Spotlight

Cosplayer Spotlight – Bean J. Bunny

Cynthia from Fire Emblem Awakening.
Cynthia from Fire Emblem Awakening.

 

Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight.  We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community.  Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and already famous members from the world of cosplay.

 

About Bean J. Bunny

Bean J. Bunny works with children by day, and by evening, she’s a cosplayer. She hails from Lexington, Kentucky. Her first convention was DragonCon, and she still goes every year! When she isn’t in costume, she likes to play musical instruments, or play with her pets — two cats and one rabbit.

Cynthia from Fire Emblem Awakening.  Bean J. Bunny
Cynthia from Fire Emblem Awakening.

How did you first get into cosplay?

I didn’t want to be recognized in pictures at conventions. As it turns out, that’s probably the worst idea ever — if you’re in a costume, everyone takes your picture! Oops.

Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?

It’s mostly a hobby. If I make money off it eventually I wouldn’t mind. Right now I mostly just want kind words about my work.

Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?

I love making them from scratch. I started as a seamstress when I came to cosplay. I even make my own patterns, I think it’s easier than buying pre-made ones. Those skills made armor making much easier when I started.

How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?

Probably a few months, depending on the build.

What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?

Either Undyne from Undertale or Lucca from Chrono Trigger. Lucca wasn’t very hard, but she’s such a dream and a goal of mine.

What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?

The first time I ever competed on stage. I took a dumb jump during a pose and my wig slid off.

How do you feel about group cosplays?

Great! I’ve managed a few. My friends and I were Hyrule Cheerleaders one year at DragonCon. My philosophy when I manage groups is to just say ‘yes’ — other people have great ideas and they deserve to showcase them.

What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?

My friend is holding a Mega Leia event for Star Wars Episode 8, so I’ll probably be working on Leia soon. I plan to do the outfit from the end of episode 6 where she’s on Endor. I may also do a Salmon Run Inkling from Splatoon if I get time.

What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?

People who make their costumes versus people who buy their costumes is a big one. To me, if you’re out in a costume having fun, congratulations, that’s what cosplay is supposed to be. There’s also considerable skill in assembling a costume — even if you didn’t make everything, you still hunted the jacket out from Goodwill and the shorts from eBay, so give yourself some credit!

What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?

I’m mostly a video game person. I’ve done costumes from Undertale, Splatoon, Chrono Trigger, Pokémon, the Mario universe, Zelda, Dangan Ronpa, Mass Effect, and Fire Emblem. I’m particularly here for Nintendo. I tend to do cuter characters, like Toadette or an inkling. I do love being a knight though, like Cynthia from Fire Emblem, and I LOVE creature creation, like when I did Undyne from Undertale or Eve from Mass Effect.

What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?

Photo shoots and conventions might be my favorite because it’s nice to reap the benefit of months of hard work. Also, I like seeing the photos come back. After that, I probably like the sewing the best. I can sit in my workshop and spend a nice afternoon with some tea and a podcast. (My rabbit also likes to come in while I’m sewing. She thinks she’s a big help. We actually call her Craftsmaster Pepper, who checks all of my work to make sure it’s complete, correct and delicious.)

What are your best resources for cosplay materials?

For cloth, I like fabric.com. They have a huge selection, and they’re very well priced! They’re also good about keeping what I need in stock. For foam, I buy big rolls off of Joann.com. I use enough to where I need big giant rolls.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer? 

Can I say myself? When I first started, I thought, oh, I’ll never do ____, I don’t think I can do that costume. Here’s the big secret: yes I can. There’s plenty of tutorials and YouTube videos out there. You can be an armor builder. You can be a prop maker. You can sew your own costume. You just need to start, and try, and be okay with goofing up some. Cosplay is the hardest craft, but it’s not impossible.

Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?  

Hard work pays off. This is not a slacker’s hobby. If you put effort into the costume, the costume will get done, the costume will be awesome, and you’ll be happy to wear it.

What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?

Get creative with it, and definitely get weird with it. You have good ideas. If you can come up with something extra to include that will make people laugh or smile, perfect! In my Undyne costume, I made myself a tiny Napstablook ghost, because Napstablook is my favorite. He connects to my armor and spear at different points through several strong magnets, so I can do tricks with him. People love it, and it makes me stand out and apart from the other Undynes.

How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?

I’ve been in the cosplay community a LONG time. I did a contest in college in 2003, I consider that my first competition. It was so long ago that it was just called a costume contest. I was Saria from Ocarina of Time. My costume was probably the best there, and I was in an ill-fitting Goodwill green dress and a Party City wig. That sounds terrible, but it’s because I didn’t have any access to any resources. Now, I can Google ‘Saria cosplay tutorial’, I can eBay a dress that fits better, and I can get a better wig from Arda Wigs. If I wanted to sew something, there are even specific cosplay patterns I can use. It’s so much nicer now that we have so many resources, both the fan-generated ones like tutorials and the more commercial ones.

… I will say that I had a little fairy I made out of a coat hanger and some stockings, and I still have her. I don’t think I’ll top my fairy, even with all of our cool resources ~15 years later.

If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?

My friend and I joke about being a Big Daddy and Little Sister because we both love huge builds and putting ridiculous amounts of efforts into our costumes. I would be the Big Daddy, and he would prefer the Little Sister. I think I prefer the armor and he prefers skirts anyway.

Do you set a budget for each cosplay?

I should. I’m a master of using coupons, waiting out sales, and using Google Shopping/eBay to source things for much cheaper, so I usually come far under what I was expecting to spend anyway. I’m telling you, lean on Google Shopping and eBay. There are great deals out there.

What does cosplay mean to you?

Cosplay is the hardest, best craft. To do the costumes I want to do, I have to know how to do nearly everything. I recently took up 3D printing just because there’s a gun I want to build, but I can’t figure out any other way to make the parts. Come in, be ready to learn, get your hands dirty. I’ll loan you my respirator if I’m not using it.

Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?

At this point, probably not. I’ll quit when it stops being fun. I think if some event horizon happens and I’m no longer able to wear costumes, I’ll take up photography and be a cosplay photographer. I like the idea of helping others promote themselves.



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Word Of The Nerd

Word of the Nerd is your source for all things nerd!!! Whether it's comic books, cosplay, gaming, pop culture, movies or television. If it happens in nerdom, Word of the Nerd will be there to cover it.

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