Candy Keane hails from Jacksonville, FL where she produces some amazing cosplay creations. She originally came to our attention a while ago when she was the figurehead for the Star Wars fandom documentary Jedi Junkies (coincidently there is no connection between the documentary and our very own Jedi Junkie!) We were lucky enough to be able to chat with Candy about her time cosplaying and what she thinks about the community, her creations and much more.
Q) What was your first experience of seeing cosplay in the gaming community?
The first time I saw what I’d consider cosplay was at San Diego Comic Con around 2004. I didn’t really start participating in costuming outside of Halloween and special events until around 2006 at DragonCon.
Q) What was it about cosplay that got you interested in it?
The fact that I didn’t have to wait all year for Halloween! And that I found a community that was as into costuming as I was.
Q) What made you decide that it was something that you wanted to get involved in and did you intend for it to go as far as it has for you?
The thing I really enjoy about costuming at conventions is the fact that the people there really appreciate the work you put into your costume. They know your character, they know you got the details right (or wrong!) So when I started my business was when I really got into going to conventions to promote my work. I intended for it to go as far as a possibly could and plan to keep going.
Q) What was your first cosplay outfit and why did you choose that particular character?
The first cosplay costume I wore to a convention was Slave Leia. I chose it because at the time, I hadn’t seen anyone else do it. I made it for Halloween in 2004, before Slave Leias travelled in large groups. I love Star Wars and felt like it was an iconic scene and would be a challenge to recreate. Even though I haven’t worn the costume in years, it’s still one of my best known cosplays thanks to the cover of Jedi Junkies.
Q) How do you pick out which characters you want to create?
I pick characters I like, then I do a bunch of research and pick out my favourite outfit. Or sometimes I’ll just see a photo or comic book cover that catches my eye and introduces me to that character.
Q) Does outfit, body style, overall perception of the character and attitude affect your decisions when deciding which character to take on?
Yes, I’ve picked some characters based on a cool outfit but when I started researching them or reading the comic I just didn’t like them as much. I can’t do a character if I’m not feeling it. I also try to pick characters I can realistically portray.
Q) What have been the reactions you have had from some of your creations?
When I do Abbey Bominable from Monster High the little kids always get excited and tell me about their MH collection. Also it’s always nice when you’re doing a popular character where there may be 10 of you and someone says “best so-and-so I’ve seen all day.” Obscure characters can get quite a reaction too. I did Rystall Sant, who can only be seen in the remastered version of Return of the Jedi, so that prompted a lot of people to come up and start discussing whether they were for or against the remastered version. The best moment of the night was when a girl came up to me and said “Awesome Rystall, so glad I saw you, I can go home happy now.” Makes all that hard work worth it!
Q) What’s been the hardest cosplay character and costume to produce?
They all have elements that are hard to do and parts that are easy. One of the hardest overall was one I made for someone else- Wonder Woman Nu’bia, based off a doll. I had to learn to use worbla to sculpt a chestplate attached to a cape. That was a learning experience!
Q) How long does it take you to design and create the majority of your character pieces on average? Has there been any Exceedingly long creations?
I don’t really have an average time. Some stuff I can finish in a day and some stuff takes months. I think it just depends on how obsessed I am with the outfit and if I have to order any supplies or parts.
Q) There must be a financial investment when it comes to some of these outfits, have any been fairly extravagant?
Things get really extravagant when you need stuff right away. I spent way too much doing RE3 Alice because I needed the boots overnighted. Also weapons can add up. I spent a lot of airsoft replicas.
Q) When it comes to photoshoots, how much input do you have in the composition of the shot? How important do you feel location and ‘realism’ is to the overall image?
I always have total input in any shoot I’m doing because I’m shooting for myself. The only time you don’t have creative control is when you’re shooting for another company. I’m not sure about the “realism”…I think a lot of time I’m going for something unreal!
Q) Whats been your favourite experience during your cosplaying time?
Shooting for Entertainment Weekly’s Comic Con coverage and getting invited to their party at SDCC. Best party I’ve ever been to that was packed with celebrities because it was ok to take pics. A lot of time you can’t bring your camera. I totally fangirled out.
Q) How much interaction do you have with your fans and followers of your cosplaying creations?
Lots! Facebook, twitter and just out and about at conventions.
Q) What’s the cosplaying community like as a whole? Are they all generally supportive of each other or are there different sub groups inside the community?
Both- generally supportive and there are subgroups. Every culture has groups. Some people may not be as into or understand the other groups but they all seem generally supportive because they probably overlap at some point.
Q) Cosplay seems to have taken off more in the past few years, do you have any thoughts as to why this might be?
I’m sure the TV show helped. But also the whole thing about nerd/geek culture being the cool thing to do sort of spilled over into conventions.
Q) How do you see cosplay in general evolving in the future? Are there areas that it can expand into and are there more lavish characters to be explored?
It seems to be getting bigger and bigger, literally. I keep seeing more large costumes and props and I think that’s going to continue because they keep winning contests on wow factor.
Q) What have you got planned for the future in regards to new creations and appearances?
I’m not really sure about the next year. Usually I have a bunch of conventions lined up by now but I’m taking a bit of a break from all the traveling. I’m working on building a new website for the Three Muses store and that’s taking all my time. I also get a bit burned out after Halloween every year. So right now I don’t even want to think about taking on a new project!
Q) Do you have any words of advice for anyone wanting to get into cosplay or wanting to step up a gear in regards to their outfits and the characters they want to portray?
Make your costumes, wear it, then go back home and fix everything that went wrong. I have outfits I’m constantly tweaking to make better. You never know how something is going to hold up at a con. There are some outfits I’ve worn that only made in on the floor once for a few hours because they were so cumbersome.
We would like to thank Candy for her time and we hope that when you find some time please go and check out her cosplay page on facebook. You can find the page by clicking on the link right here.
Princess Rosalina, by Red Velvet Photography
DC Bombshell Supergirl, by David Love
New 52 Wonder Woman, by St. Augustine Photos
Dazzler, by Red Velvet Photography
RE3 Alice, by David Love
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