The Ministers of Good Taste like to reach out and conduct interviews with fellow cosplayers around the world to see what’s going on. If you would like to be part of CosTalk, or know someone who would – please contact us at email@example.com.
This week we are fortunate enough to be able to interview fellow cosplayer Courtney Stark!
MoGT: What is your cosplay handle/how should we and our followers refer to you?
CS: I started my cosplay page under the name Vakarians, coming from Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect who is one of my all-time favorite video game characters. Otherwise, Courtney Stark will do just fine.
MoGT: Where did your Nerdness come from and what kind of story is behind it? Childhood? Formative years?
CS: I’ve always been into books, art and science-fiction from when I was a little one. My dad is a big Star Trek fan and we used to watch Star Trek and all sorts of science-fiction films and documentaries all the time. When I was about 10 years old, I fell in love with Tolkien’s works and The Lord of the Rings films and they changed my life forever! They’ve become a huge part of my life and I got a tattoo of the Door of Durin to show it.
MoGT: What are the shows/comics/books/ movies that inspire you to dress up? Role models? Actors/Actresses you aspire to look like?
CS: Tolkien’s works and the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, anything set in a pseudo-medieval, fantasy style epoch are of course a huge source of inspiration to me. I love shield-maiden style characters, such as Lagertha Lothbrok from Vikings. The Elder Scrolls games was really where it all started for me with cosplaying as I first cosplayed as Aela the Huntress from the Companions in Skyrim. Also having Scottish and Scandinavian heritage as well as red hair, I find that a lot of the characters I want to cosplay as have red hair and are portrayed as warriors.
MoGT: When you aren’t Cosplaying how fashion conscious are you? Do you have any fashion tips? How would you describe your clothing/style?
CS: My wardrobe is 99% black and the rest is the occasional odd color or two! I love layers, draped fabrics and natural fibers and textures such as wools, cottons, linens and leathers. Just anything that’s minimal and comfortable. My overall style, I guess, is inspired by The Ringwraiths from LOTR and Rick Owens. One of my favorite clothing labels is Ovate clothing, who are based in Canada, and I love everything they do!
MoGT: What are your biggest pet peeves while Cosplaying?
CS: It’s hard to say because in such a loving, welcoming and creative community, I find it hard to say anything bad because I’ve had all good experiences and good weighs out the bad. If anything, I would personally have to say etiquette at conventions with both photographers and cosplayers, and by that I mean, while a cosplayer is sitting down eating and relaxing for example, coming up to them asking for a photo or interrupting other cosplayers having their photo-taken. I’m also not a huge fan of cosplayers starting kick-starter projects to fund their costumes or convention trips personally because I’d rather work and earn the money to do my hobby as opposed to asking people to help. But we won’t get into that too deeply…
MoGT: Tell us your best stories about a person or group of people you’ve met while at an event?
CS: PAX Australia in July 2013 was my most memorable cosplay experience. I remember going up to one of the booths for a medieval guild based in Melbourne and just playing with LARP weapons and then having heaps of people take photos of me, and then doing an interview with Jeff Cannata for his new show about 30 seconds after I had my photo taken with someone cosplaying as Corvo Attano from Dishonored.
MoGT: What was your very first cosplay: character/event/story?
CS: Aela the Huntress from the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and
Melbourne Supanova in 2012 was where it all began. It’s a little embarrassing to look at that one now as I’ve worked on Aela’s costume so much more and upgraded a lot of things but after that, I realized a lot of things that needed to be fixed up, such as how the armour sat on the outfit and what else I needed to get for next time.
When I started working on Aela the Huntress MK2 for PAX AUS, I said to myself, “I am going to start again and this is what I need to do”. I made it within 3 days and ended up finishing it off when I got to my friend’s house in Melbourne at 4 am on day 1 of PAX AUS. So, you can imagine I would have been knackered after day 1 of the convention.
MoGT: Can you share how your costume(s) came about? Any good shopping tips?
CS: Aela the Huntress MK 2 was made within 3 days. A friend made some chainmaille pieces for me and we attached it to a belt. The armour pieces were made from Wonderflex and craft foam and I used EVA foam as well, and stick on googley-eyes for rivets. The dress itself was upholstery fabric and most of it was held together with hot-glue, Velcro and hand sewing. Thankfully, working at a craft store has its perks when it comes to cosplaying!
I would say my biggest cosplay shopping tip is to shop for things that are as close to the real thing, such as faux leather-suede, faux furs etc and to think outside the box, of course. If you can’t find, for example, a leathery type dress material, upholstery fabric also works just as well! If you can’t get rivets for armour, adhesive googley eyes work just as well. I would also recommend investing in some liquid iron if you’re cosplaying a character in an outfit that bares a lot of skin in the winter season, because you’ll need that to help keep you warm and your blood circulating.
MoGT: Do you have any good dating stories about breaking the news that you cosplay? Or how does your significant other feel about your nerdness?
CS: I don’t have any, unfortunately because I am currently not dating or seeing anyone! Most men I talk to find it really cool that I am into cosplaying and have met a lot of guys who cosplay and it’s also a good opportunity to find commonalities and geek out over the same things, same games and characters and so on that we love. I’ve been told that I “out-geek” most guys by a few, but I hardly think so. I think we’re all equal to how we’ve earned out nerd badge of honor.
MoGT: What are some upcoming events or projects you are a part of/or looking forward to?
CS: I am currently working on a short film with a friend, designing some characters and then modelling them in 3DSMax and Zbrush, but I can’t talk about that too much. I am also a writer for AllThatsEpic and have been for nearly a year this year. At the moment, I’m planning to move interstate soon and will also be attending PAX AUS this year in Melbourne.
MoGT: Tell us about what you want your followers to know about you: what are your passions in life? Any advice for our readers and your followers?
CS: My ultimate goal is to do special effects makeup and character design for large motion pictures and games. When I’m not working or studying, I’m creating characters, drawing and sculpting. I’ve found that doing things on my own and taking extra-curricular activities is helping build portfolio work because most people will be more interested in what you do on your own because they know what your coursework portfolio is going to look like. My main piece of advice is to do things on your own, and don’t wait for your college teacher to hold your hand for you; grab yourself some clay, take advantage of free Autodesk software, go down to your fabric stores and go crazy: watch tutorials on everything, post your work online, ask for comments and critique and build your work up.
MoGT: IIf your nerd dream came true: what are you starring in, and who are you starring with? Actor/actresses/writer directors?
CS: My dream cast would be huge. I would have Sir Christopher Lee, Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and John Cleese. It would probably be directed by Guillermo Del Toro and have Rick Baker as head of makeup and prosthetics. Not sure what it would be about, but it would be awesome.
You can follow Vakarians AKA Courtney Stark:
Please also check out
We want to thank both for letting us showcase their art in our article!
~ E.S. Norton ~