“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.
We end January with the Rocking Amanda Panda, here’s her CosTalk story:
MoGT: Tell us about Amanda Panda?
Amanda: Amanda Panda Cosplay is Amanda Esposito. I’m a student athlete at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. I am studying creative computation and math there while on the rowing team. My hobbies include of course cosplay, gaming, watching anime, working out, and crafts.
MoGT: Why do you enjoy Cosplay?
Amanda: Cosplay is my escape from my normal everyday life. It gives me a chance to be someone else whose life seems to be a little more interesting. It also gives me the chance to pretend to be some of my favorite characters for a day and of course gives me the opportunity to play dress up, which was always one of my favorite activities growing up.
MoGT: Where do you enjoy showing off your creations?
Amanda: My favorite con, which I go to every year, is MetroCon because I love the sense of community there. Everyone is so welcoming and nice and all my friends go to it since it is in my hometown of Tampa. It is the perfect size for a con, because at bigger cons like Comic con, which I attended in 2013, you end up waiting in line the whole time and miss out on the experience.
MoGT: How did you become a cosplayer?
Amanda: I got into cosplay when I was a junior in high school when I decided with my friend Jenn Hobbs, Yuppy Guppy Cosplay, to go to Megacon. Ever since then Yuppy Guppy Cosplay has been an inspiration to me and challenges me in cosplay. Also my friend Smiley Riley Cosplay has helped me a lot with learning how to make props and giving me pointers. My other friend Liz Herold also helps me with cosplay and inspired me with props that she has made.
MoGT: How’s the cosplay culture where you’re from?
Amanda: I cosplay in Florida and I love the community down here. Everyone is so passionate and their outfits are incredible. I love that at a con you don’t feel like an outcast anymore everyone is just like you and accepts your love of nerdy things and shares the same interests. Most of my friends cosplay too, which makes it more fun when we can work on projects together. I love doing group cosplays as well with my friends.
MoGT: How did your creation come to be? Give us your shopping tips?
Amanda: Most of the cosplays I have made or altered. I usually use Amazon for wigs just because I have prime. I get my contacts from pink paradise, because they are so comfortable. Amazon is probably my go to for shopping for cosplay supplies and of course JoAnns, Michael’s, and Home Depot for all the crafting materials. Always look for coupons because most of the stores have student discounts on top of coupons you can use on your phone through an app.
MoGT: Do you have any fun dating stories trying to explain cosplay?
Amanda: I don’t know if this counts but I met my current boyfriend over League of Legends. We would just play games together and we eventually met up and person and have been together for over a year. We have cosplayed together as well. He was Snow Bunny Nidalee and I was Mistletoe Leblanc for Anime South Last Year. For Metrocon last year I was Ryuko Matoi and he was Sanageyama.
MoGT: If you could be in any show or movie that inspires you, what would be your dream roll?
Amanda: I would want to be in Game Of Thrones. I would want to have an insane death that is worse than the mountain. I would just love to work with the cast, I love all the characters and actors in the show.
MoGT: What are your upcoming projects:
Amanda: I am working on Swim Suit Leona from League of Legends and I want to redo Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening. I am going to attempt to make Bayonetta but I mostly want to make her shoes because they are awesome. The rest of her outfit is going to take me a year to make so I’ll probably start working on it in the meantime.
MoGT: What advice do you have for aspiring cosplayers?
Amanda: Never think you are too big or too small to cosplay a character. Cosplay characters that you love and do not listen to anyone else besides yourself. No matter what you skin color is cosplay whoever you want. Sometimes I find myself not wanting to cosplay someone because I feel like I’m too tan to be an anime character or too tall since I’m 5’10 but I do it anyways.
MoGT: Who do you look up to in the Cosplay world?
Amanda: There are a lot of cosplayers I look up to. The ones I look up to the most would have to be my friends though. They always push me to do better and teach me new tricks. Yuppy Guppy Cosplay, Smiley Riley Cosplay, and Liz Herold are my biggest inspirations in cosplay. I also look up to artists like Kamui Cosplay, Jessica Nigri, Monica Lee, Amie Lynn, and Lyz Brickley Cosplay.
Thank you Amanda for sharing your work!
Cosplay on friends