Fanworks, IRL, LGBTQA

#GX3: Q&A With Cosplayers Who Will Inspire You

GaymerX

[Editor’s Note: All images were provided courtesy of the cosplayers.]

In December 2015, gamers from all corners of the LGBTQIA+ community attended gaming convention GX3 where they met cool celebrities like Jennifer Hale, discussed representation in video games, and partied like there’s no tomorrow. FemHype staff members Jillian and Rem were lucky enough to attend the con in person, in addition to cool kids promoting diversity in games like Tanya DePass from #INeedDiverseGames. (You can find Rem’s review of the con experience over here, by the way.) I reached out to six attendees who cosplayed during the event and asked them about their thoughts on cosplay and surviving the Fade.

Vivi Velour as Rose Quartz (Steven Universe)

GaymerXMelissa: Why did you cosplay this character?

Vivi: I cosplayed as Rose Quartz because my friend made this delightful fanart of our group of friends as the cast of Steven Universe. We have a Ruby, a Sapphire, a Pearl, an Amethyst, a Lapis Lazuli, and even a Jasper! I was Rose Quartz, of course.

I’ve also always been fascinated by the gender expression of the Crystal Gems, and wonder if they ever tried anything more “traditionally masculine” gender expression, especially seeing Greg with his beard. So the cosplay is basically just a headcanon.

Melissa: Which part of the costume are you the most proud of?

Vivi: I’m proud of all of it. I had so much help getting the tulle just right, and I have to give credit the five friends who lent a helping hand to that part of the project. I think I’m most proud of the hair. That princess curl did not come easy, but I figured out a pretty thorough way of doing it!

Melissa: Favorite Steven Universe episode?

Vivi: I guess it’s a three-way tie between “Giant Woman,” “Coach Steven,” and “Sworn to the Sword,” with “Cry for Help” being a very close second. Oh, and of course there’s “Prison Break.” So you asked for one and got five. Considering the subject, I think that’s fair.

GaymerX

Helen as Choji (Naruto)

Melissa: Why did you cosplay this character?

Helen: Naruto was one of the series that really grew on me when it first aired in 2002. I’ve cosplayed a few characters in the past, but one character who I haven’t cosplayed yet was Choji. He was one of my favorite characters in the series and I was excited that a character of a different shape and size (much more similar to mine) appeared as one of the major characters in the show. I also love his passion for food (snacks and BBQ!) and his relationship with his best friend, Shikamaru.

Sadly, I never had the chance to cosplay as him until last year when I decided to catch up on Naruto: Shippuden. I got my groove back and decided to put Choji as my next cosplay project. By coincidence, my best friend also cosplays as Shikamaru, so I was even more determined to have Choji done so we can have our best buddy cosplay together!

Melissa: Which part of the costume are you the most proud of?

Helen: I was really proud of the armor chest and the headband I made! I’ve recently started trying out making armor from foam (both EVA and craft) for the first time in 2014, and spent a lot of time researching in picking out materials and techniques. I was nervous in attempting this type of cosplay crafting, but with the advice from friends and online tutorials, I was able to make my first successful foam armor and prop crafting for my Varric cosplay from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Though there were many sleepless nights and head-to-desk moments whenever I messed up with painting or trying to warp the foam, I really did enjoy and wanted to continue to challenge myself. I came up with ideas on how I should apply the kanji symbol on Choji’s breastplate and how the rest of the armor pieces should be assembled in order to get in easily.

Melissa: Favorite jutsu?

Helen: Baika-no-jutsu (multi-size technique)! I would love to be able to have the ability to make myself bigger for hard-to-reach tasks, like getting things from the top kitchen cabinets and shelves from the grocery store. Also, if there was ever an attack from a 300+ foot monster, I can arm wrestle one and cross that off my wish list!

Kitty Stryker as Original Character Kitty Stryker (GX3 Cosplay Prom)

GaymerXMelissa: What was your inspiration for this coordination?

Kitty: As Head of Cosplay for Gaymerx, there’s a lot of pressure to show up and bring my A game with my cosplays! I don’t always have it in me to pull off multiple cosplays in a day, though, and I knew I wanted to do what I jokingly call “cosplaying as original character Kitty Stryker.”

My inspiration for this outfit was the prom part of cosplay prom. As a queer youth, I didn’t go to my prom at school, but I envied the other girls their beautiful, fancy dresses. A dear friend bought me this dress for Christmas and I knew I wanted to wear it!

Melissa: Which part of this outfit are you the most proud of?

Kitty: I think I’m most pleased with how sparkly the dress is, if I’m honest. I’m just so in love with it! I’m glad I chose to keep my accessories simple. I’m heading to AVN in a week’s time, and I plan to wear this dress on the red carpet there, but with a more Gatsby vibe this time around. And a short bobbed wig—the long silver hair kept catching on the sequins! Awkward.

Melissa: Do you have a message for the gaymer community?

Kitty: My message to the gaymer community is to encourage each other. Sometimes that means helping someone when their cosplay falls apart right before the pageant. Sometimes that means offering critique, like around cultural appropriation or transmisogyny. But we should be encouraging people (and ourselves!) to learn and own up and grow, rather than immediately accelerating to punishing them. I think that the world is determined enough to tear us up and tear us apart; we need to do our best not to help them. I know, intense, right? But that’s what’s in my heart of hearts.

GaymerX

Yuuki as Mikleo (Tales of Zestiria)

Melissa: Why did you cosplay this character?

Yuuki: It’s embarrassing to admit, but I have a tendency to cosplay a certain character type, and that type is the younger/young adult, or baby-faced, or somewhat-effeminate-looking men. Mikleo is absolutely beautiful, and I fell for him as soon as I found out about him a few months before the game came out in America. That, and I have always been attracted towards characters who have an affinity for water. I guess you could say that I cosplayed Mikleo because he very much fits the type of character I tend to fall for/cosplay. That, and I feel very confident in how I look as him. As for why I did his swimsuit instead of his normal outfit; it’s very cute, and it’s much easier than having to deal with 12 waist belts.

image05Melissa: What part of this costume are you the most proud of?

Yuuki: The intricate designs on the front and back of his jacket are things I am very proud of. Those, and the small black band around his bicep that reads “Heiwzel.” I don’t have any idea what that means, but it’s written on two places on his swimsuit’s jacket.

Melissa: Where were you when you found out that Sorey (the main character of the game) and Mikleo are a canon romance?

Yuuki: I was actually at my computer, talking to my friend who first introduced me to the pairing. I definitely am a fan of the romantic pairing and was very excited to hear that the creator announced them as canon.

Danny as Dorian Pavus & Alex as Inquisitor Cadash (Dragon Age: Inquisition)

GaymerXMelissa: Why did you cosplay this character?

Danny: Dorian Pavus is an absolutely fabulous creature; his character just made sense to cosplay! I’m not sure I had a specific reason why I chose Dorian, but when we decided to do a Winter Palace group, I was immediately drawn to him.

Alex: I love the dwarves in Dragon Age. But there isn’t as much love for them, and I haven’t seen many Inquisitor Cadash-related things compared to other Inquisitors. So, why not be a Cadash? I get some really cool face tattoos for the day and get to represent an under-appreciated character choice!

Plus, we got to wear an outfit that I absolutely adore in the game. We wanted to have an outfit that can be uniform and recognizable as a group, which led us to the Winter Palace outfits from the “Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts” quest. It was the best example of a uniform for a group! And it gave us a variety of characters to choose from since all of the characters wear the outfit.

Melissa: What part of the costume are you the most proud of?

Danny: I’m very proud of how my hair pieces came out! Ready-made mustaches just didn’t look the way I wanted them to and were awkwardly sized for me. Plus, I really wanted some sort of half-wiglet-toupée thing that just didn’t exist. I spent weeks working on the mustache since it was my first time ventilating lace with hair, but it only took me a few days to pull off Dorian’s mini-bouffant poof. As frustrating as those pieces were, I’m happy that my effort paid off!

Alex: If I had to pick one, it would be the buttons. They are such a small detail that can be overlooked, but we really wanted to find buttons that are close enough to the in-game attire and that look good on us. It took a surprisingly long time to find the different buttons we used on our shoulders and torso. I’m so happy with them and think they look great.

Melissa: What gave you the idea to hand out “I Survived The Fade” ribbons to con-goers?

Danny: We were inspired by one of our local cons, Clockwork Alchemy. There’s a little bit of a steampunk tradition with handing out and collecting ribbons, so we wanted to contribute to that even in cosplay! Ribbon-hunting to gather enough for a sash is super fun, but giving them to other con-goers who recognize our characters is even better when they understand the reference.

Alex: After being introduced to them at Clockwork Alchemy, we just thought that they were super fun to collect and wanted to have fun giving them out, too.

As for the phrase itself, we wanted something that could easily be recognized by people who have played Dragon Age. It helps that in Inquisition a huge plot point is going physically through the Fade. It’s a quest that can’t be skipped, so anyone who has played Inquisition would understand it. But at the same time, we wanted something that could also apply to the series as a whole. Every game has some part of the Fade included, so really anyone who has played any Dragon Age game survived it. Congratulations to everyone who survived the Fade! If you ever see us at a con while we’re in this costume, feel free to ask for a ribbon!


That’s a wrap, folks! Thanks again to the cosplayers who contributed to this article, and as usual, all questions, complaints, and canon gays can be directed to @LongLiveMelKing or the comments section.

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