Spotlight

Cosplayer Spotlight – Mink the Satyr Cosplay

 

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 Mink the Satyr Cosplay

Hello! I am Mink the Satyr cosplay. I am a Boston-based cosplayer known best for my Pokemon cosplay. By day, I am an elementary special education teacher. By night (and weekends, holidays, and summer), I am a crafter and cosplayer extraordinaire! I enjoy LARP (live action roleplay), medieval/renaissance recreation, and hedgehogs.

 

Mink the Satyr Cosplay
Asami from Avatar: Legend of Korra

 


How did you first get into cosplay?

Cosplay was something I was aware of back in 2003 with my first convention, the Big Apple Anime Fest. Before then, the only dressing up I did was for plays or Halloween. It would be another two years before I went to my first Anime Boston in college. I didn’t really know what I was doing and dressed up as my own character. I still had an amazing time and loved every second of it. I went to steampunk and sci-fi cons where dressing as your own character was more-or-less the norm for a few years. My first true cosplay came about at PAX East 2012. I dressed up as Lucca from Chrono Trigger and fell in love with conventions and cosplay right there on the spot!

Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?

Can my answer be “both”? Because it’s both. I wouldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t love doing it for fun. I cosplay for the fun, the artistic challenge, and the doors it opens in allowing me to meet new people! With websites like Patreon, I am able to offset some of the costs of what I do. It’s marvelous. I also have a fulfilling full-time job. Would I quit it to go full-time cosplay? If the conditions were right!

Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?

I prefer to make my cosplay from scratch whenever possible. My ultimate goal is to create a cosplay from head to toe, including ventilating my own wig and cobbling my own shoes.

How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?

This question is a very tricky one for me. I tend to plan cosplay months in advance but actually dedicate time to making it within a 1-3 week span. My friends and I joke that I put all my points into speed. Usually, by the time I start working on a cosplay, I’ve thought out every step of the project and visualized the “order of operations” such that it’s only a matter of actually carrying out that which I visualized. But don’t get me wrong. When I do 1-week builds, I’m often working 40+ hours that week in addition to my full-time job. So saying, I do love taking on challenges. In 2017, it was very common for me to do 48 or 24-hour challenges, wherein I get a cosplay idea and have a set time limit in which to create it. Those are fun challenges that keep me sharp and force me to develop new ways to short-hand costume creation while maintaining quality output.

What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?

Superlative questions are soooo hard! I replace which one is my “favorite” so quickly! My current love is for my Aloy cosplay from Horizon: Zero Dawn. Despite my typical speediness, I took my time with this cosplay. Ultimately, it was roughly 250 hours of my life to build the cosplay and the prop bow/arrows. I started planning the cosplay in April of 2017, began acquiring materials in June-September 2017, and executed the costume in late September (and I later made the bow in late October). I worked incredibly hard to capture every detail just as the character would have truly worn everything. This included getting authentic materials or working with materials I was less familiar with.

What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?

I am so happy to have so many super positive and memorable experiences linked to cosplay. One of my favorite stories was from when I was at New York Comic Con 2016. I was dressed as Pearl from Steven Universe, handing out pins from the show to other convention goers on the expo floor. A girl approached me and let me know she had won a raffle to meet the cast and crew from Steven Universe, but she hadn’t really watched the show. She asked if I would have liked to go instead. After 100 “are you sure?”s and “thank you”s, I was off to meet the crew! In line, I got to meet a ton of delightful superfans (and give them pins). A PR rep from Cartoon Network recorded video of me in cosplay and put it up on the network’s social media pages! I was so grateful! But the truly best moment was getting to meet the voice talent and especially the show creator, Rebecca Sugar, herself! She signed my prop and even drew a picture of Pearl on it! I have been pretty hard to top such a great day!

How do you feel about group cosplays?

I rather like group cosplays! It’s a grand opportunity to get friends together to do something whimsical and become greater than the sum of our parts. My first group cosplay was fun, but the amount of work that fell on the small number of shoulders (my own included) nearly kept me from wanting to do it again. Now, I have learned to take a more chilled out approach to group cosplay. I tend to plan them 6-7 months in advance to give participants opportunities to get their materials and determine their costume execution (including if they need me or others to make aspects of the costume). Once I learned to organize group cosplay, it became infinitely easier to participate and get others excited to participate!

What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?

My goal for 2018 is to make at least 1 cosplay per month! While everything is subject to change according to that fickle thing that is my whim, at the time of writing this, I have “plans” as far as to July 2018. These include a few pokemon cosplays, a Disney cosplay (well… the chicken from Moana), and a cosplay from the game Nier: Automata.

What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?

The most common issues I see revolve around ethnicity and cosplay. There is still a lot of hate going around inside and outside the community when a person of color dresses up as a character outside their perceived ethnicity. It can be really devastating to see my friends being called very hurtful slurs because they did not fit the skin type of the (typically white) character they are portraying. The same is true for body type. I am of the opinion that cosplay is for expressing your love of a character. While I do not condone blackface/whiteface/yellowface/etc, if a person wants to dress as a character they like, I don’t think they should let something like their body time or ethnicity prevent them from showing their fan love/pride!

What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?

I have been particularly inspired by Pokemon! I love getting to take the many, MANY characters and reinterpret them as humans. This is called “gijinka”. It gives me an opportunity to create and execute my own designs within the framework of a fandom I really enjoy. Naturally, I am drawn to shows, games, or movies I like… but if I had to pick one line of entertainment that inspires me the most, it would be video games.

What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?

This is a difficult question for me. I love all aspects of the cosplay process for different reasons. I enjoy the puzzle of doing a costume breakdown to determine what fabrics/materials were used and how they were constructed. I like the process of putting it all together and testing it out. I like finishing. I like getting to wear a costume for the first time. I like meeting new people and taking photos of my costumes… I think the best feeling though is the feeling of nervous excitement when you are just about to get to a convention in a brand new cosplay, especially if it’s been a secret cosplay. I love that moment when I’m nervous if everything will go smooth – if people will understand the cosplay or even like it. And I live for the tipping point when people DO like it! It’s such an exhilarating feeling!

What are your best resources for cosplay materials?

Oh, boy, do I have a lot of great resources! For wigs, I always go to Arda-Wigs.com because their diversity of materials and customer service are incredible! For fabric, I typically rely on my local fabric stores, rather than fabric chains. When I need to shop online for fake fur, I go to fabric.com. When I need to get linen, I go to fabric-store.com. Online stores such as medievalcollectibles.com and gentlemansemporium.com are great for costume shoes, gloves, and accessories. And I would be remiss if I did not mention how many of my cosplays are positively driven by amazon.com and their two-day shipping with a prime account!

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer? 

The biggest obstacle I have had (and still have) to overcome is my own self-doubt. The internet is full of amazing and talented cosplayers and it can be very easy to fall into the trappings of “I will never be as good as so-and-so”. It has been a struggle to remind myself that the artists I look up to are bars of excellence I set for myself to push myself to improve my craft and to try new things. And weirdly enough, I’ve had experiences in which cosplayers I look up to for their talent and skill have confessed to looking up to me for mine. We are all just gifted nerds who appreciate one another and what we do!

Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?  

I’ve learned a lot about myself through cosplay. I’ve learned how to turn off the voice in my head telling me “I’m not good enough”. I’ve learned how to work under pressure. I’ve learned how to improvise when a technique or process in my cosplay construction isn’t going the way I planned. I’ve learned to adapt. When I work under pressure, I often get anxious, which can be a troubling feeling. But I am working on increasing my self-care and being okay with that anxiety. And I find it helps in my day-to-day for navigating other real-life problems. All the skills I’ve listed above have helped me be comfortable with what I’m feeling or what to do when life isn’t going the way I planned.

What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?

My golden rule with cosplay: have fun. If it isn’t fun, stop doing that thing. I have seen a lot of cosplayers burn out because they are doing cosplay out of obligation, whether its to friends or fans. But if you aren’t doing it for yourself and for your enjoyment, then it isn’t worth it. There have been times when I have stopped costumes because I couldn’t find the fun. The cosplay I was working on when my grandmother passed away remains woefully unfinished. But with her passing went my drive to finish it. And I’m okay with that. I don’t feel bad about stopping a project because “this stopped being fun hours ago”.

How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?

I think the cosplay community has become more mainstream accepted. Back in 2003, I wouldn’t have shared with anyone in my professional life that I was attending a convention. In 2018, I am able to talk about it. People outside of cosplay are aware of what it is. It’s becoming an open-invite to all nerds of all degrees and varieties of fandom. It’s really liberating, to be honest.

If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?

If money were no object, I would want to do a life-size build of Stormfly from the movie How to Train Your Dragon. I would want this to be a cosplay operated by one or more people. I would basically want to bring Astrid and her dragon to life as real looking as possible!

Do you set a budget for each cosplay?

No? No. I certainly haven’t said, “Oh geez, I can’t afford these $20 something-somethings because it’ll put me out of budget”. Generally speaking, I expect any cosplay I create to cost me between $150-500 to make.

What does cosplay mean to you?

Cosplay means dressing up as your favorite character and going to a meet-up, convention, photo-shoot, online stream, etc. It’s two parts. It’s the act of dressing up and the act of sharing what you did.

Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?

At this time, I genuinely struggle to determine what would make me stop cosplaying cold-turkey. I know there are life events that would have me pause or reduce how much I cosplay. But stop altogether? I don’t think so.



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