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 famous members of the cosplay universe.
About KittenKaboodle Cosplay
My name is Mari, I am 25 years old and I am a barista, but currently working on getting my B.A. in Psychology. I’m located in the Carolina’s and my current con circuit ranges from NC down to GA. I have been cosplaying for 10 years and entering craftsmanship for 4 years.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I first got into cosplay when I moved to the Carolina’s. My friends had been talking about going to a convention and I decided to join them (at the time I had only seen a few animes & had no clue what I was getting into!) I fell in love with the scene and began going every year ever since. It really opened a new chapter in my life, and I’m not honestly sure where or who I would be if I never went to that convention.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I see it as a bit of both. I’m not sure I’d ever be ‘cos-famous’ but I have been developing many panels and programs that I get to host not only at cons but at other events and locations! I’ve been working hard on building my local cosplay community and convention circuit! It is not the conventional way people think of a career with cosplay but I’ve made some spending cash on it haha!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I usually make my own cosplays, but if it’s going to be a one time use or for a small skit then I will buy used cosplays. It also highly depends on if the time and cost of material are worth what I will have made. There have been several occasions where it would be more expensive to make them than it would be to buy them, so I really try to pick my battles.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
That is a HUGE question, My cosplays can vary from taking 6 or 7 hours, to months of work! it really all just depends on what I’m doing.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
I would say Morrigan from Dragon Age: Origins is my favorite. I feel so confident and strong in the cosplay. The character her self is very empowered and I admire her greatly. I also feel like its one of my most accurate cosplays, and I continue to work on it to make it perfect!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I think that my most memorable experience as a cosplayer was when I won my first cosplay competition award. I went to AARC 2014 on a whim and I wore my faun cosplay. I had no intentions of entering a competition until it had been suggested to me several times. I signed up and managed to make my way across the stage in my stilts without falling on my face! The judges were so kind and I honestly did not expect to win First! I cried so much when I did, and that is what started my competition career!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love doing them, but I think it takes time to find the right group of people. I’ve been cosplaying with a specific group for the past few years and it has been great! We are honest about what we can do and reliable for each other when it comes to participating in what we said we would.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
For 2018 I have started working on Claves from Eternal Sonata, however, I am also planning on revisiting my Big Sister cosplay from Bioshock 2 and maybe updating Morrigan more as well!
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Currently, I feel that there is still a huge divider of Hand Made vs. Store Bought cosplays and a sense of Elitism because of it. No matter what, cosplay is cosplay. Whether you like the character/ series or someones take on it shouldn’t matter, and no one should be shamed for where their skills lie. If you aren’t the crafty type, it doesn’t make you ANY less of a cosplayer. And if you make you’re cosplay it doesn’t automatically make you any better! At the end of the day, we are all just a bunch of nerds dressing up!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I really love horror-based characters, however, I try not to limit myself to any one type of character or genre. But I will admit I often get picked on for always choosing ‘The pink haired girl’ by my friends!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I love getting to take progress photos and sharing them with my friends. They are always very encouraging during the process and it’s a great help to push myself forward. Then it’s getting to do photo shoots and compare them with the original character and the progress! I also love when I perfect a new technique, or get a little detail just right!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
It honestly varies from cosplay to cosplay and what I end up needing! Sorry, I don’t have more of an answer, haha, I just research till I find what I need for a good price and go from there!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Honestly myself. I have wanted to give up so many times whether it was because I did not place in a competition, a cosplay I worked on didn’t get the attention I felt it deserved or pure envy of other cosplayers. It all centers around myself and my own insecurities.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Oh gosh. So many. Time management, budgeting, Not giving up, trying new things, & failing at them…then trying again! There is so much you can learn from this particular hobby, which is why I think its so great!
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
RESEARCH! Whether you are buying a cosplay or buying materials, never buy without finding reviews, looking for options is always a smart plan. I also feel that making mock-ups falls into that category because you’re researching how the cosplay will fit you!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I feel there have been lots of divides over silly things, and they keep growing. Really the biggest thing that matters is that we are all enjoying our hobby!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
EARTH MOTHER SPRIGGIAN from Skyrim. I WILL FIGURE OUT THIS COSPLAY.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try to, but it doesn’t always work out haha!
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is a way for me to continuously improve my self. From craftsmanship skills to time management, I feel like I get a lot from cosplaying. It is very therapeutic for me and a great and distracting outlet that gives me a sense of accomplishment within myself.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
I’m hoping that we all grow and move past some of the things that hold us back right now. From elitism to harassment, I just really hope we take these problems seriously and find a way to move beyond them as a community.
What is your favorite con to attend?
Right now I would probably say AARC (Asheville anime regional convention) It’s fairly small, but its growing every year, and every time I go I feel so welcomed and involved in the show! I get to host panels, judge or participate in the cosplay competition, and I would honestly prob do whatever they asked me to haha!!
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
I have so many people who inspire me, and its hard to name them all! I love Avantgeek & Space Mermaid. I think the person who inspires me most is Moth Child Cosplay. Her skill is amazing and I am always awestruck by her. She actually inspired my Lagombi Armor!!
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Not really? I feel pretty small a lot of the times and my stuff isn’t very well known. But I hope one day I can be an inspiration!
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
My biggest piece of advice for meeting a cosplayer and taking their photo is to be respectful. Take notice of their surroundings. If they are about to eat or look like they are taking a moment to rest, give them some space, and let them have a moment. For photos, do not touch or do any physical contact pose without asking first. I have been picked up by many a random stranger, which is horrifying when your 5’5 and 97 lbs! Just be polite and make sure you have permission!
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I feel like online I can come across as very stand offish, or intimidating when in reality im just really nervous and kind of shy. New people freak me out sometimes & I know that can make me seem distant. But honestly, I love talking to people about cosplay and hearing about their costumes! So if you see me at a con and want to talk, or reach out over a virtual platform please do!! I promise I’ll warm up to you!
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I think that the only thing that would make me stop is if I personally no longer found it enjoyable. I’ve had a lot of failures and I know the community has its rough moments. I’m prepared for that. But if I just lost interest, I feel like that would just be me growing and moving on to something else. Though with 10 years of cosplay under my belt I don’t feel like I’ll lose interest any time soon!
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