A: What was the first convention you went to? What made you decide to go to that convention
Gina G.: Anime North 2005. I had started sewing three years prior to this, and I’d always wanted to go to one, but never had anyone to go with. That year, a friend of mine asked me if I’d go with her, so I did!
A: Who or what got you first into cosplay? What was your first cosplay costume? Why did you pick that particular one for your first?
Gina G.: I got myself into cosplay. I made my first Halloween costume when I was twelve (a Slytherin robe from Harry Potter), and from there I began looking into online sewing tutorials. Coupled with my love of anime at the time, I ended up stumbling upon Cosplay.com. I had and planned to make my first actual cosplay costume, which was Nanaka Nakatomi from an anime called Magic User’s Club.
Which costume out of your first few are you the most proud about making or buying?Why?
Ans: I’d have to say Nanaka. I made an Edward Elric costume for my sister the year after that as well,
and I’m pretty proud of that costume, but Nanaka still looks impressive even now.
Admittedly, I had a great deal of help making that one by my great aunt, who coached me through my first few costumes, and I wouldn’t have done such a good job without her guidance.
A: What is your inspiration for picking the characters you choose to cosplay as? Do they necessarily have to be strong women?
Gina G.: I always look at characters with a build or outfit that would suit me first. Chances are I already like the character, but many times it’s been my search for new costumes that has introduced me to new characters and series. Whether or not the character is a “strong woman” isn’t really part of my thought process when I choose a costume (as I also cosplay male characters), but I can say that my favourite costumes tend to be the stronger more empowered characters, like Power Girl. But I do cosplay a lot of comic book characters and superheroes, all who tend to be pretty strong.
A: What drew to cosplay as Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series? How “in to it” did you get while cosplaying as her?
Gina G.: I was so into it that it was a little bit scary! Honestly, I was aching to cosplay a character from Harry Potter, and at first I planned just to remake my Slytherin robe. Well, I work at a fabric store and found that nasty pink houndstooth fabric on clearance for $2, and I knew it had to be done. In the end, she’s one of my favourite costumes to wear, both because it’s almost exactly accurate to the films, and because I get the best reactions when I wear it.
I love to hate Umbridge!
A: Comic book Heroines tend to be revealing in their super suits, does this bother you at all?
Gina G.: While it would be nice to see our favourite lady heroes in something a little more practical, the revealing costumes are actually a really fun challenge to create. It’s all about figuring out how you’re going to stay in that costume and how it’s going to support itself (and you!). A lot of the revealing costumes are still pretty unique and iconic. For a fair few characters I don’t think it would work if you changed their aesthetic. I was honesty pretty upset when they changed Power Girl’s outfit in the New 52.
A: You made a bold move by Cosplaying as Power Girl, what was the considerations you made before deciding to do her? Why did you pick her as a character? What were you feelings about her “Boob Window”? What is your favorite comic featuring her?
Gina G.: Power Girl was actually suggested to me by a friend as a joke, but when I started reading the comic I found that she quickly became my favorite superhero for her no-BS attitude and her strength and courage. So I suppose you can thank Jimmy Palmiotti for his excellent writing on that account. I actually think the “boob window” is pretty clever. The idea that she has no logo is a bit of a cop-out, but it works in her favor as something to show that she knows she’s “got it”, but she won’t take anyone’s crap about it.
My favorite Power Girl comics are the Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti run, and that’s why my particular version of Power Girl is from that run of comics.
A: You have quite a few cosplay costume awards, what was it like winning your first one? Which one are you most proud of? Who did you impress judge wise that made you “squee”?
Gina G.: My first award was a Hall Cosplay award for my Nanaka costume at Anime North, and with that being my first convention, I was incredibly overwhelmed and excited. It’s such a small thing compared to the others I’ve won since, but I still have it hanging on my wall, and it always reminds me where I started. I’m most proud of my Excellence In Workmanship award for my Umbridge costume, which I won at Dragon*Con 2012. Dragon*Con is such a huge and prestigious convention, and the fact that they recognized the hard work I put into my costume almost brought me to tears.
I don’t really look to impress judges, but I guess the most interesting judge I’ve ever had was the voice of Jude from the Teletoon show “Sixteen”. He seemed to really like my Black Lantern Hawkgirl outfit.
A: Tell me about this program you are participating in called Cosplay for a Cure. How did you get involved? What does it feel like raising money for this organization?
Gina G.: I’m actually one of the co-chairs of Cosplay For A Cure. It was created by my close friend Casey Brown (Skyleaf Creations), and myself. She came up with the idea to honour and help our friend Shannon who is battling breast cancer, and very close now to being cancer-free. I gathered the models, and Casey and I put it into action. Basically, we run a photo booth where anyone can come and get a professional photo taken with any or all of our models. You get a 4×6 print to take home with you as well as a hi-res digital copy for only $2.
We are completely non-profit, and all of our proceeds go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. We are always looking for more Ontario-based conventions to attend, and you can find us at www.facebook.com/CosplayforaCure. Personally, I’ve had a blast running this charity, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to become involved in.
A: What are some future costume ideas you plan on making?
Gina G.: I’m working on Wasp (Marvel) at the moment, as well as Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit), and have plans to do a slew of Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy costumes in the future. I’m always coming up with new costume ideas, mainly from comic books, so the list changes pretty often.
A:What conventions will you be at in 2013?
Gina G: From this point on I plan to attend Ad Astra, Anime North, ConBravo!, Fan Expo, New York Comic Con, and Dragon*Con, though I might be at a few smaller conventions in between.