Friday, 1 July 2022

An Interview with Nancyvond

Steve Harrington - Stranger Things

Welcome to another episode of  “Sammy’s Extraordinary Interviews!” 😉

I am over the moon to introduce to you an incredible LGBTQ+ artist, photographer, and fellow cosplayer, Nancyvonder (They/Them/She)!

I started following Tascha years and years ago, when they ran their page under the name Voxophone. They have since done a rebrand and now successfully run 3 separate Instagram accounts for all their creative interests. I highly recommend following all 3 accounts as they all offer something different!

*See first question of the interview for more details on the content of each*

(@Nancyvonder @Nancysdreaming @Taschadear)

The cosplay that first pulled me in to Nancy’s world, was an amazingly accurate Amy Madison from Buffy the Vampire Slayer cosplay I saw posted on Instagram. I was such a HUGE fan of Buffy, and this was around the time I started getting interested in the cosplay scene myself, so I was excited to see future cosplays from them.

What followed from Amy was of course an adorable Willow Rosenburg, then an even more badass Vampire Willow and as if I thought it couldn’t get any better; The Slayer herself!

Willow - Buffy

Since then, there has been an INCREDIBLE compilation of Stranger Things cosplays. Her Steve Harrington cosplay is by far one of the BEST. She’s also done Robin, Nancy, Ell and…wait for it…only our freaking beloved EDDIE MUNSON!!

Nancy has such a great variety of cosplays, here are a few of my personal favourites to give you a little insight; Casey Becker (Scream) Ash (Evil Dead) Allison (The Breakfast Club) & Darcy Lewis (Marvel) The rest…well, you will just have to go check out their page to see more!

Not only does @Nancvond produce awesome cosplays, but their photography Insta @Taschadear is full of some really beautiful portraits, dolls, fun edits and recently there has even been some creepy AF horror videography, which is a little scary but also visually stunning.

Over on @Nancysdreaming you will find more beautiful imagery full of fun 80’s/retro/vintage fashion styles.

There is honestly so much to enjoy on Nancy’s social media…

Barb - Stranger Things

Scroll below to the uʍop ǝpᴉsdn to read more….

Talk us through your three Instagram pages, what kind of content can we expect to see on each page?
So, I just have to have things organised, and as I can’t put folders on Instagram, I just decided to make separate Instagram’s for all the different things I like, so:

Cosplay and art, occasional doll collecting posts 

Personal style 

Photography

Robin - Stranger Things


When did you first start cosplaying & what was your first ever cosplay?

I first started cosplaying way back in about 2011, and my first cosplay was hit girl from Kick ass, my best friend at the time made the cape for me, it was pretty cool! 

 

How long have you been a photographer?

Photography has always been (without sounding totally corny) a passion of mine since I was about 14. I’ve been taking photos with anything I can get my hands on, old brick Sony Ericsson phones, old flip video camera held together by tape, you name it. 

 

What kind of camera are you using right now?

I’m currently using a Nikon D7000 with a bunch of different lenses 

 

How much time does it take you to edit your photos?

Depends on what type of edit I’m doing: if it’s a “standard” edit it’ll take anywhere from 10 - 45 minutes, but if it’s a photoshop heavy piece (like background taken out, re drawing parts etc) it could be 2 - 7 hours 

 

What have been some of your favourite cosplays you’ve created so far?

My favourite cosplays I’ve done are probably:

Steve Harrington 

Ash Williams 

Harley Quinn and any of the monster High ghouls  


Ash Evil Dead
Photographer Carlos Adama

 

Who is someone you would love to cosplay but haven’t done yet?

As doing a bulk load of cosplays isn’t as much a priority anymore whilst I try to delve more into defining my photography; I don’t have any cosplays dreams per say! However! 

One of the next cosplays/ themed photo shoots I should be doing will be Amanda Young from the first SAW movie 

 

What kind of cosplay skills have you learnt over the years?

Not gonna lie, not much. I can vaguely sew two pieces of fabric together and maybe it won’t rip. Who knows!! 

I think I guess wig work is one of the things I’m best at! 

 

Your make-up skills are amazing! Are there any characters that you found particularly difficult to contour?

Honestly most feminine characters I want to do have a really small nose and I very much do not. So that can be tricky! 

 

I used to get really caught up on looking 100% like the person but, I’ve learned it doesn’t matter as much if you have /the vibe/ of the character down, who cares whether you look like them or not. I love contouring but? As long as I can hit a 50% margin that’s totally fine for me

 

Do you have any recommendations for make-up or costume brands?

I don’t tend to do many big costume characters but, honestly don’t knock a good Halloween costume or using a premade cosplay website. Buying your cosplays doesn’t make you any less of a Cosplayer either! 

 

I’ve used pro cosplay and cosplaysky a number of times, and you can always replace bits you don’t like if you need to amp it up a little.

Casey Becker - Scream

 

What’s the best item of 80’s fashion you have found in a thrift store or online?

That’s tricky!! I used to have a pink blouse I wore all the time when I dressed more feminine, I still have it as it’s gorgeous, but now I have a few super cool jumpers I’m fond of! 

I used to buy a lot of my stuff from vintage kilo sales and markets, but I mainly just scour eBay and Depop with really loose terms on the daily. 

 

What sparked your interest in collecting dolls and how big is your collection now?

During lockdown I didn’t have access to any models, and I’d previously done a little bit of toy photography so I thought, I’ll buy a “couple” so I can still take photos at home of a range of looks (who wasn’t just me)

But as I got my first doll and honestly it accidentally awakened something in me, and I just had to keep collecting 

… now I have over 160 

Oopsies!

(And I’d do it again)

 

Your Instagram bio says you are an attempted Youtuber, what kind of vlogs can people expect to see if they subscribe?

I haven’t been doing it too long; I had my previous YouTube for YEARS but I wanted a fresh start! 

 

I’m not sure what kind of content I want up there but, expect a range! 

 

Artsy fartsy stuff, cosplay try ons, doll stuff, maybe some watch alongs, vlogs and games and things, who knows?!

Elvira - Mistress of the Night

If you were to pick a famous person to play you in a movie, who would it be and why?

Honestly, she looks nothing like me but, Maya Hawke would be great. How she acts as Robin has a lot of traits like me and she’s a bit more tomboy, I feel like that would work the best. 

 

As a huge Stranger Things fan, what are you hoping to see happen in the Season 4 finale!!?? 

First off, I’m absolutely petrified of who they’re going to kill off, if they touch any of the fruity four, I’m going to never recover, so I’m hoping to see them... not die! 

 

I would love to see the reunited scenes between hopper and Ell, that’s going to be emotional as hell.

 

Have the jock having the crap beaten out of him would be great.

 

Also letting Erica beat down Angela’s crappy ego would be incredible. 

 

Also, maybe 

Just maybe

 

Either Steve and Eddie or Nancy and Robin smooch. Just maybe. As long as Steve and Nancy don’t get back together as I don’t want that. 


Eleven - Stranger Things

You are an extremely talented artist. What sketch are most proud of?

Thank you! And I don’t think I really have a favourite! I enjoy them all equally as I like trying different styles every time. 

 

Will we see you at any conventions in 2022?

Although I’ve not totally sworn off going to a convention for a day, I’ve gone off going to them regularly/ at all admittedly! 

I enjoy doing my cosplay pieces with friends or for photo shoots at home. 

 

Saying that I will be around at Manchester Megacon with my best friend Jess next month (July) 

 

Do you have any favourite cosplayers/artists to follow?

I’ll use this opportunity as a good way to plug my some of my friends:

 

Cosplayers: 

 

@Jessienoochiescosplay 

my absolute partner in crime, we always do photo shoots together so if you’ve been following my photography, you’ve probably already seen her 

 

@Theclassicalcosplayer

Beyond stunning and so skilled with her contouring makeup!! She’s got big dreams and I absolutely know she’ll succeed 

 

@Bloodied_mary 

I’m absolutely obsessed with Mary, her horror looks are THE BEST, and her skill is just sublime and totally worth the wait 


Amy Madison - Buffy
Makeup Artists:

 

@Antistorm.png 

Every single makeup look he does absolutely blow me away, and I’ve seen him in person!! He really is really that good!! 

 

@Noctisartistry

My favourite vibe of horror is eerily beautiful, and they nail it every time. If you saw their face on the front of an album, I would not bat an eyelid 

 

Also:

 

@Oejerum

Brilliant collage artist. I can’t not share every piece they make, utterly beautiful

 

There are too many people I want to share!! 

I deliberately only follow photographers/ artists on my art account so feel free to rummage there

 

But I would highly recommend looking at @beautifulbizzarremagazine’s Instagram, it’s a good way to find new artists who create some very surreal work 

 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

 

In my personal life I’m looking forward to learning how to drive so I can finally start doing things as and when I want to

 

But in general, I look forward to small things. I have some little events coming up, including a Stranger Things experience and I’m SO excited to start getting out there again!

 

- Tascha 

Darcy Lewis - Thor/Marvel

A big thank you to @Nancyvond for participating in this interview!! I’m a big fan of her work and I was so happy she agreed to take part!

Thanks for reading!

*Unless stated all photos were taken and edited by @nancyvond @taschadear.

Sammy

Writer

Thursday, 9 June 2022

An Interview with Cosplayer Cjdiddums

Photographer @ardentcosplay aka Dominic Alexander Photography

I’m back with another amazing cosplayer interview for you all, this time with the truly remarkable UK cosplayer - @Cjdiddums

I got chatting to CJ through our Instagram page @Dailycosplaynet, after admiring one of her beautiful Harley Quinn cosplays and I was lucky enough that she agreed to take part in an interview with me. I was blown away with her page, scrolling through what seemed to be an endless number of amazing cosplays. 

CJ is a qualified MUA and has made many of her cosplays and props herself. I love the variety of cosplays that she has created over the years, from the many versions of Harley Quinn to my favourite Final Fantasy girls and she’s made some beautiful Princesses too. CJ certainly has a lot of raw, creative talent and I’m thrilled that I get to share this interview with you all! 

Below you will find some super helpful tips and tricks for creating your cosplays and also some sound advice about how to deal with unwanted attention at cons!

You will find CJ at the following 2022 cons:  MDC, MCM, LFCC, Rapture and possibly Hyper Japan! Be sure to go and say hi and ask for a photo if you see her around!

Photographer @ellyrussellphotograph 
                                              

When did you first discover your love of cosplay!?

I first cosplayed in 2015, I got a comic con ticket from my dad for my birthday as I wanted to go somewhere rather than have gifts, he asked if I would dress up, so I gave it a go and I guess I never looked back!


What’s your favourite thing about cosplaying?

Originally, I think it was the escapism, I could be whoever I wanted, and no one cared where I came from or what my everyday life was like, then I fell in love with the community and have made some incredible friends.


Photography @simba.ports

What are your favourite conventions to attend?

@MCMLondon was my first con and has been my favourite, obviously I’m waiting to see what the new American company does, they didn’t do too well in October 2021 so fingers crossed they bring it back how it used to be, @Megacon should be an interesting newcomer too.


Your Harley Quinn Cosplays are stunning! How many different versions of her do you have?

Thank you so much! Oh god ha-ha I have a fair few unfinished versions, but finished I would say 12


Margot Robbie is fantastic as Harley Quinn, but if you had to pick someone else to play her, who would it be?

To be honest I was quite late to the DC scene, I’ve always been a marvel girl so I’ve only ever seen Margot Robbie as my Harley and I don’t think I could pick anyone else at all!


Photography @geekysidekickphotography

Where would we most likely see you hanging out at a convention? 

Outside at Excel, upstairs at Olympia and in the corridor at NEC or when I’m totally exhausted hanging out at the zombie blades stall at any event.


Do you have any favourite Binge worthy TV shows?

I’m more of a movie person and rewatch lord of the rings all the time, currently I’m rewatching the supernatural though, that is defo worth a binge watch!

 

Who’s been the most fun character to cosplay so far?

Enchantress really made me laugh as after years people finally didn’t recognise me, somehow whatever I wear people always know it’s me, but not as enchantress the first time, I waved at people and said hello and they had no idea who I was! Other than that, any of the squad Harley versions I have always cheer me up whatever’s going on when I wear them I really enjoy it, like I’m a whole new person.


Photographer @wadewilsonjustshotyou

What’s the most difficult costume or prop you’ve made from scratch?

I’m only professionally trained as a media makeup artist everything else I made up as I went along. Figuring out how to make my Anastasia ball gown almost sent me mad, like how do you work with so much fabric! And the tiara, 4720 individual gemstones I stuck on! Why do we do these things to ourselves?

 

My Yuna, my first ever cosplay, pleats! Who knew there are so many types?! Then let’s throw in the jewellery and metal work for enchantress, that was loooooong, but hey I now know how to make jewellery ha-ha

 

But my nemesis is sleeves, I just can’t handle them, never make me make any more ever again please


What’s the ultimate makeup hack that everyone should know?

Ah this is my zone, I’ve been a professionally qualified media makeup artist since 2012, and dabbled for many years before that, until covid makeup was my full-time job, I’ll tell you what I told probably 98% of my customers who came in with makeup problems, the problem probably starts with your skincare, exfoliate, and moisturise! It takes weeks for your skin to get used to a new routine, don’t fob it off in the first week if you don’t get the results you anticipated straight away or if you have a breakout (this is a good thing your skin is adapting). Also don’t match your foundation to your hand/arm it is such a different colour and texture to your face it’s pointless!


Photographer @helenditzy

Can you recommend any makeup brands that are good for cosplay?

What are you trying to do? The answer will be different for each thing. There isn’t a one brand answer in my opinion, a lot of people like to pick a brand and go for every product they do, it’s not always going to be every product from that brand works for you every time. I mix all sorts of things, my concealers are always Benefit cosmetics, my eyeliner is urban decay, my primer is smashbox, a lot of my eye shadows are Jeffree Star and MUA (big price difference there) my face paints are Snazaroo or Kyolan (again big price difference there too) I’m always happy to recommend stuff if people drop me a message with what they are trying to achieve. 


I really love your Tifa and Yuna cosplays! Have you or do you have any plans to cosplay other Final Fantasy characters and which FF game is your fave!?

Thank you!!! The first ever video game I played solo was final fantasy 9 so if I do anything new it will probably be something from that. I do plan to redo my Tifa as it needs a lot of work (still the original PS1 game version) and Aerith has been on the back burner for years, but honestly I don’t know if I suit her character or not, it’s something to think about.


Do you have a favourite cosplay photographer to work with?

That's mean, you can’t make me pick! Otis of @wherermyphotos is one of the first togs I shot with, and one of the first friends I made in the community, so I’ve defo got to shout out to him. 


Then @michealeast and I crossed paths outside of con life years ago and now we go to cons together a lot and in the time I’ve known him his stuff has only got better and better. I could do a whole interview purely on the epic togs I’ve met over the past 7 years, they are truly amazing, head over to my page (I know shameless plug) and see all the tagged togs, I love them all! 


Photographer @geekysidekickphotography 

You once shared a post about some unpleasant experiences at cons and on social media and you are a big advocate for “Cosplay is NOT Consent.” Do you have any advice about how to deal with unwanted attention?

As a female it’s something you deal with in and out of cosplay, it sucks, it shouldn’t happen, but it does at the end of the day it’s sad to admit but there is no stopping it. 100% cosplay is not consent is a big thing for me; my advice is to make friends in the community, know who you can trust and set your boundaries early on. Don’t be afraid to draw attention to a situation, if something’s happening and it shouldn’t be (to you or someone else) speak up, loud! Make sure everyone is aware, embarrass the sh*t out of them, point them out.

If it’s a situation you’ve been stopped for a photo and it’s started out being nice, then the situation turns and you feel uncomfortable, you owe them nothing just leave! You don’t have to justify why you feel that way just go to somewhere you feel safe, a group of people, a sales stall, an employee whoever, you are your main priority, people can suck big time, but on the flip side the cosplay community may have some bad eggs but holy crap it has some incredible people in it just waiting to meet you! I’m more than happy to meet you, come say hi!


Any more advice, especially for newbies wanting to start cosplaying?

DO IT! Doesn’t matter if you make, borrow, buy, commission, closet cosplay, thrift, edit, or just wear something that’s a nod to the character, you can cosplay! And I’m dam proud of you for starting as that’s the hardest bit!


Google is your friend, think you have enough reference photos, go find ten more, trust me you’ll need them. YouTube, library books, the community itself will help you if you ask


What are your future cosplay plans and what are you most looking forward to this year?

Honestly, I have no idea, with my health in 2019 taking a turn I did say I was going to take a break, but then the world took a two-year break with me, so I guess I didn’t miss much. I don’t really have any big plans, but I will be back at MDC, MCM, LFCC, Rapture and possibly Hyper Japan, so don’t worry there will be cosplays. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, Megacon live reunited a lot of us but there are still some people I’m missing so I can’t wait to see all my old friends and make new ones!


Photographer @michaeleast 

Thanks to CJ for her time with this interview. Check her out on the socials below!


Instagram: @cjdiddums

Facebook: @cosplaysbycjdiddums


Thanks for reading! ❤️

Sammy

Writer

 


Thursday, 26 May 2022

MCM Comic Con London May 2022 - Whats On!

The wait is over, MCM Comic Con, the ultimate celebration of pop culture, is back with bang, rolling into London’s ExCeL on 27th – 29th May.

Whether you’re a serious gamer, comic book collector, highly-skilled cosplayer, or passionate film buff, there’s plenty to explore at this year’s shows. There’ll be a jam-packed programme of celebrity talent, unforgettable panels from the best in the business, exclusive previews, live performances, independent creators and more! This year’s tickets are sponsored by and feature artwork from the award-winning open-world action RPG Genshin Impact.

Hot off the press, the latest guest announced on the all-star line-up is none other than Dan Fogler. Best known as everyone’s favourite muggle, Jacob Kowalski, from Fantastic Beasts, Dan will be meeting and greeting fans on Sunday 29th May. For all the gamers out there, the White Wolf himself, Doug Cockle, who most notably is known for his role as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher game series is available at MCM all weekend!

If that’s not enough, Ross Marquand, best known for legendry zombie post-apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, will be available for photographs and autographs all weekend. Further guests have also been announced as anime royalty Dante Basco from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Janet Varney from The Legend of Korra. Both incredible actors will at MCM Comic Con across all three days too!

What’s more, the anime fun continues with the cast of My Hero Academia actors; Justin Briner, Clifford Chapin, Aaron Roberts, Trina Nishamura, Kirsten McGuire and Kyle Phillips all joining the stellar line-up. Grab the chance to meet your heroes with exclusive photograph and autograph opportunities with the anime legends.

Looking for more fun? Ultimate British Pro wrestling champions and stars Bullit, Alexander Roth, Simon Millar, Claudia Bradstone, Charlie Biggs and Clive Jackson will be letting guests in on all the top tips and tricks for becoming a wrestling superstar at their exciting panel. For all the bookworms out there, meet some of the most inspiring literary legends with authors Laura Sebastian, Lucy Holland, Rym Kechacha, T.L. Huchu, Will Carver, Eve Smith, Matt Wesolowski, J.M. Miro and Samantha Shannon all gracing the MCM floor with exclusive panels and book signings. If that wasn’t enough, YouTube sensation TomSka will also be joining the star studded line-up, ready to meet and greet fans at his very own booth.

For the film and tv buffs, sink your teeth into a host of awesome panels including a first look at brand new comedy series Dave presents: Sneakerhead on Sunday afternoon, followed by a Q&A with the incredible cast. On Saturday afternoon, launch off into the world of heroes with an exclusive virtual panel and Q&A for upcoming film, Disney & Pixar’s Lightyear, followed after by a virtual panel discussion of the hugely anticipated new film The Bob’s Burgers Movie.

Bringing the summer festival vibes, MCM Comic Con May will also see the return of the awesome MCM Fringe Stage, offering a smorgasbord of incredible live music, laugh out loud comedy and performing arts all in the great outdoors. Be transported back to the 19th Century with Old Time Sailors singing the very best Sea Shanties. If that wasn’t enough, talented MCM fans can showcase the star within by wowing the crowd in MCM’s very own Talent Show.

 

For K-pop fans, anime enthusiasts and manga masters, delve into the Pop Asia section. A world where you can become an Origami pro with paper-folding magic by London Origami Society, try your hand at the unsung art of Manga drawing, learn to dance like BTS, join Ms Kayono for a traditional dance lesson, learn how to wear a traditional Yukata, or discover the ancient sport of sumo wrestling with an appearance and live demonstration from the current British Sumo Champion!

 

Get your gaming fix and the become the best at the Side Quest zone. Whether your vice is modern consoles, retro gaming or tabletop favourites, enjoy a casual escape from reality with a free playing session or unleash your competitive side and battle it out in tournaments. For role-playing fans, OutsideXbox and DM Johnny Chiodini will return with another unforgettable live Oxventure D&D adventure. And for the budding artists among us, explore Artist Alley to find independent talented creators, get some tips and bring home some new favourite comics and artwork.

 

Live out your ultimate alter-ego fantasy at Cosplay Central, where the limits of outfit creation knows no bounds.  The best of the best can show off their skills and take to the main stage for the Cosplay Central Crown Championships, or cosplayers of all experiences are welcome to enter the Cosplay Masquerade. For those of us still learning, there’ll be unbeatable panels offering the best tips and techniques for kick-ass costumes and the unique Cosplay Hospital to fix any unplanned outfit mishaps. Best of all, MCM Comic Con is full of like-minded fans who are just like you. So why not make new friends who share your passion at official MCM photo meets.

 

If all of that’s not enough, there’s time to do it all again with MCM Comic Con hitting up London’s ExCeL again on 28th – 30th October and NEC Birmingham on 12th – 13th November.

 

Jenny Martin, Event Director at MCM Comic Con said: “Welcome home, fans! We can’t wait to bring MCM Comic Con back to you next month. As our first show draws even closer, we’ll be announcing our line-up of celebrity guests, panels and never before seen surprises to the programme… grab your tickets and watch this space.”

 

For more information visit the website www.mcmcomiccon.com

 

Tickets on-sale now for MCM Comic Con London in May at:

www.mcmcomiccon.com/london/en-us/tickets.html See you there!


Skye Fawkes Cosplay


Editor In Chief and Head Writer