Pippa is a UK based cosplayer that has been busy making her costumes and recreating characters for 4 years now. With a strong sense affinity to kick ass female characters or more specifically, characters that kick the boy’s ass! Pippa is the kind of cosplayer that we both love and fear here at JoypadAndMe. She’s a talented cosplayer with some great creations. She also loves video games but could probably kick our asses on those too! Anyway, we had the opportunity to ask her some questions and she was happy to oblige.
I was ﬁrst introduced to the concept of cosplay when I was at my ﬁrst MCM back in October 2009.
Q) What was it about cosplay that got you interested in it?
It was interesting to me because of it’s creative and artistic nature. I’ve always been very creative, so I think that was what caught me.
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?
When I went to MCM in cosplay for the 1st time, I was welcomed into the community so quickly and lovingly, I was just astounded. Having grown up with a lot of bullying at school, it was really something to be part of a community where you felt like you belonged and that you were wanted there. But I never thought I would take it as far as I have. However the community and life gave me lemons, so I made lemonade.
My very 1st cosplay was a ‘humanised’ Pikachu. I chose this, because I knew straight away that cosplaying can be a very trick thing to do. If I tried to make a very hard cosplay straight from the off, I would have fallen ﬂat on my face. But I wanted something recognisable, and Pikachu ﬁt the bill. Plus I have grown up with and will always been a big fan of the Pokemon anime.
Q) How do you pick out which characters you want to create?
1st off I have to be a fan of the franchise. Then the character(s) have to appeal to me in terms of personality, actions, and sometimes they do have to also be a badass. I’ve always had a soft spot for female characters that can kick the boys butts.
Q) Does outfit, body style, overall perception of the character and attitude affect your decisions when deciding which character to take on?
Outﬁt can play quite a big part in my choice. for example I would never be able to pull off the normal, male captain america, because I’m far too small and skinny. so I adapted the outﬁt into something that could work for me. I don’t think body type has ever played a part in my choices. Again it’s just a case of adapting the outﬁt and wearing the right underwear.
So far, they’ve all been positive, overall, with the occasional and healthy amount of constructive criticism.
Q) What’s been the hardest cosplay character and costume to produce?
Hardest one that I’ve completed is Rinoa Heartilly. (Final Fantasy 8) The Duster/Jacket, I knitted by hand, which was a pain and I built the Blast Edge (her weapon) which turned out to be a lot harder than i thought it would be.
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?
The time it can take to get a cosplay together can vary, big time. It depends on complexity of the design and sometimes the techniques required. For example Rinoa took me nearly 2 months, mostly because of the jacket. Captain America took me about a month. but cosplays like Jill Valentine, Lara Croft and Kim Possible, I was able to ﬁnish those in 1-2 weeks (Work permitting).
Q) There must be a financial investment when it comes to some of these outfits, have any been fairly extravagant?
I try not to spend huge amounts of money when I’m working on a cosplay. Charity shops have been my best friends since I started. However I do sometimes invest in a good quality wig if I need to, because feel a good wig makes the cosplay complete.
Q) Have you ever had any extreme reactions from onlookers and fans for you creations both good and bad?
I think the worst extreme reaction I’ve had was my mum’s reaction to Jill Valentine. let’s just say she wasn’t pleased. I can’t blame her though, I was running around in a boob-tube and a mini skirt. The best extreme reaction was a group of school children on the train when I was on my way back from an event in my Kim Possible outﬁt. They went pretty crazy, but in a good way.
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 put a lot of effort into making my cosplays look realistic. For example, I don’t always follow reference images completely because something doesn’t look right, so I adapt it. Rinoa’s blast edge being a prime example. Location can be important as it can make the character look even more realistic, but sometimes you do have to make the best of what you’ve got. I think both cosplayer and photographer should have a say when it comes to shoots. If I’m not happy with the idea the photographer has, I will say what I think needs to change, and if they are stuck I am happy to give them an idea. It’s an art, and it’s something both cosplayer and photographer have to practise and build up skills.
Q) Whats been your favourite experience during your cosplaying time?
My favourite experience was when I meet my now best friends, The Members Of The Life Stream. I was wearing my Advent Children Tifa cosplay, and one of them was in a Aerith, the other in a Cloud and later we were joined by a Zack cosplayer. So naturally we all clicked straight away, we spent a lot of that MCM together and we’ve all been best mates ever since.
Q) How much interaction do you have with your fans and followers of your cosplaying creations?
I interact with my followers/fans well. I try to make time for everyone who asked for a picture, and people who send messages to my social media. I have had a few of my followers on social media come up to me and recognise me, which was a new experience. !
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?
15)I feel that the community as whole is generally very supportive of each other. there are lots of different groups within the community some of which I am a member of. I.E. Square Enix collective, which is a group that it’s members specialise in characters from Square Enix games. Plus almost every comic convention company has a Facebook group where attendees post about their experiences. But in general all these different groups get along well in my experience.!
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 think that the internet and social media, have caused the rise is the interest in cosplay. Cosplayers are able share their experiences so quickly now, that it just spreads like wide ﬁre.
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?
I don’t know if cosplay can expand anymore. But it is constantly evolving because of consistent release of different ﬁlms, games, tv shows, etc. If a certain franchise appeals to it’s audience cosplayers will consider taking on those characters. From there, it can go anywhere. Genderbends, adaptation, crossovers, You name it. If the franchise appeals, us cosplayers will create it somehow.
My next two cosplays are going to be Aeron (Pandora’s tower) and Black Cat. (Spiderman/ Marvel) After that I guess it will be between my Commander Shepard (Mass Effect) and my Robin (Fire Emblem Awakening).
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?
For anyone who’s trying to step up a gear, I’d say take your time, and build up your skills gradually. I never went from buying, to altering, to making from scratch over night. For anyone who’s just been introduced to cosplay, but there are shy or nervous, I’d say, take a deep breath, shout YOLO, and just go for it. P.S. good luck.
Thanks to Pippa for taking time out to chat to JoypadAndMe and we urge you to check out her social media pages when you get a chance by using the links below. If you are interested in being featured in our cosplay interview section then please contact Graham at Graham@JoypadAndMe.com