We’ve always admired the cosplay community. Every time we’ve visited a con and interviewed some of the actors / guests, we’ve always felt that we also wanted to interview some of the amazing cosplayers in attendance too. So our series of interviews / features here make up for that in part, we hope!
The latest is Jinxkittie, and the answer to the first question she tells us that she is from South Africa. It’s then you realise the magnitude of the cosplay community, and quite frankly, it’s awesome to see!
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure! My name is Kelsey – I am a 21 year old graphic designer from Durban, South Africa. I have been cosplaying for just over a year now, and I have a huge passion for all things art and geeky!
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I’ve always loved the intricate costumes that characters wear in games and TV shows! One day I decided I wanted to make a costume like one I saw on Game of Thrones, and when I searched online for pictures of said costume, SO many pictures of people in “cosplay” popped up. I was intrigued that this was a legitimate art form! I then made my first cosplay, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I generally gravitate towards the strong, self-empowered and badass female characters because I feel that I identify the most with them, and how they came to be. Oh yeah, and anything with epic armour!
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
The most challenging thus far will have to be Katarina from League of Legends. It may not look like it, but that costume is hella uncomfortable to wear – it’s quite restricting and the spiked armour catches on everything!
My most enjoyable costume definitely would be Harley from Suicide Squad. It’s a really comfy costume to wear, and I get into character really easily with her! 😀
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
Sure! I ALWAYS start with spending a good few hours researching the character and finding reference pictures to sketch from. I draw out every part of the costume that I need to make, and also sketch down rough measurements to work from. Using the reference images and my sketches, I draw out patterns for the clothing and armour elements. My armour is mostly made from EVA foam, which is an AWESOME material to work with! After constructing the armour I prime it for, like, DAYS with cold glue, and then spend just as much time painting and weathering! I use a mixture of spray paint, acrylic and oils paints to achieve a realistic look. I leave the clothing till last because it’s the easiest and least stressful part for me to make!
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
rAge Expo 2015 in Johannesburg, SA. This was my first BIG convention and it was so much fun! I went with my DJ Sona cosplay and everyone loved my costume! It was surreal just how much of an awesome response it got! 😀
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
Yes! Mostly just when people recognise your character and get all excited about it – it’s just so awesome to experience! I’ve people come up to me and just say “You’re Harley!!”. And it’s awesome! The best was when some people I walked past actually recognised my cosplay and I heard them saying to each other “That’s JinxKittie!” – I was so happy!
A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?
I love having photos taken at conventions! However, yes, it can get tiring after doing it for several hours. Most of the time though if the photographer just approaches me and asks if they can take some photos I’m happy to oblige – but I’ve had a quite a few instances where I see them trying to take photos without even letting me know! It’s not cool. Especially if you are just taking a small break to fix your wig, or to grab something to drink, etc, and there’s someone trying to take photos of you! Like, what? I think the best way to approach a cosplayer is just to ask them nicely and respect their answer, whether it’s a “Yes”, “No, sorry” or “Sure! Just let me fix my wig!”
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
It’s had a huge impact on my life! I’ve been able to branch out as an artist and learn new techniques, I’ve made a bunch of awesome, like-minded friends, and to top it all, it’s helped me improve my self-confidence!
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
My advice would be to just say hi! Whether at a convention, on Facebook groups, wherever! Don’t be intimidated! The cosplay family is huge and accepting, so get involved! There’s probably people close by to you that have the same interests that would likely want to hang out, and they might know where you can buy materials too!
When it comes to making your first cosplay, just take your time, it is YOUR artistic interpretation of a character, so there’s no pressure! Find reference pictures online, and Google to see if people have tried to make the same costume to see how they did it, and how well it worked out! And you can most likely find these other cosplayers on Facebook and ask them for advice on how they made their costumes, most people are more than happy to help!