COSPLAYER IN FOCUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH GALACTICAT

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Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Battlestar Galactica). Photo by Emilio Torres Garcia.

The first things that you will notice of Galacticat are her eyes, her beautiful, dreamy, enchanting eyes. The second thing that you will notice is her commanding presence, a combination of the military demeanor of a Colonial Fleet Warrior with the delicate grace of an elf princess. The third things that you will notice (if you are a good kid and survived the first two) are her cosplays, her stunning, meticulous, simply awesome cosplays.

I first knew of Galacticat by the end of the year 2012 watching photos of her Battlestar Galactica cosplay on Facebook. It wasn’t until Dragon*Con 2013 that I met her in person. Even from a distance she stood out from the crowd in her well-crafted “Starbuck” cosplay and once I reached her and introduced myself she was a delight to talk to. After that encounter I became a fan, subscribed to her Facebook Page and dedicated myself to find out more about her cosplays. And boy did find out more; Squirrel Girl, She-Hulk, Tasha Yar and so on. This girl is truly talented and that talent show in each and every one of her carefully crafted cosplay.

I invite you to know more about her by reading THE GALACTICAT INTERVIEW.

Squirrel Girl (Marvel Comics), photo by C.B. Lindsey.

When did you discover the hobby called cosplay?

My introduction to cosplay was back in 2009, when a friend took me to my first con, Anime Mid-Atlantic. She had been going to cons and cosplaying for years, and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Admittedly, I only had a decent time (anime wasn’t really my thing anymore), and I didn’t attend another con until 2011. That con was Dragon*Con, and after that, I was hooked.

What motivates you to practice this hobby? In other words, why do you do it?

I love creating things. Before I started attending conventions, I always loved putting together costumes for Halloween and theme parties during college. I didn’t have a sewing machine, so I spent a lot of time thrifting and cobbling things together. Now that I sew, I love creating things from scratch, as well as learning new crafts. Not to mention, going to cons, partying it up and meeting other geeks and costumers is an absolute blast, and it’s always such a cool feeling when someone gets excited about the costume you’re wearing, that you put so much love and energy (and oftentimes money and time) into.

Are you a fan of any particular entertainment area (comics, anime, video games)?

Sci-fi is my big love, but over the past few years I’ve gotten a lot more into comics, particularly Marvel. I’m not much of a gamer, mostly due to lack of time, but that’s an area I hope to jump into whenever I get more free time. I haven’t watched much anime since early high school, but thanks to Hulu, I’m now catching up on a lot of my old favorites!

Lieutenant Natasha “Tasha” Yar from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Do you remember which character that inspired you to make your first cosplay?

Since my first con was an anime con, I did two anime costumes: San from Princess Mononoke and Lina Inverse from Slayers. When we decided to go to Dragon*Con in 2011, I had just recently marathoned my way through Battlestar Galactica, and I knew I had to cosplay as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Though the costume itself wasn’t particularly well-made, it was received very well and I had a total blast.

Do you make your own costumes? If so do you make them alone or with help?

Most of my costumes are made by me, with occasional help from my boyfriend, Chris, who has mainly helped me with armor and props. Occasionally I may purchase costume pieces, but it’s much more fulfilling for me to make my own.

Which do you consider that has been your most challenging cosplay to make?

I’m currently working on Brienne of Tarth’s first set of armor (from Game of Thrones), and it’s proving to be quite the challenge. It’s my first time making armor, and I’m being verrrry picky about the details. It’s coming along pretty well and should be debuting at Dragon*Con this year.

She-Hulk (Marvel Comics), photo by Chris Auditore.

How did you feel the first time that you put on your first cosplay?

If we’re talking about my first con, A.M.A., then the answer is underwhelmed, to be honest. Hardly anyone knew the characters I was cosplaying, and I didn’t recognize most other costumes since they were all from much more recent anime, so I felt out of place. But as Starbuck at Dragon*Con, I felt awesome. Initially I was a bit intimidated, because let’s face it – Dragon*Con is big and crazy and therefore it’s kind of intimidating to a first-timer. But after getting a lot of good response on the costume, it gave me such a rush.

Do you feel that you express a part of your personality on your cosplays?

With most of my costumes, I do get a confidence boost, especially when I’m cosplaying as someone who’s kind of a badass, like Starbuck or She-Hulk. On the flipside, I tend to feel a bit awkward as a character that’s more girly, like Ariel. I don’t get into character, really, so it can be a bit difficult for me to act ladylike, ha, ha.

Fallout Painspike Raider, photo by Dim Horizon Studio.

When and where was your first public appearance in cosplay?

Anime Mid-Atlantic 2009. But I like to consider Dragon*Con 2011 as my first real con experience.

Which ones have been the events where you have done cosplay so far?

Dragon*Con, C2E2, Comicpalooza, Wizard World Nashville, Fandom Fest, Fanboy Expo, Geek Media Expo, MTAC, ConNooga, Chattacon, AdventureCon. I’d love to make it out to MegaCon, NYCC, and some others if possible!

Do you use the services of professional photographers?

I have, but only a couple of times. I’d really love to do more photo-shoots!

Ariel, photo by W.A.S.P.

Do you have experience participating in photo-shoots either individual or group?

Yes, I’ve done both, a couple of times. I want to do more! I love going to cons, but photo-shoots are a great way to really show off your costume, especially if you find the perfect setting for it. Our Fallout shoot at Sloss Furnaces is a perfect example.

What has been the public’s response to your cosplays?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reception that most of my costumes have received. I like doing characters that aren’t frequently done – such as Squirrel Girl, Brienne of Tarth, and Tasha Yar – because people get really excited to see those characters being cosplayed. I’m by no means well-known, and it’s not something I really strive for – but I do have a decent following on Facebook and other social media, and I’ve made a lot of friends through cosplaying and con-going. It is great getting to share your work with others, as well as getting to learn from them!

Have you been subjected to negative criticism, bullying or discrimination for being a cosplayer?

Surprisingly, I’ve only had a couple instances of negative criticism. And they really weren’t even that bad. I’ve seen how brutal people can be, especially on the internet, and I’m honestly surprised that I’ve not had to deal with this much.

Do you feel that your life has changed, that you’ve changed since you started doing cosplay?

Definitely! I’ve found something I’m truly passionate about (or shall we say obsessed with…), and I’ve met so many people and made a ton of friends. I only wish I had more time (and money) to make more costumes and attend more conventions!

Brienne, photo by Bryan Humphrey.

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