Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cosplay Crush: Angi Viper

Angi and I had been Twitter friends but were able to become IRL friends at this year's D23.  I was so happy to meet her and see her amazing copslay in person.  Check out our interview with her below and find out how she makes these incredible looks come to life!

The Nerdy Girlie:  How did you get into cosplay?
Angi:  I started cosplaying in high school.  I was heavily into anime/manga and Japanese culture and I regularly went to my local anime/fantasy/sci-fi convention where I saw people dressing up as their favorite characters and I was so inspired by the creativity and passion I saw.  Until then I’d thought you could only dress up on Halloween or at costume parties and it never occurred to me to make my own costumes for characters they didn’t have at Party City.  I went home after my first year and told my mom I wanted to start cosplaying.  She was so supportive and enthusiastic about it.  She helped me make my first costumes and we both thrived on the challenge of figuring out how each item was made.  I absolutely would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.
TNG:  Do you make or buy your costumes?
Angi:  I make all my costumes myself.  There are certain costume pieces that I’ll buy because they are out of my range of ability (like shoes) or are a pain in the butt to make (like gloves – assuming I can find ones that match) and some base items (like wigs), but I make alterations and style those items to work with the rest of the costume so it’s very rare that you’ll see me wear an off-the-shelf item on the con floor.
TNG:  Any tips for people just starting out in cosplay?
Angi:  Just do it – though I do recommend picking a character you really love because if you aren’t happy with what you’re wearing, it will affect your experience.  There’s really no way to describe the atmosphere of a convention and the thrill of cosplaying.  I’ve met some of my best friends in the whole world through cosplay and connected with many of my industry idols by going to conventions.  I wouldn’t trade this hobby for anything and I’ve barely met anyone who wasn’t encouraging and supportive.  There are always going to be people who try to tear you down for doing what makes you happy, but the beauty of this community is that the people in it want to build you up so the haters are few and far between and for every one person who tries to be mean to you, there are ten others who will fearlessly stand beside you.  My advice for new cosplayers stands for anything: don’t let (the possibility of) someone being mean stop you from doing what makes you happy.
TNG:  How do you feel about people approaching you for pictures.  Is there a certain protocol/cosplay code?  
Angi:  You have to go into cosplay knowing you’re going to have people ask you for photos.  Sometimes they’ll be polite, other times they won’t.  You can’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.  If someone asks you to do a pose you aren’t comfortable with, you can say no.  If a photographer tries to take you somewhere you don’t feel safe, you can turn down the shoot.  If someone grabs your ass, you can pull away and/or say something.  Most importantly, if you aren’t feeling up to taking a photo, you don’t have to.  I don’t think there’s any specific “cosplay” code because it’s the same code that should apply to everything.  It’s all about being courteous and respectful.  Cosplayers are people too.  We get offended by lewd, rude or inconsiderate comments or inappropriate touching, we get tired after a long day walking in heels, we have bad days and sometimes we’re reconnecting with friends we haven’t seen in a while and we just want to talk to them for a minute.  Photographers should also be considerate of other photographers.  If a cosplayer is in the middle of a photo shoot, it’s rude to interrupt and ask them for a shot.  If you’re in a crowd taking photos of a cosplayer, try to be considerate of the photographers around you and don’t ruin other people’s shot.  It’s all about being considerate.  These are the same rules/codes people follow every day, so why should a convention be any different?
TNG:  Any suggestions on where to shop for costume pieces if you are not a sewer?
Angi:  When I started, I got a lot of my costume pieces from thrift stores.  I would find something that almost worked and then alter it (sometimes even just with safety pins or liquid seam/glue) to fit my body and the costume better.  There are a ton of vendors online where you can buy ready-made costumes or costume pieces for popular characters that are ready to wear, though you may want to alter them to fit better.  There are also many cosplayers (like myself) who take commissions to supplement their income and they will make them to fit your exact measurements and specifications.  There are also tutorials and classes out there to help you improve your own skills if that’s the direction you want to go.
TNG:  Do you think about posing ahead of time?
Angi:  Yes and no.  It depends on the character how extensively I think about posing before a con or shoot – some characters are very natural for me, where others require a little more work to get the character down, but for the most part it’s more rehearsing a character for me than practicing posing.  I try to really bring the character I’m portraying to life so “thinking about posing” for me is much less holding my head or body in different positions and more playing pretend in my bathroom mirror.  I’ll recite lines from the character’s movie or series or I’ll come up with little sketches for them.  I’ll practice my evil laugh.  I’ll scream and yell and snarl and cry and sing and contort myself to get the emotions and personality of the character down.  For me, cosplay is as much about the play as it is about the costume.  My favorite part is getting to really become/embody a character I’ve aspired to be for a few hours and I keep that in mind with every costume and every shoot.
*HUGE thank you to Angi for answering our questions.  She has some amazing skills that I would love to learn myself...wish we lived closer!!  Check out her Facebook page for more amazing cosplay and follow her on Twitter @AngiViper.


Cosplay Sleep Eat Play said...

After check out the Angi Viper facebook page, i would say her cosplay is fairly good.

Nerd Burger said...

Wow, what an inspirational girl. I love her Frozen cosplay and that Catwoman is spot on. Soo rad.

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