Where do you reside currently: Washington, DC area
How long you have been cosplaying: 2009.
Other Characters cosplayed: Wonder Woman, Female Judge (based on the 2012 movie “Dredd”), Dark Phoenix, Jinx, Daina (Oktober Guard), Baroness, Fantasy Samurai, White Canary, T’Pol, Deanna Troi, Cobra Femme Trooper, Kenya Rosewater from “Defiance”, and more.
Website or facebook fan page:
GI Joe Eternal Facebook Page
Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
I have always loved dressing up. Growing up, I was always running around playing make-believe. As an adult, everything started as a costume idea for a Halloween party. I had no idea that the word “cosplay” even existed. There was a group of us, and we all had such a great time at Halloween that we were looking for any reason to do it again ASAP without having to wait another year. Someone in our group happened to notice that a small comic show was going on nearby just a few weeks later, and we jumped at the chance to go have some more fun. We got a lot of great (and totally unexpected) feedback at that show, got pulled aside by some pro-photographers and ended up on the cover of some local magazines and newsletters. Most importantly, we made a lot of people very happy, especially some kids! From that point on, we were hooked! Over the next few years, I really started developing an appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship that people put into their costumes. That creativity and showcase of skill really hooked me in, and inspired me to try bigger and better things!
What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying? (hobbies, community service, or work)
I love to read. I read comics, murder mysteries, fantasy, and science fiction. Charities involving kids or veterans… I’m in. Both of those types of charities are really important to me, so any chance I can, I will help out. I also love to travel and see the world, and have been really lucky to get to be able to see a lot of different countries. At some point along the way, I’ve apparently become a toy collector. If it’s Tron, Star Trek, GI Joe, and now Kre-O, I have to have it. I’m into vintage things from my childhood, but there’s also a lot of new stuff out that’s really hard to pass up. I love going to shows to meet people and hang out with friends, but there’s so much shopping to be done! I also love movies, but not scary ones- I’m a fraidy-cat when it comes to horror!
What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
The female samurai costume was a huge challenge for a variety of reasons. It was inspired by a work of fan-art, and I wanted to do an interpretation that was faithful to the original piece, but with my own spin on it. Because of a short deadline, that whole project was a huge lesson in time management and how to set up an efficient workflow. It took than 400 hours of labor for my boyfriend and I over the course a couple months, which was basically every waking minute. Almost every piece of that costume needed to be manufactured from scratch, patterning and sewing all the garments, molding the complex thermoplastic armor, the jewels, daggers, and a lot of the props. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to be able to take on a project like that in addition to having a full-time job, but it somehow all came together, and was on time! Getting the project done was rewarding enough. Wearing it to shows was icing on the cake.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Find a character YOU love! Be patient, but constantly push your boundaries. Start simple and work your way up to more complex things. Experiment a lot. Fail, and fail often. Every time you botch something, it’s a guarantee that the next iteration will be better. Learn to use new materials and new techniques. Watch shows and films with elaborate costumes and mentally deconstruct everything you see. Study 2-D art in comics and graphic novels. Determine how those 2-D costumes and props would look and feel if they were 3-D objects. Go talk to artists and get their take on it. Determine how you could replicate what you see, and then try and do it better! All costumers and major Hollywood costume designers start somewhere. Join online groups and learn from the mistakes that others have already made (whatever you’re into, there’s a group for it!). It’s a very accepting community, and for the most part, costumers enjoy sharing knowledge and helping others succeed. Never be afraid to ask for help.
As for advice that I wish someone had given me when I started – I wish that someone would have told me that this hobby was going to introduce me to so many great people and great friends with whom I share so many common interests. Not just other costumers, but amazing writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, small-business owners, industry people, and other truly inspiring people who made careers out of their dreams and who I’m now proud to call my friends! When I first started down this road, I never could have imagined how many lifelong friendships would be formed from me playing “dress-up”. If someone had told me this back then, I probably would have gotten started a lot sooner!
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
Remember to be encouraging and helpful. Everyone comes from different walks of life, and being inclusive and supportive of one another is what makes this community different and leaps and bounds ahead of others. Give credit where credit is due; it is not embarrassing to ask for help or to give help.
Cosplay a character you relate to and that you love. Be proud of the work you put into making your costume. Don’t judge others still learning or people who costume a character they do not look like.