Who doesn’t like the Borderlands series of games!? So who wouldn’t like some awesome cosplay from that series? Exactly, we’re sold. So who is the cosplayer behind Tiny Tina?
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m the Mangoloo cosplayer on the Labinnak and Mangoloo Cosplay team. We have been cosplaying for about 5 years now and make all our costumes and props from scratch. A little known fact about me is I once survived an entire 3 day convention only eating chocolate chip cookies (I was super in character for the Borderlands 2 Tiny Tina costume I was debuting).
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
Actually my friends peer pressured me into cosplaying. They told me that I should attend a local convention known as Katsucon. I didn’t think I would be into it so I was sceptical about going. They told me I could wear a cosplay – so I did. I pulled out bits and pieces from my closet and put together an OC Pokemon trainer. Long story short – I went to Katsucon, fell in love with all the beautiful cosplays and then made it a goal for myself to get more involved with the cosplay community and eventually make my own cosplays as I do today.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
Videogames. I do a lot of videogame characters – especially Borderlands. I’ve made at least 10 Borderlands cosplays. Other than that my character types tend to be badass/adorable, hyper, youthful characters (such as Ruby from RWBY or Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2). I gravitate more to these types of characters because I’m really a kid at heart and find these characters to be more fun to roleplay.
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
All my costumes/props have their own challenges and enjoyable moments. Therefore I really cannot say which one is overall more challenging or more enjoyable. For instance looking at my most recent cosplay – RWBYlands (RWBY + Borderlands mashup) it was challenging in a way that it required so much technique because it has about 3 different props and everything is cel shaded! Despite it being a lot of work – I enjoyed the build specifically when I did all the detail work and the piece really started to come together.
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
I start with renderings, assembly research, swatch shopping, and list making of what I have/need to buy. Anything I need – I order. In the meantime I work with what I have. For instance right now I’m working on Serah from Final Fantasy XII-2 so I’m working on her ribbon strap things because I already have the fabric for it. Also at the same time while I wait for my orders to get in – I’m doing a character study so that I get mentally prepped to be able to roleplay the character when I have the cosplay completed.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
My top 4 conventions are Colossalcon, Katsucon, PAX East and RTX. Colossalcon because it was the most unique experience I’ve ever had at a con with it being a waterpark convention! Katsucon simply because the venue and cosplay scene is BEAUTIFUL! Also it’s reunion con for me because all my friends tend to go. PAX East and RTX because I’m a huge gamer and these cons have what I love and I have the opportunity to meet more people who I look up to.
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
Many. My favorites are when people truly see me as the character that I am trying to portray. At one point I had someone cry tears of joy after seeing my Tiny Tina cosplay and impression. It made me feel like I accomplished my goal in embodying my favourite character.
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 DOING PHOTOSHOOTS WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS! I think most people do (as long as they are asked before taking the photos). I’m more than happy to do as many poses as I can think of (also open to suggestions). I’m even more than happy to do photos out of the halls and into less crowded areas. I’ve gone as far as gotten into a fountain in the pouring rain for a shoot once (which was TOTALLY WORTH IT and still has to be one of my favorite photosets ever). My best advice to photographers who are concerned about how to approach cosplayers is – just ask! Most cosplayers will be thrilled. Also don’t be afraid to ask to go to a different location to get a better shot or if you have any interesting ideas share them with the cosplayers (more than you think may be as crazy as me and will get into a fountain for you).
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
MAJOR IMPACT! I actually used to be pretty shy and didn’t often leave the house to do anything. I didn’t feel like I was creative or had any special skills so I lived the life of a hermit and spent a ton of time just playing Skyrim days on end. Cosplay really opened me up though because it was a creative outlet and it allowed me to be someone else for the day. Cosplaying at cons has encouraged me to share my interests with the community and become more social. Today I attend at least 12 conventions a year with thousands of people in which at many I host community events (such as the Tiny Tina Tea Parties) or run workshops and panels. Cosplay has changed my life for the better – I have no idea where I would have been without it.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
DO IT! Cosplay is for everyone! Choose a character that you are passionate about (doesn’t matter who or the difficulty level). If you are determined and passionate in project – you will complete it!
RWBY photo – Eurobeat Kasumi Photography
Tiny Tina photo – Khris Jose