Christie (Red Baran Cosplay)

What was your first cosplay?

My first cosplay was Cinder Fall, this dress wasn't my first run of it, I actually never even took pictures of my first attempt. I started with a 10$ sewing machine - it could do a straight stitch, that was it, not even a back stitch. The fold designs I tried painting on with spray paint, and I'm sure you can imagine how well that went. Though I look back at that costume cringing a bit, I still enjoyed going to my first convention dressed up with dress and full accessories, and the reactions I got from other con goers when they saw me holding/wearing Pyrrha's crown. This year I'll be improving/rehashing a few costumes, maybe I'll redo my Cinder dress now that I have an OK sewing machine, or maybe do another one of her outfits - arena maybe.

How many cosplays have you done?

In the year I've been cosplaying I've put out 7 cosplays. I would have liked to maybe gotten more out but in the end i'm pretty happy with what I've done, and all the skills I've learned. I started with literally no knowledge of foamwork, sewing, or special effects makeup, so getting to begin to learn skills has been an amazing journey especially as I surround myself with amazingly talented cosplayers. It's just seven right now, and I still have so much to learn, but it's just the beginning of what I'm sure will become quite the collection.

What's your most recent cosplay?

My most recent cosplay is my Kyubey from Madoka Magicka that I brought to Katsucon. This is definitely on my to-do list for complete rehaul. I'll be redoing the wig and dress at the very least but i'm pretty happy with the concept overall. She won't be making it to Animazement, but the next con I go to I'll definitely whip her out again.

Where do you go to talk about cosplay?

This is a hard one since I don't talk too much about cosplay, I just kinda... do cosplay. Whenever I need help I always hit up Facebook pages for advice and have on rare occasions gone to Reddit, but mostly I stick to Facebook.

What is your favorite cosplay?

This one is a tie for me. I love my Neo cosplay because I love getting into character for her, dealing with the obstacle of being mute, and I love the reaction I get from people when I pull out her hidden blade that I put into my umbrella. I'm also so proud of my volume 4 Cinder though because I finished her just a week after the design came out. I also think it looks like probably one of my cleanest cosplays so far.

Which character that you've cosplayed is most similar to you?

For this I'd have to say Cinder Fall. I was first drawn to her and she became my first cosplay because I loved how effective a villain she was. She knew what she had to do, she didn't fuck around with her objective, and she was driven. As much as I love Roman from the RWBY series, he was pretty ineffective and his loud mouth ended up leaving him wide open for the kill. I feel I resonate with Cinder because I consider myself pretty driven when I have a goal in mind. I have a small group of friends I rely on, like Mercury and Emerald, and for the most part I don't have time to get pulled into drama. I hope to see my favorite character bounce back in Volume 5.

What characters do you have planned for 2017?

The year is still young and I'm sure this plan will change a lot, but here are the characters I would love to do/have already started for 2017. Gyokuen Ren from Magi - I would love to have her done by DragonCon, Storm Lux from League of Legends - I'm part of a group of all 10 elemental Lux's, we'll be debuting for Animazement, and Lady Ridley Silverlake from Radiata Stories - This is more of a personal piece, I just finished Radiata Stories and fell in love with her armor and outfit. Not a bad thing necessarily, but I feel compelled to finish her before Katsucon of next year. Next will be Cinder Fall's spy outfit. You can never have enough Cinder, and I think I've worn her two dresses enough, so I thought I'd try to tackle her body suit - aiming to be done before DragonCon. After that is Mr. Sato's IBM from Ajin. I'm not sure when I'd finish him, but he's been on my list for a long time and I'd like to start this massive build at least sometime this year. Also I have May Chang from Fullmetal: Alchemist, since I will be handler for an Al Elric for Animazement.

What is your dream cosplay that might actually happen?

Mr. Sato's IBM from the show Ajin. Now I know that Ajin gets a bad rap, but when it comes to bad guys it doesn't get much better than Mr. Sato, I'd be OK if they made a show that only revolved around him to honest. I would love to make his IBM, but the idea of sticking myself into a 7+ foot tall body suit is a bit daunting at the moment, so i'll be working myself up to the challenge. I hope to finish him at the very latest by the release of season 3 of Ajin, so I should have plenty of time to experiment with fog testers, different stilts, and materials. If you haven't watched Ajin you should check it out. The 'black ghosts', or IBM are really cool and I find the animation for their fight scenes amazing.

What is a dream cosplay that probably won't happen?

Honestly, I haven't found any outfit that I've wanted to cosplay and been like 'welp, that's never gonna happen'. There are definitely some that I'm putting off until my skill level is a bit higher with my sewing, but my ideology is that given enough time, patience, and practice, along with some help from friends, any obstacle can be accomplished. So right now I don't really have a dream cosplay that I'll never make.

What is something cosplay related you will never do?

I'm not a fan of Overwatch. I appreciate the designs and the people who do make costumes from the series have been incredibly talented and have made really impressive costumes, but this is a bandwagon I refuse to jump onto. I always have, and probably will always be an RPG fan, which is why you see me cosplay from series like Dark Souls of the Legend of Zelda. I just never found the same love in FPS's though who know, maybe one day someone will convert me.

Who is your cosplay idol?

There are a lot of people I could have chosen for this, but I ended up choosing the person I started following right when I started cosplay. Bill and Britt Doran from punished props are so amazing and I really look up to them. Not only are they super talented and have made cosplay a living, but they also urge all their viewers to grow and learn from them. In a world where so many try hindering others just so they can get a step ahead, I could love this mindset more and try to emulate it when I can.

What is your cosplay specialty?

If you know me you should already know this one. I have a special place in my heart for the baddies, which is why my entire 2016 lineup was filled with them. 2017 will be similar. I've added 2 good guys/neutral characters for group or handler purposes, but I intend to stick to bad guys, they're just so fun.

What are your cosplay making habits?

Does procrastinating count as a habit? I think my most prominent habit when working on cosplay is to skip around a lot. One hour I'll work on sewing, then switch to sculpting, then the next hour I'll be painting - it's really difficult for me to stay on task for live streams. This seems to really help when I get frustrated with one project, especially with sewing.

What's your least favorite thing about cosplay?

Sewing! I hate sewing. I respect people that make sewing a breeze, because it is the hardest part of any project for me by far.  I just can not for the life of me make fabric bend to my will. I've picked a few sewing heavy projects this year to try to tackle this skill head on. I've already learned a lot, but I have a long way to go to cleaner looking costumes.

Do you belong to any cosplay groups?

Though I work on the majority of my cosplay alone - I'm an introvert so I kinda like that. I am a somewhat inactive member of the 105th, and have recently joined a group called the Cosplayers Guild. These groups are mostly Raleigh based, I would love to find a group in the Charlotte, NC area to bounce ideas off of, but I have yet to find one. Who knows, maybe I'll stumble across one in 2017.

What events have you cosplayed to?

I've only cosplayed at conventions. I would like to maybe get into charity events, but that would have to involve making a not scary character and something more well known to kids. For now I think I'll just stick to the conventions.

What is your favorite cosplay moment?

Probably my favorite, or proudest, cosplay moment was when I won my first award for my Abyss Watcher. It's been awhile since I've entered but I do want to pick up entering cosplay contests again. I entered my Abyss Watcher into 2016 Cosplay America and won judges choice for its 'attention to detail'. I hope to up my game a lot this year and bring even more detailed work to the conventions I go to.

What is your worst cosplay memory?

I guess this is more of a con memory than cosplay specific. When I went to my first convention - Nashicon - in 2016, I made the mistake of going to a gaming panel with my friend. The panel in general was poorly run, and one of the men on the panel kept on talking about how much he liked games you could rape in, or masturbating to girls crying in video games. I know it was an 18+ panel but I found this incredibly inappropriate and actually left the convention because of it. Thankfully it hasn't deterred me from going to cons since, because I haven't had a terrible experience like that since.

Have you won any awards?

I have won 2 awards, the first, I hope, of many. At Cosplay America in 2016 I won judge's choice for my Abyss Watcher, and then the next day won a SFX makeup contest. The next craftsmanship contest i'll be entering will be at Animazement.

Have you worn cosplay in a regular situation?

I don't wear cosplay in every day situations mostly because I don't have any casual cosplays, if I had more ordinary outfits I definitely would rock a cosplay outfit.

What is your most expensive cosplay?

This is a hard one, it's between my Abyss Watcher and the storm Lux I'll be debuting at Animazement, but I guess I have to say my Abyss Watcher in the end. I had to remake my vest/jacket and a few other pieces, and upholstery vinyl is not that cheap. There was also quite a bit of molding and casting, and the materials for that aren't exactly cheap. In the end I probably spent 200-300$ on this complete outfit, that includes having to rebuy materials to retry parts of costumes.

What are your least and most comfortable cosplays?

My Neo is probably one of my favorite cosplays, but it's also the worst to wear. The heels are more uncomfortable than any I've ever had and I'm not use to wearing corsets so my sides are sore after wearing her for a day. Worth it though since I love my silent maniac. My abyss watcher has really comfortable boots and is pretty easy to maneuver around in so it's probably my most comfortable to wear, and warm for winter cons.

What cosplay have you put the most effort into?

If anyone really knows me, you'll know my undying love of Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. I plan on redoing this cosplay but I spent a lot of time on it before DragonCon. Over a month went just to perfecting the mask, making sure every detail was perfect, the texture was what I wanted. The detail went down to the point to where when you turned the lights on for the eyes small capillary veins would become visible making the mask look even creepier. The tunic was also an original design and took me a long time to think up and the sword was in the least to say a monster to mess with, and my first time trying out epsilon. I love this outfit, but I can't wait to redo for DragonCon again.

Any costumes left unfinished?

The only costume that I'm not currently working in that isn't finished is my Shiro from Deadman Wonderland. I may come back to her one day, but she's low on a long list currently.

How many wigs do you have?

I've accumulated 8 in the last year and I'm sure I'll accumulate many more in the year to come.

Where do you work on/store your cosplays?

I just moved, so now I get to work on my cosplay in the garage. Some may see this as a downgrade but the cleanup is easier and I'm all for that. In terms of storing I haven't really figured that out yet. Random boxes and my own closet is where most of them live.

What is your favorite cosplay item?

This is between my 'bearskin' hat/rifle for my Revenant or my umbrella for Neo. I love the detail and accuracy of the umbrella but I just love the look of my hat and the massive amounts of details on the rifle will make it one of my best builds yet.

In three words, what does cosplay mean to you?

'Let it go.' - Please resist breaking into song with this phrase. I chose the phrase 'let it go' because for me and many others in the cosplay world, we suffer from different issues of different degrees. Whether it be anxiety, bi polar disorder, etc, these are really hard to deal with. Granted cosplay isn't a replacement for other treatments, but to me cosplay is a therapy that helps me jump into another person's skin, and boost my confidence. It has made me in general a more confident person, and it helps me let go of my daily worries and just have fun.