Hello again everyone! This Chris Salce, bringing you another edition of “The C-Word!” In this edition, I interview the extremely talented, Variable. Variable is an award-winning cosplayer, whose talent doesn’t stop at just cosplay. She’s also a special effects make-up artist and has been involved in films such as “The Great Gatsby.” Here is my interview with Variable:
Chris: How did you first get into cosplay?
Variable: I always find this question really difficult to answer because there’s a grey area. I made my first Lara Croft costumes in 1999 while I was doing gymnastics regularly, attending events and visiting children’s hospitals, and it sort of went from there, but I don’t think I knew the word “cosplay” until about 2007.
Chris: Do you make your own costumes? If so, which cosplay was the hardest to do. (make up included)
Variable: I do, but I also have a couple of pieces from other artists (my Catwoman cowl is by ReevzFX, my Jason helmet is by my friend, Jean, and my Mjolnir is from my cosplay brother, Steve). I have to say the hardest is one that I’m still working on – Samus Aran’s varia suit from Metroid. This is my fourth attempt to build this costume from scratch, and so far I’ve only mostly finished the new helmet, which was sculpted by hand in modeling clay and cast in roto-plastic, and I have a couple of wonderful friends offering to lend a hand with completing the rest. I have very little experience with lighting and electronics outside of lab classes so it’s exciting and daunting.
Chris: I see that you are an award-winning cosplayer. What kind of awards have you won and for which cosplays?
Variable: I’m not a competitive cosplayer, but I’ve won a handful of awards over the years. The most fun was being with my friends in an X-Men group, which won “best group” from Supanova and Madman Entertainment. And winning a Free Comic Book Day “Best Cosplay” award for my Power Girl and a Hall Award for my Rose Tyler both meant a lot to me, since they were while I was having a bit of a rough time and I wasn’t expecting or planning for either of them at all, I just happened to be there at the time. I don’t really enter competitions because they make me stress and take away the time I’d like to spend with my friends.
Chris: You’ve done many of cosplays, which is your favorite so far?
Variable: I like all of my different cosplays for different reasons, so usually the favourite is whatever I cosplayed last – currently Fionna from Adventure Time.
Chris: I’ve met Amanda Conner a couple of times before and she’s always been one of the sweetest people out there. Tell me how it felt to have Amanda Conner sign your Power Girl costume? A character that she made popular.
Variable: Conner, Palmiotti, and Gray’s Power Girl has been such a strong influence on me as a person, and a character I really look up to, so I was very nervous about speaking to Conner the first time and my friends helped me muster up the courage to do so. I was shaking like a leaf, but to have the approval of the artist and be signed as her Power Girl is invaluable to me, and I wear it with a lot of protective pride.
Chris: What tips would you give to people that have thought about doing cosplay but they don’t have any idea of how to get started?
Variable: Rule 1: Pick comfortable shoes! Websites and community groups are a really good resource for ideas and suggestions, and a great way to make other friends who cosplay or are thinking of starting out as well. I usually choose characters I love, because I want to share my fandom of them and have fun when I cosplay, but that can be pretty overwhelming to start with. Sometimes it’s easier and more comfortable to brainstorm which characters or actors people have said you remind them of, and choose that way. Also, don’t be afraid to closet cosplay. You don’t need to be an amazing seamster, armourer, or prop-maker to cosplay, and if you’d like to develop those skills, they will happen over time. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, none of us are perfect, we all grow and learn with time.
Chris: Which characters do you have in mind to cosplay as next?
Variable: I have a list of about 300 costumes I’d like to make, but I’m currently working on: Samus, the female Titan (Attack on Titan), classic Ms Marvel (Marvel Comics), Chiana (Farscape), Leone (Akame Ga Kill), Arya Stark (Game Of Thrones), Futaba Yashioka (Ao Haru Ride), and finishing my Catwoman (Batman Returns).
Chris: You also do make up and costumes for films, can you talk a bit about that?
Variable: I’m a qualified special effects make-up artist and silicone prosthetics technician. Working on film can be difficult to do as a cosplayer, as your schedule is very inconsistent and when you’re in studio or on location it often involves very long days with very early starts. But the rewards as an artist, seeing your hard work help breathe life into characters and stories is very magical, and you meet the most amazing people. I love what I do, and I’m really fortunate to have found my passion in a career. I’m looking forward to doing more sci-fi and creature work in the near future.
Chris: For our readers that don’t know, you’re from Australia. How different is the cosplay scene in Australia compared to the US?
Variable: They’re entirely different worlds. The USA has literally thousands of conventions every year, Australia has barely one per state (and we only have six states and two territories), and our conventions are much smaller. Most of us seem to attend maybe three or four conventions in the space of a year, we rarely travel interstate for them, and everyone knows everyone else, so cons are big social occasions. (We also rarely get as many big name guests as American cons, and we don’t have big reveals or panels, so we get more time to hang out.) Glomping is banned, along with other forms of harassment and assault, so bad incidents, catcalling, and creepy “interviewers” are rare at Australian cons. Laws restrict props and accessories (particularly prop weapons), and the lack of hotel conventions mean wearing big suits of armour or other large, uncomfortable costumes is very difficult as you can’t easily change. We don’t have the same culture of celebrity, so we don’t understand why people want to be “cosplay famous”, and while coscards are common, prints are not. Sometimes there’s drama, but it doesn’t seem to go as Thunderdome as what I saw in the USA. Overall, the Aussie community is really amazing, and I like that we’re practically one really giant group of friends.
Chris: What is your all time favorite movie and why?
Variable: Blade Runner (director’s cut), for every reason.
Chris: Will you be making any appearances in the US soon?
Variable: I hope so! I’ve been offered a job in Hollywood and I’m selling prints to help me afford the move, so all going well…
Variable gave one of the most in-depth interviews I have done on “The C-Word,” thus far. She is both extremely considerate and talented. I hope to see more of her work in the cosplay world and on the big screen, very soon. This wraps up another edition of “The C-Word.” Thank you guys and gals so much for continuously coming back to read these interviews. I, as well as the rest of the Nuke the Fridge gang, appreciate it. Before I go and leave you with some more of Variable’s amazing cosplay, be sure to follow/add her at these sites, where she has thousands of other cosplay pics: Facebook, VariableCosplay.com, Twitter, Instagram, Ask fm, Tumblr, and for her tutorials, visit these: Varia.Kinja.com, Aggressive Comix, iCosplay Magazine.