Andy: What was the first convention you went to? What spurred you to go to that convention?
Molly McIsaac: At this point I don’t REALLY remember, but I’m pretty sure it was a very, very small pop culture convention in Boise, Idaho called “Fandemonium”. I was born and raised in Alaska, where there are no conventions, so when my parents moved me out to Idaho I tracked down the nearest convention as soon as I got a license. Fandemonium is small and fun and I remember I dressed up as a Moogle and had a blast.
Andy: What first drew you to cosplaying? What was your first costume, how did you make it?
MM: I’ve always dressed up. I actually learned a lot about fashion from anime! I used to try to emulate characters on a day to day basis – so I would “cosplay” in real life. My first REAL costume was Rystall from Star Wars for the premiere of Star Wars III, in which I did crazy makeup and had horns on the side of my head. I threw it together from various supplies I collected from random costume shops. I’d LOVE to do that costume again someday! I need to upgrade it, and make hooves…
Andy: How do you pick the character which you are going to cosplay? What considerations do you make when choosing that character?
MM: I’m actually very picky when I choose a character to cosplay! First, I have to feel a connection to that character, so I must be familiar with the series they are from before I don their costume (and thus, in my eyes, their personality). Then, I decide what works best with my body type and face. I’m tall, curvy, and I have a very angular/intense face, so I can’t cosplay cute little anime characters well. However, that means I am pretty much perfectly built for super heroines, so lately I find myself donning Spandex more often than not.
Andy: How does being visible on Facebook go into your costume planning?
MM: It really helps! Publicizing what costumes I’m going to work on holds me accountable, and it’s nice to brainstorm and share my progress with like minded individuals via social media.
Andy: Knockout is a lesser known hero from the Female Furies and DC Universe, what made you choose her to cosplay? What was your thinking when translating her costume to the real world?MM: I’ve always thought that Knockout was kind of the epitome of a badass woman. Her superpower is just her super strength, which is not something you expect from a female hero. She also uses her sexual wiles to constantly seduce Superboy, which ends up in her kissing him to shut him up, which I find entertaining. Finally, she was a pretty groundbreaking character as a lesbian, so I just find her fascinating on every level.
My friend Jill Pantozzi wanted to do a female furies group for SDCC 2010, so I jumped on the possibility of being Knockout immediately. I ordered a green zentai suit and had my former roommate assist me in altering it. It was VERY tight and had a thong, so it was a little uncomfortable to wear. However, I tried to stay as true to her costume as I could. I’ve never felt more badass than when I was pretending to be Knockout!
Andy: Speaking of female heroes, you wrote a very interesting blog post about “fanboys”, more in particular the ways you felt disrespected while wearing the Knockout Costume. What do you think needs to be done to educate these fanboys on proper etiquette? What do you personally hope to do to change the unfortunate situations some cosplayers run into while wearing a revealing costume?
MM: Oh boy, this is a very broad question, and one I have spent a lot of time talking about both online and on panels. I’ll do my best to give you an abbreviated answer…
I think a lot of people see women in costumes as a sexual fulfillment of their fantasies, as they have lusted after these fictional characters since puberty hit. It’s easy to objectify women who are dressed as these “fake” characters because you’ve never associated them as real. Pair this with the oftentimes socially awkward behavior that people (both men and women!) in our subculture tend to display, and you have a recipe for disaster.
While I’m sure some men (and again: women are guilty of this too) are guilty of being aware of acting inappropriately and yet still do it, I think a lot of these instances are just an example of “socially awkward penguin” syndrome, where the individual at fault doesn’t actually realize their behavior is not okay.
The biggest thing to do to change this is to TALK ABOUT IT. If you are a cosplayer and feel uncomfortable and harassed in costume, SPEAK UP. Don’t be polite, don’t grin and bear it. The fact that people tell me “well, you were wearing it, didn’t you expect people to be creepy to you?” makes me soberly aware that our community desperately needs to change.
My newest tactic, however guerrilla and over the top, is this: if someone is creep shooting me, I pull out my phone and take a picture of them in return. Then, I loudly announce that I am going to post their picture on my social media and call them out as a creep. Usually, this opens up a dialogue, oftentimes where the person in question is actually unaware that what they were doing was “wrong”, and it gives you a chance to humanize yourself. Again, very intense tactics and there’s more mild ways to go about it (“Excuse me, you’re making me uncomfortable. Please stop.”), but I like it because I feel the extreme matches theirs.
Andy: How did you get involved with Emerald City Con? What made you want to host a panel? What knowledge do you hope people will walk away with from your panel?
MM: Well, it’s a local convention and we movers and shakers in the Seattle geek community all tend to stick together as we’re always doing things to support and change our community. This year was my fourth ECCC, and every year I love it more.
I’ve been on many, many panels in the past and I find the ability to be able to have an in person sounding board for many issues in geek culture is a welcome one. It generates discussion, which is never a bad thing.
Andy: You have a geeky/fashion blog called the geeky peacock, does that phrase describe you?Why? Why did you feel like you had a voice that needed to be heard by starting this blog?
MM: Yes, it absolutely describes me! There is an [incorrect] stereotype about geeks that brands us as quiet, socially awkward people who don’t much care for personal appearance. I am living and breathing proof that this isn’t true! I am intensely fascinated with fashion and beauty, and coordinate outfits with the same love and care that I put into cosplay. Makeup is incredibly fun for me. As such, I am loud and noticeable in both dress and demeanor. I’m consistently the life of the part with my peacock displays!
I’m not egotistical enough to think that my voice is more important that others, but I have a lot to say and even though I’ve been writing for other websites for many years I wanted a platform for more personal musings and rants. This blog is as much for me as it is for other people! I like tracking my outfits, life, and thoughts – it’s fun to look back on. Like looking at your old live journal or something!
How much do you still cosplay? How much do you pour into your blogging/article writing? Do you feel that you lose passion for your cosplay while you are blogging?
MM: I cosplay as often as possible. Considering I also speak on panels, go to cons as a guest, and film things for my youtube channel ALSO at conventions. It is hard to fit cosplay into my schedule sometimes. I do try my hardest to make it work! This year I have some pretty grand plans for SDCC and Sakura-con.I try to blog every day, but I’ve let it fall to the wayside recently. To me, it’s just another aspect of my life and my job, and I enjoy doing it, so I usually write articles days in advance and queue them up to post. It’s something I love so it never feels like it’s too much to handle.
I think that blogging makes me want to cosplay MORE, because it gets me really excited and makes me want to produce more content like tutorials and photographs of me IN cosplay!
Andy: Any tips for those who want to start blogging about geeky stuff like you? Tips for beginning cosplayers?
MM: Blogs are easy! If you want to blog and you enjoy it: DO IT. Don’t blog for other people, blog for yourself. Your passion will show through, you will become popular and successful if you blog to make yourself happy.
As for Cosplay: Start with easy cosplay, a character you are comfortable with. Try to begin cosplaying with a group for your first time! It’ll help ease you into the idea of many people taking photographs of you, and you’ll make friends in the process! Social Media and cosplay.com are great resources for finding good cosplay groups.
Andy: What conventions will you be going to this year? Will you be cosplaying? What are your thoughts on the costumes you will make?
MM: Oh gosh, I’m going to a lot of conventions! Currently on my schedule: Sakura-con (that I just attended), Denver Comic-con, San Diego Comic-con, New York Comic-con, Anime Salt Lake, PAX, MAYBE Dragon*Con…
And yes, I’ll be cosplaying. Watch my social media for what I’ll be wearing!