Last month, the 2019 season of conventions dedicated solely to the show Wynonna Earp kicked off with EarpExpo, held in New Orleans. The three-day event brought fans of the cult hit sci-fi show together from all over the world to meet the stars and showrunner Emily Andras.
Among many elements of the convention, there was show swag to buy, photo and autograph sessions to be had, and panels to attend.
The panel lineup began on Day 1, with panels on the show’s villains, and on LGBTQ representation in pop culture. Both discussions set the bar high for the rest of the events, with the guests sharing confessions, jokes, memories, and more—taking the audience on a delicious emotional roller coaster ride.
Keeping things going Day 2 was a fan panel called “Drunk Earp History,” and the sole official panel of the day, “Earp Sisters,” featuring Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, who play the show’s title character Wynonna Earp and her beloved sister Waverly, respectively.
Drunk Earp History consisted of four Earper friends—all fairly well-known to the fandom at large for their social media activity about the show—discussing episodes and answering questions from a hat, all while getting drunk off beer, wine, or cocktails (drinker’s choice). They were joined by special guest, Wynonna Earp actress Kate Drummond, who plays Agent Lucado.
At times, the conversation was a little too inside joke-based, with the friends speaking in half sentences the uninitiated couldn't follow. But generally it was quite entertaining, and at one point, the panelists all talked about what the show means to them and they were so vulnerable and honest, it was impossibly moving—fans talking to fans about being fans in a way that happens all the time within the community, but never through a formal platform like that.
The other highlight of the panel was Drummond herself. She drank with the Earpers, she cried, busted chops, made sexual innuendos. She was completely genuine and game for everything throughout the discussion, and what’s more, she did a spot-on Optimus Prime impression that had the audience reeling.
Catch all the magic of Drummond and the drunk Earpers here.
The Drunk Earp History panel was a great ending to the daytime events of Day 2, but it was the follow-up to the day’s main event: the “Earp Sisters” panel.
Held earlier, Earp Sisters was moderated by Kevin Bachelder, co-host of the fan podcast Tales of the Black Badge and leader of the Earp Sisters uber-fans.
Bachelder began the panel by presenting Scrofano and Provost-Chalkley with a fan gift: handkerchiefs with “Keep your shit together” embroidered on them. Scrofano pulled the kind of wacky-raunchy stunt she’s become known for and stuck both her handkerchief and Provost-Chalkley’s into her shirt like bra padding.
After those shenanigans, Bachelder got the questions going by asking the actresses to share favorite memories of when they first became the Earp sisters. In response, they talked about the audition—which Provost-Chalkley said was “one of the most special days” of her life, noting it feels “literally 10,000 years ago.”
Provost-Chalkley took a train from Montreal and met Scrofano and showrunner Emily Andras in Toronto to chat over quiche, before the official audition. She remembers at one point, Andras said they should just roll the cameras, because the dynamic on display in the casual meeting was what Andras was looking for.
“I was just trying not to freak out… trying to be on my best behavior but also just having the best time,” said Provost-Chalkley.
Scrofano interjected the reverie by informing Provost-Chalkley that during that meeting, she’d had a piece of spinach stuck in her teeth. Provost-Chalkley was horrified by that news, but laughed it off as a typical thing that would happen to her. (Scrofano mimed to the audience that she was lying about the spinach, and later at the cast panel, when Provost-Chalkley mentioned it again, Scrofano confessed she made it up to mess with her, like a true big sister).
Provost-Chalkley then credited having Scrofano in the meeting to helping her land the gig, and she said that she was so taken with Scrofano, as well as Andras and Lisa Parasyn (of the casting team), that even if she didn’t get the job, she’d hoped to keep in touch with everyone as friends.
After some more reminiscing, Bachelder continued the discussion. It was full of off-the-cuff, sisterly banter, and there was much ado about esoteric, crying babies, and whether or not Waverly is perfect.
Here are some of the highlights:
On what fans say about the Earp sisters’ relationship
Provost-Chalkley: I always love it when people come up personally and talk to me about the sister relationship. It always warms my heart because I don’t have a sister, I don’t have a brother and I’ve always thought how cool that would be to be able to share that special relationship.
Scrofano: Yeah, neither of us has a sister—I was like, I hope I’m doing sistering right.
They acted out that it’s a lot of hand-holding and forehead kisses.
Scrofano: So, it’s that thing where you’re validated a bit. I love when people have two sisters and they’re either the—
Provost-Chalkley: The Waverly or the Wynonna…
Scrofano: No one admits to being the Willa. They’re like (in a mocking voice) “I’m the Waverly… everybody loves me.” (laughs).
Provost-Chalkley: It’s super cool that people are moved by the relationship, it means we’re doing something right.
Scrofano: There’s so much “ooh monster!” or whatever, so when people actually talk about [any of] the relationships, I feel like we really gave some heart to something that could be really—is esoteric a word that I can use here?
This prompted a big discussion—and a recurring gag throughout the panel—about the word esoteric, and what it means. Scrofano even spelled it to prove she could.
On what makes the sisterly bond work despite their personality differences
Provost-Chalkley: That’s a fantastic question!
Scrofano: That’s what she says when she doesn’t know an answer…[to buy] time.
After some joking about that…
Scrofano: Isn’t it sort of that opposites attract thing? We balance each other out so well—and I think that’s true in real life. They’re so different but they fill the needs of the other.
Provost-Chalkley: Yeah, I think they balance each other really well. But it’s also… I would imagine there’s something that happens with all family members, there’s a natural bond between the two of you that you can’t break away from and… I know certainly I’ve seen relationships where it’s a real choice sometimes, to choose to accept them for all their flaws and I think [that’s the case] for both of them, certainly for Waverly.
Scrofano: Sure, because Wynonna’s flawed and you’re not, I get it.
Provost-Chalkley: No, no, Waverly is super flawed… she’s got her own demons.
Scrofano, in mocking voice: Does she, what are they?
Scrofano, sheepishly: Oh, right.
Provost-Chalkley: But I still say choosing to accept each other for their flaws and constantly striving to have a good relationship despite their differences, I think they both have that common goal.
Scrofano: Mhm, because they’re all each other has.
On how their characters sometimes express things with just actions and no words
Provost-Chalkley: Mel often does this, which I find so brave and inspiring—[to director Paolo Barzman] she’ll be like, “do we need these words? It’s stronger without the words.”
Scrofano: Well often, you have to write things [in a script because] they’re sending it to the network and to producers, so it needs to be there so they know what we’re saying, but then on the day, you can say it with a look or a kiss or—and Emily is very generous with that. A lot of writers are like (in mocking voice) “my words are genius, don’t touch them!” but Emily is like, “just whatever you need to make it honest and make it work, do it,” and she’s very generous like that.
Provost-Chalkley: and Paolo is also… you guys both have such an artistic vision with that stuff, I’m always really impressed when you do that stuff anyway.
On how they prepare for emotional scenes
Provost-Chalkley: I’ve always been so curious about what Mel does to prepare for the scenes…
Scrofano: It depends. On some projects you really have to—there’s this magic thing called menthol and they just blow it in your eyes and you’re crying—I just [used that on a project] because I was like, “I feel nothing.” But I find that on this show, it’s the mix of the story and the characters, I just find it’s enough that I don’t really have to try very hard. But I do tend to—I get very quiet and I get very focused and people are joking around and I’m like, “meh, don’t joke”… because I tend to joke around a lot on set so I need to focus, otherwise I can’t make my face protrude water.
Provost-Chalkley then said Menthol doesn’t work on her, and Scrofano shared an alternative trick: look at a bright light, because if you can get your eyes just to water, you can turn it into fake crying.
On a favorite Earp sister scene
Provost-Chalkley: [The scene where we delivered the baby] was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced…. Except for my coverage with the screaming baby that came in.
She explained that when they shot the baby scenes, Scrofano worked with one baby who was calm the whole time, and Provost-Chalkley worked with another baby who wouldn’t stop screaming. After they discussed the babies for a while, Provost-Chalkley continued…
I also loved that first scene when we were looking out on the [porch] and you’re just sat there and I walk in, at the end of season 1… I remember feeling like, “this is cool I have a sister, this is super cool,” and those butterfly kind of feelings, I couldn’t believe I was in a TV show. That was a very powerful moment for me, for the sisters.
On what they’ve learned from one another through working together
Scrofano: Dom always thinks the stuff she does is crap, and then I’m like, “oh ok so you can think something is crap and it’s not crap.’ Just because something doesn’t feel good, or you didn’t feel like you got it [doesn’t mean you’re right]. So, I’m able to move on from things better. Like if she thinks it’s bad and it’s great, then maybe I can trust that [I’m being too hard on myself, too].
Provost-Chalkley: Sometimes, yeah, your [self]-judgment isn’t necessarily always correct.
Provost-Chalkley then told everyone that during the early days of shooting in Calgary, she once went to Scrofano’s room to talk to her about her nerves.
You just said to me, “everything that’s going on right now is beautiful, the fact that your emotions are so close to the surface is such a super power,” and I was [so surprised]. It was the first person that really tried to explain to me that vulnerability was positive.
On their role models growing up
Provost-Chalkley: I’d probably say my granny. She’s a beautiful crazy little fairy… she taught me about how to be giving… to be thoughtful and kind, and treat everyone the same. She’s got a lot of the right things, my grandma.
Scrofano told the audience that when she was in kindergarten, she was terrified every day when her parents dropped her off in the morning. She’d cry every time, frustrating one of the sixth-grade girls who was serving as a monitor, who had to take care of her.
Scrofano: It was the end of the year… and she gave me a little money change wallet… and it was just that act of kindness, like, “you annoyed the shit out of me all year, but I still think you’re cool”—that acceptance. I don’t know who that was but I love her.
Provost-Chalkley: I also used to really, really look up to Alicia Keys… I just think she’s wicked… she’s so talented and then she was like “fuck makeup,” and I just think she’s awesome.
After more Alicia Keys talk, Bachelder wrapped up the panel by noting he’d be leading a photo op of all the fans who were at the con with “Earp sisters” shirts on—to the actresses delighted shock and appreciation.
What they shared during the discussion, though, proved why such devotion to the sisters exists: the love between the actresses was everything it is on the show, and more—palpable, infectious, and so very Wynonna Earp.
If you want to hear more of what went down between the Earp sisters—from slinkies and mélange-as-deodorant to sexual innuendos, and more—check out the full panel here.