Sherin Nicole and Alex Bear | idobi
“What are we going to do tonight, Brain?” “Same thing we do every night, Pinky… Try to take over the world!”
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? If you’re humming the Pinky & The Brain theme music, you’re pretty on the money. This kind of pop culture back-and-forth is what makes us tick. Us being idobi Network’s Creative Director Sherin Nicole, aka The Brain, and her assistant Alex Bear, aka Pinky. We’re part of the team that brings you idobi Radio: a curated music experience focused on new music and artists, which is also the Internet’s #1 alternative rock stream and the world’s #6 overall internet station. Together we work on everything creative behind-the-scenes and at the forefront of independent radio. On any given Monday you’ll find us pitching crazy sponsorships with multiple moving parts that feature radio hosts, social media, and live events; or designing new branding for one of our shows; or editing the idobi.com website; or basically trying to take over the world. Seriously, on any given Tuesday you could find us lobbying on the hill.
We might live over 3,000 miles apart—Sherin in DC where idobi’s HQ is located, Alex in London—but the power of the internet, a staunch refusal to acknowledge time zones (secretly known as vampirism), and the rumor that we’re actually clones (it’s a thing) brought us together to form one helluva dynamic duo. And seeing as we don’t do anything by half-measures, this is the joint story of how we teamed up.
A: I started as an intern writing for idobi in the December 2013, and a few months in I was asked to do a wrap up of season 3 of the pop punk band All Time Low’s radio show, Full Frontal. This involved a lot of badly photoshopped pictures—letting me loose on Photoshop is never the best idea. I remember asking Sherin for some advice for one of these images, and she said she was impressed with how I took her idea and turned it into something. There was also a picture of Jack Barakat riding a pimped out woolly mammoth that she liked—and soon after that she asked me if I wanted to be her assistant. So I like to say that All Time Low got me the job.
S: When Alex first popped onto my radar, it was through one of the pieces she’d written for our Tuesday Ten series. Her voice was just so visceral, visual… it had so much feeling. I liked it a lot. Soon after, I discovered she’s not only a good writer but has some Photoshop skills—she understands the humor in bad photoshopping, which is a huge part of understanding how to communicate visually. At the time I was stuck inside a La Brea Tar Pit of work that kept sucking me back down each time I caught my breath. (The previous statement is only slightly hyperbolic). I needed help but my job is such a weird combination of skills. I didn’t think I’d find a single person to help me do the various things I do—but one hire was all I had the budget for. Alex surprised me. She also understood me without me having to explain myself. This is shocking because I’m like those languages that are only still “alive” in the academic sense. Like Aramaic or Sanskrit. So I asked her if we could talk but I didn’t tell her why, and after throwing more questions at her, I then decided to ask if she’d like to be my assistant. She said yes. Poor thing.
“Sherin and Alex make a duo because they're basically the same person. When I'm in a group chat with both of them I can't tell who I'm talking to unless I really pay attention to the names next to the messages HA! With all the different time zones we live in we can always depend on at least one of them to be awake to help on basically anything. Between their creativity and their editing skills they are truly the backbone of all our posts. It's an honor to work with both of them.” - Fish, host of Gone Fishkin
A: It’s been two years since then. Every day is different. Together we write, edit, create pitches, come up with new ideas for shows, edit the website, run social media, and have a hand in everything creative. Sherin also does or oversees most of the design work for the brand identity… and I like to give her my opinion. Ha! We tend to jump about a lot, which definitely keeps things interesting, and I get to learn so many different things along the way. Having so much in common helps; we tend to get where the other is coming from. And we always have a good laugh along the way.
S: The rumor we’re clones came about because Alex is British and my mother is British, and there are a lot of French speakers in both our families. We like a lot of the same things, and we tend to respond to things in very similar ways. One of the main examples is that we both love science fiction. I remember telling Alex that my cousin often teases me because when I was little I proclaimed myself an elf from Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini. Alex immediately said to me, “I used to pretend I was an elf from Lord of the Rings!” Shortly after she made a Kafka reference. You’d think two versions of the same person, from different quantum realities, would cause a rip in the space time continuum but somehow it all works out.
A: Usually we get each other’s references. I’ll make a pop culture reference or find something geeky on the internet and other people won’t get it. But I always know Sherin will understand.
S: We make a great duo because we get each other, so I don’t have to slow down and explain things. She’ll usually do things before I have to ask. For example, if I’m prepping to pitch a sponsor, Alex will have already researched the company’s recent ad campaigns. I’ve also heard we’re charming, which is a major bonus when we have to ask a label or publicist to let us borrow their band.
A: The reason I try to anticipate what Sherin will need next is because I know how much she does on a daily basis and how overwhelming that can be, despite the fact that she manages it all (I still have no idea how). She keeps me on my toes, and I try and keep up as best as I can.
S: Aww, you’re too sweet. Alex is being modest. There have been days when she’s carried on working despite having both broken a tooth and being stuck on the tube (London’s subway system). There’s no one like her.
“Both Alex and Sherin have the (super)power to bring out your best work ever. Neither will quit until the job is done, and done to the best possible ability. Their work ethic and quality is truly something to look up to. They're both queens in their own right, and they rule together flawlessly.” - Emillie Marvel
A: Right back at ya! (Clones, much?) It’s non-stop, and the cogs in my brain rarely take a break from ticking away, but that’s how I like things. My favorite project we’re working on now is a new show called Geek Girl Riot, which is a collection of geeky women talking about geek girl topics and causing all kinds of riots (see what I did there?). I have yet to venture behind the mic, but I set up all the site posts and promo them. It’s really fun listening to all our different ladies, and getting to be really sassy in the writeups. I really hope it takes off. It’s a great learning experience for me as well, because I like geek girl stuff, but there’s so much I can learn from all these cool women.
S: With GGR we’re bringing together such an amazing group of women, including: writer Day Al-Mohamed, convention builder Tsuki, idobi’s Cindy Tenicela, author Angie Henry, comic book store owner Esther Kim, geeky mom Kat Bittner, cosplayer Abi Pritchard, publicist Steph Maksimow, “the geeky gimp” Erin Hawley, and activist Alice Wong—who all share this geeky love. It’s exciting to go from being in art school where I was one of the only girls in our comic book/manga group, to this, where women come together to riot about our fandoms.
“Like the queens they are, Sherin and Alex are always ready to guide you (and your words) onto the right path with helpful nudges and kind encouragement. They're both extremely creative and witnessing their talents make you strive to be a better writer (so that you can make them proud!).” - Sam Devotta
S: What would you like to see happen as idobi grows?
A: I’d like to see more original content, radio serials, and for us to host more events. I never get to attend because of my location (sad face), but it’s so fun getting to see the reaction from fans and everyone involved.
S: For me there are a few things. With idobi Warped Radio, I’d like us (our hosts) to go out on Warped Tour and do a bunch of live broadcasting. For idobi Productions, I’d love to see more original content, web series, comedy sketches, and documentaries; music-based films where we tell great Almost Famous style stories. We have such a creative staff that makes idobi work, and we have a fantastic audience—they’re always so supportive, and I feel we could give them more and more content that’s made for them. I also look forward to us working together in our own idobi glam office with Cindy (idobi events and marketing)—boys only allowed with a visa or proof that they belong.
A: Every dynamic duo needs a HQ where we can plan to take over the world! But all jokes aside, I’m looking forward to what’s next. It’s always an adventure. When I started interning at idobi I was still in college and didn’t know anything. But in some ways that gave me an advantage; I soaked up as much information as I could. This is one of the main reasons getting to work so closely with Sherin is such an incredible experience—she’s done everything! And she gives the best advice. There’s nothing I can’t approach her with, and I try and learn as much as I possibly can so that maybe one day I can truly live up to being her clone.
Photography: Ali Huxley, Tiffany Adé