Chiffon Dior: Hey there Kearstin! Welcome aboard! We’re all excited that the “bad girl” of the cosplay world is finally going to be joining us here at NS4W as our “Senior CosPlay Correspondent”! What do you have have in store for us in the coming weeks?
Kearstin: Hi Chiffon! Glad to be here! I’m definitely excited for the energy that NS4W is inevitably going to bring! I’d definitely say from the raw ride of the costuming scene, you should expect some brutally honest perspectives and ambitions. Kumbaya isn’t the best flavor out there, so I’ll be bringing the never ending other side of the rat race called cosplay!
CD: For the people who might not be familiar with you and have been too lazy to read the nifty little bio that you provided for the site, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in cosplay?
K: Absolutely! I started costuming in 2008, been adult modeling since 2004. I had no idea costuming for the pure sake of fandom expression was a thing. In Chicago, the scene isn’t very large, so at my beginning, I thought those around me were hired models, hanging out off duty from their booth work. Once I discovered it was just every day people, I had to jump on board. I’m an artist, so adding to my hobbies was a new drive I had to taste. The first year, things were made for me, but I soon thereafter had to be behind the wheel myself, so I started to teach myself how to make things. I’m still learning to this day! Now, in 2014, I’m just working in stride. I monetarily costume as well as being a hobbyist, so I live and work at my own rules. I stopped striving for what the scene has turned into today, so instead of suiting up for hours waiting for that next competition, I party instead!
CD: What is it about CosPlay that appeals to people (asks the guy in a dress)? What inspires someone to go dress up like Spider-Man or Jean Grey or Spawn or whoever else they want to be?
K: Cosplay is absolutely a subjective hobby. There are even approaches to it by calling it cosplay or costuming, which is also subjective. Many people do it for different reasons, they do it different ways and the character choices are across many platforms. For me personally, when I first started, I thought it was a modeling gig. Hired hotties in spandex. I was, and am, a model myself, so I thought two things I enjoy (modeling and nerd culture) put together was an awesome idea. I had no idea it was such a “thing”. I get into it, I learn to make things, and now the appeal for me is the ultimate form of fandom. The same way I feel when I want to get a shirt with shit I like on it, now I get to MAKE what said thing wears. Taking it a step further. My connection has to be with the character. I don’t crossplay, I don’t Rule 63. However, there are definitely men I admire, I guess I just haven’t taken that next level of becoming so with crossplay. Rule 63 is just… not my schtick. Won’t ever be. Unless I’m selling fet(ish)!(Editor’s Note: For the uninitiated, Rule 63 is a Cosplay rule stating where if there is one pop culture character, there is a cosplayer dressed up as the same character, but as the opposite sex. Ex: Female Captain America.)
Most people have a connection to the character. Whether a journey they went through, actions they take, things they say, how they are. Many do it just because of what it looks like. Lots do it based on popularity. Everybody loves the spotlight, especially in cosplay. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t wear this shit outside of the house! For me, I just appreciate being moved in some way by a character. I primarily stick to comic book or video game characters, but many times I find myself as a villain. Do I relate because I rob banks? Or kill people? No. But let’s take someone like Ursula (from The Little Mermaid). I’m not a giant octopus lady with magic powers but that woman has some pipes on her and that’s good enough for me! Since I dress to my body type, in a case such as Ursula, I would end up choosing costuming her sister, Morgana, instead of Ursula herself. But who ever watches Little Mermaid 2!
CD: Since you don’t shy from controversy, let me give you a loaded question. Heroes of CosPlay (on SyFy network)…good or bad for the community?
K: The first season I thought it was the worst idea to come to the community. I felt like it vilified people who don’t deserve to be, and it introduced me to people I never want to meet. While I try to have the understanding of reality tv in the back of my head, I’m still a viewer and what’s being dished in front of me can still deliver a giant message. So season 1 was just too dramatic. Sure, shit like that exists absolutely in the community, but I don’t want to waste my time watching tv to tune in about it. I get it enough as is! However, season 2 took a big turn and finally focused more on crafting and such and less on drama. Still there are some changes I’d prefer to see. I am still watching, but at this point I’m pretty much done with the competition part of it. I believe it’s giving the message that cosplay is all about competition (healthy or unhealthy), when for someone like me, it’s about the journey. And then the party at the con, the nightlife!
Season 2’s finale did have a bit of tear-jerking in it, because it honestly was speaking on the things and the feelings that are really what people should be focusing on always. This shit is supposed to be fun, regardless of money or fame! You won’t ever catch me on that show. Unless they paid me a lot, came to Chicago and I’m allowed to be the villain. I’m sure I would have no choice on being produced as such anyway.
CD: Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with me Kearstin and welcome aboard! The fun is just getting started!
K: My pleasure! I’m stoked to be apart of the team! Look forward to taking over the world with NS4W!