I’m pretty busy teaching and working on some personal projects not related to this blog, so I’ll be sharing some old interviews from back when I used to work exclusively on tumblr. I’ll probably upload these old articles whenever I want to make a post, but feel lacking in time at the current moment. Besides, what’s old is new.
Author’s note: This interview originally appeared on my tumblr blog on 8 July 2014.
Recently I contacted an old friend of mine. Her name is Irene, and she has been cosplaying for as long as I have. She has worked hard on her cosplays and was featured by “Cosplaying While Black” for her Teen Titans Robin cosplay.
Jacky the Nerd: What is your name?
Irene: My name is Irene.
JtN: How long have you cosplayed?
Irene: I’ve been cosplaying since 2011.
JtN: Why do you cosplay?
Irene: I cosplay because it feels so fulfilling to be able to create something from a franchise you enjoy and wear it proudly among people who share your like interest. Cosplay allows me set goals for myself, and to feel more confident and happy overall,
JtN: What was your first cosplay?
Irene: I was a pirate! No specific franchise, just a random pirate. It was mostly a closet cosplay though. The first cosplay that I ever made from scratch was Night Wing from Batman/DC Universe.
Irene as Nightwing from DC Comics. Photo copyright of Tobias Roybal; photo provided courtesy of Irene.
JtN: What drew you to Nightwing?
Irene: He’s my favorite DC character (when it comes to character design) and I really wanted to make a female portrayal.
JtN: How do you build your cosplays?
Irene: Well usually I analyze the character first. Since I mostly do male characters, I like to draft out how the feminine version of themselves would look to me. That’s one of the reasons I love doing the opposite gender, it leaves more room to add your unique style. But after I draft it out, I take a look at both drawings, mine and the original, and look at the materials used to make certain parts of the costume. That way I know to buy faux leather, fabric, craft foam, etc. And once I get the supplies I go from there. I really admire cosplayers who can make beautiful costumes two days before a con, but I do these things MONTHS before, so that just in case something goes wrong or I want to change something, I can take my time and have lots of time.
JtN: What specifically do you mean by “feminizing” a character’s design? Does it go beyond gender-bending?
Irene: Not necessarily. Usually its just subtle differences. For example, with my Robin cosplay, I made the costume accurate, but I moved the belt down to my hips instead of my waist (male characters usually have belts on their waist because of the body structure). I also had long hair instead of short and spiky. Just something as simple as that can make a costume more personable for a female. But in general, because I’m not male, I just try my best to stay true to the character while adding subtleties that give feminine characteristics.
JtN: What other characters have you cosplayed?
Irene: I’ve done Fairy Tail Sheva from Resident Evil 5 as well as a SIM character for lazy days when I don’t really feel like dressing up. I have a new cosplay in store for August, but that’s a surprise!
Irene as Sheva Alomar (Fairy Tale costume) from Resident Evil 5. Photo provided courtesy of Irene.
JtN: What is your favorite cosplay experience?
Irene: Anytime I get to cosplay as Nightwing or Robin. That’s because whenever I’m at a con I usually see a Batman and I yell “Daddy!” before hugging them and taking a picture!
JtN: What are your future plans, cosplay and non-cosplay related?
Irene: I usually like to keep my cosplays as surprises until I’m done with them, but I’m really hoping to get into armored cosplays soon, but I’ll be starting small since it’ll be the first time I’ve used thermoplastic. Non-cosplay wise, I’m currently in school studying psychology and hope to get my bachelors soon.
I want to wish Irene luck with her future cosplay and college endeavors and thank her for the time she took to be interviewed.