CONSTANTINE IN TOKYO - COSPLAYING WITH A HUMAN TOUCH

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Constantine In Tokyo - Rogue There once was a great girl from Tokyo. Who had a strange fascination for Pinocchio. And then, one day. She started, cosplay. And life... became... became... became... verrrryyyy. Hmmmm. Nah! I'm spent. I can't quite think of a good way of ending this verse. But wait a minute! I have an idea! Maybe my mate Constantine will know how to end it? Cause she did have a lot to say when I spoke to her only the other day, whilst rhyming with the best of them. HOOO-YAWWW!





Constantine In Tokyo - Wonder Woman1) What are your own origins, Constantine? Plus what path did you take in life before you got to where you are today?   Ha! How did I get to where I am today? I suppose that’s a pretty interesting string of events! I was born in Northern California, but I grew up in Colorado. I never really liked being in a small town, and for as long as I can remember, I've been interested in history and different far-away places in the world.

When I was in junior high, I started getting heavily into anime and Japanese history and culture. I honestly spent a good 12 years of my life 100% dedicated to learning as much as I could about Japan. I also attended anime conventions when I was in high school and really loved seeing the work of other cosplayers.

My mother taught me how to sew, but I didn't really invest much time into making my own costumes, and when I went to college, I kinda moved away from the hobby.

I got my BA in History and International Relations at Boston University, and after I graduated, I moved to Japan to work for the JET Program. My time in Japan was really fun, but I found myself really missing the United States and ultimately I decided to move back. I had begun writing film reviews and doing interviews for a couple film and pop culture websites. Due to my previous interest in cosplay, I started interviewing cosplayers and I was really amazed at how much the hobby had grown and changed since I was in high school. That’s when I ‘rediscovered’ cosplay.

I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2012 and decided that I wanted to try cosplaying myself. Almost from the beginning, I was 100% hooked! I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I have a really high costume output. In about a year I've made and photographed over 20 costumes and I tend to make (on average) two new costumes a month. I don’t think I ever imagined that my cosplay would reach the level it has, and I certainly didn't expect so many people to be interested in my work.

Constantine In Tokyo - PunisherI’m really thankful that there are people out there who encourage this hobby of mine!

2) What are the most persistent comments you've received from your fans?   In general, I receive a lot of positive comments about my work. Over the past year, my interest in construction has really grown, and I now post a lot of tutorials on how I make things, so I get a lot of emails from people thanking me for sharing my creative process.

I also think that I’m known for picking more unusual characters. I like to make genderbend versions of male characters, I pick a lot of obscure characters, and I like to cover my face with masks and makeup.

I have a lot of people recognize me at conventions and come say 'hi'. But I think the biggest compliment a cosplayer can receive is when people DON’T recognize you from day-to-day! If I meet someone on Saturday in one costume, I am really happy when I see them again on Sunday and they say, 'OMG! I didn't realize you were the same person!'.




3) What is your ‘regular’ job? And does it in any way shape or form aide you as a Cosplayer?   My life revolves heavily around cosplay and pop culture. I sell custom costume commissions and also write about pop culture on a variety of platforms. I’m very immersed in the convention subculture and, unlike most people, I don’t have a regular ‘day’ job and this is definitely helpful to my work as a cosplayer!

However, I do like to keep a separation between my regular life and my life as a ‘cosplayer'. I’m a very private person!

Constantine In Tokyo - Captain America
4) How did your friends, family, and work-colleagues, first react to the news that you were a Cosplay model?   I've really only received positive feedback from people! My mother went to school for fashion design and worked as a designer, so she really understands living a creative lifestyle and likes to see the happiness costume-making brings me. My boyfriend is also extremely supportive of my cosplay. We actually met because I was wearing my Psylocke costume at a Halloween party! He’s an even bigger comic book nerd than I am, so I’m really thankful that we can both enjoy the experience of going to conventions, even though he doesn't cosplay himself!

5) How do you decide what Cosplay costume to wear for a convention? And who makes them?   I make costumes that I think are interesting: Be it a character that I love or a design I’m really excited about! When I’m deciding what to wear to a convention, I’ll also think about costumes that will make other people happy. It means a lot to me when people get excited about the costume I’m wearing.

I make almost all of my own costumes, with very few exceptions.

I’m not really interested in being a ‘model’. First and foremost I consider myself a costume-maker and it’s the creative process of building costumes that I love the most. To be honest, I find photo shoots pretty stressful because I don’t think I’m very great at modeling. It’s a skill I've been trying to work on over the past year!

6) What have you learnt about yourself whilst being a Cosplayer? And were there any unforeseen obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   Cosplay fits my personality because it’s an interesting mix of introversion and extroversion. I spend a lot of my time alone, sewing in my room or building props and armor in my backyard. I like the solitude because I've always been a loner. It’s also taught me a lot about patience and time-management. You certainly need to be organized and manage your time effectively if you want to get costumes done. Sadly, I have a very short attention span, so once I've completed a costume and worn it once or twice, I lose interest in it and want to move on to something new.

I’d probably be less stressed if I made fewer costumes, ha! As for the extroverted part of cosplay, wearing my costumes to conventions really helps me open up and meet new people. I've always been a really shy person and I usually feel like it’s really hard for me to meet new people and open up to them. So, that’s one of the things I love the most about cosplay: Being part of such a wonderful and creative community!

I knew a lot about the cosplay community before I became a cosplayer. I was a really big fan of cosplayers like Yaya Han and Firefly Path (Joellen Elam) when I was a teenager. So I knew all about cosplay drama before I started cosplaying. On the internet, you definitely have to deal with a good amount of negativity. Ultimately, I just let it roll off my back. I don’t think anyone should allow the opinion of strangers to have power over what you do.


Constantine In Tokyo - Poison Ivy


7) What was the best / worst convention you ever attended?   I really love conventions, so it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. That said, I really love 'PowerCon' in Torrance, CA. It’s a very small convention dedicated to the Masters of the Universe (He-Man, She-Ra, etc.) plus Thundercats. Due to the small size, it’s a really warm and welcoming community. I always have a ton of fun at that convention!

I CAN pick my worst convention experience though. It was at the 2013 'WonderCon' in Anaheim (in March of this year). I had recently had a split from a former cosplay pal of mine, and during the whole convention I felt like there was a group of people who were very actively trying to ostracize me and make me feel unwelcome.

Constantine In Tokyo - Psylock
It kinda sucks when people who you thought were your friends go out of their way to treat you like that. I spent a lot of that con in my hotel room feeling very lonely and hurt. I think it was an important lesson in being careful about the people that you trust and let into your life. Not everyone is going to be a nice person.

8) What would be your dream Cosplay gig and outfit?   I really love travel and meeting new people, so any cosplay ‘gig’ that would allow me to do that would be a dream come true.

As for outfits, there are so many I want to make! I don’t have a singular ‘dream’ costume and I’m lucky to have already had the chance to bring many of my favorite characters to life!

9) Has there ever been an outfit you just did not like wearing? And if so, why?   As I mentioned before, I am a very shy person and am extremely critical of my own work. So every time I unveil a new costume, I am SUPER nervous.

I worry that people won’t like it, or that I’ll look bad in it, or that the costume won’t look well-made. That's why I have to muster up a lot of courage to wear new costumes to conventions!

I don’t think I have a costume that I actively dislike wearing though. But there are definitely a few costumes that I’d like to improve before I wear them again!

10) Do you have a credo you live by?   I do, actually, and it has to do with how we all choose to treat other people.

I think everyone should live up to their own standards; if you don’t like it when people are mean to you, then don’t be mean to other people. I think everyone should strive to be polite and respectful to others, even if you don’t agree with their opinions or actions. I don’t think there is any excuse for rude behavior. And if someone is treating you poorly or taking advantage of you, then don’t let them be a part of your life.

Life is too short to let other people ruin it for you. Live your life the way you want to, try your damnedest to be a good person, and be kind to others. That’s what I live by!

Wow, Constantine! Those are some very wise words indeed. Don't you agree, dear readers? Yes. Of course you do. So when you have the time, please check out Constantine's great facebook page, twitter stream, and website. Go on. Click-click. Plus while your at it, pay a visit to her great YouTube channel too.