I have had the great pleasure of knowing Christina personally for quite a while now – introduced to one another via CONography – and was absolutely aflutter when she was sent as a nomination for our Idol spotlight. She is going to guest at ConNooga this year at the end of the month – so what greater time than February to share her with you!
Not only has she come to my rescue on many costume occasions, she rises to the top of the community through her positive outlook and her willingness to help other people. You have a problem? Hit her up on social media and get a thought on a solution. Where Christina truly stands out is her position on keeping the positive in the community truly positive – and one of the reasons I’m privileged to bring her to our Idol list for 2015 as someone that knows her: you want drama or high-horsedness? Look elsewhere.
So with no further ado – let me introduce you to Bewitched Raven’s Cosplay!
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying?
Well, I work full time in Human Resources. I also am working towards obtaining my doctorate degree. Other than that it’s mostly crafting of some type. Costumes, hats, jewelry…. anything I can do to stay creative!
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means creativity. It an opportunity to take something I love and use that to create something new. I get to design, and build, and continually grow with my art. It a chance to meet new friends, and visit new places. Its an open door to a world that I feel most myself in.
You were nominated as our February Idol because of your consistent inclusive attitude, positive contributions to the community, and your technical skill – how does that make you feel?
Kinda amazing. This community is a place of a lot of awesome, but its also a place that feeds a lot of negativity and bullying. As someone who puts herself out there to be seen by the world, I also try my best to always act in a manner of positivity and support that people deserve. I work very hard to keep any troll like behavior away from me and other cosplayers.
How do you try to be a positive role model to other cosplayers?
I always try and be the best version of me, and ask others to do the same. People often forget that everything we put online is a persona. We cannot really know each other unless we have the opportunity to speak and spend time with each other. With that in mind, I try and make sure that the persona my cosplay is on the internet is the best version of myself. I don’t let my negitive emotions fuel anything I would post online or say against someone . . . and I try and ask others to do the same. If we can all be the best versions of ourselves, a lot of the hurt in the cosplay community would disappear.
What is your favorite thing about mentoring new cosplayers?
Teaching each other. No matter what level a cosplayer is at there is always something we can learn from each other. It’s always exciting to learn a new skill or tactic that could improve my cosplay.
What is your personal cosplay style? Accuracy? Hardcore? Casual? Competitive?
Creative. It changes a lot. Sometimes I love to be accurate. Sometimes, I like to step out of the norm and put a twist on my cosplays. It really depends on what mood i’m in that week. ^-^
Who or what is your most well-known cosplay? Why do you think that particular cosplay is your most popular?
I think my versions of the TARDIS. I love Doctor Who, and especially the TARDIS. I love that I can do something different with it no matter what I’m going for. I think that’s what makes those cosplays the most popular – the variety. It shows how one cosplay can be interpreted differently.
What do you prefer to cosplay – comic books, video games, books, movies, other? Why?
Cartoons! They are so colorful and fun, and the characters are so larger than life. It both fun to make and fun to act out!
Do you construct your own cosplays? Do you alter bought products?
I construct most of my own cosplays, but I do buy some items to help stay cost efficient. I get most of my corsets from Michelle over at Damsel in this Dress. Sometimes I will go to a thrift store and look for items to alter rather than make from scratch. Sometimes you have to balance the creativity of making something from scratch with being cost efficient.
How long, on average, does it take you to complete a costume?
It depends. I work a full time day job, so my sewing is pretty much set to weekends. Generally I can finish a costume with one or two weekends of very focused sewing and crafting.
Do you regularly attend conventions?
Yup! Right now I’m mostly in the south east, as those are the conventions I can drive to, but I’m always looking for new conventions to check out!
Which cons are your regular events? Are there any you’d like to attend in the future?
I keep an updated note on my facebook page of what cons I will be attending each year.
Right now my 2015 list looks like this:
Connooga Feburary 27-March 1st 2015 (Chattanooga, TN)
Marble City Comicon April 2015 (Knoxville, TN)
X Con World- May 15-17 2015 (Myrtle Beach, SC)
MomoCon May 22-24 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
Timegate May 22-24 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
Atlanta Comic Con TBD 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
HeroesCon June 19-21 2015 (Charlotte, NC)
Dragon Con Sept 4-7 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
Anime Weekend Atlanta Sept 24-27 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
NYCC October 8-11 (New York City)
How did you get into cosplay? How long have you been participating in the cosplay community?
I’ve been a geek my whole life. I’ve always liked the weird stuff, and found a great way to be creative through theater. In 2001 a friend invited me to my first Dragon Con, and I instantly fell in love with cosplay. It was an opportunity to show my love of weird things and my creativity all in one. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What do you think is the biggest strength and weakness of the cosplay community?
Strength- the ability to learn from others! Lots of amazing cosplayers are open to discussions and sharing craft secrets. Its a great way to not only grow, but make some badass new friends
Weakness- The serialization of cosplay. This mentality that if your cosplay isn’t sexy, or your not “model” worthy beautiful you are lesser than others.
What do you think is the #1 thing the cosplay community needs to get better on?
Gossip. People need to learn to stop talking crap about others for the sake of talking crap. If you want to get to know someone, ask. If there is an issue your not comfortable with, do some research. Make your judgments for yourselves. Don’t follow a popular opinion cause its popular. Be able to make up your mind on any issues based on education and personal experience, not just word of mouth.
What do you think about the term “cosfamous” and the competitive nature of cosplay social media?
I hate it. No matter what you do it develops this superiority mentality. I’m sorry but Cosplay is about playing pretend. It’s an amazing craft, but for anyone to develop a superiority complex over playing pretend is a little silly to me.
Is every cosplay appropriate for every person?
No, but I think its more about being appropriate for yourself more so than others. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re at a con that you know will be heavily attended by children . . .maybe leave the more revealing cosplay at home for another time. That’s just a general respect for other people, but I think people should cosplay whatever they want and feel comfortable doing. I just always try to keep in mind respect for other people’s views and morals. Respect is never a bad thing.
If you had no financial or time limits – what would be your dream cosplay? Why?
That’s a tough questions cause my cosplay goals change a lot! Everyday I’m into a new style, or a new genre, or something else! I would love to do something big and robotic! But it would have to be silly too (can’t take things too seriously can we lol).
If you could take one cosplayer out to lunch and ask them anything – who would you take, and what would you want to talk about?
Actually I would love to get to spend some quality time with Gillian of Cos Couture. We have gotten to chat online, and have a moment to say hi in person at Dragon Con . . . but to really get to sit down would be very nice! I love her whole outlook on the community, and she has an insight to a lot of cosplayers and styles. I would love to just kick back, hang out and learn more about the cosplayers in the community that are up and coming and awesome!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a beginner for cosplay?
Don’t listen to haters. They hate cause something about you is awesome and it makes them feel less about themselves. Do what you want cause its what you want to cosplay, not cause someone else thinks you should or shouldn’t do it.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you started cosplaying?
That things and people are not always what they appear. It breaks my heart when the face behind the mask, so to speak, comes out and proves to be hurtful. I think if I could wish anything its that I could tell myself to beware, but also don’t let those dim your joy even for a moment.
What is a skill you wish you had or a skill you would like to improve upon?
I really want to further delve into armor making. There are so many techniques and different ways to go about making armor, that I’m not sure I’ll ever get to learn them all.
What do you think is the hardest part of cosplay? Why?
Sometimes its staying positive. I love what I do, but it can be disheartening at times to feel that the only cosplays that are worth the worlds time are half naked, sexy versions of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I cosplay for myself, but it is nice when people see what I’ve created and enjoy it to.
What is your cosplay message?
Don’t be an asshole. If something or someone is bothering you, walk the fuck away (sorry about the language!).
Cosplay is for everyone, and if you feel the need to tear people down because you think it makes you real or outspoken, take a second look. There is a difference between constructive criticism, and tearing someone down. If you can’t be kind and helpful, don’t be anything. #SpreadLove
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