How did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay through my best friend Tyler back in 2003. She showed me photos of people in cosplay and that there were anime conventions and people dress up at them. It was then we both looked at each other and knew this was going to be a thing.
Photo credit: Cerulean Photography
How long have you modeled?
I don’t really model, but I have participated in a few shows for people, like my friend Shana Mostella and her fashion line. I have been cosplaying since 2003.
Do you cosplay often? If so what is your favorite character to cosplay? If not what would be your favorite character to cosplay?
I cosplay A LOT! My favorite character to cosplay has to be Juvia Lockser from Fairy Tail!
Ohhh this is a hard one. It’s a tossup between Lord Beerus from Dragon Ball Super and my genderbent Gilgamesh from Fate Zero.
Photo credit: Cino Sinan Studios
Do you buy your outfits or do you make them yourself?
It’s a bit of both. If the cosplay looks easy to construct, I tend to make it myself, but if the construction looks a bit out of my skill set, or I just don’t feel like making it, I will buy it to save time, money, and anguish.
What was your first major project and how did you achieve it?
Oooo this is a good question. I think I have to go with Avatar Korra from Legend of Korra. It was 2012 and I was still modifying other pieces of clothing to make my cosplays, but I knew I had to cosplay Korra, but do it within what I could do at that time. I first looked at her outfit and picked apart how to construct it, what could be bought, what would have to be made from scratch. For the pants I bought some nurse scrubs and dyed them the color I needed them to be. For the top, I found another similar shirt online, took the sleeves off and hemmed it and painted on the white parts. I made her weird fur flap and front flap from scratch. And the arm bands were made from leftover fabric I had from a previous project. The upper arm band was carefully patterned out and then painted the design on it. I never dyed anything before so that was a first and it was also my first time working with fur and that was a nightmare @.@
Photo credit: Ruffshots Photography
Tell us a little about your unique cosplay style.
I tend to always gravitate to characters with a darker aesthetic. Characters that are deemed spooky, mysterious, dark, or cynical are always on my radar. Characters like Tharja from Fire Emblem, Akemi Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, or Semiramis from Fate/Apocrypha. I also have a thing for characters that have an air of arrogance or overly confident and can back it up, like Lord Beerus and Gilgamesh.
What has been an invaluable resource for you while running your business?
Making connections with people within my home state. It’s easy to try and make connections with people around the world, or online with social media. But I found that talking with people within my home state of Ohio and building bonds with them had helped me grow as a cosplayer and get myself out there. Because we all frequent the same events, why not try to remember those same faces you see at those events.
Photo credit: Cerulean Photography
What do you feel about the presence of (or lack thereof) POC in the mainstream media?
I feel like we are slowly but surely starting to get noticed on the silver and little screen. With tv shows like Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat in current syndication, we get a glimpse of what it’s like inside the world of POC. We also have a lot of leading black women like Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, and Danai Gurira for example showing us that we as black women can be portrayed as intelligent, powerful, and charismatic characters that we can look up to. Even in books, especially comic books, we are starting to see more female lead women of color characters or already established characters being rewritten to give them the justice they deserve.
What are your favorite events to attend?
Anime Central, Youmacon and Colossalcon
Photo Credit: Fanservice Renji
Are you watching any dope animes or any shows with Cosplay worthy characters?
This is about to sound super lame and may cause some eye rolls but Boku no Hero Academia/My Hero Academia. And I say that due to my love of shonen and character designs that are beginner friendly in terms of trying to replicate from scratch, modify from existing clothes, or buy online. But I’m also in what I like to call Fate Hell aka really into the Type Moon franchise and more specifically their Fate universe. They are the ones behind the Fate/Stay visual novel/anime and the popular mobile game Fate/Grand order for example. And the character designs are pure eye candy.
Who was the photographer of your submitted photos?
Vagabond Photography, Ruffshots photography, Sino Cinan Studios, Robert Tate photography, Fanservice Renji, and Cerulean photography
Photo Credit: Vagabond Photography
Can you tell us anything about them? Maybe why you dig them as a photographer or a cool story about you two?
I found them all by chance by talking to them randomly and befriending them, like no joke. I met all to them not knowing they dabbled in photography or already have a career dealing with photography and by luck got to know them. For example, Fanservice Renji and I go all the way back to I think 2006? All because of the Bleach fandom and we became best friends over the years. Fun fact we call each other once a week to play catch up and see how we are doing in our lives. And if we happen to be at the same convention, since he lives on the West Coast, I try to help him scout out cosplayers for his cosplay music videos.
Is there anything you want your fans and the fans of PUNK BLACK to know?
Don’t let anyone try to discourage you to try and not cosplay a character because you don’t look like them. If anyone tries to tell you that, just start laughing in their face. You can cosplay who you want. If you ever need proof, show them my work. I”ve cosplayed some of the palest canon characters, like Emma Frost from the X-men. If you ever feel like you are doubting yourself, feel free to message me on my social media pages. I will be there to support you and cheer you on and hopefully give you a confidence boost.