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My name is Kylie, I go by SteamDumpling as a cosplay/model persona. I am 21, and I’ve been cosplaying for about 6 years but I’ve only gotten serious the last 2-3. I am also a Suicide Girl Hopeful.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was introduced to conventions and cosplay many years ago by some friends. They took me to my first convention and hosted cosplay partied at their houses and I fell in love with cosplay.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I cosplay as a hobby, but it is an important part of my life that I think will stick with me for a long time.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer to make my cosplays as it challenges me to problem solve, think outside the box, and test my creative skills. I used to buy cosplays and alter them to make them more accurate. But I have found that making them from scratch is a lot more fulfilling.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It varies based on how intense the cosplays are but usually, they take a couple weeks. I remember one cosplay I spent 20 hours straight just making the jacket.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Yang Xiao Long from the RoosterTeeth show RWBY is probably my favorite cosplay. I feel very connected to her and though I don’t exactly have the right body type, I feel the most comfortable as Yang.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My most memorable experience would be going to Hero’s and Villains Fan Fest and having little kids run up to me while I cosplayed Raven being super excited to meet me and take pictures with me. That’s one of my favorite parts of cosplaying.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I absolutely love group cosplays. It makes me feel so official and walking around as a group we are more likely to be recognized from the show we are cosplaying from.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Currently, I am working on Ranma from Ranma 1/2 but recently I am planning to cosplay as Kya from The Legend of Korra.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Probably the issue of body types, skin color, or character ships. Personally, I feel like cosplay is for everyone and anybody can cosplay whoever they want. As for ‘ships’, the same applies. People can like whatever couples that they want, there is no reason to jump down others throats about it.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Most of the characters I cosplay are strong female characters, most that have overcome a struggle. However, I do cosplay characters like Link from Legend of Zelda who I really like from playing most of the games.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
The build itself is my favorite part. It takes the most amount of creative energy and seeing it come together is the most rewarding part.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I get most of my materials at Joann’s or AC Moore. Anything I can’t get from the craft stores I will order online. However, for props, I’ll go to the hardware store.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Money is a big issue and I always have to hunt for cheaper substitutes that will still work for what I need. Although one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome was being comfortable in my body. It took a long time for me to accept that I will never look exactly like the character I am cosplaying as. However, while I am in cosplay O don’t have to be me, so I can overcome that obstacle.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
People will be mean, some men will be pigs. You have to not get caught up on the small comments from unimportant people, and let things roll off your shoulders.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
It doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as it’s something you’re proud of that it is good enough.most of the tiny details are not crucial for you to be recognized as the character. And most importantly, have fun. Have fun throughout the cosplay process whether you build it or buy it, and wherever you wear it.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I don’t think the community has changed, except maybe got bigger. What has changed is my eyes have been opened to more aspects of the community. I was blissfully unaware of drama and how cruel people could be when I joined the cosplay community but over the years I’ve become more aware.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I don’t really have any over-ambitious cosplays just because money and time are huge factors, but I did one day want to cosplay Shiny Chariot from Little Witch Academia.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try to save as much as possible but I don’t have any set budget for cosplays. There are certain materials I want to use and they are a specific price. However, I will substitute craft foam for thermal plastic and try and cut costs wherever possible. Most of my cosplays don’t cost more than $200 though I’ve never kept track of exactly how much I’ve spent on a cosplay.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is an escape from reality for me. I can be whoever I want to be and I can have confidence in my skin.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I can’t see myself not cosplaying. It a part of my life and I wouldn’t be me without it.
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