Faces of Cosplay: Labinak and Mangoloo Cosplay

In July of last year, I was in RTX with Kiogenic. It was her senior trip.  I had registered for the convention, but never actually went in- the line to pick up badges was CRAZY, and I had too much fun talking to cosplayers in line.

(It was a lesson: cosplayers are super happy to be interviewed when they are stuck in line! I used this lesson in Mexico as well: equally true!)

As I worked my way down the miles-long, winding, cast of thousands waiting to register, I was struck by the amazing cosplay of these two:

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Labinak and Mangoloo Borderlands RWBY cosplay at RTX 2017

This cosplay was exquisitely made, ultra-detailed and eye-catchingly different. A beautiful example of creative cosplay, in this case, of melding two franchises.  The young woman on the right, Mangoloo was the artist in this case, and was kind enough to talk to me about her enthusiasm and process.

I’m grateful, as her willingness to share was also extremely useful in the academic cosplay work that I’ve completed since as well! Therefore, I hope she’ll forgive me for this profile taking so long to post.

Name:  Mangoloo

Age:  24 years old

Do you have a “day” job?: I definitely do!

How long have you been cosplaying?: I’ve been cosplaying for about 5 years now.

What’s your home base? :I’m based in Vienna, VA.

How do you choose your characters? What appeals to you about them? Do you identify with or aspire to be like them?:

There are many different factors that I consider when choosing a character to cosplay. A big factor is if I can relate to the character. For instance, Ruby from RWBY – I can easily relate to her sweet derpy personality.

RWBY collage

 

I also look into the design – I particularly like challenges so I tend to choose more difficult cosplays, for instance, Final Fantasy’s Serah Farron. Overall my love for the character is what motivates me to make the cosplay for it. I think more often I identify with my character because I spend so much time doing character studies and trying to get into the head of the character so I can accurately roleplay as them by the time the cosplay is done.

Do you have a signature or favorite cosplay?:

I think most people know me from my RWBY Ruby Rose cosplay. Although if I personally had to choose a favorite – I can’t say that I necessarily have one because I love all my cosplays differently. Each cosplay came with different challenges that I had to figure out how to overcome and new techniques that I had to learn. I am proud of the outcome of all my cosplays; therefore, each cosplay has a special place in my heart.

Mangoloo Aliens

Do you make, or buy your cosplays?:

Primarily I make my cosplays because I enjoy the challenge. Although I have bought/modified a few more causal ones.

What’s the best things someone has said to you about your cosplay? What’s the worst?:

The best thing someone could say about my cosplay is complimenting my detail work. I take huge pride in the small details. As for the worst – I would say if someone makes a comment that isn’t constructive. I am all for constructive criticism.

 

Can you elaborate on the “character studies” you do? What does that consist of?
Character studies consist of anything from memorizing quotes, learning the backstory, learning speech patterns, etc – essentially anything to help me get to know the character better so that I can better get into the head of the character when I go and roleplay as them.
Check out Mangoloo’s amazing work on her Facebook PageTumblr, and consider booking them by emailing: LMcosplays@gmail.com.
Labinak and Mangoloo
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Showing the World Who You Are: Cosplay Identities

Cosplay daughter went to school today rocking her Hogwarts House Colors. And with a wand.

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Wearing also, a vial of wolfsbane. We all remember what a dangerous zoo high school could be.

 

She’s very proud of having been sorted into Ravenclaw by the official sorting hat on the Pottermore website.

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….for the record, I was surprisingly sorted into Gryffindor.  I was dead certain that I’d be Ravenclaw myself. Huh.

But it does make my McConagall cosplay make more sense:

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Me and a small 8-year-old cosplay daughter at the release party for the Deathly Hallows. May have actually been her first official cosplay: Hermione, of course.  Fuzzy photo, but note time turner! She won the children’s division- first place.

That my daughter and I were sorted into different houses surprises me not a bit.  She has my blond hair….and that’s about it. We are very different on the inside, in talents, personality and approach to the world.

What we look like on the outside (similar, like mother and daughter) isn’t truly indicative of who we are on the inside.

In my beauty class at the university, we are winding up a unit on beauty and identity- how outward appearances signal inner worth and identity.  We talk about the French philosopher Paul Valery’s theory of three bodies, where the second body (your outer appearance) is a reflection of the first body (who you are inside). As Nancy Etcoff says, we all seek to show the world who we really are, by what we look like- AND wde all strive for an outer appearance that shows the world what we’d like to be.

This seems particularly true to me in the world of cosplay.  Cosplay is the practice of choosing the identity that you’d like to have, or wish you had, or feel you DO have, and showing it more specifically to the world.

Few people to cosplay the characters that no one likes- the mean ones or the stupid ones.

Cosplay daughter recently attended a convention (Naka-Kon) in her Yang cosplay, and went to a RWBY  meet-up.

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She’s the Yang in the aviator sunglasses, front and center

I love the story this photo tells about cosplay choices.

There are six Yangs (one of them gender-bent) and six Rubys (two of them gender-bent), four blakes (one gender-bent) but only two Weiss cosplayers.

Why only two Weiss?

Because no body likes her. She’s the spoiled, bitchy character from RWBY. The mean girl.

We choose to cosplay characters we admire, both because they are like what we feel like inside, and represent elements of who we’d like to be.

I love how the cosplay community recognizes that this might mean that you want to crossplay a character whose biological gender is different than yours, like, say cosplay daughter does when she cosplays 2-D from the Gorillaz (a new cosplay)

Gorillaz Naka kon

Lounging, with melodica, on the right

and it’s also a great choice to gender-bend your cosplay, take the inspiration of the character, his/her strengths, style, power and value, and make a version of it that fits your own biological gender. (I love the guy rocking the ruby-red hat as Ruby in the above photo).

We all make choices about how our appearance communicates our identity to the world.

Cosplay widens the possibilities for people- male, female, young, old, etc. in what they can show.

Today, my daughter went to school with a wand and house tie that she’s proud to know represents intuition, originality, wit, eloquence, intelligence, and all the other traits listed above in the Ravenclaw image.

How wonderful is it that she has that chance? That she’s empowered by both the great literary work of Rowling AND the cosplay community to confidently claim these traits as part of the identity she feels and the self she shows the world.

What else could a Mom ask for?

Writing this, I am actually even more determined to do a cosplay that I’ve been talking about for years- a weary, bad-ass Mom who will do anything to keep fighting both intractable bureaucracy and the monsters who threaten her girl.

I really need to cosplay Ripley. That’s how I feel on the inside. Time to show you all.

ripley-and-newt

 

 

 

Yang Xiao Long on the Sulaco- Arkansas Anime Festival T-Minus 19 Days

Ok, folks, here we go- New cosplay project!

Armed with a NEW, heavy duty sewing machine,

Yay! Currently brainstorming names for her. I'm thinking maybe Sulaco.

Yay! Currently brainstorming names for her. I’m thinking maybe Sulaco.

and we’re ready to take on a new Cosplay for our next convention:  The Arkansas Anime Festival (A2F).

Cosplay daughter realizes that much of her cosplay is gaming-based, which is fine, but she wanted an Anime costume for A2F.  She’s been wanting to try for Yang cosplay for a while, and we’re going to go for it:

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Once again, this is a cosplay from a show (RWBY) that I don’t know, but apparently she’s not only smart, and funny (apparently spouting bad puns like weapons)…..

Yang pun

…..but has awesome fighting skills:  super strength in her punch, which is linked to the gauntlets that also fire bullets.  When she’s really angry, her hair also flames, and she can take down a whole building with her fists.  She’s a huntress, fighting monsters.

I understand why daughter (newly training in Kenpo) loves this character.

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So here we go.  Armed with a modest budget, we hit JoAnn fabrics yesterday, and then, of course, the thrift stores.  Can we make this cosplay for less than $100? Let’s find out.

(Looking at the cosplay.com website for advice yesterday, I saw that one of the member’s mottos was “Nothing is impossible, but some things are very expensive.” So. Very. True.

It’s easy to drop hundreds of dollars on one of these projects in small pieces. We have to avoid that this time- I have to save for us to go to Pax South in January)

Cosplay daughter is an inveterate internet and thrift shopper, though.

We found second hand boots that would work, and by last evening, she had altered them, made the scarves to go on top and the sock/sleeve for her left leg.

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Here working, while watching RWBY for inspiration. That’s Yang on the screen.

The boots and scarves.

The boots and scarves.

Today we start tackling the jacket- T Minus 19 days and still under budget.

Wish us luck!