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About Rumplestilt_seam Cosplay
My name is Amanda, I’m 25 years old and I’m from The Woodlands Texas. I go by Rumplestilt_seam in the cosplay community and I have over eight years of stage and theater experience under my belt so naturally, it was the obvious progression to move onto cosplay. I’ve been doing cosplay and costuming for a little over seven years; I’ve created award-winning costumes and skits, as well as having a piece accepted in the Dallas A-Kon 28 Cosplay Museum. I enjoy cosplay from different genres including anime, video games, comics, TV shows, and Movies. I tend to lean more towards DC Comics heroines and video game characters as well as a plethora of mashup and crossover pieces.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was volunteering for a Children’s Event and we were required to dress up. My first costume was a super cheap, thrift shop Princess Peach. But the kids loved it, and I enjoyed the interactions I had while in costume so I started making my own costumes and attending conventions.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I do it for both. I cosplay for fun, but I also have a Commissioning Business I’m building, so I kind of act as my own model in a sort of way. But I would also like to eventually guest or judge a convention, I love traveling and meeting new people that are into the same things as I.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I personally prefer to make overbuy because A) making gives me more control over what materials I want, exact fit, etc. and B) I regularly compete (2-3 times a year if I can swing it) and most if not all competitions only allow handmade entries for Craftsmanship. However, I am also a firm believer in cosplaying on a budget, so if you can find what you want/need online and don’t have to make it, buy it!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends, I think the longest time I’ve spent on a costume to date has been three months. Usually, I can shell a costume out in under a week if I have time, money, and resources available all at once. That’s actually how got my cosplay name, “I spin out costumes like Rumpelstiltskin spins gold.” haha!
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
It’s gotta be a toss-up between Sith Snow White (Based on artwork by Ralph Sevelius) or Ciri from the Witcher 3. Sith Snow White was my first big build, and I feel so elegant and graceful wafting around in a big gown. Ciri on the other hand, I feel like such a Bad @ss when I wear her! Nothing like sauntering around with a big sword, pretending to be a Child of the Elder Blood.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Both good and bad experiences were from the same costume actually. I’ll start with the good first: My photographer and I were walking around for a shoot in my New 52 Wonder Woman cosplay, and the battery on the camera died so we had to go to the coffee shop nearby to sit down and charge it. While it charged we were approached by a young gentleman, and in a nutshell started talking about cosplay, costumes, and fandoms until our conversation switched to his personal life. Long story short my photographer and I held a mini-intervention for this poor fellow, because he disclosed to us he was actually on his way home from work and had planned to commit suicide after he got to his residence (Due to a lot of bad things happening all at once including his father and uncle dying) and he decided to stop for coffee first, and that is when he saw us. Basically, we talked a suicidal man down from the ledge because my Wonder Woman cosplay caught his attention. It was a good day, all in all, I still keep in touch with the guy too.
Now for the bad experience: I was debuting this costume for the first time at one of the larger conventions in the Houston area. I felt great getting out of my car until the cat calling started….. I don’t even understand why (This version of Wonder Woman has the long sleeves and pants) since the only skin I had exposed was my neck and my face, but I got everything from “Hey beautiful” (Which could be taken as a compliment I suppose?) to more vulgar things I won’t say here to be printed. I even had one fellow basically corner me in the vendor halls at a sellers booth and recite to me his favorite sexual fantasies with Wonder Woman as if I was supposed to be his physical outlet to fulfill them or something? Anyway, not a good day there all in all. Also, this was before the “Cosplay is not consent” movement really picked up steam; so I really didn’t have anyone to go to at the convention while this was all taking place.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love group cosplays! It’s so much more of an enriching experience to go to conventions and cosplay with friends!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
A little bit of this, and a little bit of that… It’s kind of hard to say for sure since I tend to also work on impulse, BUT I can say, I have Volume 5 Yang Xiao Long (RWBY) as a work in progress, and I plan to make one of Ciri’s alternate outfits for the Renfaire in the Fall! Everything else is up to my whims of fancy haha.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
This is kind of a tough one because we have a lot of sensitive topics that come up time and again in the community. I think right now its, “Cosplaying who you want regardless of body-type or skin color”. The cosplay community as a whole is growing every day, which is great! But also not so great in the regards that we get a lot of mainstream spectators that try to bring their mainstream ideology into cosplay. Cosplay (and the community) is about equality and having a space in which there’s no outright judgment as long as you’re not deliberately doing something offensive. For the longest time, no one in the community felt the need to make a comment about how “You can’t be Sailor Moon because you’re a Person of Color!” or “You can’t cosplay Superman because you’re fat!”; because WE get it. It’s COSTUME PLAY, you are dressing up as the character because you admire and or relate to, and want to embody that character and what they stand for. But with more and more mainstream audiences, they see cosplay as a “casting” type of hobby, IE “you can only do X if you look like Y.” when that’s not what Cosplay is or ever will be about. Go to Disneyworld if you want to see a paid actor dressed as Loki, don’t hate on a cosplayer because they’re not being paid to look exactly like a licensed character.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I do a lot of crossovers and cosplay based on Artwork (NoFluter, Pushfighter, etc). But I also like doing DC Cosplays, I like the fandom as a whole. I love artwork based cosplay because sometimes artwork you can push the boundaries of creativity farther than simply creating an established design.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
All of it! But primarily the concept, planning, shopping, and construction phase. Nothing beats walking around the fabric store to touch all the fabric and imagine what you can make with it.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
The typical “Joanns” answer, but I also shop online: Stretch House. com (or Spandex House .com) is where I like to source my stretch materials from. They have a wide range of stretch and specialty stretch materials that I can’t find in a store. CosplaySupplies.com is a great place to find foam/worbla crafting supplies (It’s associated with Kamui Cosplay), and Harbor and Freight is the physical store I got to for my EVA foam. Amazon is primarily where I get my wigs and accessories, but I also occasionally splurge on an Arda wig if I need to.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Engaging with an online audience. If you’re standing in front of me I can talk your ear off all day about cosplay or fandom related things, but online I feel like I’m being a nuisance or a bother by trying to get your attention for a conversation.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
A) Don’t be judgmental. Everyone starts somewhere, and not everyone can afford the same things. B) There will always be someone better than you. Don’t find your self-worth in being “The Best” if you do that you’re going to fall REAL hard emotionally when someone else inevitably comes along that’s better than you. (This is my viewpoint for competing on competitions too BTW) C) don’t use a heat gun while wearing shorts… Just don’t… (No that’s NOT a birthmark on my thigh…)
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Find your niche and grow with that until you’re ready to build a new skill. For example, I am a pretty solid seamstress, it’s what I’m good at. But I can’t really craft with Worbla or foam at the same skill level, but it’s one I currently working on. It may not be the same for everyone, some may start out being a makeup/wigs wizard but can’t figure out the working end of a sewing machine, or start out with people thinking you’re part Tolkien Dwarf because you can craft armor like one, but you don’t know the first thing about styling a wig. And vice versa. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to learn and do everything all at once, ease into it and learn it all at a healthy comfortable pace.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
Well, I’ve only been cosplaying for a little over seven years now, so I don’t really know what it was like before it hit mainstream. From what I can tell, it hasn’t really changed too much? It still prides itself in trying to be a community of equality and place where we can all be nerds, geeks, and freaks together haha!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Oh my gosh, any of Sunset Dragon or Hannah Alexander Art’s designs! They’re so detail-oriented, and I already know the materials involved are SUPER expensive but would be totally fulfilling if I had all the money to make the things with.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Honestly no. I actually tend to stay within the same amount of each cosplay that I make. I really don’t pay attention to budgets at all. (But I probably should….)
What does cosplay mean to you?
The reactions probably, this goes back to why I started in the first place. When you’re walking around a convention dressed as a superhero and children or adults alike run up to you its probably one of the most amazing things to see the awe and wonder in their eyes. The thing most people don’t think about is when I (or any other cosplayer) dress up, this is as close to shaking hands or giving a hug to the real Wonder Woman or Captain America as these people are ever going to get. So for some, it might be the fame or recognition, but for me it ultimately what cosplay means to me, boils down to how happy it makes people.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Hopefully, not too different than it is now in regards to how accepting the community is as a whole. There’s obviously always areas for improvement, but I think as long as we keep striving to be better, the community will be better for it in 10 years.
What is your favorite con to attend?
I enjoy smaller conventions since they tend to have a more intimate setting in which you can meet and talk to people. My favorite large convention so far is Comicpalooza in Houston TX. It’s annual and local enough to be accessible for me to attend every year. But I would love to branch out and attend other cons, especially any out of state conventions.
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
Yaya Han, Kamui Cosplay, Jessica Nigri, and Cowbuttcrunchies are my biggest Cosplayer inspirations in craft and business models. They’re all such strong women of the cosplay community, and I want to be like them when I grow up.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I suppose? I have been told by other cosplayers they view me as one, but I just try to live my best life haha. I am happy though if something I’ve done does inspire someone, that means I’m actually giving back to the community.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Please ask us first. If we say no, then walk away. Clearly, we have a reason for saying “no”, and usually it’s not because we’re being snobbish, usually it’s because we’re eating, adjusting costume, waiting for our group, running late for a panel, etc.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I am the most awkward of potatoes in real life. Like I sincerely apologize if you see me and I hiss at you and run away if you try to say hi to me haha.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Nope. I’m a ride or die kind of girl haha! But in seriousness, I can’t really think of a reason I would stop, except if content creators prohibit/ban cosplayers to use their property, or I was to lose interest for some reason.
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