Anti Ai Chan Cosplay - Sexy Star Trek
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be draped in some brave and bold outfit for all in sundry to see? You know, like a hero of sorts. A token of what one person can become in all of their multi-colored glory. My mate Steff doesn't. Because when she's not sitting at her office desk, or playing silly buggers on the computer, she's out and about, strutting her stuff like any good cosplayer should. Here, please check out this conversation I had with her only the other day, whilst we were both playing silly buggers on our computers.

1) What are your own origins, Steff? Plus what path did you take in life before you got to where you are today?   I was born and raised outside of the LA area and was able to branch out of that town when I attended college in San Francisco, which is still my current home. I love the hustle and bustle of city life and I've found that there's always a story when you ride on public transit. 

I've always been a creative person, and growing up, I would doodle, write stories, craft, etc. Creativity is something that I've just always known for. In fact, you know how people get a mix of creative/academic as well as physical abilities/sports ability? Yeah, well, I have no physical abilities; it's all creative. If someone throws a ball at me, I flail my hands and hope it doesn't hit me in the face. It's a miracle I can even walk and not fall over. 

Anti Ai Chan Cosplay - Cap and Bucky
2) How did you come up with the name ‘Anti Ai Chan’?   I actually came up with it over ten years ago. It was an original character I made and it just kind of stuck. I won't bore you with the details of the character, but back then I thought it was super clever. Now... I might rethink it. Ha!

3) What is your ‘regular’ job? And does it in any way shape or form aide you as a Cosplayer?   I work at a tech company as a coordinator in HR -- aka, I essentially schedule everything for the company. It's a desk job which does nothing for my creative endeavors other than fund it. However, I'm hoping to go back to school to get my Masters in filmmaking.

4) How did your friends, family, and work-colleagues first react to the news that you're a Cosplay model?   Well, I wouldn't really call myself a model; that just seems too glamorous for what I do (pretending I'm a fictional character and making stupid faces). I started cosplaying in 2003, and my first costume was with my mom who already enjoyed costume making. Clearly, it wasn't much of a shocker to the family when I started sewing too. Most of my friends are involved with the hobby, or at least into nerdy activities, so they think it's great. Even my co-workers are curious about the hobby. They love that I'm so creative and I was a hit at the annual Halloween party.

The only truly negative responses I've received have been from relatively shallow people or those who lack the ability to have fun in their own lives. They really ought to lighten up. 

5) How do you decide what Cosplay costume to wear for a convention? And who makes them?   I wish I could say, I just cosplay all the characters I like, but then I'd be sewing nonstop! I start off by asking myself 'what characters do I like the most, or relate the most with'. These are usually my favorite characters, so this isn't tough. I then think, can I pull this character off? Do I have the body type? Do I have the sewing/wig/prop skills to make everything? I always want to change myself as a cosplayer, but you walk a fine line between a challenge and something that's just a bit too far out of your league. Once I've narrowed down the list, I look at my convention schedule and try to plan things out from there. Of course things change, yet it helps to have a game plan for these thing. 

Anti Ai Chan Cosplay - Smiling6) What have you learnt about yourself as a Cosplay model? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with?   I've learned that I look awful in pink hair and that if you wear a cup in your pants, people will want to touch it!

But seriously, I've learned a lot! Besides the obvious skills needed to construct a costume, I've learned that I'm more stubborn that I would have thought. If I say I'm finishing a costume for a convention, it's getting done. God himself cannot stop me from making and wearing said costume to the convention. And oh boy, has he tried! It may not be 100% done, but I will go without sleep for as long as possible to get something wearable out of a pile of fabric. I'm not sure if that's admirable or crazy, but I'm hoping for the former!

7) What was the best / worst convention you ever attended?   Most of my best conventions have been because of the people I've met or spent time with. Off the top of my head, WonderCon 2010 was amazing, because we had a full Dethklok group and we were mostly in character through the whole day. The whole thing was just hilarious, and I spent it all with my boyfriend and our close friends.

Because I base my convention experience so much on the people, I can only remember one con that made me really upset. It was Anime Expo 2008. The staff were very rude and threatened to confiscate my props because of a rule that wasn't even in their weapon's policy! The entire situation just wasn't handled very well on their part and put a damper on the whole con.

8) What would be your dream Cosplay gig and outfit?   I would say my dream gigs as a cosplayer is being invited to cons and helping companies promote, which I've already done! I was invited to be a cosplay guest at Anime Fannatiku last year and helped DC promote their Ame-Comi figures at SDCC. Both experiences were simply amazing. Words cannot express my emotions around those moments. I would love love LOVE to do things like that more often.

Anti Ai Chan Cosplay - Supergirl
As for a dream outfit? I've actually been crossing those off my list recently! When I started cosplaying, there were tons of costumes that I wanted to make but knew I wouldn't be able to execute properly. I tried with a few, but I wasn't 100% happy with them. Two years ago, I remade my Nurse Witch Komugi costume and was thrilled to finally have the costume I always wanted. This year I'm making an outfit from Cardcaptor Sakura that I've loved since grade school. I guess if I really had to pick something, it would a Gundam. Like, a 40 foot tall Nobel Gundam. That would be fabulous.

9) Has there ever been an outfit you just did not like wearing? And if so, why?   Comfort-wise, a lot of them! Usually because of the restricted mobility, or it's too warm/cold for the weather. I love my Hit-Girl costume, but when I wore it to SDCC 2011, I was melting! For the most part, because I love the character so much and worked long hours to make the costume, I don't mind if it's uncomfortable. Cosplay over body!

10) Do you have a credo you live by?   Be yourself! I know it's very generic. But in a hobby such as cosplay, where people constantly judge you, it's important to always be true to yourself. Someone thinks you only cosplay for attention? Doesn't matter. Someone thinks you're a fake geek? Doesn't matter. Someone says ugly things about you? Doesn't matter. Someone starts drama? Doesn't matter. If you stay true to who you are and what you know to be right, the cools kids will stay and the haters will leave. Be positive and be you!

Wow! I couldn't have put it better myself, Stef. Don't you agree, dear readers? Yeah? So what are you waiting for? When you've got the time please check out some of our Stef's great designs on her facebook page or her twitter stream. Go on. You know that it'll be a blast.