Holly Conrad / CommanderHolly
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Holly Conrad is a cosplayer, bird enthusiast, mental health advocate, ex-wife of Ross O'Donovan, and adulterer. She has recently landed into hot water after Heidi O'Ferrall exposed her ex-husband Jared Knabenbauer of soliciting nudes from underage girls and having an affair with Holly while she was still married to Ross. Because of Holly being thrown into the spotlight, much of her past drama has resurfaced.
The Early Years
She first started out as a cosplayer who gained notoriety for her Female Shepard cosplay from Mass Effect in the early 2010's. She got noticed by Bioware and her popularity boomed as being Bioware's 'official' Commander Shepard cosplayer. However, with that said, she has had her fair share of cosdrama. It was alleged that she was taking credit for her cosplays from other people who had helped her (one being she commissioned Evil Ted to help make FemShep and she took the credit) and she buys her parts from others, disproving her claims of "making all of her cosplays from scratch". She was also called an elitist in the past for thinking herself above other cosplayers because her sub-par craftsmanship was better than others, and being passive aggressive online.
Some had said she was stuck up, others had no clue who she was, but all of that was about to change when she got her first big break on the tv screen.
Heroes of Cosplay / The Real Housewives of Cosplay
From 2013 - 2014 the SyFy Channel launched a reality tv show that focused on the competitive cosplay scene. The show followed the lives of a handful of 'heroes', cosplayers, such as Yaya Han, Chloe Dykstra, Riki LetCotey, and none other than Holly Conrad and her lifelong friend Jessica Merizan (Crabcat Industries). The show was filmed at conventions such as Wizard World Portland, Emerald City Comicon, Anime Matsuri, Planet ComicCon, and various others showcasing the heroes' processes of making a cosplay from start to finish, the heroes' performances in masquerades and competing in costume contests. Instead, what the world got was fabricated melodrama, rigged competitions, gross mistreatment of cosplayers, copyright infringement and misrepresenting what cosplay was like.
In other words, it was a ginormous clusterfuck.
Everybody applaud these people you've never heard of before!
Unsurprisingly, both Holly and Jessica defended the production and themselves against the online attacks, stating that it was 'a misunderstanding/ it's not true/ you attack us because you hate yourselves' and all sorts of mental gymnastics because neither of them can take ANY type of criticism.
One being Jessica and Holly wearing fur costumes for a skit called "Cats: The Memesical", Jessica was shown having a violent allergic reaction to the wool in her cosplay in the hall, and one person calling her out as faking it.
Holly tried to say that everybody who was at the convention lied about being mistreated, but numerous people came at her for trying to use their callout posts to self-promote her own videos on Youtube.
And the show editing drama between a DW cosplay group and Holly's group. But if you pick on Holly it's because you hate yourself!!1!
Thankfully, the show was cancelled after its second season due to poor ratings and controversy, but the damage was already done. Anybody who was on the show was basically iced out of the cosplay community. But the train doesn't stop there for the Crabcat duo.
Crabcat Industries / The Gang Steals Money From a Cancer Survivor
(left: Jessica, right: Holly)
Crabcat Industries was a business that was ran between Holly and Jessica Merizan where they took costume and prop commissions. The rumors that circulated around the duo were that they were hiring outsiders to make props for them while they took the credit. Nobody knew for sure, but one day they were commissioned to create a cosplay for Rana McAnear, aka the face of Samara/Morinth from Mass Effect.
Basically, Holly Conrad stole donated money from a cancer survivor, she has never apologized nor acknowledged it since. Following the HoC drama, Crabcat was dead in the water with neither Holly nor Jessica talking about it, they then split up and moved on.
Game Grumps, Ross, and online presence
On September 28th, 2012, Holly and Ross O'Donovan got married in a nerdy space themed wedding to much fanfare and joy. Ross was a well loved member and animator from Game Grumps, and after he got married he invited Holly on a few times to join him. Many GG fans admired Holly for her down-to-earth nature and not using her ties with GG to try and build herself up, as she had an already established online presence.
Holly ran a weekly stream called Mental Health Mondays, where she would talk about her own illnesses and ways to deal with depression and anxiety. She spoke candidly about her struggles with her home life growing up in a broken home and how she had put all of her money towards paying medical expenses for her grandfather and mother. She was well loved by the online community for being open about heavy topics such as how she dealt with her mother's death and her mental trauma.
In 2016, Holly was invited by youtuber ProJared to join Dice, Camera, Action! a D&D livestream that ran for a couple of seasons featuring several other online personalities. She created Strix, a "trash witch" Tiefling sorcerer that shared many likenesses to her such as having a fondness for birds, being an "orphan", and asexuality.
Then on September 19th, 2018, both had announced they were splitting amicably.
From what was said by both Ross and Holly, the reason behind their split was because Holly wanted to move to Seattle while Ross wanted to stay in LA for his work. A strange reason to warrant a divorce, but many chose to not press the two further out of respect as it had appeared both were ready to move on. However, in light of recent events, there was a lot more going on than we thought.
The Projared Files
Thread on the Projared/AtelierHeidi/Holly scandal here
ProJared aka Jared Knabenbauer was a youtube personality who reviews video games. He was married to skilled cosplayer and Holly's friend Heidi O'Ferral aka Atelierheidi for several years before they split up. Most importantly, he was Holly's co-star in Dice, Camera, Action!
On May 9th, Jared announced that he and his wife Heidi were filing for divorce, stating that it was a mutual decision. His fans came to his side to offer him support, one of which included Holly herself as she had divorced Ross months before.
Initially all seemed well, but it turned out that Jared had blocked Heidi moments before he made that announcement.
Heidi quickly took to twitter to expose Jared of emotionally abusing her for years and to reveal that for a year Jared was cheating on her with none other than Holly herself while she was still married to Ross, then all hell broke loose.
Warning: Image heavy
Holly attempted to defend herself after Heidi called her out, but then ran off the internet and checked herself into a hospital. Many attempted to get Ross involved, but he chose to stay out of the drama.
Numerous victims of Jared's grooming came forth providing screenshots of their interactions with Jared, most of which are extremely NSFW and involve people who were minors at the time. In 2017 Jared created a NSFW side blog on tumblr called 'sinjared' that was a "body positive space" where he encouraged fans to send 'suggestive' photos, but nothing more. However, he began to exchange nude photos and meet ups with his fans through his snapchat and main tumblr account. The reason Heidi was able to find out was because he kept an old phone where all of his past messages with Holly and nudes between him and fans were exchanged. Mind you, Jared's fanbase consists mostly of pre-teens and kids following his gaming content. Before his main tumblr was deleted, he posted porn/hentai to it.
Aside from sleeping with Holly, he was also soliciting and sleeping with his own fans. Below the cut are multiple victims coming forward with their experiences, one of which contacted Holly before the scandal and she gave out their information to Jared.
Heidi later clarified that for a brief period in their relationship, the both of them agreed to try polyamory in an attempt to try and fix their already broken marriage. Heidi had a long distance relationship with another man while Jared went out and fucked everything he could in sight, including Holly. Heidi even encouraged Jared to explore his feelings with Holly and even their D&D character's romance after Jared confessed that he had feelings for her. However, according to Heidi it didn't work out days later, which was something Jared had told her. Heidi started to feel uncomfortable about Holly being involved because Jared was being gaslit by Holly, then told Jared that polyamory wasn't working anymore and wanted to go back to having a closed relationship. Heidi went back to monogamy, and Jared, of course, lied and said he wouldn't go out with Holly anymore, but instead his relationship to Holly grew more intense and he continued to see fans. Jared gaslit Heidi into thinking that he was loyal to her, and almost certainly lied to Holly that Heidi was still open to poly.
Holly, on the other hand, stated that when she was approached by Jared about her feelings, she admitted that he was the first to make her question her asexuality. During her marriage, Ross respected her asexuality and Holly admitted that the feelings she had towards him were not nearly as strong as her feelings towards Jared. It wasn't until Holly had the chance to sleep with Jared did she realize that she wanted to be with him over Ross.
And would you believe who decided to make a return? Why, it's none other than Jessica Merizan! Back to discredit the victim's statements and to defend Jared the Pedophile & Holly the Home Wrecker.
Suddenly, Holly reappeared! She posted a long series of tweets defending herself and Jared, and attempting to call out Heidi as an abuser to Jared while also discrediting the victims, calling them liars who were trying to tarnish Jared's reputation, despite one of the victims contacting her about his abuse long before the scandal began.
Below are the long screenshots of Heidi texting Jared, and Jared stonewalling her (how Holly got a hold of those messages, it's possible Jared sent them to her). Following are Heidi's texts confronting Holly while Holly is being a victim. Reminder that by her releasing private intimate texts between Heidi and Jared is considered revenge porn in 46 states and is a gross misdemeanor in the state of Washington.
tldr; Holly dug up messages between Heidi and Jared to say that Heidi was abusing him, actually showed Jared blowing off Heidi, and Heidi being rightfully upset at the both of them ignoring her for hours while they were alone. Holly, after realizing her feelings for Jared, attempted to torpedo their marriage by making allegations that Heidi was abusing Jared. Heidi then confronted Holly, Holly backpedaled to say that she was wrong to call her an abuser, and even Jared admitted that Heidi wasn't an abusive person. Holly then started to swan dive off the deep end by claiming she has witnessed FIRST HAND Heidi abusing Jared (read: yelling), the nudes Jared exchanged to his fans, the legal processing of their divorce, and Heidi's therapist calling Heidi unfixable.
Holly claimed that even though Heidi and Jared were together, it wasn't considered cheating because they had 'broken up' by December 2018. In reality, they were still married and still together, but Holly claimed that since Jared checked out of the relationship emotionally the same way she did to Ross, it didn't constitute as 'cheating' because neither parties were actively engaging in sexual activities. One important thing to note, Ross and Holly weren't legally divorced until later in 2019.
There is evidence that Holly was trying to split them apart way before the scandal had gone public. Holly had confronted Jared in text by telling him to leave her and go to her instead following her sexual awakening and even threatening to kill herself if he didn't, Jared denied that Heidi was abusing him and refuted her claims, while Heidi was livid and attempted to cut Holly out.
Holly the Cancelled Woke Mental Health Advocate™
Heidi had since tried to move on from the cheating scandal and instead focus the internet's attention on helping the victims who were manipulated by Jared. Jared temporarily vanished off the internet, but is still kicking around offline and pulling strings with certain fans who he used for pump-and-dumps. Holly, on the other hand, has not stopped defending Jared or attacking Heidi and the victims, and somehow come up with answers to questions revolving around Heidi and Jared's current legal processing of their divorce, despite it being confidential, and following Jared in person wherever he goes.
She also has engaged in counteractive mental health practices, using her mental health as an excuse for why she cannot be held accountable for her own actions. This is all coming from the woman who attempted to sell mental health advice when she engages in self-harming and negative behavior, including demonizing "bad" mental illnesses such as BPD.
Her responses include but are not limited to:
Suicide baiting/threats of self-harm, or baiting Heidi into saying something stupidUsing her mental illness/emotional immaturity as an excuse for her behavior Throwing around empty apologies when confronted and not taking accountability for her past actionsArmchairing and claiming to be an expert in mental health when she is emotionally manipulative and has no idea about any illness outside of anxiety. Feeding the trollsBeing obsessed with being "cancelled" despite still having her careerMinimizing/invalidating other's abusive experiences by one-upping them with her own to victimize herselfSeeking out accounts who either posted about her or Jared and blocking them, or liking anything of Heidi's tweets/tweets that support HeidiBlocking anybody who even mentions them, tagged or not. Strangely, even though Jared has been away from the internet since April, his account is blocking people who support Heidi.Holly hit the mantle with projecting her experience being bullied on the internet with the late-internet personality Etika aka Desmond Amofa. She believed his death was caused by online bullies who tormented him with clown emojis like she was until he decided to take his own life. She then ranted about cancel culture and 'the toxicity of the internet' while not once ever mentioning Etika's struggle as a black man with a mental illness and the stigma around it mere hours after Etika was declared dead by the police investigators.
...so where does that leave us now?
Holly Conrad is a skilled cosplayer and skilled manipulator. She once was a diva in the cosplay community who scammed a cancer survivor out of thousands of dollars and ranted about women who she thought were 'prettier' than her. Just when it appeared that she had turned over a new leaf as a sweet birb mom, she was caught sleeping with and supporting a pedophile who gaslit many of his victims. She is an animal hoarder and "mental health advocate" who was loved by the online community, so her scandal came as a major shock to everybody else when it was revealed that she was guilty of lying to her audiences and cheating on her ex-husband with another married man. The blow-back from the scandal has caused DCA to be cancelled, NormalBoots firing Jared but also bleeding members, and too many of Jared's dick pics on the internet. The victims of Jared's grooming have begun to take legal action against him while Holly is continuing to paint herself as the true victim of Heidi's wrath, despite both her and her friend Jessica trying to downplay the fact that Jared was and still is a pedophile who purposefully targeted fans for nudes and manipulated others into sleeping with him behind Heidi's back, and also lying about Ross's involvement. Heidi has began to make preparations to sue Holly over her claiming to have confidential knowledge and spreading lies over the internet. Holly's descent into her old personality has revealed that she threatens to hurt herself if nobody sides with her, demanding asspats, and trying to erase her mistakes by deleting tweets and forcing others to be silent. The scandal is still ongoing, and more information is coming to light daily.