Andy: What was your first Convention? Who or what made you go to that convention? What was your lasting impression?
Wind of the Stars: My first convention was Wondercon 2006. I had already been making costumes for two years at that point and I had heard about conventions during that time. I was thrilled to finally attend one, even if it was a little different than I had expected. At the time I had only really heard from friends about anime conventions (such as Anime Expo) and didn’t realize at the time how different comic book conventions are from anime conventions. Both are similar but I feel the atmospheres are different in each. In the end I had a great time. Wondercon is still one of my favorite shows to attend. I just wish that it would move back the Bay Area in Northern California!
A: What was the first cosplay you attempted? What important lesson did you learn from your first cosplay?
WOTS: My first cosplay was Cassandra Alexandra from Soul Calibur II. I had my mother help me a lot with the sewing, so she had constructed the main part of the dress for me. The other parts, such as the belt, armor, props, collar, ect. I made. The first incarnation of that costume was of course a hot mess and I have re-made almost all of it since then. I learned so much from this first costume. Such as that I needed learn how to sew and that I loved creating costumes!
A: You have a rockin’ Maya from Borderlands, what inspired you to cosplay as her? What personality trait do you identify with as Maya? How did you design and implement the arm markings for Maya?
WOTS: Well, I’ve been a fan of Borderlands since I first played it back in 2010 and since then had always meant to cosplay from it. Last year I finally got around to it and made Lilith. I loved cosplaying her a great deal, that when Borderlands 2 came out I really wanted to cosplay Maya in addition to making a new Lilith. Maya and Lilith I feel are similar in some aspects, but their personalities are pretty different. Lilith I feel is more down to earth and just goes with the flow. Maya feels more precise, calculating and exact. Don’t get me wrong, both will kick butt and take names no questions asked, but I just feel I relate more to Lilith than I do Maya.
For Maya’s and Lilith’s siren tattoos I use body paint, specifically, Ben Nye Magicolor in turquoise and white. I hand paint it on each time, which usually takes a couple hours and some extra hands. It’s a tedious way of doing it, but right now I find it to be the best way to ensure accuracy.
A: Picking Maya from borderlands let’s the world know of your inner gamer soul. What did you like most about Borderlands?
WOTS: I love FPSs. It’s one of my favorite genres to play. The PRG element is also kicks the enjoyment factor up a notch because it gives you a sense of purpose aside from mass killing of bad guys. Which is never a bad thing mind you. But getting a skill point that will allow me to kill the bad guys that much faster, better and cooler, AWESOME. There isn’t one thing in particular that I like most about Borderlands. One minute I’ll be yelling at the screen because I’m fighting a challenging boss and the next I’ll laughing at some game or pop culture reference they threw in the dialog. I just feel they did a lot of things right to make it a really enjoy able game.
A: What game would you design if you could? Why?
WOTS: OH GOD. A very gory girly one! It would be a FPS and RPG combined. Instead of getting just guns and XP you will get super cute girly outfits to dress your character up. Like a lot of girls, I’m all about character customization, and my game would have the best one out there… and the best guns.
A: A Tomb raider cosplay is another one you’ve done recently. What made you pick the pieces you did to cosplay Lara? Lara has always been defined in the video game as a heavy chested woman, How do you feel about her more recent portrayal? Do you think her chest still defines her today as a character?
WOTS: With all my costumes I strive for accuracy but also try to balance it with realism. I try to take into account what I see on my reference material and how I think it would look like if that character were a real person. So with Lara, I did that with the fabric choices and by using realistic look props.
As for Lara’s character, yes she is know to be heavy chested character but she’s also known for being a strong action game protagonist. At the time Tomb Raider was original released strong lead female characters in video games, especially ones that kick butt and looked good doing so, were few and far between. Lara’s character really paved the way for strong female leads in games. She broke the stereotype of females in video games by giving the princesses stuck in castles guns and taught them how to fight their way out.
To me that aspect of Lara’s character is more defining than her chest, and to see her personality emphasized in the new game more than her chest is kind of a breath of fresh air. Even with the success of this new installment, I think a majority of gamers will always think of classic Lara Croft when they think of Lara. It’s what we all grew up with and we love Lara, big boobs and all.
A: You also cosplay as Sailor Moon quite often. What initially drew to cosplay as Sailor?How much of the show did you watch as a child? What did a young girl like you think of Tuxedo Mask? What materials went into your Sailor Moon (Sailor Soldier) cosplay? What what kind of materials did you use for Princess Serenity? Which one do you like to cosplay more?
WOTS: After my first costume, for several years all I cosplayed was Sailor Moon/ Usagi Tsukino. Sailor Moon holds a very special place in my heart to me. Not only was it my gateway anime, but it also was an escape for me during a rough part of my childhood. I was so drawn to it when I was a kid that could never get enough of Sailor Moon. I had numerous VHS tapes filled with Sailor Moon dub, and even Sailor Moon commercials, from when it came on TV.
Needless to say I watched everything. When I got a bit older I found out about Sailor Stars, which wasn’t released in the US, and watched it too of course. Anything Sailor Moon I’ve watched and read. Usagi is my favorite character in the series, and I find the love story between her and Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask to be just adorable. I’m not the biggest fan of Tuxedo Mask in the anime, just because in most of the filler episodes he saved Sailor Moon instead of her saving him, which got a little annoying. However, in the end she was always there to save him. It’s really hard not to love their love story.
As for my cosplays from Sailor Moon, I usually use a combination of satin and spandex to make her classic outfit. For her accessories, I cast them all now and actually have them available for purchase in my Etsy and Storenvy stores. I get a lot of questions on how I made Sailor Moon’s wig but this is one of the only costumes in which I use my own hair. I’ve been styling my hair like Sailor Moon’s for so many years I have a very specific way I do it that is really hard to translate into a wig, which is the main reason I don’t wear a wig for this costume. For Princess Serenity I used lots of satin and chiffon for her dress; over 20yrd of material went into that beast! Since she is a princess I used a lot fancy bridal trims for details and did hand beading on the top circle details of her dress. While being a princess of the moon is fun, I still love being Sailor Moon more. There is just something about wearing a Sailor fuku that is truly special. Also having little girls run up to you yelling, “Sailor Moon! Sailor Moon!” is all sorts of precious.
A: Can you talk about your Wild Places shoot with Anna Fischer? What drew you to her project?
WOTS: I remember Anna talking about coming out west to the desert to do cosplay photography on twitter many months before the Wild Place project was ever announced. At the time I was very enthusiastic about the idea, mainly because I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some Borderlands shoots in. When the Wild Places project kickstarter was finally announced and we all got to see the scope of the project; I knew it was something I would loved to be apart of. Up until Anna’s project there hadn’t been a cosplay shoot/project so large, ambitious and just plan downright crazy.
When Anna invited me to be apart of it I felt honored and admittedly very excited to be included in such a grand scale endeavor. The Wild Places was an apropos name for sure. I wore costumes in places that I never thought I would. I climbed rocks, hills, dry waterbeds, waded through water, stood in the middle of a rock in a river, scaled sand dunes and variety of other things all while in costume. Think of it as camping, hiking and cosplaying all at the same time. It was pretty wild! But the shots, the experiences, the friendships made and the laughs were all worth it.
A: What tips do you have for beginning cosplayers? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
WOTS: To always have fun, because once it stops being fun then why continue to do it? It doesn’t matter if you make the best costume out there; make the best costume you can for yourself. Enjoy all aspects of costuming from the creating it to wearing it. It will make the final product that much sweeter. Also, if you get stuck the Internet is your greatest tool. There are so many great tutorials out there to teach you pretty much anything you need to know. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help if you really need it. One thing that has been hard for me to learn is the balance between being 100% accurate and creating a costume that is flattering to me. Sometimes you need to sacrifice accuracy in the name of making looking good on a real person.
A: What Cons will you be at in 2013?
WOTS: Here’s what my schedule looks like for the rest of 2013.
San Diego Comic Con in San Diego, CA
Kintoki Con in Sacramento, CA I’ll also be vending in the artist’s alley
Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA