Welcome back to GAMMA.CON’s Canberra Cosplay Spotlight, a weekly dive into the lives and experiences of members of the Canberran Cosplay Community!
This week we speak to Kitty “Kitty Lou Cosplay”, well known for her beautifully sewn and sparkly cosplays.
For more of Kitty Lou, check out her Facebook cosplay page KittyLou Cosplay
G: Welcome Kitty! First up, when did you start cosplaying?
K: I started cosplaying (albeit without really knowing it was cosplay) about ten years ago. I grew up in the US, but wasn’t really aware of the convention/cosplay scene until some good friends started to tell me what I was missing.
G: What is the meaning behind your cosplay name?
K: KittyLou is me (my real name condensed) and obviously the cosplay is what it is. It sounded catchy and memorable, and so far it’s been doing its job well.
G: Good! What is your favourite part of being a cosplayer?
K: Dressing up! Expressing myself in a way other than I do daily. I love that it’s a great leveller; it’s not about who has what money, or who has a better build. It’s about everyone enjoying the same thing. I love that everyone can cosplay whatever they like. Much like the Facebook meme “how to cosplay for your body…..put a cosplay on your body”. I’m a fairly ‘vintage’ shaped girl, and I’ve had my share of “you shouldn’t cosplay that with your body”, but I just don’t listen. I love going to conventions and seeing other people who do what makes them happy regardless of anyone else’s opinion.
G: What has been the most difficult thing to bring to life?
K: My most difficult cosplay has been my “red dress Peggy” (from Captain America). I started it a week out from my intended event, but ended up still sewing an hour before. My sewing machine blew up with the collar to sew still, and so it was hand stitched (poorly lol) and I was an hour late. It’s still on of my favourites though!
G: That sounds quite stressful! Conversely, what has been the most fun to create?
K: The most fun? I think when I cosplayed for a tabletop game: Conjure TCG. I got to have a little bit of input on how the character was represented and was the first person ever to cosplay that particular card as the game was being Hard Launched at PAX. It was really enjoyable working with the creator of the game to bring the character to life.
G: What materials do you specialise in when making a costume?
K: I prefer to make my costumes from patterns, and so it’s mostly fabrics and embellishments. I LOVE adding sparkle. I’m still a little apprehensive about Worbla and things.
G: Do you have a favourite stage of the process?
K: Every stage. From the original “hey, that’s an awesome concept!” All the way through the 3am hand sewing right before a con, and then the actual debut of the cosplay at an event.
G: What is the most rewarding thing to come out of your time as a cosplayer?
K: So far, it would be having raised almost $4500 for Ovarian Cancer, and being able to use my social media outlets and attendance at Cons to help drive that.
G: That’s amazing! Using your passion as a platform to contribute to a great cause sounds awesome! Who/what are you planning on cosplaying next?
K: My next cosplay is Wonder Woman! I’m part of a group of Wonder Women, who will be marching at the Sydney Mardi Gras to raise funds and awareness for NBCF and Breast Cancer research. My beautiful friend Super Showgirl Cosplay has been a driving force behind it, and everyone is hard at work on their cosplay costumes with not a huge amount of time to go! I still have 3700 crystals to embellish my bodice with, and to find boots that will work. I’m so excited to be a part of such a great, diverse and inclusive event but also to be fundraising for such a worthwhile cause.
G: We’ve seen the shield; we’re very excited to see the finished product! Are shoes normally difficult to get right?
K: If you’re a perfectionist, sometimes shoes can be the worst! Sometimes the exact shoe isn’t available (might have been a studio creation), or sold out everywhere, so you have to kind of adapt and overcome. Lucky for me, Wondy has a few different boots and things, so it’s more about me making a decision and sticking to it.
G: Does adding that much sparkle make the bodice uncomfortable?
K: Here’s hoping not! I’ll spend most of the parade with one or both arms up, waving, so I’m hoping they don’t get too itchy or scratchy and won’t add a lot to the overall weight. The uncomfortable part comes back to the gluing on more than the actual wearing
G: What was your first costume?
K: My very first costume (that was officially a cosplay) was Rogue from X-Men, and it was a closet Cosplay.
G: Tell us what your first costume was like compared to your latest?
K: Very hastily thrown together! I couldn’t find a wig so I bleached my bangs the evening before the event, and my poor hair is probably still cringing. Because it was a Closet Cosplay it was pretty casual; my cosplayed now usually have months of planning and building in them, and I’m much more of a perfectionist now.
G: What is is like cosplaying in Canberra?
K: It’s a funny thing, cosplaying in Canberra. You tend to know a handful of people and they become friends and then they’re who you cosplay with, even at interstate events. The community can be a confusing place, but there’s always someone who will help you find your niche. We have so few events here in comparison to say Sydney or Melbourne, but we definitely make them count.
G: Ever had any cosplay malfunctions?
K: 100%. Towards the end of PAX15, my cosplay was held together with hot glue, duct tape and some strategically placed safety pins, thanks to Captain Patch-It and his cosplay corps.
G: I think everyone who’s ever done cosplay can relate to that! What cosplay do you feel the most connected to?
K: I guess my Peggy Carter. She’s self confident, assured and ready for anything, but she’s also still a woman, with feelings and hopes and an understanding that sometimes sacrifice is worth it for the eventual outcome. She inspires me to be a better human, (cheesy, no?) but also reminds me that women are just as capable and can do whatever we set our minds to (including building cosplays an hour before an event haha).
G: Following on from that, what makes you choose a certain character to cosplay?
K: I have to identify with something in that character. I also need to be a fan of the particular comic or game the character comes from; I’m not usually going to cosplay something or someone I know nothing about or don’t like. Each to their own, but for me, I prefer to cosplay things I really am keen on.
G: What do you consider the ultimate achievement as a cosplayer?
K: I think if you can inspire someone to give it a try, and enjoy their efforts, then that’s the best thing you can hope for. It shouldn’t be a popularity thing, or a competition for likes; those things mean nothing if someone somewhere isn’t getting a positive message from what it is you’re doing.
G: And finally, will you be coming to GAMMA.CON in cosplay this year?
K: OF COURSE! Not only because it’s a reason to cosplay, but because it’s important that we support our local events so they can continue to exist and grow.
G: Thanks very much for being our Cosplay Spotlight this week Kitty!
K: Thank you for spotlighting me! I don’t cosplay for recognition, but it certainly makes it seem like it’s extra worthwhile when people appreciate your efforts and share them 🙂