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About Claudia Vainglory
Claudia Vainglory is a vivacious vixen hailing from the heart of the triangle. She is the co-producer of the burlesque duo Riot Kittens. Ever since her debut in 2013, she has been performing within the Triad and the Triangle with groups such as Discordia Dames, Purrrlesque, Nerd-Vana and the Early Show. With her strengths coming primarily from jazz choreography and satire, this seductive siren temps the audience with fast paced, high energy performances. When not on stage or dancing in her bedroom at 3 o’clock in the morning, this lovely lady has taken hobbies such as cosplaying, playing Dungeons and Dragons, reading manga/manwha, binge watching Netflix (Anime, Dr. Who, Firefly, Archer, etc.) and occasionally putting men on their knees.
How did you first get into cosplay?
My introduction to cosplay started by traveling with different burlesque troupes. When we attended conventions, I would see all the wonderful costumes and was envious of all the fun they were having. When we returned again, I came out with my Black Widow and my Panty from Panty and Stocking, both of which ended up becoming burlesque routines.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
In all regards, I only see cosplay as a hobby. It’s what I do to relax and escape from stress going on in my muggle life.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer to make my own cosplays though recently I have considered buying and altering them. Many times I will buy the main piece and go from there.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Admittedly, one full night before a convention. I’m such a procrastinator, There have been other cosplays that I’ve done over a longer period of time, such as Mad Moxxi, which took a grand total of 35hrs on both the jacket and the hat.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Mad Moxxi!! The outfit is comfortable and easily recognizable. Plus, I’m the proudest of it. I put so much time and effort into making sure that cosplay was good enough to be compared to some of the better cosplay friends that I know. It is the first cosplay that I made completely by hand and the first time I had ever sewed a jacket.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My most memorable experience is bittersweet because it showed both the best and worst sides of convention goers and staff. While first working with the burlesque group NerdVana, I helped them out at a steampunk convention in Raleigh, North Carolina. I was in a steampunk burlesque outfit and preparing for the show that night. While walking through the convention area, I had a random woman grab me by the arm and tell me that, “ass covers are only for strippers,” then run away. I was stunned. It was one of my first conventions and nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I told two of the fellow burlesque performers what had happened and they rushed me to con staff. I was thankful for the staff to be so prepared and responded immediately. They went to kick her out of the convention but when they had found her, she was sitting at the performance stage, getting chastised by nerdy musician, Voltaire, for heckling. If I remember correctly, he called her some very very not nice but hilarious names. I don’t think they were ever able to truly kick her out of the convention because shortly afterward, she disappeared, but I was thankful to all those who helped and protected me from being slut-shamed.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
They are fun but super stressful. They require a lot of time and commitment that some people can’t necessarily handle. At the very worst, I’ve seen it put some friends against each other, with someone putting in more effort than the rest. And at the best, I have experienced fun, laughter, and the joy of entertaining people who enjoy seeing the group completely together. If everything is right, it is definitely a wonderful thing to do.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
My two big ones are the Dark Lady from Sailor Moon (with a burlesque equivalent costume for performances), and Viv from Maria the Virgin Witch. There are some changes and fixes that I need to do on my other cosplays such as finishing the thigh high boots for Dr. Mrs. the Monarch.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Blatant egoism, and the drama that follows it. Instead of enjoying cosplay and meeting people, I’ve witnessed some people try to be the mean girls of cosplay. There’s really no point to it and it is petty. At the end of the day, every single cosplayer is just another adult playing dress up. Yes, some costumes are better than others, but that doesn’t mean that the person underneath the costume is any less of a person than you are.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Surprisingly, most of my characters are from adult cartoons (not porn but things that you would be more likely to find on adult swim). The characters are just so much and tend to have the personalities that I’m drawn to. Other than that, they tend to be the characters that I can perform burlesque in.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
My favorite part is always running around conventions dressed up as my characters. I love the roles that you can play as your character and interact with other fans. Plus, who doesn’t love drinking in costume at a hotel bar surrounded by hundreds of fellow nerds?!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Goodwill and sheer creativity. Many of my cosplays involve one or two pieces that were bought from a consignment store and altered.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
I’m a horrible procrastinator. I’ve had to push myself to work on my outfits for longer periods of time leading up to the convention.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve learned quite a few. I think one of them has been to be more accepting and open minded with other people, and another has been too proud to have the body that I have.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Do not let what others think of you (or what you think of yourself for that matter) discourage you from doing who or what you love. If you want to be a character, be that character and make them your own. You do you.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
This is really hard to say because even though I was very much in the cosplay community, I was never really “in.” The only thing I’ve noticed comes with anime conventions and how it feels like the audience and the cosplayers are much younger than what they used to be…. Or maybe I’m just getting older.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I would love to do a very intricate Yuuko from XXXHolic. I love CLAMP designs and artwork.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
It depends on what the cosplay is. Generally no, but I have had instances where certain cosplays like my Mad Moxxi, have ended up costing me around $200 in materials alone. I’m saving up for one now where my estimates for just the wig is around $100.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is acting out a character or persona that either suit you or you admire. With that being said, personally, I feel like cosplay is a way to go out and have fun without waiting for Halloween. I can express myself in my nerdiest form and meet others who want to have fun, make stupid jokes, and live in the moment, even if only for a day or three.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I would like to say no but the reality of the situation is that cosplay takes a lot of time, commitment, and money. Depending on the status of my financial situation, I would be more likely to stop for a period of time. Since it’s something I adore, I would see myself picking it back up again when circumstances allowed.
You can follow and view more of Claudia Vainglory here
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