Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you all! Who better to interview than a cosplayer with the name…Valentine!
Please introduce yourself.
My Real Name is Phebe, I have been cosplaying as Abernathy Valentine for about a year, and before that I cosplayed under the very embarrassing handle EvilsXtasy. I can sometimes be found as a part of the BuiltNotBought Cosplay team.
When did you start cosplaying?
Way back when I was 15, in 1995, before the internet. I was super creative and into anime as a teen. I also loved Japanese subculture and when the girls in Japan stated dressing up as their favorite manga characters, I was IN
Why did you start cosplaying?
I am super introverted, very shy, and generally mortified at the idea of interacting with people until I know them. In cosplay though, I am a character that not only I admire and love, others do too! That makes people much less scary, much less. Its also a great conversation starter, because when you share a fandom with someone, you are basically family. Between this and the DIY that is making a cosplay, I couldn’t not start cosplaying. As an artist I love creating, making, designing and doing. Cosplay is the one thing that allows me to use all my skills, learn new ones, and make amazing friends along the way.
Who are your cosplay idols?
I feel a lot in common with YaYa Han, so she is a huge hero of mine. I remember her being one of the frontrunnres in cosplay design way back in the 90’s, and I have always admired her skill and creative ingenuity. Also Adam Savage, cause the guy can build literally, anything!
What type of cosplay do you do?
GIMME ALL THE COSPLAY! As an all around nerd I tend to cosplay from all kinds of genres, because I have so many fandoms. Typically I like frilly poofy pink and ridiculous cosplays, or villans. When I first started it was anime all day every day, but as cosplay has become more widely known as a hobby, there are more and more references to have fun with in pop culture. (Those meme cosplays though!!!)
What are your favorite cosplays?
My all time favorite is Urd from Ah! My Goddess. The anime was my very first fandom, and the half goddess, half demon character of Urd is SO much fun. Plus she has a whole bunch of outfit choices to cosplay, and who doesnt like wardrobe options?
I also love cosplaying Catwoman. Its a comfortable costume and as a much loved villan she is always a favorite with the crowd at cons.
What is something you want to cosplay but probably never will?
I have these visions of grandeur where I build really complicated foam armor sets with all the lights and awesome. I would like to do a battle armor set for each of the mane six my little ponies, but that’s on the daydream list because my foam skills + minimal.
What do you love about cosplay?
This is tough because there is so much to love! First and foremost I love the process of designing and creating a cosplay. There is no better satisfaction to me than sitting back to nurse the pin pricks and hot glue burns on my fingers and admire a job well done. I love the challenge of acquiring new skills, like resin casing or silicone molding (Level up!), and the pride that comes from seeing a completed cosplay made by your own 2 hands.
What is the most difficult thing for you about cosplay?
This is also the process of designing, creating, and making the cosplay. (snicker) No good cosplay is made without a sacrifice to the cosplay Gods. For every awesome success there are a trail of failures, and its easy to get discouraged, frustrated, exhausted, or to just plain procrastinate your way into giving up. That’s part of the process though, and nothing worth having comes easy!
Who is your favorite character to cosplay?
Again, I love Urd, shes just such a spunky, sarcastic fun kinds character.
Where do you get your inspiration for your cosplays?
Inspiration is everywhere. I am most inspired by the things I love, as those are the characters I want to become.
What are your “fandoms”?
Oh gosh…this is gonna be a long one I hope your ready…
I’m a gamer, and currently addicted to Destiny 2 (despite is flaws), and of course I worship at the altar of Final Fantasy. Anime is my obsession, especially 90s anime like sailor moon, ah my goddess, vampire hunter d, blood the lat vampire, and unbreakable machine doll yaya. I also really dig anything with a magical girl theme because well…magical girls. We cant forget My Little Pony, or Marvel Comics (the characters have WAY more depth than Dc, but I read those too). More recently I have hopped on the Steven Universe fan train, and West World is my guilt pleasure.
What is something you wish beginning cosplayers knew?
Practice makes better. Period. I think too often beginning cosplayers place unrealistic expectations on themselves to produce cosplays at the same level as people who have been doing it for 10/15 years. Stop. Really. Just do your best, give 110% to your cosplay and even if it isn’t the most shiny pretty thing on the con floor, your pride and confidence will shine through, and THAT is what makes your cosplay special.
What tips/tricks do you have for other cosplayers?
*Never skimp on needles for sewing 4 way stretch. Ball point I they way to go. Learn from my heartache,
*What you wear UNDER your cosplay can make or break the look, a 3 pair of cheap hose can go a long way to smooth out any lumps and bumps.
*If your making a corset, learn to lace it properly, so you can cinch it yourself. Life becomes infinitely easier. Promise.
HAVE FUN if your miserable, your ding it wrong. Find your joy in cosplay and then you will be unstoppable!
What is something you wish non-cosplayers knew?
The amount of creative, intelligent, fun people in cosplay. Its easy to dismiss a cosplayer as weird if donning tights and a cape isn’t your thing, its harder to have an open mind and heart and see the person behind the mask.
What cosplays are you working on?
A revamp of my steampunk catwoman
Urds infamous Purple dress
Destiny armor! (There will be Gemini Jester pants)
What cosplays do you want to do if money and time were no object?
ALL the cosplays. If money and time were limitless I would probably die cosplaying because I got distracted and forgot to eat.
Where can people find your cosplays?
Queen of hearts photo shoot can be found here: https://flickr.com/photos/78563148@N03/sets/72157679699660315
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.