Field Guide to Olivia Munn

No, you are not reading Maxim, but you’d be forgiven for the confusion. If you heard the name Olivia Munn a few years ago, it was probably in reference to her prime place on Maxim, FHM or really any men’s magazine’s ‘Hottest Women’ issue. Olivia essentially seemed to be Weird Science come to life, a creature conjured out of the male brain that only wore French maid and Wonder Woman costumes and enjoyed talking about video games. But with a stint as on The Daily Show and roles in The Newsroom and Magic Mike, Olivia has shown that pinup isn’t her only side. Now with her current guest arc on one of HelloGiggles’ favorite shows, New Girl, it’s time we all got to know a little more about Olivia Munn. Check out the guide below.

Name: Lisa Olivia Munn

Natural Habitat and Identifying Characteristics: There are few things more irritating to me than describing a mixed race woman as an ‘exotic beauty’, which roughly 77% of articles about Olivia Munn tend to do. Olivia is undoubtedly beautiful, but it’s 2012. We’re not sailing ships to the New World. I think we can come up with better ways to describe Olivia’s Chinese, German and Irish heritage. While we’re at it, let’s eliminate the other frequent Munn moniker, ‘guy’s girl’, from our vocabulary, as well. If you describe yourself as a guy’s girl, I’m pretty much assuming that you don’t like other women. The association is one that, at times, has frustrated her. As she said during an interview with Shape, ‘Yes, it may surprise you to know that most of my close friends are women. I don’t trust a girl who says she has a hard time being friends with other women. She’s the person who will steal your boyfriend.’

The guy’s girl label started during Olivia’s time as the co-host of G4’s Attack of the Show, a show dedicated to discussing comics, gadgets and video games. The label continued to stick as she landed in Iron Man 2 and as a correspondent on The Daily Show. I know most women are jealous of Olivia for getting to do love scenes with Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, but I was insanely jealous that she got to even talk to Jon Stewart (my love for Jon Stewart runs deep. I proclaimed it in my local paper during high school, so yeah, I was obviously totally normal and killing it at seventeen).

It’s true that comics, gadgets, video games and (oddly) comedy tend to be filed as fairly dude-centric topics, but you don’t have to have a Y chromosome to love cracking jokes and playing Call of Duty. Liking ‘guy’ stuff doesn’t necessarily equate with disliking women.

Olivia attributes her love of robots, comics and all things geek guy culture to a childhood spent moving around a lot due to her stepfather’s career in the Air Force. Having to constantly try to transition between places as different as Japan and Oklahoma, Olivia has said she found ‘geeks’ always to be the most accepting of the new girl. That warm welcome caused her to redefine the word and embrace herself and her interests. In her book Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek she writes, ‘The word ‘geek’ today does not mean what it used to mean. A geek isn’t the skinny kid with a pocket protector and acne. There can be computer geeks, video game geeks, car geeks, military geeks, and sports geeks. Being a geek just means that you’re passionate about something.’

I like this more inclusive definition of the word geek. I know Olivia Munn is often a divisive figure, but her m.o. seems to be giving people a break and a chance. Why not do the same for her? And if I haven’t convinced you, then maybe Elaine Benes can.

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