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Tell us about your first cosplay experience.

My first costume was my Darkfire (slave) costume made in 1995 at DragonCon ’96. Darkfire was a personal character that I had developed, and that character was very much a part of myself. I made the costume with my mother for Halloween and then wore it the following DragonCon. I have worn some version of my Darkfire costume to every single DragonCon since then (which is 8 years running).

Also in 1996, my mother & I made my first movie recreation costume (Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and my first anime costume (Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon). Both were also made to be worn at DragonCon ’96.

I had an incredible time at DragonCon ’96, and the response I got from being in costume was so rewarding. I loved being a character that I loved and connecting with other people who loved that character. It was everything I adored about Halloween, Fantasy, and conventions all rolled into one. I was hooked, and I’ve been making costumes ever since.

Why do you cosplay?

I costume for a few reasons. First and foremost, I truly enjoy being creative and creating things. I have sewn since I was 5 and could count cross-stitch. I really enjoy the process of creating all of the crafts I do, especially costume making. Secondly, I costume out of a deep love for fantasy, costumes, and the process of playing with being someone else for brief time. And finally, I love the attention I get in costume, and the ability to instantly connect with other people who either love that same character, love costumes, or are in costumes.

Favorite and feared materials to work with?

Favorites: satin, cottons, glue, paint, and foam

Feared: metal, leather, glass, and silk

What's your take on the Live Action Sailormoon series running in Japan?

Well, I haven’t had a chance to see a full episode yet, only clips and pieces. But it looks quite interesting and I think I might enjoy it (especially if it gets into the more exciting episodes with the outer senshi).

Does it mean anything to cosplayers?

It provides a good example of the 2D costumes made in a 3D world. And it also may provide some other costumes in the future for all the sailor moon cosplayers out there.

What are some costuming tips you can offer?

1) Leave yourself adequate time to fully research and work on your costume.

2) Understand that there is never adequate time, but try.

3) Research multiple views of your costume and try to break it down into pieces, so that finding existing patterns is easier.

4) Modify costumes if you must, so that they fit YOUR BODY in the best way they can. This will make you feel more comfortable, and that will make your costumes look better.

5) Try new things. Without experimenting, you’ll never go any further with your costumes

6) Ask questions, search websites, and LEARN ALL YOU CAN LEARN.

7) Have fun. Sure it might not be fun burning yourself with a glue gun, but if the whole experience isn’t fun, then you need a new hobby.

What anime character do you find yourself most drawn to?

I have always been drawn to strong, independent, and/or honorable female characters. I also have a weakness for purely fun female characters as well, but I prefer the ones with depth. I have started to become more drawn to female characters that are spiritual and character that represent love or beauty, as well.

What is your most viewed costume?

My most viewed costume is my Rainbow Bright costume

Does that surprise you?

It does surprise me. My other three most viewed costumes are completely understandable, as they are very fanboy-friendly (Hitomi, Felicia, & Chii). Having my Rainbow Bright be so incredibly popular, makes me very satisfied and happy, because I think it reflects not only on our childhood nostalgia, but also my craftsmanship.

Tell us about the future of cosplay. Make some predictions.

I see it just getting bigger & bigger and better & better. Over the years that I have been actively involved in the costuming world, all the major changes I see is that quality just keeps going through the roof. I have started to see fur-suits really becoming more prevalent and I think they might get really popular in the future. I think that somewhere down the line there will also be cosplay-only and costuming conventions. I cannot wait for whatever the future of cosplay holds, so long as it continues to include costumes ;)

If you have any rumors to dispel or if you want to add comments, now's your chance.

I have been fortunate so far, as I have not had any rumors that I know of spread about me. People do not really approach me at anime conventions, like they do at sci-fi conventions, so to all anime goers out there, I’m a friendly person, and you can always say “hey” to me, or visit my website and drop me an email.

View her Cosplay Lab profile here

Amanda you have a dynamic range of costuming skills and we're looking to see more great things from you in the near future. It's cool to see a costumer willing to expand the types of characters they portray and not get stuck in a single color mode. Keep up the creative energy and keep in touch. Best of luck in all your endeavors.

Garry aka Prof

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