. A very special thanks to Steve Flavin, our amazing director, Jackie Grieff, editor extraordinaire. Laurel Ganzel, production manager making all the trains run on time, Hillary Andujar, prop master, Jenna Chalmers, for her nail mastery, Ryan Taylor, hair tamer, Suzie Alegria, set designer, Jenn Rahardjanoto, our incomparable creative director, Jenna Boyd and Kenny Davis, for their strategic brilliance, Jeff Kite, our composer, Ashley Jewel and Simone Giertz, our stars, and last but not least, Beau Lewis, my co-founder, husband and our head of content.
Thank you all for your hard work and dedication – I know these web series will make a big difference in the lives of many kids (and parents!) who may discover science, engineering, and technology in a whole new way, thanks to Goldie.