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 Tuesday and Thursday to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and famous members of the cosplay universe.
My name is Camilla, but I’m mostly known as Cam or CammQuin. I’m a 24-year-old marketeer from Brazil, currently living in Portugal.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was 17 years old – a senior in high school – and back where I’m from, seniors undergo a thing called “weekly shame”, which consists on having 1 specific day of the week (for us it was every Friday if I’m not mistaken) to dress up in embarrassing ways, such as “become a stereotype” and we’d dress up, for example, as 60s and 70s nerds, or punk rock people from the 80s, or even as the classic “mean girl” from the 00s. One week, the “weekly shame” was to become a fictional character of our choice, and I don’t think the teachers anticipated how into it everyone would be. A couple of friends even rented full Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse costumes (honestly it looked more like drunk Pooh and wasted Mickey, which only made things even funnier), but I didn’t have the money to go rent an entire fur suit, so I had to actually craft a costume myself. At the time I was obsessed with Lara Croft, and how much we actually look alike, so to say I loved the entire research/crafting process is an understatement. It was through that process that I found the cosplay world since most, if not all, of the tutorials I followed, were from cosplayers.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Honestly, I currently do it just for fun, but I’d be lying if I didn’t secretly hope it became something more. In 2018 I actually made a huge effort of growing my following, which paid off but not as much as I’d hoped back then, so in 2019 I had to step down and reevaluate my approach to cosplay so it didn’t become a stressful thing. After 6 months on a break, I decided to go back to treating it as a hobby, while also understanding the paths I needed to take to make my dream career (maybe) happen.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I’m on team hybrid for now. I usually craft all my armor pieces and accessories and also style my own wigs, but when it comes to sewing I’m a hot mess, so I like to commission my fabric parts just because I can make the alterations I want, a thing that buying doesn’t allow me to do (but I still buy the occasional cosplay).
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It varies a lot. If I’m crunching (which I don’t recommend), it can take 1 week to do an entire project. But if I do things with time and care, there have been cosplays that took me months to make, and some I still feel aren’t 100% complete.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Oh no, don’t make me pick favorites. My friends and followers know that this changes every second. If I were to pick one though, I’d have to do by categories. My favorite cosplay that I crafted almost entirely by myself has to be my Widowmaker. I learned a bunch, messed up a lot more, and still, it turned out pretty cool. I’m super proud of myself for actually doing a build so filled with details like her. My favorite “all fabric” cosplay is my Emilia from Re:Zero. This one I barely did a thing, but I honestly love how I look dressed up as her. Now, my favorite character to cosplay is absolutely Harley Quinn. I’ve been cosplaying as her for 5 years and have done a total of 5 versions (1 per year) and she’s just so much fun to be.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I was in the passenger’s seat while my boyfriend was driving to the convention. I was dressed up as 2013 Lara Croft and he was Nathan Drake from Uncharted 3. We entered a drive-in at a Burger King because we didn’t have time to cook and we were both starving. Now, if you know 2013 Lara you can imagine how bloody was my makeup. On the other hand, my boyfriend didn’t want me to put too much on his face so he only had a small scratch. We pull down the window and, as the server was asking for our order she just stares at me, then looks at my boyfriend, and just has a terrified expression on her face, but lets us move on. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but when we arrive at the second stall the lady asks me if I’m okay. I tell her that yes, that this is just makeup. I basically had to prove to every single Burger King server that no, I wasn’t beat up by my boyfriend and yes, it was all makeup.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love them!! I love cosplaying in general, but when you’re in a group it just means that you’re surrounded by people that love the same content you do, and that want to basically play live-action fanfiction with you.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I was planning to finish at least 3: Kaguya from the anime Love is War, Harley Quinn from the new animated series, and Ariel from The Little Mermaid, but corona happened and that kinda foiled my plans. At least I was able to complete my Poison Ivy before everything shut down. Fingers crossed I can finish another one from this list.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
The buy vs craft one is constantly popping up on my stories on Instagram, and I feel that shouldn’t be a problem? Just like the sexy vs not sexy cosplayers. I feel that cosplay started as a hobby and we should just embrace the different routes people take in it, be it just focusing on the “play” and not crafting your own things for any reason, be it you want to show skin and like the way your photos look when you’re in lingerie. I know I’ve had a different opinion in the past, but honestly the more I see people clashing over these two issues, the more I feel like everyone should do what they want as long as it’s not hurting anyone.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Definitely femme fatales. It’s weird saying this since I’m a potato in real life, but I like to say that if I can’t be with that character I will become it. I also love to cosplay from video games and movies that have badass women, though these days I’ve also felt an interest in the Disney princesses and cute anime girls. Basically, if it’s a character that I love, from a genre that I love, I’ll be adding them to my cosplay plans list.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Photoshoots and attending cons for sure! I’m more into the “play” of cosplay (I was a theater kid), and photoshoots allow me to actually see me as the character I’m dressed as, while cons validate all my effort with complete strangers complimenting me and telling me I’m a real-life version of the character they love.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I used to have one, but I moved countries so I’m completely lost. The only ones that I know ship worldwide are ttdeye, which is a contact lens store, and epic-cosplay wigs. Honestly, if anyone reading this knows where I can get quality craft/EVA foam please send me the link through my Instagram, I’m in need of one!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Self-acceptance and self-confidence. I was a very shy and insecure girl when I started cosplaying, and seeing that my favorite characters were femme fatales it was hard actually looking myself in the mirror, in full cosplay, and still not like what I saw. I like to think that if I started with cute characters I wouldn’t have grown as much because Lara, Harley, Jessica Rabbit, and all those super sexy women almost forced me to like myself faster, because I heard people telling me that I looked just like them, and I couldn’t think of any of them as “ugly”. I still have moments of relapsing to my insecurities, and in those moments I need to pick myself back up and go through the entire process again and again, but these moments have become less frequent as the years go by.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
“Don’t care what people think”. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned. I was super insecure and always tried to please everyone around me. Through cosplay, I learned to just not care. If I were to please everyone that follows me, I’d never cosplay characters that I love. If I were to care about every single thing everyone thought of me, I wouldn’t cosplay at all since cosplaying is still seen as a weird hobby (even though it has become more mainstream).
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Choose characters that you love and that you have a strong connection with. Also, don’t feel the need to do the most difficult version of that character or you’ll stress out a lot more than you should in the beginning. Do a closet cosplay, a casual cosplay, or even choose a character that has simple clothing (like I did when I chose Lara Croft to be my first). Go to a con dressed up like them and you’ll see how much love and support you’ll receive from the community, maybe even make some friends that will help you through thick and thin. That love and support will be the fuel you’ll need to do even bigger and harder builds.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It has gotten bigger, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t say it’s gotten more toxic though. Since it’s so big now, you can actively choose to avoid the toxic parts and make your own microcosm that allows you to have fun, while also staying informed on important things. That’s what I did anyway.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Cinderella’s dress! Both from the classic animation and the 2015 version. They’re my 2 dream cosplays, the ones that when I get the chance to make it’ll be the height of my cosplay journey.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I used to, but now I just know how much I’m able to spend for X months on cosplay and evaluate if it’s worth saving to get more expensive materials or if it’ll look good even if it was cheaper.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means the world to me. I know that sounds cheesy, but cosplay really took me out of a dark place and brought me friends, confidence, and a hobby I can actually see me progressing in. Cosplay is a place I can escape real life and have fun pretending to be characters that I admire and that I wish I was, while also allowing me to find those same qualities in myself.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Ironically enough, more mainstream. And I see some of the conflicts we have nowadays being mostly resolved by how big it will be.
What is your favorite con to attend?
CCXP in São Paulo, Brazil, aka the biggest comic con in the world.
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
I feel like it’s super mainstream saying that, but Jessica Nigri is a huge inspiration, and the girls Hilly and Hannah from the Hillywood Show. Also, from a more local point of view, both @kikibelico and @matosleti are great friends of mine that inspire me daily with the amazing cosplays they create.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Not really? Even though I’ve been cosplaying since 2013, I don’t think I’ve done enough to get the “inspiration” status. I hope to one day be worthy of it though.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Anything you do don’t tap on my shoulder when I’m not facing you. It’s not an “all cosplayers hate that” thing, it’s just a “me” thing. I don’t like that even when I’m in my regular clothes around my friends or family. Other than that, call me by my character’s name and I guarantee I’ll look right at you (or if you call me by CammQuin my dude, you got all the attention in the world). Ask me if you can take a picture of me, and ask if you can touch before having your hands wrapped around my waist/props, sometimes I’m in full body paint and asking for permission is a nice habit to have. Also, DO ask for fun and specific poses! I love to pretend to kill people for photos.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I wish they knew that I wish I could do more for them. They’re not many, but some have been following me for awhile now, and I’m incredibly grateful for all the love and support they give me.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
A lack of time? Maybe? Honestly, I don’t see me quitting cosplay ever. Maybe I’ll be less frequent one day, maybe I’ll grow tired, but I can still see myself doing at least 1 outfit/build per year in these scenarios.
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