Faces of Cosplay: The Porcelain Princess

To me, cosplay is a kind of therapy, a way of expressing my creativity in a way others might enjoy and appreciate.”

As I’ve mentioned before, Kiogenic was lucky enough to have an internship with a local armory that made awesome Mandalorian gear. That place has since (sadly) folded, but I’m still in touch with the great guy who was her mentor.  Recently, he shared that the intern that followed Kiogenic: Gabriella Ward, was seeking to get some exposure for her work in special effects makeup, and asked us all to take a look at her work.

Folks, her work is AMAZING. Gabriella, who uses the cosplay name Porcelain Princess, is seriously talented, and I’m delighted to be her honorary Cosplay Mom and present her to you. If you need costuming or SFX work done, consider hitting up Gabriella!

Name:  Gabriella (Gabby) Ward  AKA The Porcelain Princess

Age: 20 years old

Day Job: I am currently a professional freelance SFX makeup artist. Recently I graduated from Tom Savini’s Special Makeup Effects Program in Pittsburgh, PA. My passion lies in creating effects for haunted houses like from Springfield’s Dungeons of Doom, to Pittsburgh’s Hundred Acre Manor! I’ve created many effects for local theater and personal events such as A Class Act Productions and Thriller on C-Street. Cosplay really helped me get into SFX in the first place!

Why do you cosplay?:
To me, cosplay is a kind of therapy, a way of expressing my creativity in a way others might enjoy and appreciate. For a little while I’m not Gabby, but Captain Marvel or an elf from a forbidden forest, and I find joy through that. It’s a form of art and entertainment that almost everyone can try! And having a supportive and inspiring community around you really helps boost your confidence as a person and as a cosplayer.

How long have you been cosplaying?:
I’d like to think that I’ve been cosplaying all my life, Halloween is my favorite holiday, and any chance I got to dress up I would! But my cosplay adventures started officially 7 years ago with a character called HoneyBooBoo Klingon (it was just as ridiculous as it sounds😄). From that my first big cosplay was Harley Quinn from Batman the Animated Series.

How do you choose your characters?:
I usually choose characters that I adore from mixed media, whether I look like them (like Drew Barrymore’s character from Scream), or not (like Nightcrawler from Xmen)! I always do deep research into the characters, so that I can play the part as much as I can. It’s just as much fun making and wearing the costume as it is playing the role. I also like to have a mix of popular characters and more obscure characters, to keep fans of the shows on their toes!

Do you have a signature or favorite cosplay?:
Well, my first, fully handmade character costume was my first Harley Quinn, with her I really started my passion for cosplay! Another more recent cosplay that’s recognizable is my Nightcrawler from X: Men-Evolution. And my most used and social character is my Ghostbusters costume of Holzmann or just me as a Ghostbuster with the cosplay group Ghostbusters of the Ozarks! I love that group and we love to support our community and bring a little fun with us!

Do you make, or buy your cosplays?:
I do both! I try to make more than I buy absolutely. But sometimes I just don’t have the time or skill to make my own, that’s when I’m thankful for other costume artists to create awesome cosplays!

What advice do you have to other cosplayers?: ‘

Keep creating, and keep inspired! Do the best you can, keep practicing, and you can always improve!

What’s the best thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?:
I met Stan Lee before he passed and he complimented my Captain Marvel cosplay, which meant the world to me! I’ve met animators, voice actors, and fellow cosplayers of the characters I’ve created, and they’ve all been so supportive, which is absolutely incredible!

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?:
I’ve only had one experience with someone giving negativity, and it was about my weight. But I’ve learned that I love what I do and, as long as I’m having fun and bringing joy to others than my weight doesn’t matter!

Do you attend conventions? Which is your favorite?:
I love to attend a lot of local conventions including Visioncon, Planet Comiccon, G.A.M.E and Librarycon at my local library. I found most of my cosplay friends and love for conventions at Visioncon! I’ve attended every year for about 5 years now, and now on my 3rd year hosting a horror panel called Fear Factory!

She met Stan. How cool is that?

Check out Gabby’s work:

Facebook @TheOfficalPorcelainPrincess

And if you’d like to see more of her makeup and SFX, or want to get in contact for her services, you can find her on Facebook or Instagram
@gabriellanicolesfxmakeup

Cosplay and Assault-Allies and Enablers

I’m getting ready to head into the first day of Visioncon 2019 , the biggest and best regional Comic-Con in my area (and I don’t just say that because I’m on staff!).

From my hotel room, I can see cosplayers walking in, and I am STOKED to go in and see the cosplayers, and all the fans, the amazing JEWEL STAITE is our guest of honor *browncoat fangirl scream*  

Kaylee_0

and the Cosplay Club of the university where I work is doing a group cosplay of “Disney Warrior Princesses.” (More on that later). Also, today I am rocking my new 40th anniversary Alien Stompers (replica Ripley kicks from my favorite film EVER, Aliens) 

But as I sit here, I’m worried, as ever, about the possibility of assault at the con.

Have you all seen the story of Cosplayer Elora Kay?

Cosplay Assault

I’ve linked to her whole story above, but she his this visual evidence of this person assaulting her. She had multiple witnesses to his assault, her rejection of his advances and his continued manhandling of her, and also had multiple other reports from other women that he did the same to them.

AND.

NOTHING WAS DONE TO THIS MAN.

HE WAS NOT EVEN KICKED OUT OF THE CON.

She had to file a police report. AND NOTHING WAS DONE.

So, first, folks. Let’s put some pressure on StarFest in Denver. in particular and the culture, in general, to put a stop to excusing this behavior. What we need are allies. ESPECIALLY MALE ALLIES. And we can start, all of us with two really big steps.

  1. Stop excusing the bad actors. With “well, he was drunk.” or “Boys will be boys” or “It’s just locker room talk.” or  “she was asking for it” or “she shouldn’t have worn that” or whatever bullshit you tell yourself and your bros to make it ok.

2.  and. AND (this is really important) CELEBRATE THE ALLIES.

So I want to do that, right away.  First, a Mexican example.

Y’all know I study cosplay here in the U.S. and in Mexico. In Mexico, a blogger, vlogger, artist and commentator El Jagr, who works with Mena on a couple of YouTube channels and at cons like Mexico city’s La Mole (where I met him) to talk about popular culture, cosplay and comics. He’s great, his content is in Spanish, but if you’re Spanish speaking, I highly recommend him.

He’s also an ALLY. He has a series of videos in which he calls out the kind of toxic machismo that treats women as objects and figures them as dolls to be manipulated and manhandled.  He also, in these videos, offers empowering messages to female cosplayers about their rights to not HAVE to put up with that bullshit, no matter what prevailing cultural norms might tell them. This is good an important messaging and I am here to give a BIG ass APLAUSO TO El Jagr.

(if you’re Spanish-speaking, consider checking out his zombie-hunting superheroine Fatima as well)

cronicas-de-fatima-tpb-n°-1-8

Ok, and back to Visioncon and the Allies that I’m so lucky to have close to home. I’m lucky to be married to the best one ever.

But also, though many female cosplayers sent me the link to Elora Kay’s story, the admin to my local Costuming Guild, a cosplayer whose cosplay name is Flash Dixon also posted it in the guild’s Facebook page. And he posted it with this message, verbatim:

Just so everyone knows, if this ever happens to you and I’m nearby, shout out to me. This is utterly unacceptable and I will end it. I’m old, I fight dirty, and I’m not afraid of prison.”

other comments from male members of the group then included, “We got a tarp and shovel should it be needed. Totally unacceptable” and “I’ll help. Just point me in the direction. A few ‘fu-hok’ peeps may want to assist”.
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED.
God bless these men. I love them. No excuses. Don’t do this. Don’t excuse other men. We don’t need you to beat them up, necessarily, but the key word here is UNACCEPTABLE.
Folks, everyone, everywhere, cosplay isn’t consent, and sexual assault is always unacceptable. As con season begins, no one should accept it.
Ostracize the ones who do it and the ones who excuse it. Celebrate the allies who shut it down.
thank you.

Taco, Taako, and Other Signs that I’m Old

 

KIOGENIC IS 19.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

very much like this. From adorable, small, opinionated talent to drop-dead gorgeous, Talented, outspoken, and excellent person.

Sigh. Anyway, since she now consumes media mostly in another city (away at Webster U., where she is very happy), I am totally clueless about what is going on in much of fandom.

She is, still, however, cosplaying and building cosplay. She just now has new a new cosplay posse, including her friend Raleigh, who lives on her floor in the dorm.

When Kiogenic was home for Christmas break, she asked if she could take the Sulaco (our sewing maching) back to school with her.  I said yes, because our sewing machine fix-it guy, weary of having to repair a machine never meant for sewing pleather, had recommended we get an all-metal old school machine.

So we bought Peggy, at a thrift store, for $20. Isn’t she beautiful?

Peggy

Yes, I name our sewing machines. No, I don’t think that’s weird.

So we had two machines, and she took one back with her to make some new cosplay with Raleigh, which she and Raleigh showed off at Visioncon in Branson, for Kiogenic’s birthday extravaganza.

Here are Kiogenic, Sammy Jo (cosplaybestfriend), Raleigh and Scooter (cosplayboyfriend, who you can see is REALLY TALL.)

My 19-year-old daughter at the convention with her 21-year-old boyfriend, who is a math genius.  Another sign that that I’m old.

Another hint? I was so clueless about what Kiogenic and Raleigh were cosplaying that I misspelled it when I tweeted it out. To be clear, this is Taako, from the podcast The Adventure Zone.

Since the Adventure Zone is a podcast, the fans don’t know for sure EXACTLY what Taako looks like but there is consensus on umbrella, hat, and general fabulousness. This makes cosplay more fun!

Here is Taako’s bio on the wiki:

“He is a high-elf wizard with a chaotic good alignment. He is originally from New Elfington.  Prior to joining up with Merle Highchurch and Magnus Burnsides he hosted a traveling cooking show, ‘Sizzle It Up with Taako’,  but fled after forty people died in the show’s final episode.”

Which frankly, makes him sound to me like the elf member of Spinal Tap. But again, I’m old. She said “Taako” and I heard “Taco.”

So I totally called him “Taco.” On Twitter. To an audience of like seventy billion people.

I’m old. The kid leaves and I’m stuck with TNG  and Tap cultural references.

Anyway, she and Raleigh did Taako with his twin sister Lup. And they were AMAZING.

Fantastic make up by Sammy Jo and photography by Scooter- who turns out to not just be a math genius, but a GREAT cosplay photographer!

And, in my defense, within an hour of me tweeting a photo of her as “Taco”, a nice fan of the podcast had gently corrected me and made FAN ART of her cosplay! Which……I can’t copy and paste in this blog, because again, I’m old. Follow this link if you’d like to see it.

As a bonus, you get to see my original tweet about “Taco.”

Ah well. I may be old, but I’m very lucky. Very blessed and very happy to have such a great kid, with such great friends, and to have such a great family.