Up and Coming Cosplayers with Gingersnap Pixie: Interview

(Originally Published October 30, 2019)

Of all of the cosplayers in world, I could think of no one better to be featured for this final week of October as an Up and Coming Cosplayer.  She is not as well-known as the big cosplayers, but I have a feeling that this may change, soon.  She is not only sexy and sensual, but she is artistic and an exhibitionist by nature.  She is well-read, and knows exactly what effects she has on people, making the world her playground, and it’s inhabitants her playthings.

Last week, we gave you a very risque pictorial with Smilecosplay Jamie, but that will pale in comparison to this week’s, but I’m getting ahead of myself…This is our lady’s interview, and before we adore her craft and body, we’ll get to know and love her mind.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it pleases me to present to you the Halloween Up and Coming Cosplayer:  Gingersnap Pixie!

I have always been a child of myth and lore of all regions.  I think one of your pictures was shared in one of my cosplay groups on Facebook.  I was immediately drawn because of that love of olde things.  How deeply do you feel a connection to the fae?

I find that living in the city can be disconnecting at times.  That’s when I channel my not-so-inner fae into either being a mischievous exhibitionist, or trying something that I’ve never done before, like roller derby, or salsa dancing, or zip-lining.  The people in my life refer to these times as ‘Sarah Explosions’.  Getting back to nature definitely charges up my pixie batteries.  I have a tendency to leave the beaten path, exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of a forest, much to the chagrin of my friends (as I’ve gotten us lost on multiple occasions).

Did you grow up with the stories?

Yes!  I still have a well-preserved hardcover of old fairy tales that I read (‘A Child’s Book of Stories‘ by Children’s Classics).  I have always been drawn to supernatural fables.

 Did you learn about them on your own like I did?

 

Yes, I was attracted to faerie tales without being prompted, but in any medium of entertainment.  Mostly books, but the films of Hayao Miyazaki as well.

Who wrote your character bio for your Facebook page?  (I’m pretty sure you did!)  It was VERY well written.  Even the choice of words gave the right subtle nuances of a creature that wasn’t born a girl, but a “salacious” force of nature putting sensual thoughts of hedonism into the minds and hearts of boys and men.

Thanks!  Yes indeed, I write my own biographies, along with all of my posts to fans.  I have been known to take a perverse pride in it.  I call it ‘flirting with the air.’

Do you do a lot of reading?  What are your favourite subjects for reading?  Do you have favourite authors?

I was an introverted reader growing up who devoured all of the adult books that were available to me, and anything I could get my grubby little hands on, that wasn’t out of reach.  I still greedily grab every book I see that ‘might’ be interesting.  My home is filled (littered) with stacks of novels that I have every intention of reading.  The Japanese have a word for this:  Tsundoku.  You can never have enough books!  I enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and spy fiction/thrillers most of all.  I have always been a fan of Anne McCaffrey and the early works of Jean M. Auel.  I happily lose myself to ANY Guy Gavriel Kay novel (‘The Lions of al-Rassan‘ in particular).  I have more recently enjoyed the works of Kristen Britain and Patrick Rothfuss.

Were you the wild child depicted by your character bio, or were you more of a quiet wallflower?

‘Both.  I was a wild child who needed to explode out of herself periodically BECAUSE she was a quiet wallflower.

 

You did a lot of things that typical USAmerican girls do not do.  You chased dragonflies and frogs.  You spent a lot of time unafraid in nature.  Did you do all of these things by yourself?  Did you have any companions…or was nature more your companion…?

 

I spent an inordinate amount of time in the wilderness without supervision as a child.  There is no fear of the forest in me.  To be honest, I had Annie and Shandra at the time, my two dogs (rest their patient souls).  Annie was a border collie blue heeler and Shandra was a chow shepherd.  I still miss my girls!

You definitely look the part of one of the fair folk.  Do you mind if I ask your pedigree?

Irish through-and-through, which certainly follows.

 

Sometimes Gingersnap Pixie is a nymph or dryad.  Sometimes she is a demoness or succubus.  I’ve noticed that with different authors, faeries and demons are often exchanged in roles and in name.  According to lore and myth, Merlin was half-faerie and half-mortal, yet some authors say he was half-demon and half-human.   Why do you think that some see the fae as evil or so interchangeable with demons?  Do you see them as different?  How do you relate to them, both?

I think those distinctions are completely arbitrary and based more on individual (moral) interpretations.  If you are liberal in your thinking, you might see Merlin as half-faerie.  If you are conservative in your thinking, you might see Merlin as a half-demon.  Yet people can also see faeries as a force of wanton destruction and demons as a source of beneficial change.  For me, as Gingersnap Pixie, it’s all about playing a role, to which I also apply my arbitrary opinions.  The important part is that ALL roles (costumes) remain available to my whims, which necessitates an open mind.

You might just be the first self-proclaimed lass of the fair folk that models and cosplays!  You might also be the first fae to start her own brand!  Would you agree that you are starting your own brand?  If you were, what would that brand stand for?

‘Living without shame and not giving a fuck (to be crass) about what other people think of you.

You strike me as the type of person that is just as comfortable clothed as she is nude.  If you could, would you be nude or semi-nude all of the time?

If you are always clothed or always nude, then the opposite holds more appeal.  You have to straddle both!

This question sort of relates to the last one.  I think that most Eurocentric societies do not allow nudity because The Three Faiths have a problem with understanding the differences between being nude, naked, and sexual.  I think this inability has caused the opposite of the intended effect: oversexualisation of the human form.  It causes people to see a person naked or sexual when they are just nude.  What are your thoughts on this?  What do you consider the differences between being nude, naked, and sexual?

I think that ‘intent’ is the difference.  For me, being nude is comfortable and liberating.  The intent is to be at ease with myself.  Being naked is commanding and empowering.  The intent is to get attention and make a statement.  Being sexual is arousing and exciting.  The intent is to entice and be ravished, to inspire lust that I want done to me, or that I want to visit on somebody else.  I perform all of these intents at different times as a model, and of course, they frequently overlap.

You are a fan of Steampunk and Medieval Gaming.  I think a lot of our readers are familiar with Steampunk. ‘Perhaps even Medieval Gaming.  Would you mind explaining what they mean to you and what aspects and games you enjoy?

Steampunk is beautiful to me.  I am drawn to the Victorian era, combining formal wear with clockwork technology.  As for medieval gaming, I am a weekly Dungeons & Dragons gamer, repeatedly playing a barbarian, three times in a row, now, with slight variations on that savage theme.  I love the catharsis of being a primal fighter who solves problems with a boot or a fist or a greataxe.  I am currently dungeon mastering a game in which everyone is playing a monster, rather than any of the traditional heroic races.  The party consists of a beholder, a dragon (wyrmling), a night hag, an oni, and a succubus.

Do you remember which interests you discovered first?  Out of Modelling, Cosplay, Steampunk, and Medieval Gaming, what did you start first?  Did any lead into the others?

Cosplay –> Steampunk –> Medieval Gaming –> Modelling.

Do you ever cosplay conventional characters?  If so, which are some of your favourites?

I was given the opportunity to be armoured and equipped as ‘Red Sonja,’ and lunged at the chance, but that costume was largely created for me.  No other iconically recognisable characters come to mind.  After two seamstresses catastrophically failed to finish a ‘Poison Ivy‘ costume for me, I started creating my own archetypes.  I would, however, like to dress up as ‘Yuki Mori‘ from “Space Battleship Yamato” one day.  She is simultaneously demure and sexy, which are two qualities that I think pair well together if done right.

Along with all of those talents and hobbies, you are also an illustrator and create your own designs for your merch.  In fact, you had to deal with some plagiarism pretty recently.  Do you enjoy designing?  ‘Ever consider doing more? (I’ve actually considered doing the same.)

I prefer designing my own ideas, but those aren’t always what sell.  The challenge is finding a compromise between what people want and what I enjoy drawing as a traditional illustrator.  My work can be found here: www.instagram.com/sarahnaomityrrell/

You are not a regular con-goer.  Are there any conventions that you do enjoy going to?  Do any stick out as particularly enjoyable?

I watch a lot of fansubbed anime.  I am VERY current with the latest seasons.  If I am ever afforded enough free time, I’d probably attend the local anime conventions in Vancouver (Canada) first.

Do you enjoy cosplaying or doing other hobbies with friends, or are you pretty much a lone wolf?

Here’s the best answer I can provide:  I am a shut-in until I am not, at which point I need to be surrounded by people.  If it’s possible to be an extrovert and an introvert, but in lunar and/or seasonal cycles, that’s me.

Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our readers?  Or perhaps something to haunt them with?

Beware of self-centered people who seem interesting.  These people are easy to spot by how much they talk about themselves, wait to talk about themselves, or turn everything that you tell them into something that relates back to themselves.  Value the people who show up for collaborative group activities instead, and the people who show up when you’re in a pinch most of all.  They might be moody, or quirky, or socially inept, but your bond to those people will be stronger than most blood-relations.

Gingersnap Pixie was one of the most interesting interview guests I’ve had, so I hope you enjoyed her interview, too.

I’ll tell you a secret: Since I’ll be leaving for Anime Weekend Atlanta on the Thursday right after this is published, I’ll be publishing Gingersnap Pixie’s Pictorial late Wenesday night/Early Thursday morning, so you won’t have to wait for Friday!

See you then!

-HERETICPRIME

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Zazie Cosplay: Interview

(Originally Published May 8, 2019)

This month’s starting Up and Coming Cosplayer’s career reminds me of certain aspects of Jessica Nigri’s cosplay career.  Both started as very young ladies that were undeniably beautiful, but matured into their sexuality as their costuming skills blossomed as well.  And just like Jessica Nigri, she is not afraid to capitalise on her intense beauty and sexuality…but still brings the cosplay A game.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Zazie Cosplay.

Like all Black folk in this country, we are all racially mixed because of our unfortunate history, but you have a relatively exotic look to you.   Would you mind if I asked about your ancestry?

Yes, I’m Brazilian and Italian on my dad’s side, and Ghanaian from my mom. I usually just tell people I’m Afro-Brazilian.

Is it true that you had yet another alter-ego, Maid Kyo?   What is it like working in a Maid Cafe?  How many have you worked in?  ‘Still do it?

Hello! Super Moe Maid Kyo here at your service!  I really enjoy working at a Maid Cafe.  I’ve worked in maid cafes for about 6 years now, and still going strong.  I definitely wouldn’t be doing it for so long if I didn’t enjoy what I’m doing.  I’m currently working at Blerdcon’s Maid Cafe, Luna Cafe!”

You seem more like an anime freak than a gamer to me.  What are your top three anime right now?

 That’s tough.  I would have to say ClannadNaruto, and Sailor Moon.

I like to think I have great intuition.   I use it to ask questions that seem weird at first, but they usually pay off.   Do you like strange food combinations?

Well this is something I used to order at my old job:  Loaded tots topped with cheese wiz and bacon.  With the Loaded tots I would add gravy and caramel to it, caramel being the strange part.

Back to cosplay, would you say that you are not only a lover of gijinkas, but of Pokémon gijinkas?

Yes, ‘guilty.  That being because I’m a huge fan of Pokémon games and shows growing up.  I just got a Nintendo Switch, just so I can play Pokémon:  Let’s Go, Eevee!  I do my best to do Pokémon gijinka cosplays in my annual cosplans.

Looking back at older pictures of you, at first I thought that you might have started modeling, but got bitten by the cosplay bug.  Now I’m beginning to think you were a cosplayer that started to like modeling.   Can you set the record straight?

‘Cosplayer first and foremost, but I do do some fashion shoots from time to time.

Looking back at your 2015 pictures and earlier, you did a lot of ambitious cosplays.   Lately your cosplays are not quite as complicated, and sexier.  Why the change?

I don’t know if I would say not say “complicated.” I feel like throughout my time of cosplaying over the years, I’ve evolved and learned new things.  ‘Not just about cosplay, but about myself as well.  When I just started out, I pretty much had to hot glue everything together.  I didn’t have a sewing machine, which meant hours of hand sewing.  A lot of my older stuff back then was a mess, and barely lasted a day of wear.  I am doing a lot more of sewing projects than armor builds, yes, but I do find sewing a lot more difficult.   Even with a sewing machine it’s hard when you’re a noob.  A simple project used to take me weeks, which is why I want to expand and improve my sewing skills.

So what happened in late 2014?   You went from this pretty sort of baby-faced cosplayer into a minx of a young modeling lady.

I don’t think anything big or crazy happened in 2014.  I feel like as I grow as a person, so do my cosplay skills.

Do you have any favourite photographers you like to work with?

Yes, a few of my favorites that I enjoy working with is SF DesignNikkis Cosplay PhotoPeppercat Photography, and Mika Bridges Photography.

It seems that most of the sexier cosplayer models are not really homegrown convention girls.  I get the feeling that that could not be further than the truth for you.  What are some of your favourite cons to hit up?

My favorite cons that I love to go to are OtakonKatsuconColossalcon OH, and Blerdcon.

Have you ever been star struck at a convention?  If so, who was it?

Yes at Otakon 2017 I got to meet Kohshi from the band Flow after seeing them in concert. Their show was a amazing and he’s really cool.

Have you ever met anyone at a convention and was disappointed?

No, not really.’

Which cons have you gone to have the best after hours parties?

I would have say it’s between Pax East and Dragon Con.

‘Any parting words for your fans and ours?

Hi everyone!  I would just like to say thank you so much for your support of my work, so far.  I hope to continue on creating more cosplays for the future.  Thank you again!  ~Love Zazie

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Leontha: Interview

(Originally Published August 7, 2019)

Man, if I could travel to all of the places of the cosplayers that I interview, I would be one passport stamping brotha!  This Up and Coming Cosplayer comes from Germany, was raised in Poland, but considers both home.  She also tries to capture beauty from every place she goes and in everything she does.  She calls herself Leontha.

Leontha has been very busy with health and family issues, not to mention business of just living life and cosplay, but she was able to put aside some time and answer our many quesitions.  When you also consider that the entire interview is in English, and she answers in English, you can appreciate it even more.

Please meet the very beautiful and talented Leontha.

You told me that your first cosplay was one that whipped up in a hurry just to cosplay for a con.  How did you go from that to choosing this as your artform?  When did you know that you were a cosplayer?

It all happens in 2012.  After my first ”try” in cosplay I was so overwhelmed with joy I had with my friends, and I noted that it helped me to open to other people.  I wasn’t that open for stranger(s) earlier.  I was mostly shy, and I just had my close friends I’ve stick with, and after I move out from home to another city right after high school, I was a bit at lost.  After that convention I wanna try it once again, and my friends helped me with it a lot.  Without their help I will propably quit it really quick.  XD They taught me many things, beacuse I can’t sew at that time, so it was hard on the beginng, but when I sew my first costume and go on convention in it, I was so proud of myself,  especially when totally strangers complimented that costume.  It was that moment when I let myself suck into that community.

I still admire many cosplayers, and still I learn something new everyday, and I hope to grow as cosplayer more in future.

You have a tattoo of what looks like a seal right above your left breast.   Will you tell us the meaning beind it, please?

That seal is originally from series Pandora Hearts, and it was first anime series that I was really hyped for (and I still am).  For me, personally it means that everybody have someting in their live that they wanna change or protect.  It’s like a symbol of my cosplayer site of life.

The first thing I noticed about your cosplay is the wide variety of wigs you use.   ‘So many styles and colours.  I know that other cosplayers use wigs a lot, too, but for some reason it seems you might just be a contender for most wigs.  Why and how so many wigs?

Well, wigs are important part of cosplay- they can change a lot, and that’s why I always try to make them as perfect as I can.  Often I sewing few different shade of 1-2 colors to mix them and get the most similar color to the originall one.  Sometimes I’m using one wig for more than one character.  Now I have so many wigs that I almost don’t know where to put them!  XD

 

You take a lot of great outdoors pictures.  Are those local or do you have to travel to get those beautiful pics?

One of the best thing in cosplay for me is that I travel to so many different beautiful places!  I often travel to close, and sometimes to far away locations for events and photo shoots.  Every time when I know that I will attend some event I try to look for close nice locations, and than I carefully plan what costumes I will take.  ‘Same goes when I going to visit my friends or family-I’m looking for places that could be used for photoshoot, and than plan with photographers to use that time in the best way we can.

But not all of those locations are far for my place where I live-some of them are pretty close.

Personally I prefer outdoors photoshoot beacuse I love nature, so why not to combine cosplay with it?  Thanks to cosplay, I’ve visited many wonderful places and hope to travel to new ones in future too!

Do you get to travel much?  Do you get to cosplay when you travel?  Do you ever travel for the sake of cosplay?

Yes, I’m often travel for the sake of cosplay.  Events like PixelMania or Volta in Cosplay are full of many amazing locations in so many different types, so they are perfect opportunity for cosplayers to make beautifull photo shoots in variety style.  Everytime when I’m creating new costume I plan everything carefully-from type of shoot I wanna do, to locations I wanna use.  For me is very important to portray character I’m cosplaying in the best way I can, so that’s why I wanna put my very best in it.  As I told already in previous question-when I know that I will travel somewhere, even not for event, I try to check locations around and see if I can use them as background for shoot.  If I can’t find anything that will suit to my idea I have in my mind, sometimes I’m creating my own backgrounds for shooting.  I have many stuff for that sake in my home that I store in boxes at the attic.

What else do you do when you’re not cosplaying?   Have you ever had any life obstacles that you had to overcome?  Did cosplay help?

If I’m not cosplaying, I like to making my own photos of places that I visited already.  Sometimes I just stop in the middle of travel just to take picture of coloufull forest, breathtaking sunset, or dreamlike sky full of clouds.

Before I’ve started cosplay I was a real bookworm, and sitll I am one.  I like to bury myself with cup of tea on my coach with intresting book, and just relax reading fascinating story.  From time to time I like to play piano-it was my first big passion, but unfortunately after I had accident when I was young.  I need to give up my pianist career plan, so now I only playing for fun and for not forgetting how to do it.

One of biggest obstacles that I overcome in my life was my health problems.  Short after I finished my high school, my health become really bad-I’ve striglled with them really long before I was diagnosed with cancer.  It took me 2 years of fighting before I won with it, but even today I need to be under constant care of my doctors, by it’s a lot better now.

You are of German and Polish descent.  Where do you call home?   Does home have many cosplayers?  Who are your big cosplayers in Germany or Poland?  What are some of your big conventions?

I was born and raised in Poland, but 3 years ago I moved out to Germany because here, I have better medical care.  I call both-my family hometown in Poland and my current place in Germany, home.  I still have many precious friends and family in both countries that I care of.

In my family I’m the only cosplayer, but my Mom is my biggest supporter, and even now she is the one who teach me and help me with sewing, because she is a professional tailor

One of my cosplay ‘idols’ are Kamui Cosplay-I love how detailed her costumes are, and how she like to share her knowledge in easy way with others. (https://www.instagram.com/kamuicosplay/)

Other one is DasGemini-I admire her sewing skills, and that all her costume are extremly detailed.  She using so many different techniques in her creations. (https://www.instagram.com/dasgeminii/) She is not only skillfull cosplayer, but very talented photographer as well.

In Poland I think we have many talented cosplayer, even if not all of them are that well knowed.

One of the most knowed is Shappi. (https://www.facebook.com/ShappiWorkshop/)

About conventions-I already mentioned PixelMania event.  That is event strictly focused on cosplay photography, but another ones that are worthy to be mentioned are Pyrkon, or PGA.

Are there any cosplayers from the USA that you like?  Are there any international cosplayers you like?  Have you ever made it over here to see how our conventions are?

Unfortunaley, I wasn’t on any events in USA yet, but I hope to come on Katsucon in future.  Every year I’ve seen many relations after that event, so now it’s one of my dream events to attend.

And about cosplayer form USA that I like-there are many.  One of them is Yaya Han.  She is just amazing for me.  How talented she is, and how persistent she was with her cosplay career.

Next one is AKrCos (https://www.facebook.com/AKrCos/)-I like that she creating many ‘original’ ideas for characters she is cosplaying.

There are still many cosplayers that I admire-Gesha (Russia), Aishizaya (USA), Alyson Tabbitha (USA), Maki Eraclea (Italy), Blue Snow (Italy), or Ely (Taiwan), Hikarin (Canada).

I haven’t really seen too much prop or armour crafting from you.  Do you not like those kinds of characters?   Do you plan on doing any in the future?

Actually I’ve created some armour already, but I didn’t go on photo shoot yet with those costumes.  For me, I’ve picking charaters that I like the most, and still I treat cosplay not as my job but as my hobby, so I mostly I choose my cosplay plans depends of what I like at the moment.  I prefer strong characters like Katalina (Granblue Fantasy), or sometimes I pick character because of design that I like.

For sure I will be doing more armour characters in the future.

I’ve noticed that everything you do is beautiful.  You make regular cosplays and they are beautiful.   You cosplay as men, and they still have a softness and beauty to them.  Even your sexy photoshoots have a beauty to them.   I’m not quite sure how to ask you what I have in mind, but could you comment on that observation?  Do you try to express beauty in your work?

I always try to portay character that I’m cosplay as best as I can.  Every time I have clear idea what I wanna create with my cosplays shoot.  Before each photo shoot that I’m planning, I carefully talk about what both me and photographer wanna create together.  We planning posing, how to use background in the best way, or if we wanna do some “dynamic” photos.

Sometimes I’m creating my own characters, or sometimes I have special ideas for shooting, too, and those are mostly creating some “story.” It’s a lot easier for me to work in that way.

Photography and cosplay could be a beautiful hobby; a piece of art too, and this is what I wanna show to others.

What kind of cosplayer do you consider yourself?   ‘Magical girl?  ‘Sexy vixen?  ‘Girl next door?  ‘Secret space alien?   ‘A little of each, or none of the above?

To be honest I’ve never was thinking about it.  I was just creating everything in my own way.  I think I’m all of them, and in the same time no one.  I don’t like pigeonhole people including myself.

Do you have any last things you’d like to say to the readers and your fans?

Often I hear that people are afraid to come to me on convention, so… don’t be.  I’m alway try to be nice, and I don’t bite (or at least not that often ;) )

If you enjoyed this interview, please help by Liking, Following, and Sharing it, and the social media pages of both Leontha and All Cool Things™.

Thanks again to Leontha for taking time out of her very busy life, and you all for reading.

-HERETICPRIME

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Arkhamesque Cosplay: Interview

(Originally Published October 2, 2019)

For the first time, All Cool Things™ thought it might be fun to feature a character cosplayer as an Up and Coming Cosplayer.  While we respect cosplayers for their ability to be different characters and bring the unreal to life, character cosplayers are a little bit of a contradiction.  Character cosplayers play one character, but very well.

Where great cosplayers are chameleons that change into many different personas, with enough prep time, character cosplayers are more like superheroes with secret identities.  Where character cosplayers are not as versitile in their cosplays, we expect them to be more of an experience.  We expect the character that they portray that much more.

Well, that brings us to Arkhamesque Cosplay:  a Florida Harley Quinn cosplayer with a hint of Juliet Starling. (She’ll get into that more in a moment.) Let’s get to know Arkhamesque Cosplay.

Picture by © Amazing Photo

I think we all get how you came up with your cosplay name.  I know that many cosplayers go through at least one other name before settling one.  Did you have any other names before “Arkhamesque Cosplay?”

Yes, I was also considering “Arkham’s Angel” but A, I thought it was a bit generic and boring, and B, I felt it was a little TOO Harley specific, as ironic as that is.  I wanted a name that both referenced Harley Quinn but could also apply to any other cosplays I might eventually want to do, so I chose “Arkhamesque”, as in reminiscent of Arkham.

Why did you decide to become a Harley Quinn character cosplayer?   For the record, do you cosplay as anyone else?  About how many other cosplays besides variations on Harley Quinn have you done?   How many variations of Harley Quinn have you done?

Harley Quinn is very very dear to my heart.  No other character sparks the same passion in me.  Perhaps it’s because she was my first interaction with “nerd culture,” but I honestly think it goes deeper than that.  All I know is that when I saw her character for the first time (I was 14 years old playing Arkham Asylum), it was like immediate infatuation.  I had never cosplayed before, but my extreme passion for her led me to doing my first cosplay, a cosplay I still wear to this day.

I do cosplay a whopping ONE other cosplay, Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw, but, if we’re being honest, isn’t she just…Harley-adjacent? (I have some generic Halloween costumes, but I don’t count those.)

How many Harley variations have I done? Oh boy uhh…*looks at Facebook albums because I have no idea*  Oh jeeze, I honestly haven’t been counting but it looks like 12 at the moment.  That’s way more than I thought I’d done.  That’s not counting Harley-themed outfits; just full actual costumes.  That’s the great thing about Harley, though.  I don’t think I’ll ever run out of new Harley costumes to wear!

You are the second cosplayer that I have encountered that has decided to become a character cosplayer for Harley Quinn, even though I have a feeling that that was a very common thing at one time.   How many other cosplayers do you know that have chosen that same path?  How many have you personally met?   Are there any that stick out as especially good?

I personally have never met anyone who cosplays predominately Harley variations, or if I have, I didn’t notice.  I generally just see one or two pictures of a cosplayer, so it’s not often I see their other cosplays unless I look into it.  Doll Face Cosplay on Instagram is an amazing Harley cosplayer, as well as Sammy Jo.

On that same note, I don’t think there is another Harley Quinn character cosplayer that has tried to claim it like you have.   Would you mind telling our readers to what lengths you have gone to be “The Harley Quinn Cosplayer?”

I am definitely not the best Harley cosplayer out there.  I don’t even think I’m in the top 50, but passion wise, I gotta be close to the top of that list.  Not to sound like a freak (I’m gonna sound like a freak regardless, but), It’s so much more than just a costume to me.  Calling Harley a “lifestyle” might be a bit much, but she does certainly occupy a lot of space in my life.

I am a natural brunette, but I have bleached my hair blonde to look more like her even when I’m out of an elaborate cosplay.  I know that sounds bonkers, but it just made me feel more confident in my life.

I actually have taken adult gymnastics classes to try to imitate Harley to an even higher level.  The closest class was 45 minutes away, but again I wanted to better play her character.  Also, I thought it would make me, as a Harley cosplayer, more interesting, and I’d stand out more.  I’ve fallen out of the gymnastics routine, but I do plan to go back.

To a less impressive degree, I also own a few Harley internet domains such as harleyquinn.org, harleenquinzel.org, and harleyquinn.co.  Each one leads to one of my social medias. I honestly can’t believe no one owned those!

Are there any characters that you have a strong urge to try?   Do you ever think that you might want to stop being a Harley Quinn character cosplayer and expand to others?   ‘Or do you think you might end up something like Real Life Peter GriffinRobert Franzese, and be known for one cosplay, but also have maybe one or two others that you also specialize in?

I think I’m much more likely to fall into the latter category.  I think Harley will always be my main muse, but there are some other characters I have my eyes on.  When I was in high school, I did a very amateur version of Stocking from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.  I’ve been thinking about cosplaying either Panty or Stocking again, but for real this time, in one of their sexier costumes now that I’m an adult.  ‘But I can’t foresee a situation in which Harley isn’t my main cosplay.  I don’t think I’ll ever be KNOWN for cosplaying her, but cosplaying her just brings me so much joy regardless.

I have a feeling that you do most of what you do by yourself.   Most cosplayers have a lot of help getting started.  They even have crews that they work and collaborate with.   Do you pretty much cosplay solo, or do you have a person or crew that helps you?   Was there a person in particular that helped encourage you, or got you into cosplay?

I do a lot of stuff by myself, but I do have an amazing crew called “My Grandparents!”  They are my support team, and no matter what I aspire to do, they’re always on board! (Maybe a little TOO on board. Like, maybe someone should question me about some of these life choices!  LMAO) Before I met my boyfriend, my grandfather shot the majority of my cosplay pictures, even when the rest of my family didn’t really approve.  My grandmother is a natural creative soul and is amazing with innovative ideas.  Any time I don’t know how to make something, she always has an idea I would have never thought of.  She single-handedly figured out how to turn my hair into huge cones for my Dark Prince Charming cosplay.  I went to my grandparents once day and said, “I need to make a huge mallet” and my grandfather instantly started directing me to what tools and materials I’d need to buy.  He accompanied me to Home Depot to help pick out equipment.  He instructed me on how to use a rotary tool to carve “wood” grain.  Any time I have a cosplay I can’t figure out how to pull off, I hit them up for ideas.  My grandmother once said comically, “Never did I think I’d be spending my late 60’s building a giant mallet, or taping my granddaughter’s boobs together, but that’s where I am!”

My boyfriend is also really really supportive of my cosplay.  He’s the one who takes most of my pictures now. He really has a photographic eye, and is very helpful in telling me how to correct/adjust my pose to make the picture better, but more importantly, any time I ask for his help, he always has my back.  Whether it’s dragging him to 5 Goodwills looking for the right item, or him learning how to use a curling iron so he could do my hair for me (Hair that won me a Bad Dragon dildo once but THAT’S another story.), I know I could ask him ANYTHING and he’d do it for me. (He wouldn’t right out admit that, but he would lmao!)

My high school friends really encouraged me to take the first steps towards cosplaying and going to my first convention.  They were all really into that scene, and I thank them for introducing me to it and teaching me all about it!

What is “Geek Fuel,” and what is your relationship to it?

Geek Fuel is a monthly nerd merch subscription box who once sponsored me.  They were a great support to me, even going so far as to offer my followers special deals and items.  I no longer work with them, for I felt I couldn’t adequately represent their items, as my interests are very DC Comics-centric.  Meaning, when they’d have items from Star Wars or Lord of The Rings, I couldn’t really relate to them

What does your family think about your cosplaying?  Do they understand?  Are they supportive and proud, or just kind of accepting?

As aforementioned, my grandparents are fully supportive, even when they don’t understand why I do what I do.  They see it makes me happy, and that’s enough for them.  They have even gone to conventions with me to better understand my interests. (They had a BLAST at Florida Supercon!)

My mother is a little more skeptical and wary.  This may sound like I’m joking, but sometimes she says she fears for my mental health!  LOL She worries that I might actually think I’m Harley Quinn, or something like that, but honestly, can you really blame her?  Everything I’ve said here probably sounds NUTS, but I promise you, I am still Madison under this clown paint!

My cosplays can get a little (okay…a LOT) risqué sometimes, which doesn’t THRILL my mother, but she seems to take it in a “Oh well…what are ya gonna do?” kinda way.  My grandmother also kinda feels this way, but understands that I’m a young adult and having fun.  I think she puts on a front that she’s going “tsk tsk” but part of her is yelling “You go girl!”

Harley Quinn has her hyenas as her “babies.” Do you have any “babies” that you take care of?  ‘Any pets?

We don’t have accommodations for hyenas, unfortunately, but we do have a pomeranian/poodle mix named Toby!  He is a spoiled brat but he gets away with it because he’s too cute.  He’s a weird dog sometimes.  He’ll pick sweets over meat always.  His favorites are cotton candy and jelly beans (we only give him a very very small amount though obviously.) He also wont drink water without ice, and needs to be tucked into bed.  Even I don’t get that kinda treatment!

Which is a better relationship goal: Harley and Joker, or Harley and Poison Ivy?  Why?

This is a trick question, right?  I wouldn’t really call either of them a “healthy” relationship, but I’d say Ivy is MUCH less abusive than Joker.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a little bit of Harley/Joker sometimes.  I do love their “ride or die” attitude, but I feel like Ivy gives Harley the love and attention she deserves.  No hate to whatever you ship!  ‘Just my opinion.

How much are you about that “Con Life?” What are your favourite conventions you go to?   What is the farthest that you have traveled to go to a con?

I love going to cons!  I love the atmosphere.  It’s honestly like there are no normal social barriers, and everyone is your friend.  It feels like you could ask any random stranger for help, and they’d help you.  You could yell, “HEY WHO WANTS TO PLAY A BOARD GAME!” in the middle of the convention center and BAM, meet your 10 new friends!  There’s so much love and support going around.  It’s nice to take a little break from the real world for a weekend.  Also, I LOVE hotels.  Honestly, you could just put me up in a hotel with no events, and I’d love it.  I’ve never been to a con outside of my state (Florida), so no more than 2 or 3 hours.  My absolute favorite con is Holiday Matsuri, in Orlando.  I love that the con is in the hotel, so I don’t have to trek through the Florida sun in high heels, and the hotel itself is BALLER.  It’s beautiful, has a mini grocery store in it, and the pool is like 5 pools.  Also, it’s Christmas themed! It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and get some gifts.

Are there any cosplay or con goals right now?  Are there any cosplayers that you want to meet, or are glad you did?

I’d LOVE to go to SDCC one day.  They have a huge Harley cosplayer meetup there, I believe.  I’ve never really met any big-name cosplayers, but hopefully ‘one day!

Anything to else to say to the “Puddins” out there?

Find your passion in life and follow it!  You don’t have to be the best.  You don’t even have to be GOOD.  Just do you.  Do happy, and as Harley says, “Be good to yourself!  ‘Cause everyone else in the world is probably out to get you!” ��

So…what do you think..?  No…wait…Let us know after the pictorial.  We really want to know if we should have more character cosplayers like Arkhamesque Cosplay, but hold your judgement until you see the pictorial we put together.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for this Friday for the pictorial!

Peace!

-HERETICPRIME

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Extraordinary Erika: Interview

(Originally Published July 16, 2019)

This Up and Coming Cosplayer is a remarkable woman.  She reminds me a lot of Free Safari.  She has overcome great odds and is a survivor.  She also reminds me of AlliZ Cosplay.  She is an Amazon with a great natural body honed by nature as well.  She reminds me of FeistyVee.  She is proud of her body and not afraid to share it.  Who is she?  Her name is Extraordinary Erika.

For the first time there will be more non-cosplay pcitures in a feature for an Up and Coming Cosplayer.  Extraordinary Erika is one of those cosplayers whom’s life, interests, and passions rival those aspects of her cosplay life.  We not only have a truly interesting cosplayer in Extraordinary Erika, but a complete and vibrant complete person.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Extraordinary Erika!

Have you always lived in Hawaii?   That’s quite a place to live.   What do you love most about living there?

I actually grew up in Colorado, and lived there most of my life.  I moved to Hawaii after I finished school for a job.  I never thought that I would leave Colorado, but I also never thought I’d get an offer in Honolulu!  My favorite thing about living here is the ocean.  Back in Colorado I used to keep salt water fish tanks, but now I’ve upgraded to actual reefs!

For fun I ask Up and Coming Cosplayers what their superpower is, and you gave an interesting answer.   You said you have two sets of DNA.  Would you mind explaining?  How did that end up happening?

I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 22.  After chemo failed to keep me in remission, I got a bone marrow transplant from a donor in Germany.  The effect of that is that I now have her blood, since her stem cells were used to repopulate my bone marrow.  So if a DNA test were done on my skin or organs, it would be me, but the DNA in my blood is from my donor.

Shameless plug, but being a donor is super amazing and easy, and it really saves lives.  You can sign up for free at bethematch.org.  I probably wouldn’t be here today without my donor.

You look like you keep extremely active.  Were you like that before Hawaii, or is that just something you took advantage of?  Does this active lifestyle help with your cosplay? #Cosfit

I moved to Hawaii for work, but I don’t think I could have gone somewhere where it’s hard to go outside and do stuff.  Living in Denver I got very used to being able to hike, and snowboard, and kayak, so when I moved I had to make sure that there were new things to keep me busy.  I just got freedive certified as a level 1 diver, so that’s been a really awesome new skill to learn.  While I firmly believe that cosplay is for every body type, many of the characters that I play are of a fairly muscular and lean build, and I definitely prefer to emulate that where I can in my cosplays.

I’m really not into tattoos, but of the ones I have seen, I think your phoenix is one of the more beautiful ones. Is there a story behind it?

Phoenixes are all about rebirth by fire, so that was a huge factor in the design choice.  I got this tattoo to commemorate my 5 year cancer free anniversary.  Going through chemo and transplant was very much a trial by fire, so I thought that it was a fitting metaphor for my experiences.

I’ve mentioned before that you are very active and fit.   You also don’t seem to be very shy about sharing it in nature.  Is there something about exotic settings or nature that sets you at ease, or are you pretty much a free spirit?

I struggle with the societal concept that the human body is something that should be hidden or that we should be ashamed of.  Nature is my happy place for sure but, it’s more that.  I’m there a lot, so that’s where a lot of the photos are, but I’m definitely always trying to be at peace with my body, and I’m ok with showing what I am; no more and no less.

I’ve seen you in quite a few shots in full mermaid cosplay complete with a mermaid tail.  I’ve always wondered:   Is it hard to swim in one?  How do you learn?  How many tails do you own?

They’re really easy to swim in!  I’m naturally a pretty strong swimmer, so they weren’t very challenging.  I learned when we were at the beach and there were dolphins in the bay.  Some friends decided to go see if they would swim with us (always better to go swim and let the dolphins come to you! Don’t chase animals!) and take photos.  I didn’t have fins so I was offered a tail.  The monofins are good propulsion so we hopped in and ended up swimming all over the place since the dolphins were so playful.  Now I have two tails of my own:  one fabric one and a partial silicone from Merrowfins.

Some of the things I’ve seen you do look kind of dangerous.  Are you ever afraid on your adventures?   Have you ever been hurt on some of them?

Some of the hikes in Hawaii can be dangerous, but we typically don’t go on those.  I do a lot of bouldering in my free time, so I’m usually pretty confident when climbing up things.  Freediving is really safe as long as you’re following basic rules, like diving with a buddy and doing a proper breathe up before a long dive.  It’s not uncommon to get little cuts or bruises, (reefs are sharp) but I’ve been lucky to have never gotten seriously injured.

Are you an actual doctor, or do you just play one on TV?

I have a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering; real doctor, just not medical.  I’ve only played a mermaid on TV.

I’m going to give you two random words, and I want you to tell me the first thing that pops into your mind: “fuck” and “cancer.”

Yeah, fuck that.  I have a “Fuck Cancer” poster in my room with Jane Foster as Thor by @artlidawn.  Cancer in young adults is a different beast, and there’s so little data or resources for it.  If you are a YA Cancer peep, look into First Descents, they’re an awesome group and there are so many people to talk to, plus there’s adventures.

I know that you are a fan of Pokémon Go.   That, plus where you live and what you enjoy doing probably means a lot of cool water Pokémon in a lot of awesome places.   ‘Care to share the coolest examples of both?

We actually got a little screwed on PoGo.  We’re apparently not part of North America, so we don’t get regionals from there or anywhere else.  But there’s a really big community here, so we’re lucky because we can always get a good group for raids and community days are lit.  That said, I’ve literally seen Charmander spawning out in the bay, so I think they got a little confused on our biomes

Speaking of Pokémon, you’ve come face to face with some pretty awesome real animals!  You’ve swam with sea turtles, kissed a shark, and picked up a hitchhiking octopus.   How do you get to actually meet and swim with them?  Do you just know and have access to these great places?  Are they kind of secret?

Part of it is knowing where to go.  You’re nearly guaranteed to find turtles at cleaning stations, and you have to know where to find octopodes, but a big part of it is just being out in the water a lot, and having a friend who is incredible at photography really helps too.

So with all of the things you do and activities you enjoy, how did you find the time to get into Cosplay?   I think most of the questions I’ve asked have nothing to do with cosplay!  You may be busier than FeistyVee!

I don’t even know anymore… I’m almost never not doing something.  I find the creation process in cosplay to be really relaxing, so I’ll often work for a few hours on the weekend or after work.  I hate con crunch, so I usually start making something as soon as my last costume is finished.

Are there any cosplayers out there that you think you would get along with, and might want to travel and go to cons with? (Personally, I think you would have lots of fun with AliZ Cosplay and FeistyVee.)

I love meeting new people and I really want to travel to some mainland cons! I’ve always been really inspired by Kamui Cosplay; her attention to detail is amazing, and she tends toward armor builds which are my favorite. Plus, she has really cute dogs.

Before you kick off into the Wild Blue Yonder, do you have any inspiring words for our readers and your followers?

Thanks for the feature! I’m looking forward to making some fun stuff in the future!

Well, by now you should know the drill.  Friday we publish Extraordinary Erika’s pictorial, and we think you’ll like what we’ve done with it!

There will be a few cosplays, but it will be Extraordinary Erika in her second element:  the beaches, reefs, and waters of Hawaii!  Enjoy!

-HERETICPRIME

Up and Coming Cosplayers with The True Aquaman: Interview

(Originally Published October 8, 2019)

Every now and then an interviewer feels extremely privileged. He/She feels privileged that he/she thought of the interview subject. ‘That the subject said yes. ‘That he/she was inspired with good questions and the subject was inspired with great answers. Sometimes everthing all comes together, and a simple conversation can become something that takes some masters years to produce: a work of art.

The cosplayer and subject of this interview is an old school veteran of cosplay and a geek for the ages. Like so many gifted and dedicated masters, cosplay has served more than a means of expression. Sometimes it has been therapy. Sometimes a coping mechanism. Sometimes it has even been a means to give back to people that may feel that Life has short-changed.

In the time that he has set aside from his very busy and giving schedule, he has given us true pearls of knowledge and wisdom, plucked from his very bittersweet Life experiences.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am extremely pleased to publish this interview I had with The True Aquaman.

Arkhamesque Cosplay suggested that you would be perfect for our Up and Coming Cosplayer series. You are only the second character cosplayer that we have interviewed in this series, or at all.  Why did you become a character cosplayer?  Why did you choose Aquaman?

Unlike the majority of people who cosplay today, I became involved in the Cosplay scene through a tragic turn of events, but given the way it turned out, although still heartbreaking, I have made the best of it.  I did not choose cosplay.  Cosplay chose me. I will go into greater detail of my beginnings later, but I have been an active cosplayer since 2005.   I dabbled in costuming like a lot of people do for Halloween, as it was my favorite holiday, but today I joke with many of my fellow cosplayers, that Halloween is now considered “Amateur Night” to the cosplay community.

Just like cosplay, I did not actually choose to be Aquaman.  In fact, I fought the idea for almost a year.  When the idea was first brought up, I was cosplaying with a group of people who would do large group cosplays such as Resident EvilMarvel X-MenRoad Warrior, etc.  I was cosplaying Iron Man in an 85 lbs armored suit as was incredibly popular at conventions, as the Marvel film had come out the year before.   It was really awesome being in the limelight with my fellow cosplay friends who were currently doing the Avengers characters from both comic book and movie versions.   After a while, the group decided to change things up and try doing DC characters.  This person jumped on Batman and Superman.  This girl picked Wonder Woman, and another Black Canary.  Then several of them turned to me and said I had to be Aquaman.  I was not interested.   I was getting a lot of convention love as Iron Man, and now these people wanted me to become a 2nd string Superhero that everyone likes to make fun of because of the cartoon Super Friends.  It took about a year of constant badgering before I gave in and had a very talented seamstress who worked for Sea World, make me the classic costume.  I even made sure that it was totally usable in the water.  This was about 11 years ago, before Flashpoint and the New 52 reboot of most of the DC characters.  So as I walked around the conventions, I got a LOT of people asking me if I was Mermaid Man from SpongeBob Squarepants.  That was painful as it happened a lot.   Or if our group was doing a group photo, the photographer would line up BatmanSuperman and Wonder Woman and then I would get, “Ok Aquaman, I guess you can be in the picture too.” I stuck it out for a couple of years until one faithful day at MegaCon in Orlando, changed everything.

I was leaving the main floor of the convention to help a friend back to their hotel room as they were not feeling well, and was stopped by an old lady who asked if I would take a photo with her husband, I kindly obliged.   I did a few hero poses next to the older gentleman as his wife used a disposable camera to take a few shots.  As I went to walk away, the old man gently grabbed my arm and told me I was exactly how he imagined Aquaman would look.  I thanked him and went to walk away again, he again grabbed my arm and explained that I was the living embodiment of his imagination.  I told him I was humbled by his words and that I took great pride in bringing this character to life.   He then asked me if I knew who he was, and I replied that I didn’t.  That was when he told me he was Nick Cardy, the man responsible for the character design of Aquaman.  His wife was escorting him to a panel for the Golden Age of Comic Book Artists, with Stan LeeGeorge Perez, and several others, when he saw me and had to have a picture.   He then told me that he was in awe of how much I looked like the idea he had in his mind’s eye all those decades ago, and that I was “The True Aquaman” he envisioned, and that was how I got the cosplay name of The True Aquaman.   That day forward, I took on becoming the best Aquaman cosplayer I could.  Shortly after that event, DC released the series Flashpoint and followed it up with the New 52 Reboot that changed Aquaman from continuing to be a joke character as seen in the Super Friends, to a fierce and noble character of the Justice League, and a well-respected standalone comic book hero.

What other characters do you cosplay as?   About how many variations of Aquaman do you think you’ve costumed?

I currently have over 40 different cosplay costumes in my various wardrobes and closets.  I have various Star Wars characters, several Marvel cosplays, TV show characters, video game interpretations, and movie heroes like James Bond and Resident Evil Special Operations Soldier.   Iron Man has always been dear to my heart, as I love the story of tragedy reshaping the mindset of the hero, as I can relate in a very personal way.   As for Aquaman, I currently have 11 variations on the costumes, and am currently working on 2 new versions that I hope to reveal later this year.

You are actually more than the average character cosplayer.  You have a lot of fandoms that you cosplay in.   You’re a Trekker.   You’re a Star Wars fanboy.   You even dabble in…*gasp*…Marvel..!!!   With all of those cosplay in all of those, and other, fandoms, can we still call you a character cosplayer?

I do dabble in a lot of different Fandoms because I am a true Geek at Heart.   My first comic book hero cosplay was actually Angel from the X-Men.  I had this beautiful set of giant white wings custom made, and developed a harness system inside a black X-Men movie leather biker style suit.    It was impressive, but very difficult to maneuver inside of a convention.   Even though my true start in Cosplay was Star Wars related, I have always been a fan of both the Star Wars and Star Trek worlds.   Not only am I a geek, I am a total closet science nerd as well, so Star Trek feeds my nerdy side as the technology and science on the show is much more possible to believe.   I grew up watching G.I. Joe, and so I have done a couple of those characters, with one being a direct farce from Robot Chicken’s character Fumbles/Trouser Snake.  I am an avid video game player with FPS being my favorites, and so I have done Assassin’s Creed Ezio from Revelations, and several characters from the franchise of Fallout.  People say I have a resemblance to Daniel Craig (I personally don’t see it), so I have cosplayed his version of James Bond for several photo shoots.   The list goes on and on, but I have been referred to as “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” and I am extremely humbled by that title, as it is a reference to one of my favorite books by author, Joseph Campbell.

I am certainly a character Cosplayer. No matter who I cosplay these days outside of my Aquaman costumes, I am constantly asked, “Aren’t you that Aquaman guy?” I am always “That Aquaman Guy,” in or out of cosplay.   It’s like being a firefighter (by which I was for 6 years).  When you’re a firefighter, you are always a firefighter in or out of uniform, on or off duty; you are that persona.  That is what it is like for me today. I am always Aquaman.

Looking at some of the younger and newer cosplayers coming up on the scene, would you say that there are different kinds of cosplayers?  Are there different types, maybe even classes of cosplayers?  What kind of cosplayer would you consider yourself?

‘Most defiantly.  The new and younger cosplayers have access to technology and materials that have changed the whole face of costume construction.  When I started, vacuum forming and mold making were the cutting edge.  Today, 3D printing, and EVA foam & thermalplastics have made costumes that would have cost thousands of dollars and weighed a ton.  (Costumes) now weigh next to nothing and cost a fraction of the cost.  The newer cosplayers also have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips with YouTube videos that explain countless ways to overcome any cosplay construction problem, where 8-10 years ago, you had to search forums in hopes of finding someone who had experienced the same issue and was willing to share their solutions.  The other side of the newer and younger cosplayers on the scene is their attraction to characters from the Asian animation series and video game characters vs. Pop Culture comic book characters.  The exception to this is if the character is in a recent blockbuster movie or TV show, and is the popular cosplay flavor of the month.

In my belief, there are several types of people who wear costumes.  The first type is the fan of a fandom who wears a costume to show their love of a character or fandom.  This is usually not a well-fitted or accurate costume, but allows the person to align with others that are fans such as themselves.  The next is a costumer, this is the person who wears an outfit because they think they look good in it, but have no deep affiliation to the particular fandom.  They tend to not know much about the character or it’s particular fandom.  These have become even more prevalent since the popularity in the boom of superhero movies and TV shows.  People want to be considered part of the “Cool Kid Club,” so they dress up like a movie or TV character to fit in at comic book conventions.  The last is a true Cosplayer.  The Cosplayer is the person who looks and acts the part of the particular character that they portray.  If asked a detail question about their particular fandom, the Cosplayer can answer it, and do so as if they are actually the character.  This is an actor-like representation of a character while you are in costume.  That is my definition of a Cosplayer.

I consider myself a professional cosplayer.  I don’t make a living at being a cosplayer, nor do I make a lot of money at all, but I do get all my costs for attending a convention covered and am expected to be at the events for a set amount of time like a job, so that makes me a professional.   There are very few cosplayers that can make a living as a professional cosplayer unless they are also doing outside of convention means like Patreon, or as a commissioned seamstress/prop builder.

I am most certainly a Cosplayer. When I am in costume, I become the character in every way possible to make the other convention attendees believe they are meeting a real superhero.

Mera Ivy Cosplay as Mera

With the DCU revamping Aquaman’s image, it adds a new sexiness to him, but in my opinion, takes away part of his old charm. What do you think?  How has it affected your cosplay game with Aquaman?

WOW!  This is a real hot topic for me.  The DCMU casting for Aquaman did so much to make people’s understanding of Aquaman more than a little convoluted.  By changing every aspect of the character’s iconic look and changing so many of the details of his origin story, fans are left having to go through great lengths to explain why the movie version is a farce to the almost 80 year legacy of what Aquaman is really like.  I am beyond disappointed in what Snyder has done to the entire DCMU with his poor casting and deplorable execution of several of the films leading up to the release of Aquaman.  So instead of a regal and deep character from decades of comics, the non-comic book reading masses, who only have seen the movies, believe Aquaman is a shallow beer guzzling and brawling barbarian-like character who is the butt of most of the movie’s onscreen jokes, and if you go through any toy isle and look at the DC figures, you have to ask yourself why there is blond haired and blue eyed Aquaman action figure, and another action figure calling itself Aquaman that looks like a barbarian.   I understand the reason Snyder chose the person he did, as financially getting women to see a shirtless version of a person they loved in the HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” would increase box office sales, but in doing so, he crapped on the iconic nature of the artists that worked on making Aquaman an amazing and extremely complex comic book character for decades.  My perfect casting for an onscreen actor for the part of Aquaman would have been Charles Hunnam from the series “Sons of Anarchy.” He has the natural look and build as well as the character acting skill necessary to pull off a regal, yet deeply conflicted character like Aquaman.

Princess Nova “The True Wonder Woman” as Mera

 

It has been a bit of a game changer in some ways and a hidden blessing in others.   As I walk through conventions now, I get a lot more recognition from true fans that point me out to their friends and family as they tell them “That is what Aquaman is supposed to look like!” It has made Mera a popular character for females to cosplay, and so I now get a lot more opportunities to shoot with some amazing people while I am in one of my many incarnations of Aquaman.  I have been asked if I would ever do a Momoa version of Aquaman, and I refuse to lower myself to that, but I have worn a movie version of the costume, but as a blonde haired and blue eyed traditional Aquaman look, and this has proven to be very favorable with fans.   Those that know a little about Aquaman often call me out as “OG Aquaman” or “Classic Aquaman” when they pass me.   I am okay with that.  I congratulate any cosplayers I see who are cosplaying as Momoa, as it is a hot commodity due to the movie, but that’s just it, they are cosplaying a person, Momoa, and not truly Aquaman, because if they were true fans of the iconic character, they would not try to look like the movie.  If you saw the film “Into the Spider-Verse”, there was a character called “Spider Ham.” This character is a real character in the multiverse of the Spider-Man characters, but is considered more of a joke then a serious version of Spider-Man.  This is the same classification I give to Momoa.   His is a farce version of Aquaman in the DC Multiverse.  I know that my opinion is not always a popular one, especially with people who think the Sun rises and sets on Momoa because they are highly attracted to him, but I have a bias against his portrayal out of years of following the Comic book character, and learning every detail about Aquaman’s actual back stories.

You cosplay as lots of cosplays other than Aquaman.  You even cosplay with heavier armour builds.   What types of materials and techniques do you like to use in your crafting?

I craft in a lot of different mediums, and I am always looking to get into using new techniques, like 3D printing and thermalplastics.  It is fun to learn new things through trial and error, but I am a perfectionist, so I will not display any of my builds until I believe it is the very best portrayal I can bring to the convention floor.

Arkhamesque Cosplay said that she met you during a school function for the kids.  Looking at your Facebook, I can see that you donate a lot of time to charity.   Do you know how many hours on average you donate a year? 

I have been a part of Cosplay Charity work since my induction into Cosplay almost 14 years ago.   Each year varies, as it depends on the opportunities that present themselves.  I easily do more than a 100 hours a year donating my time and efforts to helping charities while I am in Cosplay.

Charity is very important to you.   Could you please give our readers a glimpse into what motivates you to give so much?

Bringing happiness and smiles and children and those who are kids at heart is a major motivation to my life as a cosplayer.   There is no dollar amount that can compare to the value of the smiles and the joy in the eyes of people in the photos taken with me in character.   For some of those I visit and do charity work for, a smile is hard to come by due to their medical conditions or environmental situations, so the moments I get to spend with these individuals, I make the most of it by giving them my heart and soul so they know a true superhero cares about them in their time of need.

Are there any charities work with regularly?   What are some of the more memorable charities that you have worked with?   Are there any that hold a special place in your heart?

There are several, like Give Kids the WorldCamp Challenge and several of the local hospitals’ pediatric wards.

Camp Challenge is a particularly special one as they hold two Christmas events a year (one in the Summer and one in Dec).   The reason they throw two a year is that some of the children in attendance will not live long enough to see Christmas, so it is important to make a big deal about the holiday events. The children are always so grateful to the presence of all the cosplay characters, and we are always turning on the charm and good times to make each event one of the child’s greatest memories.

I don’t want to bring up anything too painful, but as a journalist I ask things that I think the people would like to know, or that guests might want to share for a bigger picture.   Would you like to talk about your son, and what geek he was; just like his father?

My son is the sole reason I became a cosplayer in the first place.   I will not go into the whole story, as it is a book length in itself.  In summary, My Son, Christian, was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 7 years old.  While going through treatment in the hospital, he became a huge Star Wars fan and believed his cancer battle was actually his Jedi Trials.   I played into his belief by becoming his Jedi Master in full-on Cosplay fashion.  About a year later, upon his death, I was introduced to the cosplay charity groups “The 501st Legion” & “Rebel Legion.” These dedicated cosplayers served as my Son’s Honor Guard during his Celebration of Life Ceremony.   Three months later, I finished my first 501st approved costume and attended my first charity cosplay event in Miami, and that in turn, launched my life into the world of being a Bona fide Cosplayer.

Do you have a crew of like-minded cosplayers that you like to cosplay with? ‘Perhaps classic Super Friends, or cosplayers that donate a lot of time to causes?

Over the years, I have been a part of lots of different groups that were both just cosplay related and charity based.   As I now travel so much for conventions all over the country and internationally, having a crew has become very difficult to maintain, as they hardly ever have the means to go to all the same conventions that I attend.  Now, if I have the time at some of the larger conventions, if I see a posting for a DC group photoshoot, I try to break away from my booth to get in on the event.   As for charity work, I was part of several groups, but in-fighting and egos made it an uncomfortable environment to want to do charity events in, so now I do a lot of private invite level charity events where an individual or an organization reaches out to me personally, and asks me to be there for their events.   This has been a lot more fulfilling, and has given me a lot more great personal opportunities then I had with just about any group I was once affiliated with.

I see you like to hit movie screenings in cosplay, a lot.   What kind of non-convention events do you like to go to just for fun?  How often to you hit up random geek events?

Movie premiers are always a fun time as the fan base gets an added thrill to their movie experience when then find out that a character from the film is in the lobby for a fun photo opportunity.   I am always booked at one, if not more stores for events like Free Comic Book Day or Comic Book Holiday events, and of course, charity events and personal meet and greets are highest on my list of things to do that are non-convention related.

Several times a year I will see something geek related that will be going on that is within comfortable driving range, and take time out of my schedule to go have some geek level fun and entertainment.   Case in point, there was an event at the beginning of July up in St. Augustine, FL.   There was a Creature from the Black Lagoon triple event at an art film theater.   Those that know me, know I am a HUGE!!! Creature from the Black Lagoon fan, so much so, that I hope to Cosplay and do a major photo shoot as the creature at some point in the future.   The event was a showing of the original movie, a performance by my good friend “The Kilted Creature,” followed by a showing of “Return of the Creature.” I have also been known to show up at Fringe Festival here in Orlando in my Aquaman outfits, and just have random fun with festival goers.

Are there any last thoughts that you would like to share with our readers, for this interview?

Being a cosplayer for the last 14 years has exposed me to some of the most amazing people and opportunities, but it has also shown me some of the meanest and most evil people in the world that use cosplay as a means to hide their true ugliness.  I have had to turn the other cheek more times then I care to discuss.  This community is supposed to be about the love of fandoms, and celebrating each other’s love of being a geek in an environment that is open to all walks of life.   The number one rule of the cosplay and geek community needs to be “Don’t Be a Dick!” I got into this world under a very traumatic ordeal in my life, and so I try to make the most of every day I get the opportunity to be apart of, and help others enjoy it as well.  A quote I often tell people about my involvement as a cosplayer is this: “My Son never got to grow up, so I have decided neither will I” I will forever be a big kid who enjoys playing dress-up as a means of my own coping therapy for the loss I have had to endure, so each and every smile I bring to the face of someone in my company while I am in cosplay is currency with a value that will be forever unimaginably precious.

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Cree Nicole: Interview

(Originally Published March 6, 2019)

This cosplayer was an absolute pleasure to chat with.  Not only is she very talented, but charming as well.  In this day and age of wannabe overnight celebrity cosplayers that seemed pressed out of the same cookie cutter of wigs, fake boobs, and insincere Patreon/Ko-fi pages, it is a breath of fresh air to find a cosplayer with not only personality, but feeling and heart as well.

Always willing to pump up her fellow cosplayers when they need an ego boost, I am thrilled to introduce to you all:  Cree Nicole!

I think that everyone gets into cosplay for their own reasons, but there some of us that start cosplaying because we need it more than others; it is like therapy.  Would you mind telling us what cosplaying means to you?

 

It might sound a little melodramatic, but we all wear masks everyday.  You have to really get to know someone to ever get past the practiced surface that they decide to show the world.  Cosplay is a shortcut through all that.  By choosing a favorite character to portray and wearing it to a convention you may be saying, “This is an aspect of who I *really* am.” Social anxiety is a pretty big deal for me, and sometimes it boils down to the fact that I’m not really being myself in the wider world.  I can’t.  I can’t be weird and neither can you.  The more layers of social filters I pile on, the more anxious I get..  Somehow cosplay is an added layer that makes all the other layers acceptable to my anxious brain.  Also… it’s really fun.

Before we get into your cosplay, I just wanted to tell you that you have one of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen.  It does all of the things that a smile should do.   It even portents more than happiness.  It reveals experience and fortitude; a sort of toughness out of necessity, but not at the cost of heart.   I know that that is not a question, but I really wanted to tell you that because I thought you still might have something to say about that.

Wow!  Thank you! That makes me really happy.  I’ve never had a knack for hiding my emotions.  I did have a few rough years in my twenties, I lost both my parents, and I’m the only person left from my immediate family.  Maybe what you described kinda comes from that experience?  Things have been much better recently, I’m really on the mend and I’m very thankful for what I have now.

You have a Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Masters in Art Education.  What is the goal with those achievements?  Does cosplay have a place in it?

 

I’ve always made costumes, and I did take a costuming class while getting my Bachelors, but I didn’t know what “cosplay” was then.  While working on my Masters, I was getting heavy into cosplay, but at that point I was sure I was going to go straight into teaching.  I didn’t, and dang!  I graduated a few years ago, now.  Things have never seemed to go the direction I think they will, but that’s life, eh?

You consider yourself a punk goth.   I consider myself old school goth (FYI).   What are some punk goth groups that you have in your playlist?

 

Oh my playlist is all over the place!!  My favorite bands/artists include the DeftonesAFIAesop RockThe ProdigyFever RayMegadethRancidStevie Nicks, and Run the Jewels.  Bands like Anti-FlagSubhumans, and Against Me! really set the tone for my style and politics, but I need slightly chiller jams while I’m working on creative projects.  Massive AttackGrimes, and Lorn all fit that bill nicely, or Stoned Jesus and All Them Witches if I’m feeling stoner metal that day.  Getting ready for a photo shoot I might put on Nicki MinajBilly Eillish, or Missy Elliott for the right vibe.

Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb here: …You like Harley Quinn..?  Why do you like Harley Quinn so much?   While you’re at it, could you please try to shed some light on why so many women love that character?

 

It’s hard to describe what place Harley takes up in my brain.  Mostly, she really sparks my creative streak.  I would not even go so far as to describe her as my favorite fictional character, but here I am with 10 or so various costumes of her; the most I’ve done of any character.  Who knows, man, she’s a phenomenon!  She’s relatable for women because she turns her vulnerability into a strength because she suffers and survives.  I think a lot of people who at some point have tried to “fix” someone also relate to Harley.  To believe in someone and their potential just to have them break your heart? Most people can relate to that and it’s one of her biggest themes.  Also there aren’t a preponderance of anti-heroines, and that’s a shame because so many people are crazy for them.  Maleficent is an example and another character I see at every con!

I gotta admit: I hate Harley Quinn!   ‘Not because of her character, but because every woman/girl/person with pigtails does Harley Quinn!   However, I’m beginning to think that every man has a Harley Quinn that they could fall in love with, and I found one in your variants…’Your Klingon Harley.  How the hell did you come up with her?

I think you can tell a lot about a person based on their favorite portrayal of Harley Quinn and whether or not they like her at all.  You could really be into this character and be a terrible person, or vice versa.  Love Harley or hate Harley for the right reasons, and you’re good in my book.  But Klingon Harley, yeah!!  I learned (and forgot) a lot of Klingon a few years ago.  I just really wanted a shirt that said, “Daddy’s Little Monster,” but in Klingon.  I translated it (poorly) and made the shirt.  It all went from there.  I already had the forehead prosthetic.  It was a lot of fun.

Is Quinom an actual cosplay or is it CGI?

It’s a costume!  I did add a bit of Photoshop, mostly focused on the hammer.  I tried to leave some without as much Photoshop, but here we are.  If you had to ask I must have overdone it!  :)

In one of your Harley Quinn cosplays, you pose with a hyena…Was that a REAL hyena?  If not, how did you swing that shoot?   ‘Got any “puddins'” in real life that you are a parent to?

Just one!  My doggo, Dingo, is real wild looking, 12 year old mutt with a heart of gold.  She posed with me and made it really pretty easy for me to photoshop this.  I changed the shape of her muzzle and tail, added spots and darker colors.  Voila!

You really look like you have fun in your cosplay portfolio.   Do you get into your characters at conventions as much as you seem to in your cosplay shoots?

I depends a whole lot on the character.  When dressed as a Klingon, I go all out.  It’s too much fun not to.  Video game characters have a lot of lines and inside jokes that are fun.  With characters children recognize, you have to get into them or you might disappoint them, and that’s no fun.

Actually, there seems to be a theme of fun and humour with your cosplay shoots.  Would you say that also goes with your characters that you pick for cosplay?  Harley Quinn alone is a character based on humour, crime, and insanity (cute insanity, but still insane!).   Have you every done a more serious cosplay?

I have a Scarlet Witch that feels more serious when I wear it.  She’s a fairly sad character across all her incarnations.  Oh, and Rogue, she is one of my absolute favorite characters, and she’s no touchy, all punchy, all sass, and quiet smiles.  Daenerys is super serious.  She almost never smiles, and it can really break character to smile while cosplaying as her.  Besides that, I think you’ve hit on something there, though I just don’t cosplay a lot of serious characters!

 

 

How much time out of serious living do you get to indulge in cosplay?  Do you get to travel a lot for cons?

 

I was traveling out of state a lot for cons for a few years, I can’t afford to right now.  But I get to set aside a couple hours a day to work on cosplay stuff, I’m a lucky ducky!!

There’s a theory that sometimes it is bad for two people with the same passion to be together, kind of like two intense and competitive gamers living together and fighting over games and bragging rights.  Could you ever see yourself dating another cosplayer? Have you, or would you need a more serious person to compliment your passion? How much does “cosplay dating” happen, in your opinion?

 

Oh I see it work a lot!  ‘Depends on the personalities involved, I’m sure.  I can’t imagine living in a small apartment or house (like I do) with someone else who takes cosplay as seriously as I do.  There just wouldn’t be enough storage.  lol!

I don’t happen to be in one of those relationships, but two of my favorite cosplay couples are Keeper and Thief Crafts and Thousand Faces Cosplay.

Are there any cons that the people can count on seeing you at in 2019?

 

Heck yeah,  I’m planning on Albuquerque Comic ConSabaku ConAtomic City CosplayNew Mexico Comic Expo, and El Paso Comic Con.  More might happen, I hope!

Any last words for the readers and admirers?

 

Just a bunch of crazy love and well wishes!  Be safe and kind out there!

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Miniilay: Interview

(Originally Published July 4, 2019)

I get to meet a lot of interesting and talented people doing what I do.  ‘Many talented men and women that devote a good portion of their time and effort to an art that does not profit them, for a person to truly profit in the cosplay world, it takes more than dedication, talent, looks, or charisma.  It takes a sense of business savvy and the ability to deliver what people want.  All of these things I think are present in this Up and Coming Cosplayer.

All Cool Things™ is extremely proud to introduce to you, Miniilay.

In this business I’m in, I come across some unique cosplayers with unique cosplay names.   How did you come up with yours?

It’s nothing special.  I was just making a YouTube account when I was young, and couldn’t think of anything related to me but “small” and my last name… Someone took “Minilay,” and I just added an extra “i,” so I’ve had “Miniilay” stuck with me since then.

I can tell that you are building a brand.  If I had to compare your brand to anyone else’s that has become a big success, I’d compare you to Jessica Nigri.   You are both very sensually beautiful women whom’s looks probably cause people to discount your costuming and crafting abilities.  Do you find any conflict in the tempering of your brand?  Do you ever want to concentrate on one thing, but feel compelled to pander to “fan service?”

I don’t find any conflict in tempering my work.  I don’t care what others have to say or think.  I just do whatever I want to do.  I usually try to have an open mind for myself and check off my bucket list of things to create.  I don’t think of “fan service” or what’s trending everyday.  I just do anything that comes to mind on days I feel more inspired.

How do you feel about the more “fan service” aspect of your brand? Is it as much a part of you as your artistically creative side? Is there a melding of both that appears in each aspect of your brand?

I think the “fan service” side of my brand is fun; it’s still me.  It can be anything, and I’ll bandwagon along too if I actually enjoy what I see is trending.  These “fan services” can range from casual cosplay, boudoir shoots, fashion, character(s) that are hyped, etc.  Of course there is a mix of both of my brand!  Even if I do or don’t intentionally do these “fan services,” I do what I do because I want to do it for my enjoyment.  If I don’t feel like I want to do a certain “fan service” trend that is going on, then I will not.

Cosplay is a great way to introduce a person into modeling, and vice versa.  I can tell that you love the camera and the camera loves you.  Was modeling ever a plan for you?  Is it a plan, now?  Is that yet another aspect of your brand?

Modelling was always on my mind ever since I was young.  My mom, was and still is in the fashion business, and I was always her little model!  Even today, I help with her business everyday and she still needs me to model her designs.  I’ve never thought of modelling as a serious job.  It’s just something for fun on my free time.  It’s not just “strike a pose” with clothes on.  You can be anything when it comes to modelling, and that’s where my range of creativity comes into play; such as cosplay, fashion, makeup, boudoir etc… The list goes on, and will grow on!

When it comes to costuming, you started with sewing and tailoring.  How did you get into armour crafting?

I knew how to sew my whole life, but im not perfect, and continuing to learning new tips and tricks.  I loved playing video games ever since I was young, and admire how badass characters are created.  At the time I first started cosplaying, I would only choose characters that have clothing, but I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could also bring more to life.  I was obsessed with League of Legends, and loved crafting in art class in school, so I gave crafting armour a try because I wanted to be my favourite character from that game at the time.

I have to say that I am very impressed with your armour work.   How long have you been working and crafting armour?

I’ve been crafting armour for about 4 years.  My first ever full armour cosplay was female version of Raiden from Metal Gear Rising:  Revengeance in 2015.

What materials do you like to work with?  Do you find them difficult?   Are they the same that you started out working with?  Do you see any promising materials for the future?

Almost all of my materials come from Dollarama; mainly EVA foam and contact cement glue.  Those two work so beautifully!  At first it was hard to work with EVA foam; I didn’t understand how to work with it, but once I did my research, it was so easy to cut, mold, stretch etc.  EVA foam surprisingly can do a lot!  When I first started, I thought hot glue was good enough because I used it my whole life in school.  Its super easy to use and fast to dry. 

The only down side was it’s just hot.  Theres annoying glue web strings left behind, and if you don’t hold your pieces together long enough it leaves lots of gunk, and you have to redo it again. Most of the time there will always be hot glue sticking out on the outside surface.  Even if you wipe it clean while it’s still hot, you will still see it in the end of your project. 

When I swtiched to contact cement glue, my work had never been so clean!  The only down side would be the smell. 

After I did my research, things are just a lot easier to understand why things are, or aren’t working out.  I think EVA foam will always be worked with.  I can’t think of any other material that could replace EVA foam.  You will always need it.  From a base structure to a full finished build, it’s always used.

There is a cosplay of you with these huge gun arms attached to you.  How did you swing that?   What were they made of?  How much did they weigh?

That was Gun Goddess Miss Fortune from League of Legends.  It was pretty heavy for me, even though it was made out of EVA foam and pink insulation foam.  When everything added up in the end, it weighed me down.  I’m not exactly sure why, but I also rushed it in the end.  I just wanted to get it done with, and never think of it again!  It had handlebars, but it was still heavy to keep it up and swing around.

Have you ever considered doing any big mech stuff like Old Trenchy or Sunday Cosplay?

Yes! I want to make D.Va’s mech from Overwatch and Strelizia mech from Darling in the FRANXX.

What is the Canadian convention scene like?  Have you been to The States to compare?

I’ve only been to Youmacon in DetroitMichigan. I’ve been going there for 5 years now, but compared to Candian conventions they’re basically the same.  The only difference would be money:  CAD to USD is so expensive, so that is really my only problem with US conventions.  People from both sides are very friendly, energetic, and helpful!  I’ve never dealt with any negativity at any cons so far.

What are the top five things you love about cons?

I absolutely love the cosplay part, looking at people’s cosplay, whether bought or handmade.  It brings everyone together because we all freak out on our favourite characters!  It gives them, and yourself, a great feeling.

That leads into meeting new people.  I’ve met new con friends through cosplay by asking for pics, or just simply complimenting them.  Even if we don’t become friends, its still a positive energy between the two of us, and the enjoyment keeps going on!

With many people brought together, we also try to help each other.  If someone sees that I’m having a difficult time with my cosplay they will help me.  It’s honestly such a blessing when someone offers a helping hand, and of course I do that to others too.  Surprisingly walking in ANY cosplay can get frustrating!

It is worth all the struggling because people love your character and ask for a photo!  Even a simple selfie together illuminates me.  It’s memories to keep, and remembering those moments gives me a smile on my face to look back.  Meeting new photographers, to casual con goers; looking back at silly photos to beautiful shots just takes you back to the moment, and you have this thought, “Wow, that’s what I really looked like?” and you can see and remember how happy you truly look.

Even though it’s a long and frustrating process, planning and building cosplays is absolutely my favourite part.  I’m not sure why, because I do get tired the more I build, and once I wear it at a con I’m so exhausted; However, when the con is over I reflect back, and overall, I have this relief of accomplishment and think, “I cant believe I pulled it off,” and do it all over again!

Who are the top three people you have met at cons that you were excited to see?  Are there any more people you hope to see?

The first and only person that I’ve met is, Jessica Nigiri.  I havent been able to meet a lot of people at cons, but I was able to make many friends, and it feels like home when I see them again every year, at the same con.  I honestly hope to keep seeing Jessica Nigiri!  She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met!  She was very patient with me and accepted all of these requests that I wanted her to do for me when I met her.  It was very silly but she loved every bit of it and her boyfriend, off to the side, was laughed and kept everybody else company. 

I also hope to see, Kinpatsu Cosplay and Kamui Cosplay in the future.

Are there any cons that our readers or your followers can count on seeing you at in 2019?

I will hopefully go to Anime NorthFan Expo CanadaWindsor ComiCon, and Youmacon.

Are there any parting thoughts for our readers and your followers?

Cosplaying is a hobby; no matter how you start, it will always be fun.  To full armour builds to lewd looks, it’s your character to cosplay; do whatever YOU want to do because YOU LOVE it, and YOU WANT to do it. 

People will have their own opinion about everything.  Whether it’s negative or positive, the only thing that matters is what you think about yourself.  Don’t compare or put yourself down.  You will always be you, and in the end results, someone/people are going to love it.

Are you excited to do that look?  THEN GO START! ��

So what do you think?  Does she have what it takes?  Were you impressed by her work and work ethic?  Well, in case you aren’t quite there, yet, in a couple of days you get to see the pictorial.

As you’re reading these articles, we at All Cool Things™ hopes you’re sharing them.  We also hope that you’re following or featured cosplayers on their social media and supporting them on their support sites.

Hell, do the same for us!  ‘Wanna donate to us?  There’s a link on the front page…Oh, all right.  Just click >>>HERE<<<.

As always, thanks for reading about our Up and Coming Cosplayers.  ‘See you next time.

Up and Coming Cosplayers with MirCosplay: Interview

(Originally Published June 5, 2019)

I know we’ve all heard that saying:  “You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but how well do we listen?  I can tell you with all honesty that ever since we started this Up and Coming Cosplayer series, I have had my mind changed about Patreon some, and the cosplayers that rely on it for helping their craft.

I used to think that most of the cosplayers were bascially budding and reluctant softcore porn stars that exploited cosplay and its fans to further their own goals.  I’d be lying if I said that I still think that a lot of them do this, but not nearly as many or as much as I thought.

This week’s feature cosplayer is from Spain, but you’d be surprised at how much of our geek and pop culture she knows.  Her learning of English is a testament to her geek peen and her intellect that is also massive.

I am proud to introduce to you:  MirCosplay.

MirCosplay, How did you get your name?  Does it mean anything?

 

It’s a pretty simple rationale.  My name is Miriam, but a few of my close friends call me “Mir.” MirCosplay was an obvious place to go, but it was only supposed to be temporary until I could think of something better, but you know what they say:  “There is nothing so permanent as that which is temporary.”

How is the cosplay community in Spain?  Are there a lot of people cosplaying in Spain, or Europe as a whole?

I don’t know that I can speak for Europe as a whole, but Spain has a pretty healthy community.  I think we have a reputation for being a bit, shall we say, a bit over passionate about our work, :3 and honestly I’ve found most people to be incredibly supportive and friendly.

Is it true that role play taught you English?

 

‘Pretty much.’  If you had any idea how many hours I spent down that rabbit hole, you would think I was “mad as a hatter.” But it did learnt me to talk English gud??

Have you ever been to the USA and experienced our cosplay community?

Not yet, it’s on my short list of goals though for sure.  And of course, I interact with cosplayers from America all the time.

I see that you like to do a lot of sexy cosplay.   Do you prefer cosplay with that kind of edge?   Do you consider yourself a sensual person?

I think people would be surprised if they knew me that way.  People tend to reflect their desires onto girls who are comfortable with themselves that way, and would probably find me to be a lot less sensual than the version of me they conjure up.  That being said, I do enjoy sexy cosplay, but my approach is to immerse myself in the character and try to bring out something I find sexy about them.  It started as simple question of what would a character wear under their clothes to complete the costume, and of course you have to show that off.  But my character driven approach to boudoir seems to connect with my fans, so it’s become an increasingly large part of what I do.  Now when I think of a character, I also try to think of something special for the boudoir.

In the USA, we cosplay as a bunch of things, but probably as anime, video game, and comic book characters the most.  What does the Spanish cosplay community like to cosplay as the most?

 

A lot of my first experiences were with the Star Wars community here, which is quite strongly represented.  Game of Thrones has a Spanish connection, and shows up often in cosplay, as well. But I think in the end we have representatives for all the same major categories as in the USA.

What are some of the big conventions in Spain that some of my readers might not know about?

I’m mostly in the Madrid area, where we have quite a few.  I enjoyed both Comicon Madrid and Japan Weekend this year.  Metropoli in the north is like a 2 week convention and music festival.  I’ve always wanted to go to, but there are several regions here with big events and their own communities that I have yet to explore.

Are there any cons here in The States that you would like to go to?

 

I’ve always wanted to go to SDCCDragon Con, or any of the legendarily huge cons, and just get lost in a sea of fandom.

Are there any types of costuming or crafting that you would like to learn more about, or plan to tackle in the future?

Ummm, all of them I guess.  Cosplay is funny that way; no matter how much you know, you can still feel lost at times.  I try to let inspiration strike me for a character, and then scour the internet for the skills to make it happen.  My cosplay would not be possible without all the creative people out there sharing their secrets.  That being said, I’m excited to play around with armor building more.

How do you like to spend your time when you are not cosplaying?

 

I still roleplay every chance I get.  It’s more of an addiction at this point.  ‘And of course gaming on my PlayStation

Do you have anything that you would like to say to our reader or your followers?

Cosplay is this amazing mix of pop culture and art, and when I think of the community at large, I’ve found it to be overwhelmingly supportive, creative, and helpful, but mixed in with all that good there is this occasionally toxic underbelly that I’ve seen discourage a lot of people with great talent from reaching their potential.  Just remember that harsh words hurt, and if you see someone bullying a cosplayer, or objectifying a girl for trying to portray a character, don’t let that be ok.  Be the voice of your community.  Don’t be the one that makes people want to leave.  Stand up for cosplayers of every level, even if they are different; even if you don’t connect with it, a lot of work goes into it, and perfection is unreachable.  One negative comment can drown out a thousand positive ones, so in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln “Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!

Up and Coming Cosplayers with Yuna Kairi: Interview

(Originally Published April 3, 2019)

I have had the pleasure of conversing with many a cosplayer from the former Soviet Union.  The quality of cosplayer and photographers there are unparalleled; very few places take thier cosplay as seriously.  Yuna Kairi is one such bright facet from a far away gem.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Yuna Kairi.

You have so many different travel pictures in your Facebook page.  I was wondering if you could tell us how you go to so many of these great places. Does it have something to do with your work, or do you simply travel out of pleasure? (A lot of cosplayers here are probably interested in this question, too.  Traveling to different conventions can get expensive!

Most of the times I get to travel out of pleasure for vacations of to the cons as a contestant/judge.  But sometimes skilled cosplayers DO get invitations from a con.  It depends whether a con is willing to invite you.  Some of the cons ask you out as a judge.  Others also want you to hold a master class or a Q & A panel.  As far as I know, it is possible even to apply to a con as a guest cosplayer, but I haven’t tried it out yet.  The times I came a judge, I was invited 

I’m pretty sure that you speak fluent English.  Do most Russians speak English?

A lot of Russians speak normal English, and some part speaks fluently.  I am a linguist and interpreter, so this is my major, and I started learning English since I was 5.  Also, I am bilingual since birth; originally Ukrainian, but all of my family spoke Russian, so I just started talking in both languages.

I see from your pictures that you have been to many beautiful places.  It must be extremely easy to visit many different countries on your continent.  When you visit, do you also cosplay there?

Well, I would really love to travel more and be invited to other countries as a cosplay guest, but it didn’t happen to me a lot, unfortunately.  But yes, I do cosplay there as well.  I guess this year (2018 at the tiime of the interview) I have travelled to Montenegro on vacation, and luckily my fellow photographer went at the same place at the same time!  So we made a photoshoot of my Serah Farron at the seaside; A dream came true!

You seem to do a lot of fantasy and magical girl cosplays.  Are they your favorites?

My favorite ever is Final Fantasy game series, and there are a lot of magical creatures and fantasy folk there.

I also noticed quite a few pictures of you cosplaying with others.   Do you have a regular crew that you like to cosplay with?  If so, would you like to shout out to them?

Yep, it is more comfortable for me to cosplay with those I know.  They are my team, my support and their cosplay is always at the highest level.  Thank you, guys <3

You are one of many of the very skilled cosplayers in the Russian community.   Why do you think there are so many great cosplayers in the former USSR?

Well, the level of competition is very high, and cosplay is closer to a professional level than to a hobby here.  I would say we are all a bit of perfectionists.

How is it that cosplayers in the former USSR are able to have such great cosplay shots with such great backgrounds?  You guys kill us on that!

Ahahaha, thank you!  :) Sometimes we have to travel to rrrrrrreally distant areas to make awesome shots.  It can take up to 6-12 hours only to get to the location.   Plus we have pretty many awesome photo studios which you can rent to make a photo shooting.  I am also really proud of Russian/Ukraiinan/Belsrusian photographers–these guys are so talented and develop their skills in unimaginable ways!  However, all of this is not for free. The studios and some of the locations have an entrance fee, and almost all of our photographers do not work for free.   It is a hard and exhausting work, so you have to earn pretty much to be a cosplayer.  :)

I have a personal theory on why there are so many great cosplayers with vision from the former USSR: I think it comes from your culture that is filled with great stories.  What do you think?

‘Not sure it is connected.

All of the former USSR‘s cosplayers are extremely beautiful, you included.   Most of them go for extremely sexy cosplays and photo shoots at time.   While you do have some sexy cosplays,  I noticed that you are perhaps the most modest Russian cosplayer that I have seen.  Is that on purpose?

I am just shy.  :) :) :)  Actually yes, our cosplayers go a lot into sexy cosplays, but before that, they spend a lot time in a gym…I consider it isn’t really aesthetic to make cosplay if I am not good enough. (my personal point of view)

What is the convention scene like in Russia?   Have you ever been to any other country to compare?  How about the USA?

I haven’t been to the USA, unfortunately (The ticket costs a fortune and so does the visa.), but I have been to Madrid and Berlin.  Our conventions are of 2 types: old-fashioned, which are cozy, with less people and not a big scene; where you have plenty of nominations, starting with defile ( the usual contest for costume presentation:  1-2.30 min (depending on the quantity of cosplayers) walk on the stage, with no plot, and most often you need to show 3 static poses to get well seen and photographed) and photocosplay (You send 3-5 photos forthe preliminaries.  Then they make an exhibition, and there are 2 nominations:  Jury’s best choice and audience’s choice.), and ending with full time-stage performances (like mini live actions, up to 20 min), and huge expos like Russian Comic Con:  about 100 000 people each day, which lasts 4 days and is mostly an exhibition.  Plus we have preliminaries where the organizers estimate the quality and accuracy of costumes, and not every performance gets to the stage; usually about 1/3, depending on the nomination.

I did a little snooping and found out that you and the owner of All Cool Things™ have a mutual Facebook friend.  I also found out that your boyfriend is also a cosplayer.   Did cosplay bring you together?   Could you ever see having a cosplay wedding?

If I ever decide to marry I would definitely pick up one of the cosplay dresses I had (probably from FF).  Yes, cosplay brought us together.  We met in 2017 on a huge Bleach performance:  43 people were involved!

Speaking of cosplay and loved ones, would you say that you have two families?  ‘The one you were born with, and a cosplay family?  If so, do they ever collide?

Yes, I definitely do!  :)  My parents aren’t really into cosplay, but my sis supports me a lot.

If you were going to go off into Outer Space with aliens, and you had to leave behind final thoughts for friends and loved ones, what would they be?

I would say that I am happy that cosplay helped me to get to know so many wonderful people, and to leave a kind of imprint; a small heritage in this world. I hope my works inspired some people and brought them happiness or just some aesthetic beauty to remember.