It’s time for another interview, this time with Skirtz! She’s a lovely cosplayer from Idaho, who has a great love for cosplaying Princess Peach Toadstool!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
I’m not sure exactly what that means, so I’ll give you two answers and hope one is right. First, I go by Skirtz! It’s my self given nickname from years ago that serves as an easy to remember name of sorts. I use it for my cosplay and art, though more so for the art side. People also often know me as the Peach cosplayer, so I suppose that’s my cosplay character; I try to plan around dressing up as her more often now to keep that going. XD
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I started in 2006. I grew up in a podunk town, and before the anime infection hit really hard in the states, the only way to really get info on it was to scour the web; that’s when I came across cosplay. I was so taken by it! It felt like one of those things I’d never experience; I had no idea at the time that anime cons even existed anywhere near me. I caught wind of Sakuracon in Seattle and went to fulfill my dreams of seeing it all in person, and decided to dress up as well. That was the weekend that changed a lot of things! Still go every year!
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
My favorite part of costuming is shopping for wigs and accessories. Whether it’s online or at the craft store, I often get very giddy and excited during that process. The visuals all start to take shape the more you look at things. Then once it’s all in some pile for you to see its like “oh my goodness, look at all of it. IT WILL BE PERFECT”. Then you have to just make it happen!
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Oh gosh, I don’t know, getting new costumes underway is always exciting. This year’s batch should be a fun journey, following up with a hopefully successful and awesome con season! I look forward to all of it every year. :3
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
Attention to detail is always something that I look for in other cosplays. Even if it’s a totally fan made take on a character, I’m always impressed by how it’s accessorized, fabric types, the way a wig is styled, makeup. Every little piece adds to the final product, and when it all flows together it makes for some incredible eye candy. The folks who really know how to hit the nail on the head are Clefchan and Ryoko Demon. I absolutely adore the thought that goes into every inch of their cosplay. It’s almost unreal; such solid, vibrant colors, and they just capture the silhouettes of those characters they cosplay. It’s truly mind blowing and very inspirational.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
Cosplay is a three legged stool, in my opinion. There are the fans that do it simply for the fun of it, and usually go for the con experience in full, such as panels, dances, shopping, games, etc. Costumes aren’t the main focus, but a part of the overall experience. Either made by hand, purchased online, or, a crafty way people go about it, doing “Closet Cosplay”, just to have something to wear. It’s a great time to meet new folks and see those ones that come around during con-time. Best part about less extravagant cosplaying is that it saves money for when the swag needs to happen, which always costs a pretty penny.
There are people like myself, who do it mostly for just the cosplaying, and often hide from or sadly walk the exhibition halls due to the fact you’re wearing all of your hard earned money and for the social aspects. It’s a chance to meet tons of people, make new friends, network, collaborate with photographers, and learn how to improve for the next year. There’s usually just a lot of standing around instead of exploring the con, at least while the sun is up. Going to some events though is a bit uncomfortable in costume. You want to be a part of the con itself and when people enjoy your costume that makes your weekend.
Lastly there’s the elite faction; professional level cosplay. The con is their showcase. Internet fame is often a factor when molding these cosplayers; puts them in high demand, and they often wind up overwhelmed with feedback and the like. They’ve worked their butts off to get where they are, or have a team of seasoned prop makers and seamstresses to help out for the really intense costumes, high end cinema style sometimes, so I’ve seen with company models/cosplayers at larger cons (collaborative costuming is a factor for just about anybody, honestly, though some people are just that good!). Unfortunately heads can inflate in this realm. I’ve experienced a cold shoulder or two in my time at cons and daaang, it’s icky. Though the majority I’ve met have been insanely amazing and kind people. Elite cosplayers are definitely the celebrities in the, if you will, nerdy/geeky/dorky (whatever you want to call it) world.
One thing all cosplayers have in common, come the night during con weekend, the costumes come off (well, sometimes), street clothes come on, and the partying commences. In general we all just like to get loopy and have a fun time, no matter how seriously we take it.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
The audience can be the worst, especially via the internet; faceless foes that will never be impressed by anyone. They take time to tear apart all of the cosplay types I talked about; it doesn’t matter who they are or what level or professionalism. It makes it tough and often nerve-wracking to keep doing it knowing full well the hurtful comments will surface, regardless. It’s an unrealistic wish, wanting it to come to a stop, but I find it to be so utterly pointless and shameful that people say some of the things they do.
On a rare occasion other cosplayers, out of jealousy, take to the same actions. Except they do it in person. Those individuals need to use that envy to harness their creativity, and to better their own cosplay. I myself want to scream sometimes seeing how good some people are, but that’s no reason to take a dump on somebody. I channel all of that into my next costume. Take notes on how people do what they do and learn from them. You just have to keep pushing yourself or you won’t budge, and you’ll be an angry turd at the cons, burning holes into the backs of people you see there, hell, even your friends. I’ve seen it myself. It makes for an awkward and uncomfortable weekend.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Well other than what I said above just study! Look at those cosplayers online, stare at every detail, and just take it all in. Look up wig and make-up tutorials. Write and ask them questions on DeviantArt or Cosplay.com (hopefully they reply :/). It’s one of those things, like doing art, the more you make, the more you learn. Every crappy costume you make is one less crappy costume you’ll make in the future. You just keep improving. Experiment with crafts and things and see what things do what! Gain a plethora of hands-on knowledge. EVERY cosplayer has those shameful oldies they throw away or hide in the back of their closets. That’s the way it goes, but keep at it! It’s one big learning experience! If you screw something up, let it go. Come back to it later. Just keep trucking.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
PAX PRIME. Hands. Down. My favorite. I went as Peach, and let me tell you, there are a lot less cosplayers there. So I was like a Princess wandering Disneyland. Instead of just passer-by snapshots, usual con style, it was people wanting pictures with you. You are just part of the show, there to make it fun for the convention goers. The crowd is different too; older, more laid back. It’s got a different vibe; I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s just amazing! I have met THE COOLEST people there! I’m thankful to have had the chance to get to know them because of that convention.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
My Peach wig is human hair! Eeeeeeewww! It rocks though, not gonna lie. I can roast that thing with a flat iron every dang year and it has survived many a con. Thanks to it being human hair, I can get that Peach flip down pat. Photos look awesome, no shiny glare; it’s definitely my one treasured cosplay item.