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Kell as Lina Inverse
Urd from Ah! My Goddess

Tell us about your first cosplay experience, when, where, who,etc.

Well, in '98 I went as an original comic character of mine for Halloween. But then the next year I decided to be Quistis from Final Fantasy 8. Originally I wanted to be Utena, but I got FF8 for my birthday the month before and just *had* to be Quistis. So my gramma, mom and I got together and made me this costume... I was so impressed with it *grin* NOBODY knew who I was when we went out that night, and it was really hot out... but that was it, that's when I was officially bitten by the cosplay bug :D The next year my cousin and I went as Sailormoon and Sailor Jupiter, and after that was when I started looking around online and realized that a *lot* of people do this! My cousin and I picked a convention we wanted to go to - Animazement. (My first experience costuming at a con was, if you want to get technical, about 10 years ago when I wore my mom's Star Trek costume to a small sci-fi con. It was an... odd experience ^_^;) Animazement was really amazing for us... it was the first time either of us had ever really been around other anime fans, and we got to dress up the whole time. I had so much fun then. Gosh, that was back in the day when all my costumes for the weekend would fit in one suitcase... ah, memories...

What is your number 1 priority when choosing what character you create?

I have to like the character. I think I've just about done all my favorite characters at this point, lol! Sometimes though, even if I really like a character, I won't cosplay as him/her just because I don't like the costume design... so I guess you could say costume design is pretty important to me, too. Admittedly I have gone as characters I only "sort-of like" just because I like their costume ^^; But you know, sometimes making a neat and challenging costume is just as rewarding as getting to be your favorite character for a while.

What are your favorite materials to work with for your costumes and props?

My favorite material is suede! I just love it so much... lol, I would make every costume out of suede if I could get away with it. And I love nice velvet, I wish I had more excuses to use velvet. (My least favorite is stretch vinyl - it looks nice but it's a pain to sew on.) My favorite thing for props is friendly plastic... you can do practically anything with it ! I think I've used it with every costume I've done lately ^^; It's great for jewelry and things like that. I also really like coat hangers. They're great to bend up and use as a base for wings and things like that. I've probably used half the coat hangers we have for various costumes.

Have you ever considered sewing professionally?

Oooh no... I'd would be so worried that whatever I made for someone else would fall apart! I always carry a huge repair kit with me to every con, just in case my own costume starts to fall apart. I usually have nightmares about this right before every con! I'm so paranoid about that. Anyway - I have thought of selling a few things online, but not professionally. I don't have enough skills to make a living off of it. I have thought of making a few cloaks out of some nice velvet and selling them, but I'd probably like the finished product so much I wouldn't want to let them go!

Misato from Neon Genesis Evangelion

As a costume judge, what questions would you ask the contestants?

First I'd ask what their favorite part of their costume is, as in which bit they're most proud of. And I'd ask what the hardest part to make was, and if there were any cool accessories or props, I'd ask about how they made those. I'm nosy about those sorts of things anyway ^_^;

Where do you get your inspiration in life?

Hmm, wow. I'd have to say a lot of it comes from my family and friends, not just for cosplaying but for everything. My parents and friends always support me and give me ideas about costumes. I've had my mom come in while I've been watching some anime, and she'll stand there for a minute and then say, "Look at that character, you'd look good as that character." Speaking of mom, she taught me how to sew and still helps me with everything, so I have to give major props to her. Movies that have been inspirational to me have been Star Wars and Lord of the Rings... some of the costumes in those movies are incredible and really make me want to rush out and make my own. Same for Final Fantasy X, and just recently Chobits. Such cute costumes! :D

Lum from Urusei Yatsura

In what ways has cosplay changed you over time?

For one thing, I'm not so against wearing makeup and dressing up anymore ^_^; I still don't particularly like it, but at least I don't kick and scream over it. Also, nowadays when designing my characters' costumes for my comic, I find myself thinking, "could this actually be made? would this be comfortable for the character to wear?" I now know from experience that a character on the run wouldn't want to be wearing six inch heels, no matter how cool they look - so no six inch heels for my action characters. I've also found that I've become a bit more outgoing and less nervous about doing things on my own - if I'm worried about having to read a report in front of class or something, I think to myself, "heck, I wore a Lum costume in front of hundreds of people, and I wasn't scared then... this should be a piece of cake."

Which do you prefer - competing in costume contests, or hall cosplay?

It's hard to say. I like competing because I like the excitement of going on stage. But it's also nerve racking and you miss the whole cosplay 'cause you're backstage waiting in line! In the end I prefer hall cosplaying, mostly because I'd rather sit and watch the cosplay instead of standing in the back getting more and more nervous about tripping on stage ^_^; Hall cosplay is fun, there's no pressure. I especially love finding other characters to take pictures with... or when someone sees me dressed as their favorite character and wants to give me a hug. That's so cool ^_^


If they added another season to the end of your favorite anime series, what would you like to see happen?

Trigun!!! I love Trigun, it was right up my alley. Another season... oooh, hard to say. I guess I'd like to see Trigun Max animated or something... even though I only have a very vague idea of what's going on in Trigun Max ^_^; (I have the graphic novels... but can't read Japanese. d'oh.) Even though it's not my *absolute* favorite, I think it would be cool to see another season of Card Captor Sakura... just to see what happens later on.

Is cosplay for you just a hobby, or something more?

It's a hobby... even though I thought hobbies are supposed to be a way to relax? lol! Cosplay is a very time-consuming, expensive, and occasionally stressful hobby ^_^; Sometimes I wonder why the heck I do this! Especially when it's a week before a convention, and none of my costumes are anywhere near finished, and I'm completely stressing (like right now! I'm sitting here sewing on the leggings of one of my costumes for Dragoncon.). To a non-cosplayer I'm sure it sounds like craziness. But I'm sure every cosplayer knows the feeling you get when you finally get to wear the finished product, and somehow it makes up for all that work and stress. And then you get to go have fun with other crazy cosplayers! ^_^

See more of Kell's great costumes on her profile page

Kell, your passion for costuming is amazing, not to mention it's obvious you are having fun with it. Good luck with college and your Illustration degree. Everyone will definitely want to see your work on SunDowner, a very well-drawn comic. I look forward to seeing you at the next anime convention.


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