“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton
We love Cosplay, unabashedly so, and one of the cool things about hanging out at Cons is hearing why someone enjoys a character or genre. Cosplay is the biggest form of that flattery, and we aim to bring you the stories behind all those people in funky, fun dress up.
Say hello so our super special guest, Leaping Lizard
MoGT: What does cosplay represent for you?
LL: Cosplay represents an opportunity to present my own personality in a mirage of ways. It’s a creative outlet, something that completely consumes my thoughts, and it’s a way of receiving validation in my life. In short, it’s a lot of things, but most of all it’s just fun!
MoGT: What are your favorite events to attend? Tell us any good stories…
LL: This is like asking a kid what candy is their favorite. 😀 I LOVE ALL CANDY! Oops, I mean cons. All joking aside, I have to say smaller cons and events are definitely more personal for me. Sometimes I can get swept up in the sheer magnitude of the con that I forget to slow down and interact with others.
MoGT: How did you get your start and who’s your biggest supporter?
LL: I actually love telling this story! 😀 First though, I’m going to answer the second part of this question. I have to say my biggest supporters are easily all of the amazing people who follow me online. I like to actually refer to them as my geckos, because it’s something individualized and personal to me. The term fans and followers feels kind of weird, so I consider them all my friends, but they are all super special to me and that’s why I wanted to give them a special nickname. I’m Leaping Lizard Cosplay, so geckos just kind of seemed to fit in with the whole lizard theme. To all of Geckos or supporters of my work, you are all amazing people, you have lifted my spirits on dark days, and humbled me on others. I can’t thank everyone enough.
Back to the story! 😀
It all started back in 2006: my friends were doing a One Piece cosplay group for Metrocon, and they asked me to join. Chopper, being the adorable companion he is, was an instant choice. I didn’t really understand what cosplaying was, but after experiencing it, I fell in love.
Here I was, surrounded by like-minded people – people who loved the same things I did. It was so easy to just walk up and start a conversation with anyone; being an extrovert, I loved it. Before college, I knew only a few people who shared the same interests as me, and even in college, I still had a small group. It was the first time I was really surrounded by thousands of my fellow nerds, geeks and freaks. I felt welcomed instantly, more so than anywhere else in my life. No one judged me or called me names. If anything, I got tennis elbow from the multitude of high fives. It didn’t matter if I was a woman, a cosplayer, a gamer, or anime enthusiast – all that mattered was that I was accepted for me; there was no one questioning me or what I did. As a result, cosplay has turned into my personal safe haven for everything I hold dear and cherish.
So I ask you, “How could someone not fall in love so quickly?”
MoGT: Are there any future project you’re working on or hoping to get to do?
LL: I have to say my current project is to become Team USA for the World Cosplay Summit competition held in Japan. Another dream would be to be able to cosplay for a videogame company or comic book series.
MoGT: What’s the cosplay culture like where you’re from, do you have friends that cosplay as well?
LL: Originally, a couple of my college friends would go to cons and cosplay maybe once or twice a year. I fell in love with the hobby from the beginning, but it was hard not having people who could relate to how serious I was about it, and how much I loved it. Since I started making regular appearances at conventions I have a plethora of friends and always someone to ask for help or to hang out with.
MoGT: If your nerd dream came true: what are you starring in, and who are you starring with? Actor/actresses/writer/directors?
LL: This is going to sound funny, but I’m absolutely terrified of video cameras. I’d hate being on television. But if I had to pick something, it’d be a sci fi themed show with the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence, the handsome Gerard Butler, written by the talented Joss Whedon, and directed by the legend, Steven Spielberg.
MoGT: Any advice for our readers and your followers about Cosplay or life in nerdom?
LL: I do have to rant on a current subject now that you mention it. Lol… I see this all the time and I do feel something has to be said. Just the other day I read an ambiguous status saying… “I hate when cosplayers do…” *Looks left and right and raises hand slowly.*
Oh well, darn if you do, darn if you don’t. In life I feel that intentions are interpreted negatively more often than not. *shrugs*Cosplay and in life in general do what you want and don’t worry about the nay say-ers. Someone is always going to disagree or think what you do is wrong or not the way you should act or behave.
For those who are met with such negativity, I guess my best advice is to not get defensive, don’t even acknowledge it, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not engage them in conversation as well. It’ll only end poorly. Don’t feed the troll.
I bring this all up because I’ve seen a lot of status and arguments over the silliest things in our community. People are so concerned with how others live their lives and what they choose to do with them. They call them ignorant, selfish, etc… My momma always said, “If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
That said, yes, there are debates and people can be honest and express themselves. It’s a free country and internet after all. I, for the most part, appreciate the honesty of others. If someone doesn’t like something that I say or do it’s great, because then I can engage them, challenge my beliefs and grow from that experience. That said, people still need to hold themselves in a respectable manner. Focus on the opinions of those who you are emotionally invested in, whether it may be, friends, families, significant other. Do not focus on the words of a stranger.
As a cosplayer if you want to do something controversial, do it, but you better be prepared to get negative feedback. Be able to handle the criticism. Your intentions may not have even meant to be controversial, you may even do something just for fun and people will tear you down for that. Lead by example. Brush off any negativity. Do not take anyone’s negativity to heart.
Don’t sweat the small stuff guys. Seriously, if these people probably knew you personally and took time to talk and get to know you, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be so cruel, and if they were open minded enough and positive individuals they could probably see it from the other side. One has to accept others, for who they are, not who they expect them to be.
Have a great day you beautiful people you. Continue rocking it. Always and forever cosplay for yourself, not for anyone else. Not for fame, or fortune, but because it is fun and you want to share your passion with others. Hey if you are or become famous and it’s what you wanted, more power to you. Just even then, continue to have fun.
MoGT: Do you have any good shopping or crafting tips about cosplay and your style in general?
LL: Hunt for sales and coupons! Recycle as much as you can. The best crafting tip I can say is have extra of the materials you need. According to Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” This is generally true when you are experimenting with a new technique for the first time, I can easily say that I have learned a lot, but from countless mistakes.
MoGT: You have a print store, tell us about the photographers you’ve worked with?
LL: I have prints in my store from three photographers and I’m about to add another two shortly.
Shay and all the stellar people at CosTalk, thank you all so much for giving me this opportunity to share my story. I hope to make cosplaying a second career and paint this community in the most positive light. I truly appreciate this opportunity to share my passion and experiences with you and your readers. I’m truly humbled.
Please, please, please show some love for this talented Cosplayer:
Fashionably Good Taste