About Me and the Site / Frequently Asked Questions:
Cosplay Alias: Shiva
Cosplaying Since: 2003
Competition Level: Master's Division
Location: New England, United States
Relationship Status: Married <3
Education: B.A. in Writing and Dance Performance, M.F.A. in Writing
Occupation: Graduate School Admissions Director
Part-time Professions: Writer and Dancer
Interests: Dancing, Beach Bumming, Baseball, Politics, Tree Hugging, Costuming, Writing, Traveling, Sports, Performing, Being Creative
About the Site: I have always been interested in costuming, and when I discovered others who pursued cosplay as a hobby, I had to join in. It is a fantastic creative and artistic outlet! I developed this site back in 2006 to display my artwork in terms of costuming, photography, video making, and performing. I hope you enjoy it as I have enjoyed seeing the work of many other costumers.
Other Places To Find Me:
Favorite Fandoms: 80s cartoons, board games and sitcoms, Final Fantasy I-X, Sailor Moon, Madoka Magica, Ruronori Kenshin, Chrono Crusade, CLAMP, 90s Disney, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Firefly, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, The Legion of Super Heroes (Silver Age), and comics from the 1960s.
What is cosplay?
Cosplay, short for "costume play," is a hobby in which participants design, construct, and wear costumes of their favorite anime, video game, comic, film, television, or book characters. Many cosplayers even design their own unique, original costumes - the creative playing field is wide open! Several weekends a year, cosplayers such as myself attend conventions around the country where we wear our costumes, meet other cosplayers, take lots of pictures, and compete in contests and masquerades. It is a hobby which incorporates a wide range of skills including drawing, fashion design, engineering, sewing, sculpting, hair styling, makeup, photography, acting, dancing, singing, improvisation, modeling, performance, and of course, imagination. To learn more about cosplay, check out Cosplay.com.
Do you make your own costumes? How did you make [insert costume piece]
Yes, unless stated otherwise on the costume page. If you have questions about how something was done, send me a message via my Facebook page (I check it more often than my email account) and I'll try to explain it as best as I can.
Can you make me a costume?
I don't have time to take commissions, but occasionally I will sell an old costume or leftover items. Unless you are looking for something obscure, I advise shopping around for used costumes cosplayers are selling. Unlike commissioned costumes, buying used costumes helps support cosplayers, allows you to know up front exactly what you will be getting, and oftentimes these costumes are more well-made than commissions because cosplayers always spend more time, money, and attention to detail on costumes for themselves rather than commissioned pieces.
I heard a rumor that you were a professional dancer. Is that true?
No, but I think that's been assumed because I did go further in dance than most kids who take classes growing up. I started studio classes when I was five and placed in regional competitions in high school. In college I performed in the corps of a repertory company where I trained in many different styles, and worked with choreographers from Alivn Ailey, American Ballet Theatre, and the Boston Conservatory. I earned a Bachelor's degree in dance performance and after I graduated, auditioned for and was accepted as a principal dancer in a contemporary dance company with whom I toured for four amazing seasons while I was working on my graduate degree. We performed everything from works by Twyla Tharp and Laura Dean to our own choreography inspired by other styles such as flamenco and traditional Maori. I also worked with choreographers from Pilobolus, Lines Ballet, and Project Bandaloop, and was granted the incredible honor of working with Merce Cunningham a year before his death in 2009. It was amazing to work with a group of dancers who were very diverse in age and style; we ran the spectrum from college kids to a Russian ballroom dancer to a retired professional ballerina who you can see dancing with Baryshnikov on YouTube in the 1970s. We weren't paid a salary for being members so it wasn't our "profession," but we took class daily, rehearsed about 30 hours a week, and performed all over the New England area including a benefit at Lincoln Center in New York City. We also traveled on international tours to Costa Rica and New Zealand, and did residencies at universities to teach dance students. It was a phenomenal experience, and shaped me both as a person and as a dancer. I couldn't continue that lifestyle forever, however, but I still take master classes and perform when I can.
What is your favorite cosplay?
I don't have favorite costume per se, but my favorite genre of costumes is nostalgia, which is made up of series and characters from my childhood. Rainbow Brite, Candyland, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Peanuts... wearing these costumes is a joy and its so much fun to watch the child come out in the other adults who recognize us and get so excited that we remember these characters and love them as they do.
What are your thoughts on cosplay "celebrities"?
I think that everyone enjoys having their hard work acknowledged, and it is natural that someone who is exceptionally good at a skill will have people admire them for it. However, after 15 years in this hobby, I think some cosplayers have forgotten that when people get excited about your costume, it's not really because of you but because you are representing something they LOVE, and they are so excited to see someone who loves what they love. I'm picky about what I cosplay because I like to cosplay things that I LOVE, no matter how popular or obscure, complex or simplistic, because it makes me happy to walk around wearing what I love literally on my sleeve. We cosplay because we are fans of of someone else's art - writing, drawing, design, etc, and should remember that its not all about us, but about the characters we emulate. I think we also need to remember that cosplayers vary widely in skill areas, and I don't think any one cosplayer does everything well. Some are better at sewing, others at props or wigs, others at performance or modeling, etc. Some are great at particular techniques. When you see an amazing cosplay, oftentimes you'll discover someone else made the wig or prop, or a group collaborated. Cosplay is at its best when cosplayers work together and share and combine skills. Nobody in the community learned how to cosplay on their own, and a cosplay "celebrity" is only as good as the people who helped and supported them. It's awesome to have fans and to BE a fan - I have cosplayers whose work I admire too. But that doesn't make any of us more IMPORTANT than anyone else. Just my two cents.
Can I put your pictures on my cosplay site/blog/tumblr/Facebook page?
Only if you credit the images in question with a link back to me and where applicable, the photographer. Please do not steal my images, especially if they are being used to sell costumes I have nothing to do with. That is misleading innocent cosplayers, and that's a shitty thing to do. If your work cannot stand on its own without using someone else's photos, you have no business selling costumes.
This is all really weird and nerdy! Do you have a life?
Yes! Believe it or not, I'm an otherwise pretty normal person. I'm very outgoing, have a successful career, love watching and playing sports, performing, being a political activist, enjoying the outdoors, partying, renovating my house with my husband, and have many other hobbies and interests. Like any other activity, it is just one facet of my life. I am a huge nerd, though.
You are a stupid poopyhead and I don't like you.
I love and tolerate your opinion right back at you! :P