Oilwoman Magazine

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief (March-April 2024)

We joke at the (virtual) U.S. Energy Media offices that we’ve “gone Hollywood.” It all started when actor and environmental activist Jeff Bridges graciously agreed to appear on the cover of the Winter 2022 edition of ENERGIES Magazine. That was followed by an inside feature in the Winter 2023 edition with Ed Begley, Jr., another actor long known for his environmental activism. And now – big announcement – writer Michele Wojciechowski talks to singer and conservationist Billy Idol for the cover of the soon to be published Spring issue of ENERGIES.

Not to be outdone, the current March/April issues of our companion publications, OILMAN and OILWOMAN Magazine, feature interviews with the cast and crew of the newly released, made in Texas movie Accidental Texan.

I first met actress AnnaClare Hicks, who plays the role of Shay Tatum, in November 2021 in a muddy field on a ranch in Bartlett, Texas, while she was filming a rig scene for Accidental Texan, the movie adaptation of the book Chocolate Lizards by Cole Thompson. With a little help from some actual roughnecks, the self-proclaimed “chameleon” was convincing as a roughneck and tool pusher in a role that few women occupy in real life.

Later, in a lengthy interview, and a second equally lengthy follow up (Hicks is not only a good actress, but a very generous one), I was struck by the similarities in her experiences as a woman in the filmmaking industry – which is also male dominated – with those of many of the women I have talked to in the energy industry. Being the consummate professional that she is, Hicks was able to express those commonalities in the analogies she makes between the two industries in such a way that some readers will recognize their own career trajectories in hers. In industries where female role models can be hard to come by, Hicks credits her mom – “an incredible woman and an incredible human being” – with being a driving force in her life by modeling what it means to be a strong woman.

Something else that stood out to me, not only in talking to Hicks, but to everyone involved with the production, was the desire to get the story right, for it to be honest and authentic in a way that would honor the women and men who work in the oilfield. Hicks went so far as to learn how to operate the drilling rig, a feat noted in her IMDb listing. In almost every interview I have with people in the industry, a recurring theme is the industry has not been given – or, perhaps, not taken – the opportunity to tell its story. The filmmakers of Accidental Texan have made a concerted effort to do that in a way that is true to the industry and its workforce. As Producer Koen Wooten told me, as we sat shivering in the cold November Texas night, watching Thomas Haden Church film a scene, “This movie is a love letter to Texas and to the oil industry.”

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Editor-in-Chief -

Rebecca Ponton has been a journalist for 25+ years and is also a petroleum landman. Her book, Breaking the GAS Ceiling: Women in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry (Modern History Press), was released in May 2019. For more info, go to www.breakingthegasceiling.com.

Photo courtesy of Marc Morrison Photography. Rebecca Ponton on the set of Accidental Texan. T-shirt courtesy of Dovetail Workwear.

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