Faith Connors of Mirror’s Edge fame has won praise all over gaming culture for her non-sexualized design and her realistic body type. And we love that. We love when female character are designed to be more accessible and relatable to all audiences, not just desired by some and scorned by others. But obviously, there’s much more to her than that.
Gabby Nu Cosplay as Fetch from Infamous: Second Son. Photography by ChezPhoto.
Welcome to the first article of a new cosplay showcase series here at SheAttack! As much as we love video games and the gaming community, we also want to start bringing more general nerd culture articles to our site to spice things up. And what better way to celebrate nerd culture than with showcasing the ultimate fan homage: cosplay? Once a month, I will be posting a Q&A and costume showcase of a talented cosplayer in the community. They could be a novice or pro; as long as they are passionate and creative they have every chance of being featured. For the first month, I thought I’d start out with myself, Gabby Nu Cosplay, to give you all a feel for how this will work each time.
July 2014 Cosplay Showcase: Gabby Nu Cosplay
My Background Story
Cosplay of Leafa from Sword Art Online. Photography by Ad Lunam Photography.
I’ve been a geek ever since I was born. The first TV show I actually remember watching was Sailor Moon; I grew up on Cartoon Network’s old Toonami block, and also have fond memories of watching Dragon Ball Z and wondering why they were always constantly screaming and floating in the air. I also was completely obsessed with my Gameboy (Pokémon Red was my favorite game growing up), and freaked when I first got my hands on a Gameboy Color. From there, I was enthralled with games such as Kirby, Pokémon, Mario, Zelda, and Sonic, to name a few. When I wasn’t constantly gaming, I drew fan art of all my favorite series, re-watched Miyazaki movies to the point where it got concerning, and pretended to know how to play Yu-Gi-Oh! Seriously, nobody knows how to play Yu-Gi-Oh.
As I went into middle school, I transferred into what I like to call my “crazy anime obsession faze.” I would drag my dad to Barnes & Noble every weekend and buy at least 10 volumes of manga each visit. I fell in love with shoujo manga like Fruits Basket that promised me I’d have a harem of boys to choose from when I was older, Shounen Jump stories like Naruto, and really obscure series whose titles I’m too embarrassed to even type out. After binging on anime all during my tween years, my early teenage years led me back to gaming, when I purchased a PS3. Games such as Infamous, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, and Mirror’s Edge kept me playing that thing constantly. By my late teens I learned how to obsess over everything at the same time, and my love of all things geeky has only increased. Now I love watching anime such as Death Note, Steins;Gate, and Sword Art Online; playing games like Mass Effect and Super Mario 3D World; and binge-watching the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
How I First Got into Cosplay:
Faris from Steins;Gate.
I had seen pictures of cosplayers on the internet, but didn’t fully understand what it was all about until I attended my first anime convention, AnimeNext, back in 2010. My friends were going to all cosplay for the con and asked me if I wanted to join them, to which I promptly gave them a reply of “God no.” I thought only super crazed otaku weirdos did that stuff, and I told them I wasn’t hardcore enough to actually dress up as a character. Well, that mindset completely reversed when I actually attended AnimeNext. As soon as I saw all the cosplayers walking around the show floor, having fun in their outfits and being asked for photos, I knew I wanted to try it out for myself. I realized how much of an art it really was, and how much gratification it could give you.
My First Cosplay:
My Yuuki Cross cosplay from Vampire Knight
My first cosplay was from the manga/anime series, Vampire Knight, and I bought the entire thing on eBay. I had literally no idea what I was doing, and my jacket top ended up fitting too big, and my skirt too short. The wig I ordered for $10 would knot every 5 seconds, and slide off my head constantly. But I had fun. I wore it to New York Comic Con in 2011, and I never felt so cool in my life. Even though hardly anybody recognized me and I didn’t look the most impressive, I had a blast dressing up with my best friend and finally experiencing what cosplay was all about. From that moment on, I was hooked, and I vowed to learn all the skills I needed to make costumes of my own some day.
My Favorite Cosplay:
My gender bent Mad Hatter from the Alice in the Country of Hearts manga. Photography by Sonadira.
My two favorite cosplays would have to be the Mad Hatter costume and Fetch from Infamous: Second Son, both of which I did earlier this year.
The Mad Hatter was part of a group cosplay with my friends, where we had the idea to do a gender bent version of the characters from Alice in Wonderland, but based on their designs from the manga series Alice in the Country of Hearts. I used the reference picture of the original male design and went wild, creating my very own character while still keeping aspects of the male costume. The white tuxedo jacket is the same, but only more feminine, and I made the top hat to have all of the same accessories as the original. I tried my best to make the baton a complete replica of the original, and the rose choker was something I added to make the final costume a little more complete. I had so much fun wearing this with my friends and the costume got such a positive response! I even won an online cosplay contest on Facebook back in May because of it.
Now my Fetch cosplay was made over the course of two weekends before PAX East. It was my first time attending this con, and I wanted to do a video game cosplay really badly. The Infamous series is one of my favorite games series of all time, and I loved Fetch’s design, so I decided to go for it. It took about 15 hours in total, but I was able to hand paint the shirt and jacket design and replicate the pattern as closely as possible. The design of her jacket was so hard to make out that I did take a bit of “creative freedom” with it and just make it look like what people thought it should be. It was a pretty comfortable cosplay, and I’m pretty sure people on the streets of Boston mistook me for some sort of punk hipster. My costume was even featured on IGN, a feat I’m still very proud of!
The Cosplay Making Process:
Fetch from Infamous: Second Son. Photography by ChezPhoto at PAX East 2014.
Even though I began cosplaying back in late 2011, I didn’t start making things from scratch until recently. I’ve begun with prop pieces and accessories, such as hats, shoes,wings, and armor, and have recently moved on to sewing. In order for me to decide to cosplay as a particular character, they have to meet at least 2 of 3 criteria:
1. I have to really like the character, or feel some sort of personal connection with them.
2. I have to really like the video game/anime/series that they are from.
3. I have to be in love with their character design.
It always feels more rewarding to cosplay from something you are completely obsessed with.
I also tend to have help with making costumes from my best friend, Alazne. We both began cosplaying together, and like to think of ourselves as a little team duo. Although it can be stressful sometimes, I love putting together a costume. It brings me some sort of weird satisfaction, and keeps the addiction going.
Tips for Newcomers:
A pair photo of me as a gender bent Mad Hatter with Alazne as a gender bent White Rabbit from the series Alice in the Country of Hearts. Photography by Sonadira.
One big piece of advice that I would like to stress is to always start off with something small. Your first cosplay should be something simple, whether it’s store bought or not. From there, you can begin to do more complicated costumes and feel more comfortable with them. The reason I say this is that some people have the mentality of “go big or go home” with cosplay, and feel the need to constantly do super elaborate designs or else they’ll look lame. It’s always safest to do something first that’s simple and cheaper, because if you’re hand making it, it will be a skill level you can easily tackle, and if you’re buying it, you won’t waste too much money in case you decide you don’t like to cosplay. After that initial costume, go crazy!
Another thing is to always do your research. I’ve learned so much information about making costumes, wig styling, circle lenses, etc. from reading tutorials and advice on the internet. Anything you may be having trouble with in a costume can probably be fixed by looking at tutorials online. I recently have learned to make armor from Worbla and Wonderflex by watching countless tutorials and reading an e-Book by Kamui Cosplay. I wouldn’t have been able to make this stuff on my own. When you can’t find the answer you’re looking for online, go on Cosplay.com and create a thread asking your question. I’ve done that and people will respond and help you very quickly.
Finally, don’t get caught up in elitism and the whole “cosplay celebrity” trend. There’s a good chance that you’re not going to be the next Yaya Han or Jessica Nigri, and that’s ok. Cosplay because you want to, not because you want to be famous. If there’s somebody online who has made the same costume you did, but better, don’t be jealous. Ask them how they did it so you too can improve. The cosplay community has gotten a bit caught up in elitism and shaming those who don’t have perfect costumes or bodies, and it needs to stop. The whole point of cosplay is that there are no rules. You can do whatever the hell you want, and if somebody tries to prevent you from doing that, then they don’t know the first thing about cosplay.
My friends and I cosplaying from the anime Free! at AnimeNext 2014.
I’m currently working on an armored Sailor Mars costume for Otakon in Baltimore next month. It’s going to be the most time consuming costume of my life, but I really think the end result will be so worth it. Although I have a lot of work to do in these next few weeks, I’m excited to finish it!
The other costume I want to make for New York Comic Con is Harley Quinn from Arkham Knight. In the past year I’ve really gotten into Batman, and I absolutely love Harley Quinn’s deranged character. While her costume is a bit out of my comfort zone, I decided to just go for it. Besides, that’s what cosplay is all about.
If you think that you or a cosplayer you know should be featured on SheAttack, then either shoot me a tweet @GaNuovo, or message me on my cosplay Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GabbyNuCosplay?ref=hl