Thursday, 28 May 2015

Interview: HeidzDee Cosplay

It's been a while since we've featured a cosplayer on the blog and it's about time for an update! Today we're joined with Heidi - known as HeidzDee cosplay on her Facebook page - who is a cosplayer from Victoria, Australia.

Before we begin, tell us a bit about yourself; what is your life outside cosplay, random facts about yourself, location etc.
Hi! My name is Heidi; I’m 25 years old and a qualified art and drama teacher! I’ve been living in Victoria for 3 years now as I’m originally from Queensland. Since completing my degree I have been focusing a lot of my work on my cosplaying for both conventions and building outfits for art awards whilst also filming a documentary for NITV which airs early this year. It will feature two of my cosplays!  
Currently I am writing a synopsis for my own documentary to start filming later this year documenting the process I go through deciding on, assembling and premiering a new costume at a convention.


What made you first start cosplaying and what was your first cosplay ever?
I first started cosplaying at Melbourne Supanova in 2012. After attending my first convention in November the year before I had no idea of the popularity of cosplaying and was instantly hooked at the idea. I’d always enjoyed wearing costumes before conventions - transforming into the characters I loved and admired. I’d dressed up as characters from books mostly including Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments. My first cosplay at a convention was of arena version of Katniss Everdeen from the first Hunger Games movie.


How did you feel the first time you went to a convention in cosplay? Do you have a favourite convention?
I was so unsure of myself walking in the gate of Supanova on my first day in cosplay, I didn’t know if my costume was good enough and whether I was doing one of my favourite characters the justice she deserved. I was so nervous up till a photographer stopped and asked for my photo; commenting that my hair looked fantastic and I even had a Jennifer Lawrence sort of look about me. That moment gave me so much confidence I think it pulled me through the whole weekend and sold me on continuing doing this for all conventions.
I don’t know if I really have a favourite convention, they are all so good for their own reasons.


Do you find cosplay to be costly? If so, what aspects of it would you consider the costliest and have you thought of ways to save money?
I think if you don’t plan your materials and supplies properly cosplay can be really expensive. My Elsa costume cost me a lot more than it should of because I just kept changing my mind about how to do things. I have learnt since then to do my research on characters well in advance before buying supplies. Oh and SHIPPING! Shipping can be ridiculous pricing online if its something you desperately need.

How long does a cosplay take you on average? Describe some of the processes you go through in making and planning your costumes.
I’ve had costume take me as small amount of time as a few hours up to something that took me 5 months. Though on average I like to give myself about 3 months to complete something. I like to decide pretty early on a cosplay and what convention I want to wear it to so that I instantly have a time constraint to work witihin.

I usually begin by finding as many reference images I can for the character from as many angles as possible, and list everything that needs to be made and what that requires. I also like to search if anyone else has done that particular costume and what materials they have used in case it could work in my favour. From there I usually begin with the construction of the clothing, purchasing any wigs, body paint, make up, contacts etc I need to online so that they arrive with plenty of time before the convention in case anything doesn’t work out.


What are some of your current/past/future cosplays? How do you choose characters to cosplay?
Previously I have cosplayed characters such as Elsa, Gamora, Sailor Moon, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. This year I have a number of Disney costumes in the making including Hiro Hamada, Princess Anna, Rapunzel and Tinkerbell. I’m particularly looking forward to making and debuting two specific costumes this year. The first is ‘Spike’ from Back to the Future 2 and the other is my dream cosplay, Shiva from Final Fantasy X.

I find the deciding process to be different for each character; I choose a lot of Disney characters for the story and character arcs that I really connect to and also if the visualisation in the movie is really captivating. But I also like to work with friends for interstate conventions and pick things together so that we can spend the day in character and make the most out of the day.


What do you think of cosplayers who buy most or all of their costumes as opposed to making it?
I understand why this is something people do, sometimes you just don’t have the time, money or just access to the right supplies to make things yourself. Even if you just aren’t comfortable with your sewing skills. I still buy pieces online and build from them, as I am certainly not a perfect at sewing. I still cannot read a pattern to save my life, but I am learning! It shouldn’t be about whether or not you brought it or made it but the enjoyment you get out of wearing it.

What do you think is most important in cosplay - accuracy or artistic freedom?
I appreciate both these things equally. If I see someone in a highly accurate costume I instantly just want to go and congratulate him or her as it could be the difference between spending maybe a couple of hundred dollars on your costume as opposed to in the thousands even. Let alone the time that they put into it!

At the same time I love seeing people interpret their own versions of characters from gender swapping, concept and fan arts or ever own characters. I think it can show a great amount of strength and dedication sometime to do these as there always feels like such a strong push for people to want to cosplay characters that everyone will recognise and appreciate.


What are your thoughts on cosplayers such as Jessica Nigri who are known to incorporate sex appeal into cosplay?
I actually really love some of Jessica Nigri’s cosplays, the detail and love she puts into some of them are amazing. I think I am still a little obsessive over her armoured Elsa she did. There are some of her other cosplays that I don’t agree with because I think of the characters she has done this for aren’t the kind that should be sexualised. It’s her accurate cosplays that I really love, such as Rikku and her versions of Harley Quinn... But in saying that she does put an incredible amount of effort and detail in her work, which is really what draws me.
I also think it should be important to remember that a cosplay can be sexy and not show off so much skin, take Catwoman for example.

"Cosplay is not consent" has recently become a big issue amongst cosplayers and convention-goers alike. What are your thoughts on this matter?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get harassed at least three times each convention. From snide comments to asking for awkward photos with them and then harassment on the tram/train ride home or back to the hotel. It’s unfortunate that it’s people like this that try and ruin a weekend for you and I feel like there’s only so much you can do to prevent it.
I’m hoping that the message of “Cosplay is not consent” really gets out there and that people recognise that it is a big issue in the community. Even if it’s just extra eyes helping someone out when they look like they are having some trouble.


& finally, what is the thing you enjoy most about cosplaying and what are some of the challenges?
I think the best thing that has come out of cosplaying for me has been the friends I have made. I’ve got so many people from each of the states that I go to that I can catch up with at conventions and make everything just that much more enjoyable. We’ve even grown close enough now to plan things as groups, my first last year was doing Guardians of the Galaxy group with two girls in Brisbane.
My challenge for myself now is to start building cosplays to enter into cosplay competitions, I have signed up for my first one for Supanova Melbourne.


Thanks for taking part in an interview Heidi!~ Look forward to seeing your future cosplays.

For more info on Heidi and to follow Heidi's work in progress feel free to give HeidzDee cosplay a like on Facebook


We hope you enjoyed reading this interview and stay tuned for more cosplay and gaming channel features :) If you're a cosplayer and would like to be featured in a future interview feel free to email @ electricandroidblog@hotmail.com

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