Interview with Nanna, the woman who translates into English the german videos with Christian and Olliver
In november 2007, the german soap ‘Verbotene Liebe’ started a new storyline, the love story between Christian and Olliver. This story went round the world thanks to internet and a very special woman called Nanna, who almost from the beginning devoted herself to uploading the part of the chapters where the guys appeared, with subtitles in English. Her channel in youtube (ichglotzutube) has approximately 13500 subscriptors, and her videos have been seen more than 1.744.000 times, though these figures increase by day.
This heterosexual woman aged 47, whose first reaction when we contacted her for the interview was to wonder how a woman like her could be of any interest for the LGTB community -she doesn’t know how much we need many more people like her- led the fans requests to the producers not to split the guys in a blog related to Verbotene Liebe when their storyline risked to be over because of a change in the screen writers.
Raúl Madrid: Why did you decide to upload the Christian and Olli videos?
Nanna: I read an article about the kissing ban for Luke and Noah on ATWT (a US soap), which made me really mad because I’m all for equal rights for everybody. So I watched their story on YouTube and through the related videos I found the story of Christian and Olli (which had just started at the time). I though, hey, that’s German, check it out and it was great. As I had some time on my hands, I decided to sub one video where they kissed just to show that it should be no big deal when two men kiss. It was very successful with the viewers, so I subbed one more, then the next one and that was it. Basically, the reasons why I translate the videos are of a political nature (and the eye candy doesn’t hurt either of course).
R.M.: Did you expect the success of you channel at first?
Nanna efinitely not or I wouldn’t have chosen a name for my channel that people can neither understand nor pronounce.
R.M.:Do you think the possibility of watching the videos of this couple has helped other people?
Nanna: Absolutely yes! I get lots of messages from people telling me how much this story has influenced them (like giving them the courage to come out, coming to terms with their being gay, making them believe again that they too might find someone some day, being more accepting towards gay people, helping them to accept a son who’s gay … )
R.M.:Has some guy/girl contacted you through your channel in search for help?
Yes, but as I’m not gay myself, unfortunately I can’t really help them. All I can do is refer them to people I know who are gay themselves and who are much better qualified to help.
R.M.: Do you remember someone in particular?
Nanna: I remember a lot a messages that made me cry when I read them. The most tragic ones came from people in Muslim countries for whom YouTube is the only possibility of living their gay side without risking their lives.
R.M.: Do you think Christian and Olliver have shown the general audience some unknown aspect of homosexuality?
Nanna: I don’t know. I hate stereotypes. Maybe that’s what is so good about the characters. They’re not stereotypical at all. Some people complain about the fact that they’re always so happy together and they find that to be boring. I personally like the fact that for months now they have been the only stable and happy couple on the show. That’s a great message to the general audience.
R.M.: This is not the first homosexual relationship in Verbotene Liebe. Has the soap been criticised by conservative groups?
Nanna: No, not at all.
R.M.:VL uses internet for its promotion. Some characters have their blogs. Last week Christian and Olliver started their videoblog. In some way, this is blurring the limits between reality and fiction. Do you think some people might think that Christian and Olliver are real people?
Nanna: Maybe a bit. Of course they know that they are fictional characters but they fantasize about them, projecting their own hopes and dreams onto them which blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. Some people sent me message asking me if that was Olli and Christian doing the vlog or Jo and Thore.
R.M.: Nanna, would you like to add something?
Nanna: I’d like to add that it’s not just me who’s doing all this. Most importantly Paul (tihkon2 on YouTube) who’s a gay man from the US. He’s helping me a lot with getting the American English right and making wonderful suggestions for the translations. There’s Ivan who uploads the unsubbed videos and lots of people who help promote the story on the internet and so on. It’s definitely a joint effort and some of these people have become really good friends to me.
The message I’d like to get across is: You were born gay and it’s wonderful that you are like that.
R.M.: Thank you so much for your words, Nanna. It’s been a pleasure for me and for dosmanzanas to get to know a bit about the woman behind ichglotzutube.