The art of Cosplay can be seen in person at numerous conventions this spring and summer. Whether it's a character from a popular TV show or cartoon, a game, movie, comic book, the variety of the costumes spans the entire world of Geekdom. I recently caught up with a popular cosplayer, Taffeta Darling, at the Sci-Fi Convention in Dallas who gives us her take on the expanding world of Cosplay and Cross-play (mixing the sex of a character).
Allie Hanley: "You are quite popular and have legions of fans, how many conventions a year do you make appearances at?"
Taffeta Darling: "Usually in the state of Texas I’ll probably attend seven or eight of them; but I was doing some research and there’s like 57 conventions scheduled. The guys who have been putting this one on <Sci-Fi convention> have been doing this one for a long time. And a lot of people are seeing the success that they have had watching it grow, so it’s just starting to get bigger. So for the state of Texas I will try to hit up about 7 or so but there’s a lot of them out of state."
Allie: "There's a lot of Cosplayers out there nowadays trying to make a name for themselves, how do you fall into that world?"
Taffeta: "My goals as a Cosplayer are to have fun and create costumes that are personal and mean something to me. I read comics, watch movies, cartoons, and I've been captivated with the geek culture before it was this giant beast of community. I just want to dress up and be silly with my friends. If someone wants to hire me based on that, I'm all for it; But I'm not looking to get famous... I don't have a "fan page" for myself or feel the need for one. I don't consider myself better than anyone, and just don't have the "ego" needed to make one. If people check out my costumes, awesome; but I'm not going to try and get in every little event,... so I'll just stay original and me."
Allie Hanley: "Fans can see you on Facebook, but I heard that you have your own show?"
Taffeta: "The podcast I host is called "Fangirls: Dames of the Round Table." It's more of a video-cast, meaning you can watch it live streaming on www.deepellumonair.com and you can later download it as an MP3 if you miss the live show. It's made up of some of my closest friends, and a few girls that I'm getting close with. I wanted a cast of girls that are real. These girls give reviews on books, comics, video games, make-up, cartoons; Just about anything and they are sincere with it."
We have this one-for-all -attitude. We all want to succeed, and see each other succeed. There are no egos or self-absorbed reasons. We all genuinely like taking an hour each week, talking about things we like or don't. I produce and host the show and I am lucky enough to co-host it with: Taylor Elizabeth, Black Mariah, Appaloosa Red, Natalie Green, Chaka Cumberbatch. We also have outside contributors that help with promotions and come in occasionally when their time allows. They can watch all the previous episodes and find out more information about us at www.dallasfangirls.blogspt.com.
Allie: "As a Cosplayer you don’t traditionally go for the up in your face – sexy Cosplay costumes that get a million clicks on-line. You seem to go more for the aesthetic and art of Cosplay. Yesterday I saw you on the escalator as "Teen Wolf," not a traditional female Cosplay character."
Taffeta: "Yes, and to be quite honest I’m kind of a snob when it comes to my costumes. I try not to do a lot characters that I see a lot of people doing, -I’ve done "Zatanna," -I've done "Harley Quinn," but I see a lot of those which is awesome, but for me, because I am old school, it’s important to <be> something that I haven’t seen before. So for me, characters like "Teen Wolf" or Lo Pan (Big Trouble In Little China), I love both of those movies and I’ve never seen anyone do those."
Allie Hanley: "Today you are dressed as a character from “Wreck It Ralph.”
Taffeta: "Yes, I am "Taffyta Muttonfudge" from “Wreck It Ralph” and we have a whole crew here. <see slideshow> My friend wanted to do "Vanellope von Schweetz," and she asked me, of course to play "Taffyta"… for Taffeta – so of course I was like “I’ll do that.”
Allie Hanley: "It takes a lot of time to recreate these characters, what’s your day job?"
Taffeta: "I have an Etsy store where I sell geeky pillows, blankets, magnets, and on the side I have a lot of commissions where I work with a lot of comic shops where you can actually buy my stuff. Like at Keith’s comics and some out of state stores. That’s mainly where my income comes from. My best seller right now is a lot of the Star Wars pillows, and then a lot of the buttons I sell from recycled comics that I have in my collection. I have so many from collecting them over the years and I don’t really want to throw them away because they have so much cool art in there so I end up just making them into buttons and magnets and selling them. Anything I make from all that just goes right back into costuming. It’s a revolving door where my hobbies pay for my passion. It just sort of balances it out, and I’ve been lucky to get there."
Allie Hanley: "So will you be in the costume contest?"
Taffeta: "No, I’m lucky enough to be a judge at ever single one of these events that Ben and Mark (Dallas Comic Con) throw the past few years, so I’m usually the judge that’s up there. And it’s fun because I love the costumes and as a judge it’s like I have a front row seat and I get to see the best of the best so its cool."
Allie: "What are you looking forward to seeing today?"
Taffeta: "I know there is a huge "Ladies Of DC Group," and I heard a lot of them were going to make an appearance, some "Street Fighter" costumes out there from the video game, and then Peyton Small – she’s a 16 year old genius who’s a female "Robocop," so I am excited to see her."
Allie: "What conventions are you planning on next?"
Taffeta: "I have Dallas All-Con coming up which is coming up in March, and then I go to E3 The Entertainment Expo <gaming con>, which is in Los Angeles then I come back for Dallas Comic Con, and then I go to St Louis for Project Comic Con, and then I have some more out of state conventions – so there’s a lot going on."
Allie: "Lots of traveling for you… how about the big one, San Diego Comic Con?"
Taffeta: "Sadly I’ve never been but usually I like the smaller cons because I tend to get a little overwhelmed when there’s more than a 100,000 people so I haven’t been out there but maybe one day."
Allie: "What are you top three all-time costumes that you have ever done?"
Taffeta: "Lo Pan" is easily becoming my favorite, I also love my “Velma” from “Scooby-do,” and then "Batgirl" because she’s dear to my heart, and one of my favorite characters, I feel like I am Batgirl half the time." <see slideshow>
Check Taffeta's Facebook page for exact appearances.