Well, it’s April fools, but I don’t want to join in the April Fools jokes because I couldn’t think of anything witty enough to fool anyone! Instead, I focused my free time into something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while: interviews. Hopefully, unlike Music Mondays that I have failed to follow through by now, I shall keep up with this series — but of course, it’s not a regular thing since it’s pretty difficult to be able to schedule things with other people, not to mention go up to them and say: “Hey! Can I take up some of your time and interview you?” Thankfully, the first person that I’m going to feature is sweet enough to say yes, and so, here it is!
I had the privilege of interviewing the awesome, lovely and sweet Saber cosplayer known as Maridah (or maridahhadiram). You might have seen her around since she has sent her entry for OTACOOL 2, and was lucky enough to get DC’s previous spot on the cover. So, enough of my boring blabber and let’s get on to the interview!
Ninjovee: Tell us (the readers) a little about yourself
Maridah: Well, I’m a cosplayer living in the US. I’ve been making costumes for myself and others for about 10 years now. Before getting into anime, I was a very big Star Wars fan, so I’ve been attending conventions of one type or another for a very long time now it seems~
Ninjovee: Okay next question…Who have you cosplayed as?
Maridah: I guess I will just go down the list chronologically:Relena (Gundam Wing), Fujiko (Lupin III), Motoko (Ghost in the Shell), Sayla (First Gundam), Lina Inverse (Slayers), Emma Sheen (Zeta Gundam), Kagome (InuYasha), Nagi (Devil Summoner 2), Saber (Fate/Stay Night)…I’m probably forgetting some.
M: Well, when I first found out I was in the book I was still very dazed from the influx of page views & comments from having been in an article Danny Choo posted and the amazing amount of attention figure.fm users gave my entry. I was still very much on cloud nine, and people were really encouraging me, telling me ‘Oh they will put you in!’ I think I felt mostly relief from anticipation when I got the contact email. Mine didn’t come right away, and I tend to be a doubter, not an optimist, so I was really unsure about getting in until the email.
Since I wasn’t on the first cover, my feelings about seeing the final revised cover are really complicated. I was excited, of course, but it seemed like maybe it wasn’t meant to be? It’s hard to summarize it. When I saw the first cover, I was a little sad I didn’t make it even though I never expected to. I don’t think of myself as cover material in all honesty, so it was sort of a feeling of expected letdown if that makes sense! Sort of like being turned down for a date you knew wasn’t ever going to happen. LOL That’s the best way I can explain the emotion.
So when I had my friend tweet to me that I should check out the revised cover…well I was shocked. I knew Danny had said he’d requested to have himself removed due to a lot of vocal opposition to the cover but I didn’t even entertain the idea of taking his place. I’m very happy about it, but it’s a complicated emotion. I just also feel like a undeserving spot stealer too! XD I’m certainly grateful, that is for sure. I can’t wait to show my parents~
N: How was your first cosplay experience? Do you think this greatly affected your love for the hobby?
M: My first cosplay experience was really amazing, and I defiantly think it has affected my feelings for the hobby. I spent the whole weekend having a blast. I met so many people, hung out with my buddies, made so many new friends, and just really enjoyed the convention. Good first impressions are imperative. Part of what makes a person pick up a hobby is the positive experiences we have with an activity, so if it hadn’t been just so much fun, I don’t think I’d still be cosplaying.
N: This question would probably be a bit serious: What are the things that you love and hate most about cosplaying?
M: The thing I love most is hard to pick.I have several reasons to love it. I’m gaining new skills, getting out of my shell and being extroverted and silly, the feeling of accomplishment… but I think the biggest thing for me is being able to meet people and talk with them. I have made some very important friendships from this hobby, fallen for people, and gained cool acquaintances that I would not have met without cosplay. Wearing a costume is like wearing a billboard saying you are a fan of a show. It’s like built-in advertising so you can get to know people with similar interests. That’s what I love the most about it.
What I dislike is the way people use the hobby to behave like a high school hierarchy where you don’t feel like you can trust people. There is a lot of backbiting and meanness, and it hasn’t always been so bad. People can be unnecessarily mean to virtual strangers. People let their own insecurities and issues taint the way they act, and there is a real breakdown in civility online and at conventions sometimes. I wish people would take everything less seriously, and remember that in the end, we are all just some nerds trying to have fun. Hobbies should be enjoyable.
N: Next question…and I’m very interested to know this: Do you have any cosplay idols? How about cosplay crushes?
M: I am totally in cosplay love with Flowery. She came up to me a few years back at AX and it was cosplay love at first sight! She’s so sweet, makes wonderful costumes, and is beautiful to boot…so I’ve decided she’s my cosplay waifu. I’m so much her fangirl! I’m hoping to cosplay with her at some point from Muramasa. (Excited!) I also think YukiLeFay is one badass cosplayer. She makes some killer costumes and I’m always impressed by the presence she gives off in pictures. She just seems like a formidable lady who clearly has construction skills!
N: You have a slowly growing fanbase as evidenced by your Facebook fan page and the comments on your OTACOOL submission. How do you feel about it?
M: It’s both awesome and a bit scary ^_^;; I really like that I’ve been able to chat with people that like my cosplay. I really like that for the same reason I like socializing at conventions. I’m making new friends from it all. At the same time, I’m also getting a lot of site traffic from foreign boards and its sort of strange seeing discussions (I can’t read) going on about myself. It’s weird. I get a lot of emails and notes that I don’t know how to respond to, so it’s awkward at times.
N: Your site has some very helpful tutorials for people who fail at sewing (like me). What made you think about writing and posting these in your site?
M: LOL actually it’s thanks in large part to MaxArcher. When I was working on my Saber, he was around for quite a lot of that, and had absolutely no idea where to even begin with sewing. His costumes had been bought or made by friends, so his asking me questions about everything, and teaching him the basics got me thinking. There are a ton of awesome tutorials out there for cosplayers, but they mostly assume you know the very basics. Plenty of people don’t, so I wanted to try and help fill the gap. I wanted to make something a random person with no experience who wanted to cosplay could read and potentially get help from. I actually grilled Max on what to include, so I’m trying to gather feedback from those who are learning so I can continue making these tutorials. I really just want to help make cosplay more accessible to others because I love it so much
N: Do you have any dream cosplays? Do you think you’ll be able to fulfill these in the future?
M: I really want to do a lot of big projects, but considering my dreams in my day to day life, and the amount of money involved, probably not. I would love to make a full scale Tachikoma if I had the budget, but I also think I want to go to a private art school in the future, so one outweighs the other XD Both will cost a lot! I don’t know where I would keep the Tachikoma anyways!
N: Hm. I dunno where Tachikoma is from tho… care to enlighten me? D: *fail*
M: It’s the blue spiderlike robots from Ghost in the Shell. They are very cute, and I’d love to make one that was to scale and could move certain parts and be sat in or stood on. That would be sick! Best prop ever IMO. Maybe I will make some nice Excalibur/Caliburn swords down the line though. Out of something other than balsa like now. That would be cool too. I’d like to have some CNCed up.