Cosplayer Highlight – Addaltmode’s Rox
Welcome to the fourth episode in this new series of Cosplayer Highlight, where we have a sit down and a discussion with cosplayers around the world.
Today, we reached out to the blogging community itself. I found this awesome blog called Addaltmode, which featured a Cosplayer who took on a Cosplay project that would transform her life forever. Well perhaps it wouldn’t transform her life so immediately, but at least it was a transformer, so the transform part sticks, right?
Enough tomfoolery from me, it’s time to introduce you to this weeks awesome Cosplayer Highlight guest!
Interview with the Cosplayer – AddaltmodeR
Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! First of all, can you introduce yourself for all of our readers?
Q: First of all, let’s talk about the very beginning for you. Picture it’s the day you first cosplayed. How did you feel when you made that transition from a non-cosplayer to a cosplayer?
A: I’ve been making costumes quite a bit longer than I’ve considered myself a cosplayer. It’s been a gradual transition for me. The first few costumes I did were just to wear to fancy dress parties with my friends. Since my friends are all a wonderful bunch of geeks that meant dressing as characters from games: one time we had a Smash Bros Brawl party and I was King Dedede (it was not a good look) & another time I was Fem Engineer from Team Fortress 2. They were pretty basic costumes but I loved making and wearing them. When I found myself building long-fall boots and a light-up portal gun to go as Chell then I realised this costume thing was really important to me and needed to be a waaay bigger part of my life than just for the odd party.
The first convention I went to in costume was our local ExeCon last April. My husband and I went as the Cherno Alpha pilots from Pacific Rim. We’re both pretty shy so it was quite a revelation to find out how much easier it is to make friends and meet new people when in cosplay. We had a lot of compliments on our costumes (especially all the safety pinning on the back) and that was when I really started to feel “hey, I might be pretty good at making this stuff” and that gave me the confidence to try a more ambitious project, something connected to my number one fandom, Transformers, which ended up being my Prime Arcee costume.
It’s only really since I finished Arcee that being a cosplayer has become such a major part of how I define myself. The first time I went to a con as Arcee I was astounded by how much love there was for my costume, and I had this amazing all-caps “OMG THIS IS WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO DO” feeling. It was like I’d found my tribe at last!
So it was quite a long process for me, becoming a cosplayer, but now I really know it I just want to do more more more!
Q: On a daily basis, would you say that your day job is at all what people would expect of a cosplayer?
A: I work in higher education, in the library field. I guess library work is thought of as a bit of a geeky profession but I doubt many of the students I help every day would expect me to be an Autobot in my spare time! I quite like that feeling of having more than one identity. More of my colleagues know about my hobby now but there was a great moment at the October ExeCon where a guy I know vaguely from work was there with his kids. He came up to admire Arcee and then I could see in his face the surprised lightbulb moment when he suddenly recognised me. He sent me a Facebook friend request after that so I clearly went up in his estimation!
Q: You run a blog over at Addaltmode, which also focuses on geek culture. Would you say the cross over between a geek and a cosplayer is quite heavy? What do you think about the people who cosplay in general?
A: Not all geeks are cosplayers but the thing I love most about geeks is how passionate we all are about our fandoms and cosplaying is a very physical expression of that. I’ve never met a cosplayer who wasn’t a geek. That cliché of geeks getting really into the tiny details of their favourite world or setting is so true for cosplay: I look at a character with new eyes when I’m working on a costume of them and I love that kind of immersion!
I think cosplayers in general are a great bunch of people – so fun and encouraging. The support of other people has really helped me come out of my shell. I don’t want to say it’s “transformed” me but, well, if you’d asked me a year or two back if I thought I’d ever be brave enough to dress as a robot and walk through the centre of Plymouth I’d have said “no way” but I’ve done it now and loved every second!
Q: We love asking this question; what costumes have you done or are you planning on doing in the coming years?
Slipstream (Transformers Animated): my second Transformer costume (I’m hooked), and this time I’m going Decepticon! I’ve just started this build and am sharing my progress on Addaltmode, hopefully she’ll be ready for events later this year.
I haven’t really thought which costumes I’d like to tackle after Slipstream yet. Robots are the thing I really enjoy making and being but they’re so bulky to store I don’t think I could have too many on the go at once!
Timlah says: Please go check out their awesome blog, AddAltMode, where Rox has been documenting her progress towards making the Slipstream transformer!
Q: Have you had the opportunity to explore many conventions and events? What are the main things you do at these events for yourself?
A: So far I’ve only been to local conventions. Events Frontier do great work putting on events in Devon and Cornwall: ExeCon started last year and Devcon in Plymouth is a bit more established. So I’ve been to those and will be going back this year. I think it’s really important to support homegrown stuff like this and it’ll be nice to see these events get bigger, they have a great atmosphere.
I had to build my confidence as a cosplayer before I felt ready to attend any bigger conventions but 2015 will be my year. Bring it on! B and I are going to Auto Assembly, in August (and I’m excited about meeting the voice of Arcee, Sumalee Montano) and we hope to do MCM in October.
Q: Let’s take the costumes off and let’s talk about you. On a day to day basis; what are you like as a person? Do you have any hobbies that are particularly non-geeky? What about any particularly geeky hobbies?
A: I have plenty of fairly standard geeky hobbies. I love games of the PC, card and board variety. I’m a member of Devon Geek Group (big shout out to them) and we have a monthly quiz night which is hilarious. I also read a lot: English Lit is what I did at Uni so I like literary novels and classics but I also love horror and I have a weird fixation with historical polar explorers so I read a lot of stuff about Captain Scott etc.
And yeah, it will surprise no one to learn that B and I have a joint Transformers collection (it’s not likely that we’d ever divorce but if we did there’d probably be toy robot custody battles!)
My main non-geeky interests are music and pets. I love going to gigs and am really in to metal/goth/post-rock type stuff. I’ve been a couple of times to the Wave Gotik Treffen festival in Leipzig, Germany which is an amazing experience!
I keep pet rats and currently have 4: Scotty, Westie, Rumble and Frenzy. I can get a bit soap-boxy about rats because they get such bad press and it’s totally undeserved. They actually make great pets and my little guys are so friendly, clever and clean!
Q: I noticed that on Addaltmode, you write with your husband as a duo. What does your husband make of your cosplaying antics? Have you managed to convince him to get involved in cosplay?
A: Arcee would never have happened without B. Not only is it his fault for getting me into Transformers in the first place but he really helped me with the build, especially in the early stages.
B has cosplayed before: he was happy enough to be my Cherno Alpha co-pilot and he’d do something on that level again but he doesn’t fancy fully ‘suiting up’. For a while I was trying to convince him to cosplay as Ratchet (he’d be a great Ratchet) but you do get a lot of attention as a Transformer and he wouldn’t enjoy that as much as I do. B prefers geeking out creatively by working on his 3D design stuff and toy customisation. But he’s really encouraging of me which is great – and I’ll admit it’s handy to have someone around who can actually bend properly to carry my stuff and help me at events!
Q: Let’s imagine that money is no factor and you’re skilled to make anything you’d like for your next costume. There are no limits at the next event. What’s the costume you make and why? Any particular thought process going through your mind?
A: Definitely more Transformers. If money was no object I wouldn’t have to worry about having space to store all the huge bulky costumes. My first crazy thought would be Metroplex. It would cool to give a sense of his ridiculous scale (he turns into a goddamn city!) by using actual Transformer toys on the costume.
The character I love most of all is TF Prime Knock Out but he’s so cool and shiny and concerned with his appearance that I’d want to do a perfect costume for him or not at all, so if money and skill were unlimited I’d probably go for him.
Q: Final question time and it appears a brand new cosplayer who has never made a costume before is looking for help. They’re about to run to the store to buy a lot of materials for their costume. They want to make a full blown Megazord from Power Rangers! It’s an incredibly ambitious first costume, but what is the most important bit of advice this cosplayer should learn?
A: Wow, that is an ambitious first build. I’d say go for it and have fun doing it but set a realistic time scale: these costumes take a lot of work so if the con is in 3 weeks’ time then it’s not going to be ready. It’s better to take your time and redo any bits that don’t work out so you have something you can be proud of and enjoy wearing. Mech type costumes are restrictive and not terribly comfortable so it’s vital you feel happy with your work and – most importantly – passionate about the character you’re doing. If you’re going to be physically awkward, then make sure feeling mentally awesome to make up for it.
Another tip I’d share is that these costumes can get expensive, so plan thoroughly and set a budget. Some components you may have shell out for, but before you do have a look around at home: with a bit of creative thinking there are lots of things like bottles, lids and packaging than can be repurposed (I’m currently building null-rays for Slipstream from Tesco soda bottles) and that can save you money to buy a more expensive paint or material for the bits where you really do need to scratch-build.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Rox for joining us today to write her story!
A part of me feels a strong resonating vibe from what Rox said in the interview. She mentioned how she felt as if she had “found her calling”, met her “people”. This was the same feeling I had when I first adorned my first costume. Whilst those who have read this blog from the beginning will be well aware of just how bad my first costume was (in my mind), I noticed people were so nice to me… and they were so willing to help and chat, that it just felt right to attend conventions.
Cosplay has become a huge part of Rox’s life and I hope to see her at some point at a convention – Heck, she’s only down in Exeter, so you never know if/when we’ll bump into one another! I really hope to be able to meet her husband B as well. It’d be fun to chat to fellow Cosbloggers as I’m going to start calling us!