This is an Interview with Mistress Zelda a Cosplay/Model, who works within the gaming industry,a well know public figure with over 14k Likes on your Facebook page.You can follow Mistress Zelda on her Facebook page found here also check out www.geekyfreaky.com which Mistress Zelda runs, and also check out www.geekxgirls.com which Mistress Zelda Writes for.
1. Hello Zelda, we’re really glad you agreed to do an interview with us. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! Thanks for having me 🙂 My name is Zelda, and I am a cosplayer, costumer, model, stylist, historical re-enactor, video game and web developer from Los Angeles. I’ve been cosplaying for over a decade, worked in video games since 2007 (currently at WhiteMoon Dreams, Inc on WARMACHINE: Tactics!) and have modeled professionally since 2009. I’ve developed several geek websites and write for several others, most notably GeekxGirls.com. I also am an aspiring armored combatant and costumer with the medieval re-enactment group the Society for Creative Anachronism (www.sca.org). I’ve even played a bit of video games and pinball at the competitive level.
2. I’m sure a few of our readers will recognise your face due to your work as a cosplayer. The inspiration for people getting into cosplay often comes from anime series and games that they fall in love with; what got you into it?
I’ve been cosplaying since 2002. I grew up near San Diego, so Comic Con was close to me when I was in high school. I went one year to do some people watching, and was introduced to cosplay for the first time. I immediately fell in love with it! The next year I came back in my first ever homemade cosplay as Meru from Legend of Dragoon. I always loved dressing up in costumes as a kid for Halloween, holidays or any reason at all, so it was an obvious evolution. My dad was a big geek, so I picked up a lot of his interests from a very, very young age. My mom even helped me make a Xena costume one year for Halloween when I was 12 or so. I was mostly into video games, fantasy and sci fi at that point, although my geekiness has only grown as I have gotten older.
I started modeling in 2009 through cosplay, and eventually that grew into a huge passion of mine as well. Actually very few photos of my early cosplays exist – it wasn’t nearly as popular back when I started, and the conventions were so much smaller! I was scared to be in front of a camera in those days.
3. When it comes to putting together new outfits, do you make your own or do you tend to source accessories and props for your characters from specialist manufacturers?
I do a little bit of everything. I definitely spend A LOT of my free time costuming, but I also enjoy sourcing. I do a lot of importing, and thrift shopping has been one of my hobbies since as long as I can remember, and there is kind of a thrill to treasure hunting and finding the perfect piece to modify. Sometimes I will buy something from someone if I really like it and they have a skill that I don’t, but making things is a lot of the fun. With the historical re-enacting comes a lot of costuming and armoring as well, so I’ve been able to take some of the skills I’ve learn from the SCA back to cosplay. If you ever see my makeup look good in a photo though, it wasn’t me who did it XD
4. Now you don’t see many famous male cosplayers, it tends to be the females who get the all the limelight. A lot of people argue that this is because some women cosplayers really sex up the appearance of the characters they portray, do you tend to agree with that assumption?
Sure, to some degree. But I wouldn’t really say it is female cosplayers who sex up the appearance (not all the time, anyway) – the characters are designed with sex appeal to begin with. Video games and comics and sci fi used to be very male dominated interests, so it made sense that a lot of the characters were designed with that audience in mind. That is true less and less, though – there are just as many females in fandom nowadays as men! And actually, there are plenty of well known male cosplayers, many of whom choose sexually provocative characters to cosplay as well (bless their hearts!). It makes sense that something with boobs is more likely to get shared around the internet. Everyone loves boobs. But girls like a sexy male cosplayer (almost) as much as guys like the sexy female ones.
5. Following on from that you get some feminists who would argue making cosplay outfits a little sexier helps empower women, others would say it gives women a bad name and then you have those who would blame men because for me they have nothing better to do. Do you think there is anything wrong with women making their outfits a little more raunchy?
For me, cosplay and feminism both are about doing what you want to do. I can understand where women who feel it gives us a bad name are coming from, but I don’t agree with them. Feminism is all about choice – women can now choose to go to the workplace or be a stay at home mom, instead of automatically being relegated to the one. It’s the same with cosplay. If someone wants to show their body in their cosplay, it’s not any of my business. Whatever makes them happy is what they should be doing. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it, I don’t have to look at it. I don’t understand why people feel so personally sleighted by the choices someone else makes. The world would be an awfully boring place if we all acted and thought the same way. But, people tend to feel very strongly about the characters they love and have a difficult time detaching themselves from the fact that there is an actual person underneath the cosplay.
My very first photoshoot ever was for a very popular nude cosplay site, and I immediately fell in love with it. Many of my photos are nude, and I do nude art modeling as well. Most of the women I work with also work nude in some capacity, and they are some of the most awesome, confident, interesting, smart and cool women I know. And faithful! Most of us are in serious, loving long term relationships. People make a lot of assumptions about a woman when she chooses to embrace her body and her sexuality, but they are rarely based in reality. A lot of people project their own insecurities.
6. Do you find it that you get more feedback from journalists who write about cosplay when you wear more revealing clothes, or do you think that is just a false idea portrayed by the media and you get equally as much feedback from detailed and well designed outfits?
There seems to be a happy medium. There is for sure a lot of respect for someone who is an amazing craftsman, does an amazing makeup transformation, or looks remarkably like a character. People also like sexually provocative cosplays. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, and it’s ok to like both, or to do both. I’m all about doing your own thing.
7. I think that’s all the more serious questions out of the way. So what is your favourite cosplay that you have done? Personally I really liked your Hexadecimal shoot.
Thanks! That was a fun one (actually a bodypaint!) I have done probably over 75 cosplays throughout the years – in 2013 alone I made 24. It’s hard to pick just one, although I have done a lot of stuff from Beetlejuice that I love, Tank Girl is always a blast, Harley Quinn is always super fun and I’ve done several different versions of, and I still love my Joker crossplay. I’m also working on a Krang from TMNT right now which I think is going to be pretty great. I tend to like the off the wall stuff the most.
8. Who is the most famous cosplayer you’ve met or would like to meet? I know a couple of my friends wouldn’t mind bumping into Jessica Nigri or Lindsay Elyse.
I don’t know. I think cosfame is weird. There are people who do work that I admire a lot, and I’ve made plenty of friends through conventions or the internet who I love dearly and respect greatly as artists. But I have never met someone and thought “Ermagerd, you’re that guy who did that thing!” and I have never aspired to be famous. I work in the entertainment industry and live in Hollywood, so celebrities are sort of a part of daily life. The only time I’ve ever met anyone and been starstruck was Mel Brooks. There are plenty of cosplayers I’d love to meet, but more because they are wonderful people and friends, and not due to any amount of fame or recognition they have achieved 🙂 Some of those people can be real jerks – fame is a dangerous drug. Some of them are great though, don’t get me wrong! It’s cool to see that people are able to turn cosplay into a career or even get into the entertainment industry through the hobby. That wasn’t the case even 5 years ago.
9. How easy is it actually meeting someone you want a relationship with whilst being a cosplayer? Does jealousy become an issue with all the attention you get? Do you find you attract the wrong people because of the way you dress?
I think people with jealousy issues are going to be jealous regardless. I’ve dated people like that, to be sure – don’t like the way I dress or how I wear my hair or the fact that many of my friends are men or the attention I get in person or on the internet. I’ve attracted the wrong type of people all sorts of ways, but I don’t know how much it has to do with my cosplay. There are creeps and assholes in every social circle. Again, I think it stems from an insecurity within oneself, the need to control the person you’re with. I’ve dropped those people from my life and my life is infinitely better because of it. I am currently engaged to a wonderful man who is also a costumer, armorsmith, propmaker and historical re-enactor and has self confidence for days. He loves and supports me in all my passions and endeavors, so it’s certainly possible 🙂 You might just have to deal with some turds first. Better to know they are turds up front.
10. I think I’d be shot by a couple of the IGC guys if I didn’t also ask this; do you know any lovely single female cosplayers in the UK who are looking for some lovely single young chaps? Myself included.
I’ll let you know if they ever become available 😉 Although I would highly recommend getting yourself to the Society for Creative Anachronism events if you are into medieval ladies – those girls rock too. I also used to use a lot of dating sites like Okcupid or meetup.com geek singles nights or OtakuBooty.com and have met a lot of interesting folks that way. Single geeky ladies are out there! You just have to know how to approach them in the right way.
11. As well as cosplaying you also have a couple of your own websites so why not tell us a bit more about them so our readers can check them out.
I am the Editor in Chief for www.GeekyFreaky.com – We are a Los Angeles based website that focuses on the cross section between geek and alt culture. I was noticing a trend of overlap in a lot of my circles and saw that no one focused on the weird mashup of subcultures. We are kind of the darker fringe geeks – the ones who are into BDSM and kink, burlesque, tattoos, metal, punk and industrial, LGBT and alternative relationships, horror, cyberpunk, dieselpunk, steampunk, post-apocalyptic genres and future tech. We also do a lot of event coverage.
12. And finally, for any of our readers who are interested in getting involved with cosplay or are just starting out, what advice can you give them from your own experience?
Do it! Do it how you want to do it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are doing is wrong. Be open to learning and advice, but don’t ever sacrifice yourself for your work. If what you are doing isn’t making you happy, don’t do it. Try not to take it personally when you inevitably get haters – they will come. Don’t give in to the drama and negativity and do your part to help uphold people to a higher standard. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take chances – that is how we all learn. And in the words of the infamous Jarod Nwbzpwnr “Cosplay whatever you want.”