Little is known about Vanessa's life prior to meeting Hermann Gottlieb. She was born in England and later becomes a professional model.
At some point in time she meets Hermann and the two marry. Sometime during July 2024 the two conceive a child. Vanessa is expected to give birth in April of 2025.
According to Travis Beacham, Vanessa may have started out as a awkward young woman before maturing. Her confidence following has made her "striking" and "a presence". She equals Hermann in "wit and capacity".
Vanessa is a woman of mixed heritage with long and tight black curly hair. Vanessa is tall with features that may have been "awkward" for her during her youth, but have since become "quite striking" with confidence and adulthood.[note 1] When answering questions about her description, Travis Beacham answered that she could resemble actresses Gina Torres or Jasika Nicole.
Vanessa Gottlieb is mentioned in Pacific Rim: Man, Machines & Monsters, listed as Hermann's next of kin. Her relation to Hermann was later revealed in the official novelization. Herman's dossier listed her as his wife. On August 17, 2013, when asked about Vanessa, Travis Beacham confirmed that she was Hermann's wife and that she was a model.
Racism and Misogyny in Pacific Rim Fandom
Following his confirmation of Vanessa as a canon character and her relationship to Hermann, a part of the Pacific Rim fanbase expressed disappointment in Vanessa's named profession. Beacham was accused of sexism by some who considered the profession of a model to be lesser when compared to a scientist. Additionally, they believed Hermann would have no interest in a woman with "no say" in her role as model on account of the sexism that is prevalent in the modeling industry.
Beacham stated that he "left the interesting parts out" of his initial description. Tight-lipped about her biographical information, Beacham stated that knowing what her profession was "knowing very little about her" and that "everyone is interesting enough if you ask the right questions", after elaborating his point with questions of her professional identity and relationship with Hermann. August 25, 2013, he provided a brief description of what Vanessa could look like, citing she was of mixed heritage. He further implied Vanessa was a biracial Black woman when answering more questions about her appearance.
While Beacham's characterization of Vanessa as a biracial woman was seen as inclusive of woman of color, others believed that she exhibited signs of being written solely as a stereotypical "trophy wife", and questioned the necessity for her canon presence. Earlier, when asked, Beacham stated that which the supplementary material of Pacific Rim did not contradict the film stood as long as "that possibility is not pointedly excluded by the expanded universe works subsequent to the fact of the film".
Detractors contend that their disagreement with this part of her characterization has a stronger and more complex basis that is concerned with her inherent misogyny as currently written.
Supporters labeled arguments against Vanessa's profession as misogynistic for believing it to be less than a scientific position, or that his brief descriptors of Vanessa were to evidence of her lack agency or character aside from being the wife of a main character.
Supporters have been vocal in the defense of Vanessa as a canonical character and Hermann's wife following discussions of Hermann's assumed sexuality and dissection of slash culture said to marginalize Black and LGBT characters in favor of shipping two canonically straight and white men together. Other means of support of Vanessa Gottlieb as a canonical character in the Pacific Rim universe has been exhibited through fan art, blogs and discourse with other fans of the character.
- ↑ Travis Beacham: "Mixed race. Nice glasses. Long, tightly-curled black hair that tends to flare a little wispily. Very tall. A sum of features that may have at one point in her life been a bit awkward for her, but her effortless confidence has since made something quite striking of it all. She’s a presence."