I’ve not been shy around here about my desire to cosplay, and I’ve also not been shy about my complete inability to do so. So I am so incredibly excited to be able to bring an actual, real, amazing cosplayer here to the site for my Women in Geek series, since, apparently, obtaining a red dress for a shoddy attempt at cosplay is too much for yours truly (I am still bitter about this). I met Tiffany at Denver Comic Con. Like Vicky, Tiffany was also on the Women in the Geek Industry panel that inspired this series. Tiffany, or Evil Mech Meru, is an AMAZING cosplayer, and and you should absolutely check out her facebook page to get to know her better (and check out her steampunk fairy–the wings are AMAZING). You can also shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. So, without further ado, let’s get to chatting with Tiffany.
What do you do in geek culture?
I am a Cosplayer under the name Evil Mech Meru Cosplay and I am also a host for the nerd themed podcast Anorak’s OASIS.
What does that mean?
Being a Cosplayer means that I design and create costumes based on works of pop culture, anime, video games, movies, etc. I attend conventions, so far based in Colorado only. I also love to teach others cosplay fabrication skills that I have learned and I often host crafting nights/workshops. Later this month I will be starting video tutorials cosplay projects people can do quickly and inexpensively. As far as the podcast goes, every week I sit on Skype with a few close nerdy friends and we discuss all things geek!
Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?
Cosplay does not currently pay my bills. I do commissions from time to time that help fund my cosplay passion. As far as my day job I am a part of the team that is working towards opening 8bit Video Game Bar & Grill here in Colorado Springs.
How did you get started in this?
In 2011 I went to my first convention ever, Nan Desu Kan, and spent the entire time just in awe of all the costumes. I went home after that I decided I was going to make a cosplay of my own.
What got you interested in cosplay?
I have always been artistic ever since I was young and loved to paint and do any kind of crafts. Once I found out about cosplay and people making their own costumes to go to conventions I was just completely hooked on the idea.
Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?
Felicia Day, Yaya Han and Svetlana Quindt are 3 geeky ladies that I really admire. They are so amazingly hard working and just create incredible works. They have turned passions into careers and I find that completely inspiring.
Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance? How do you handle that?
I don’t encounter very much negativity based on my gender in the cosplay world as it is currently populated largely by women but I have had people make mean comments on my appearance whether it be about my body size or the fact that I am cosplaying as a guy and some not liking that. I tend to not let it bother me too much. To be honest I have encountered way more positivity then anything else.
What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?
I have always struggled with low self esteem and confidence issues so cosplay has really helped me feel better about myself and has allowed me a way to express myself and who I truly am. Through cosplay I have met some of the most amazing people and has opened the door to be a part of some great future projects.
There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, cosplay, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?
The best advice I can give anyone that wants to do anything is to just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. When it comes to cosplay, your skin color, height, weight, age, gender should never, ever be a factor. You can cosplay whatever you want! Follow your dreams, follow your passions and have fun. Seek out like minded people and create a support system. People that lift you up, not tear you down. I will say to that if there is anyone out there that needs a boost or has a questions I am always willing to help however I can.
What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?
A big misconception I think with cosplay is that we are all just hungry for attention or we make costumes and know nothing about the character, i.e. we are fake geek girls/guys. That is just not true. Yes all cosplayers love to get recognized for our hard work and artistry but rarely do we put so much blood, sweat, time and tears into our costumes just because we want to be adored. We do it because we are passionate about the characters we portray. We are passionate about creating things and expressing ourselves through wearable works of art.
Thanks again to Tiffany, and remember, if you haven’t already, check out my other Women in Geek posts with Vicky Connolly, Megan Gotch, Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds!