November cosplayer of the month
Novembers Cosplayer of the Month is Chelsea Daniels
Chelsea Daniel Aka Bandit Spurs
I’m a Canadian born cosplayer based out of Montreal, QC. Ever since I can remember I have always had an affinity for costumes and sewing, when I was 6 I can recall asking my mother if we could start working on my Halloween costume in August. After high school this interest eventually led me to college where I studied theatrical costume design.
I finally attended my first convention in 2011 where I was immediately enthralled with the phenomenon that is cosplay and endeavored to recreate my favorite characters as well. Montreal Comic Con 2012 marked my first cosplay experience, I wore Princess Leia’s metal bikini, which definitely made for an interesting first cosplay event!
Since then I have made several more cosplays and begun to take on some commission work. My goals for the future is to accomplish more large armor cosplays and get into building historical costumes and my original designs.
In the big picture cosplay is great because it gives shy people a creative outlet and a way to break out of their shells. Personally, I love cosplay because of all the learning opportunities; I’m always researching different dying techniques, different tools and materials, I love to learn hands-on and Cosplay is perfect for that.
Here is our interview…
How long have you been cosplaying and what was your inspiration to start?
Since summer 2012.When I attended my first con in 2011 I got to see all kinds of costumes and I indulged in having my picture taken with a lot of different people. I loved that experience and wanted to participate in it myself! I was also heavily influenced by Lillyxandra on Deviantart, before I had even heard of “Cosplay” I would pour over her beautiful work. I think her TP Zelda was the first official ‘cosplay’ I ever saw.
What genres are you into?
Movies (Sci-Fi and Fantasy),Books (okay.. Harry Potter),TV, Anime.
What was your first Cosplay experience?
In 2012 I decided to try making my own costume to wear to a local con, I decided on a character and series that meant a lot to me as a child; so I made Princess Leia’s metal bikini. Since it was my first time ever cosplaying I really hadn’t thought to expect much reaction from other con-goers.. I was wrong, it was actually a bit overwhelming, but it was a good experience in the end. I got to take my picture with many of the 501st legion so that was a personal thrill!
What do you find a challenge with Cosplay?
Time management is difficult for me! I do not have regular access to a working space where I can sew, craft armor or paint, so a lot of my project work builds up.
I do my best to manage my free time efficiently but it’s difficult sometimes when you have a lot of other responsibilities to tend to also. I find making lists and breaking down projects into more simple components helps me stay on top of what I’m working on!
Something else that is really difficult for me is getting my picture taken (crazy right?). Cosplay certainly isn’t for the camera-shy but I look at it as an opportunity to grow past my walls.
Cosplay really does challenge your weaknesses and insecurities, but I’ve also found few other pass-times that offer so much opportunity to develop yourself, for yourself. I’m cosplaying for me, so when I accomplish something, I did it for me, not because of someone else. People can take strength from accomplishing something for themselves.
What is the most enjoyable part of Cosplay for you?
I absolutely love the necessity to be creative! You get to be creative with pattern development (because rarely a cosplay is something to can pull straight from a Burda pattern) and you have to be really creative with your materials!
I’ve often said (in frustration with desk jobs) ‘I just want to spend my life making things!’ Cosplay satisfies that need to create.
Something else I really enjoy is that in an unexpected way it has allowed me to bond with my father. My whole family is very creative and crafty, but not in the traditional ‘lemme paint you a picture, write a poem, play the violin’ kind of way.. More in the ‘I got bored and built a shed, I build a truck out of this old one that had a tree growing through it, learned chemistry to make Hop Ale’ kind of way. So whenever I get stumped on how to build something I go out to my father and ask his opinion, he usually has quite a few good ideas; JB weld to fuse these two pieces together, copper wire from an old lamp cord for an armature, window caulking to fill gaps that need to maintain flexibility. It’s really cool to get to do this stuff with him.
Have you met any lasting friends because of Cosplay?
I have a few yes, however like a lot of other people in our community I identify myself as a ‘shy person’ haha. I’m very open to meeting new people though, I’m looking forward to my next con to get to meet more people who share some of my interests!
Do you plan on continuing cosplaying for years to come?
Indeed I do, it’s a hobby that gives me a lot of self-worth and I’m proud of the things I’ve made. If anything I’m looking to expand my horizons in the near future; I’d like to begin making historically inspired costumes and original designs!
What is one or two characters that you want to do but haven’t yet?
I have a long To-do list of cosplays but a few of my favorite ones are Padme’s Lake dress and Xena Warrior Princess (I seem to be following a theme of tough princesses haha)
If you had to choose only one costume to wear for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh my gosh, what kind of question is this?!
It would have to be a costume that is super detailed and textural, with lots of embellishments! (Something that would keep my attention) I don’t think I’ve come across this costume yet.
What is your favorite Convention? (FanExpo, Comicon, Anime Con….) and why?
I’ve attended 5 or 6 different conventions and at this point I’d have to say that my current favorite is Montreal’s Otakuthon. It’s dominantly volunteer run and it has a great atmosphere, this year was my first opportunity to attend and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoy Ottawa’s Pop Expo. After attending Fan Expo in Toronto this year I’ve come to the conclusion that I seem to lean towards the medium sized cons; the big cons have a lot of variety to offer but the crowds are a bit overwhelming, smaller cons encourage personal interactions in a way that the big names can’t.
What would you say to someone that knows nothing about Cosplay but is asking why you do it?
If they’re asking what Cosplay is, I’d describe it as replicating the costumes of pop-cultural icons and characters. That usually gives them a decent idea of what we are accomplishing in this hobby.
When they ask why; for me it’s pretty simple, a combination of love for the genre/series and a compulsion to be creative. I get really passionate about making/sewing and I get so share that passion with others and that makes me happy.
Would you want friends or family to get into Cosplay or do you rather keep it a separate thing?
I’ve tried asking some of my friends to join me and I’ve come to the conclusion that Cosplay isn’t something that everyone wants to do, just not their thing, my friends and family are VERY supportive and I love them but cosplay isn’t up their alley.
I think if I tried too hard to ‘get’ people I know into cosplay then I’d be pigeonholing my friends into something they’re not particularly passionate about.
They support me and that’s all I could ever ask for, I’m happy and grateful for it.
Do you have plans for your next convention yet?
Indeed I do have plans for my next convention, which is Otakuthon. It will be the first time that I plan on wearing a different cosplay for each day of the con! I also hope to participate in the Masquerade with my Yuna (FFX-2) cosplay.
Do you have any tips or trick you would like to share with fellow Cosplayers?
Try to plan ahead- the con always arrives faster than you’d expect, so understand the rate at which you work and plan around that. Also when you make a plan you can save precious money by getting all the deals/specials on supplies. Which leads me to my next tip; sign up for email flyers, often stores will send out email-exclusive to their subscribers, which can save you a bundle in the long run. Personally I’m subscribed to Michael’s Crafts, JoAnn’s fabrics and Fabricville to name a few.
One last tip; love your local thrift stores!!! Thrift stores are fantastic places to stock up on random sewing supplies, they have an assortment of shoes and you can buy cheap cotton bed sheets to make sewing mock-ups (saving you from buying muslin/calico/cotton from a fabric store). On my last trip to a thrift shop I came out with a stockpile of .25c zippers and $4 English riding boots. I cannot recommend Second hand and Thrift shops enough!
Well thank you so much Chelsea Daniels for sharing your story with us all. We look forward to seeing more from you! Everyone should go check out Chelsea’s pages and give her some love!
Where can we go to check out your Cosplay adventures?
The photos are:
Princess Zelda, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Credit to T Dano Photography
Yuna, Final Fantasy X-2. Credit to T Dano Photography
Lacus Clyne, GUNDAM: Seed Destiny. Credit to Vert Photography
Bulma, Dragon Ball Z. Credit to Bahamut Night Photography
(Photo credit Anniechie on FB)
Check back next Month for December’s Cosplayer of the month
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