September Cosplay Spotlight
Mikomi's Costumed World.
We're spotlighting talent in the cosplay community!
Every month, The Variant showcases different cosplayers who display talent, creativity, and a positive voice for the cosplay community!
This month's spotlight we had the distinct pleasure of working with Mikomi Chan!
Mikomi is the consummate professional when it comes to what she does whether it's cosplay, convention guesting or as a live-streaming gamer for our sister site Pridestark Gaming.
What we've got for you this month is not only an AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS spotlight of DC Bombshell's StarGirl and Marvel's Invisible Woman, tag-team photographed by Tomisina & Victoria, but a behind the scenes video of the work put into her preparation for this shoot as well as a candid interview!!
Special shout out to our June 2018 Cosplay Spotlight, Awkward Turtle Cosplay who graciously donated her time to do hair and makeup for Mikomi. Also much thanks to the super-cool Mallory Schultz for allowing us to use her pool and the epic Electric Century for letting us use their song "Right There" in the montage video.
Here's Mikomi's interview!!!
RJ: Hey Mikomi! Thank you for joining us today.
So jumping right in, give me your cosplay secret origin story.
MC: Thank you for having me! My secret origin story started when I decided to cosplay with my next door neighbor at Otakon in 2011. We did it on a whim because it was our first ever convention and we wanted to get the full experience. We didn’t think we’d be going to any conventions in the future and thought this would just be a one-off kinda thing. So I started cosplaying there with a cheaply made ebay costume and I just ended up cosplaying more after that… because I loved it.
RJ: How good (or bad) was your first cosplay?
MC: I bought an Ino Yamanaka cosplay from Naruto Shippuden off of Ebay. It was made out of horrible fabric and it didn’t quite fit me right. Like it fit well enough but it wasn’t anywhere near the quality that my current costumes are at.
RJ: If you could tell “Past Mikomi” one thing about cosplay what would it be?
MC: I would tell myself to be more careful about who I become friends with. I would definitely choose my friends more wisely. I was really starry-eyed in the beginning because it was the first time in my life I really met people who were into the same things that I was into. The mutual love of an anime or a video game or a comic book kind of overshadowed character and personalities and I wish I was just more aware of that in the past.
RJ: What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
MC: She-Hulk is my favorite costume because she looks very impressive without a lot of hard work and also she’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I know it might seem like a lot of work with the body paint because I do full body paint rather than just green leggings or leotards. I also love the response I get from her.
RJ: What’s your least favorite?
MC: Probably my Edward Kenway from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. I just don’t like how certain aspects of the costume turned out. He’s not the most comfortable to wear. I didn’t make it fit very well because I was in the middle of my apprenticeship when I made it. I would love to remake him in the future though with my new and improved skill set.
RJ: If resources were no object what would be your dream cosplay?
MC: I would enjoy making a very accurate Overwatch cosplay, maybe a Sombra or a Mercy. I really want to add a bunch of LED’s and have some moving parts on either of those. One of the big reasons that I haven't cosplayed anything from Overwatch yet is because when I learned how to make costumes in my apprenticeship I didn’t learn how to make them out of stereotypical cosplay materials. I learned how to make them out of leather or wood. I learned how to make them with power tools. Without a workshop I can’t feasibly make armor cosplays. I know how to work with thermoplastic but I’m better at leatherwork and woodworking. I know how to do all of that in an actual costume shop. I don’t know how to do that in my living room. I just don’t have the area in my apartment to do things like working with EVA foam plus I have a small child so sanding or shaping could be toxic. Sewing wise I would love to make a screen accurate Cersei Lannister gown from Game of Thrones.
RJ: What’s your favorite convention to attend?
MC: I love Magfest because I love the atmosphere of that convention. I’m a huge gamer and I love being in a 24 hour-a-day arcade. Being able to play Galaga at 4am in the morning is pretty amazing. I also love a lot of the panels and there’s a lot of interesting people to meet there. It’s also a lot more laid back than other conventions that are a lot more cosplay focused.
RJ: Do you have a least favorite?
MC: My least favorite is Katsucon. It’s overcrowded for the venue and it seems like a lot of attendees are more focused on doing photo shoots or taking selfies with famous people rather than actually trying to build relationships with friends.
RJ: Who is your cosplay hero?
MC: I look up to Jez Roth a lot, as a cosplayer and as a professional tailor and designer. He started out as a cosplayer and he ended up working in the entertainment industry using the skills that he learned in cosplay and made a really big name for himself. He’s extremely professional both in his actions and in how he speaks and it really inspires me. I first heard about him at Animazement 2012. He brought his costumes with him. I specifically remember seeing his Ganondorf that he had on a mannequin. They did a little exhibit for him and all of his work was so well made. That was when it first clicked with me that cosplay could be more than just making a one-and-done costume that you pray doesn’t fall off of you during the convention. That’s when I realized how much craftsmanship actually goes into it.
RJ: Top 3 fandoms. Go!
MC: Star Wars, Pokemon & One Piece.
RJ: Why haven’t we seen a Star Wars cosplay from you yet?
MC: I keep getting sidetracked. Honestly that’s the only reason. There are so many characters from the Star Wars universe that I want to make it’s just a matter of narrowing down which one I want to do. Also I would have to learn the skill sets for some of them. I kind of want to build my own lightsaber but then we come back to the issue of not having the facilities to build said lightsaber. My dream Star Wars costume involves a Twi’lek and I need to learn how to work with latex in order to make that happen. I do make Jedi robe commissions for a company on the west coast though.
RJ: If you could change anything about cosplay in general what would it be?
MC: The fact that it’s more about quantity over quality nowadays. That extends to more than just the craftsmanship. It extends to social media, the number of “friends” you have, the number of Likes and fans you have, the number of costumes you crank out in a month or you crank out in a year, and the number of conventions you go to in that time frame. It’s become more of a turnaround thing rather than something that has real meaning to it. I wish that people had that realness that they used to have. Also a lot of people like to blame the new cosplay community for things like “sexy” cosplays but what a lot of people don’t realize is there’s been “sexy” cosplay around for decades, like far before the internet became a thing. I’d say that whenever anything gains popularity and gains more attention, not just in the niche community but in the worldwide community, it’s going to attract more and more people rather than just the people who are in it for the art or the people who are in it for the community and the fandom. I think a lot of what has happened with the community and why it has become so vapid, is because there are so many more people who just see people wearing costumes on the internet. They don’t actually go to conventions that much. They’re not really involved in the fandoms. They just follow certain people on Instagram or Facebook because they like their aesthetic or they watched that one anime that they saw a viral cosplay come from. I think because it’s gone more mainstream it’s gotten a little bit more shallow than it used to be. I think it’s more so the internet culture that made it change than just one specific aspect because internet culture is such a giant umbrella that covers so many different aspects of it.
RJ: Anything you want your fans to know?
MC: After doing it for this long I still love cosplay. I guess if I had any advice it would be don’t succumb to the pressure of trying to get famous. Literally just do what you want and have fun. If you wanna lead panels, then lead panels. If you wanna cosplay some obscure thing from the 80’s, cosplay that obscure thing from the 80’s. If you wanna do closet cosplay, do closet cosplay. At the end of the day cosplayers are just people that are dressing up like fictional characters. We don’t need to take it super seriously. It’s there for us to express our love of fandom and for us to have fun and meet fellow fans. Just do what makes you happy.
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