Ms Marvel Cosplay Warning. When you get around to reading the following interview, I'd like you to keep in mind that colleges, schools, or any other places of communal learning, try their best to teach their students about all aspects of life, and not just about cosplay. OK. You got all that? Good. Now you can read this interview I did with an amazing girl called Bubblegum Nightshade.

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1) What are your own origins, Bubblegum Nightshade?   I hail from Raleigh, North Carolina, and have lived there the vast majority of my life. I'm a thoroughbred nerd who's always been fascinated by superheroes, sci-fi, anime, and comics that my father helped me cultivate. Some of the best father-daughter memories I have involve going to the opening nights to see the latest Star Wars / Harry Potter / Marvel / DC / etc. movie.

By the time I was 12, I had entered the awkward tomboy stage, and occasionally got picked on for not being a girly girl. But by then I had already established life long friendships with my closest allies who shared the same interests as me, so all that bullying turned into background noise pretty easily.

I'm honestly a late-bloomer in the Cosplay community, and it wasn't until I attended my first convention, Animazement, when I was 19 or 20, that I really took an interest in it. I loved the idea of dressing up as the characters I've always adored and, to boot, making the costumes by hand. However, I was immensely shy so I didn't actually start Cosplaying until I finally muscled up the gumption this year to start dressing up and wearing them in public.

Anime Cosplay
2) What are the most persistent comments you’ve received from your followers?   I'm genuinely surprised at the positive feedback I've received from my fellow cosplayers and followers. As a newbie, I was extremely anxious to put my work under the spotlight for veteran cosplayers and seamstresses to pick apart, but the feedback was inspiring. It's great to feel like I've finally found something I'm good at doing. I think that's one aspect of the Cosplay community that is so inviting -- everyone I've interacted with so far has been helpful and genuinely excited to see what other cosplayers are creating and bringing to life. At the end of the day, it's about shared interest in a show or comic or movie, and the conversation starter is the costume. It's fun just hearing the comments, "OMG, I love so-and-so too! Great costume!"

3) What is your ‘regular’ job? And does it in any way shape or form aide you as a Cosplayer?   Currently, I am but a humble college student working on her bachelors degree in...something. I haven't gotten that far yet, haha. I would say college has helped me as a cosplayer. For one, it's forced me to speak in dreaded class presentations. It's horrific, I know! But it has helped rip the "social anxiety" bandage right off and is one of the reasons I can now interact with people (whether or not I'm doing it well is another topic completely).

The maths and science courses have also strengthened my ability to measure, critically think, and reason things out. It may sound silly, but those all come in handy when trying to figure out how to make a costume, make it well, and do it on a pauper's budget.

Lady Death Cosplay4) How did your friends, family, and work-colleagues first react to the news that you like to cosplay?   Well, my friends practically threw a party that I finally joined the dark side. In all seriousness, they were very supportive and guided me in the right direction in terms of how to get started, what I needed, and even taught me the basics of sewing, altering, pattern reading... the works. I have awesomely talented friends and hate to say I'm spoiled in that aspect, Ha!

My family was very supportive as well, to the point where I'm currently collaborating with a couple of them on some big future projects that incorporates cosplay as an aspect of their projects. The end result is going to be great!

5) How do you decide what Cosplay costume to wear for a convention? And who makes them?   I'll usually cater to the convention I'm attending with the costumes. If it's a comic convention, then comic book characters, anime goes with anime conventions, that kind of thing. As for picking out specific costumes to wear or create, they're characters I legitimately enjoy or have adored since I was young. 

As of this moment, I've only cosplayed three characters: Two of which were made completely from scratch by me, and one that was bought but heavily altered to fit my body. I'll always try to make a costume first, but if I can't figure it out or don't have the skills required to make said costume, I'll buy it as a last resort. I honestly enjoy the creative process of making a costume. There's something very calming and rewarding watching sheets of fabric and spools of thread turn into your beloved childhood hero and knowing you did it yourself. It makes the compliments that much sweeter, knowing its your work they're commenting on.

Harley Quinn Cosplay6) What have you learnt about yourself whilst Cosplaying? And were their any unforeseen obstacles you had to content with?   I have learned that I have quite the temper when things go wrong! I feel every cosplayer can relate to this, though. I get so invested in the costume I'm working on that when I can't figure a problem out, I go into a Hulk-like rage, ha! 

I've also learned that I need to just step back, stop working on it for a little while, and come back to it when I'm of calmer mind. It's definitely opened my eyes on how to better handle life stresses as well. 

As for unforeseen obstacles, I try to not let anything get in my way. Every bump in the road is a learning opportunity, and while I may get Hulk Smash angry at the time, those bumps teach me more about the craft and how to be better at it.

7) What was the best / worst convention you ever attended?   I don't think I've ever experienced a "bad" convention. Every convention has its own flair and atmosphere that's unique to itself. I can honestly say I've enjoyed every con I've been to. As for the best con, it's gotta be my hometown anime convention, Animazement. I've met so many wonderful people there, and it's where I got my start in the community, so it'll always hold a special place in my heart.

Spidergirl Cosplay8) What would be your dream Cosplay gig and outfit?   Oh geez, what a loaded question! I would love to be on a costume contest panel one day, or even just have the nerve to enter a costume contest! One day, for sure, but I feel I still have a lot to learn before I get to that point.

I would also like to do a lot of charity work involving cosplay, and have been starting that as of recently, whilst getting more involved and make it more of a community effort to give to those less fortunate.

As for the outfit, something big and armor-based, since I have very limited knowledge of armor making. I'd love to attempt something from Diablo III or Magic Knight Rayearth. A girl can dream!

9) Has their ever been an outfit you just did not like wearing? And if so, why?   Besides from ever so uncomfortable heels, no, I have loved wearing every costume I've made.

10) Do you have a credo you live by?   "Do The Things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don't be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you." -- Eleanor Roosevelt.

Find Marvel Axis comics and more at TFAW!

And so on that presidential note, I'd like to thank Bubblegum Nightshade for telling us about her life as a cosplayer, before directing you towards her official facebook and twitter pages.

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