Welcome back to Comic-Con week! Being the center of the geek yearly calendar, you can taste the excitement in the air. All the big reveals, the new content, meeting your favorite creators, and of course getting to see your favorite characters brought to life by the marvelous people who take part in costume play! Cosplay, as it’s now come to be known, has grown in popularity over the years, once being reserved for the die hard fan or booth stand trying to sell something. These days however the casual fan now has the materials and outlet to put together their own living embodiment of their favorite characters from anime, video games, and big blockbuster movies. Here to talk with us today on some of the do’s and don’ts and the future of cosplaying is the actress, the model, the woman behind the mask: Ms. Kimberly Moore!
Pure Nerd Nip:
Kimberly, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how life led to you dressing up as batman villains at comic book conventions?
Kimberly Moore: I am an actress, model, singer and dancer and have been cosplaying since 2009. I have cosplayed Luigi, Tails, Harley Quinn, Black Cat, Leeloo, American Dream, Ms. Marvel, Jessica Rabbit, TDRK Catwoman and Sue Storm. When I cosplay I like to put my own costumes together and make my own version of the character or make an exact costume of the character rather than buy a store bought costume. I love going to conventions and I try to go to as many as I can. Acting and modeling is my life, it makes me very happy and I want to share it with the whole world!
PNN: So do you get paid to do any of this, to dress up/promote/etc or is this from a place of pure fan love that drives you?
KM: No I haven’t been paid yet for cosplaying or for promoting myself. I do this all on my own, however, I do have a little help from my friends. They help me get into conventions, allow me to hang out at their booth and spread the word about me at their websites. When I go to conventions I go there to promote myself; but I would love to get paid for what I do at the conventions!
PNN: Guys see the slinky girls at merchandisers “booth babes” and it’s obvious if you talk to them for even a second they have no idea what they’re promoting or who they re dressed up as; and it really is a turn off.
KM: When I cosplay I know exactly who I am dressed as. As an actress I have to know who my character is, how they present themselves and to know who their enemies are.
PNN: What’s your process for making your own costumes, and does that limit you to really picking the people you want to portray?
KM: When I say I make them I basically get different parts together to make one costume. For example my Harley Quinn, I bought a bunch of different things from different places. Some of my costumes take a long time to make because the materials I need may not be available yet. I don’t sew any of my costumes, that is what my mother is for. The only full costume I bought was Sue Storms.
PNN: What are your favorite costumes to cosplay?
KM: My favorite costume I’ve worn so far would have to be Sue Storm, it is the most simple and comfortable out of any of my costumes I own. I like to cosplay her because I love the story of Sue Storm and Prince Namor. My boyfriend and I cosplay as them, and I love to act like thats who we are.
PNN: Now lets talk a little bit about ethics here. I met Kimberly before the Chris Hemsworth panel at WWCC Philly where she was dressed up as Dark Knight Catwoman, goggles and all. There must have been 20 people there in that 10 minutes that wanted your picture; which begs the question is it appropriate to just go up to some stranger in costume and ask for a pic?
KM: People have been coming up to strangers in costume for years now. Famous actors on set of their movie, people in costume at Disney World and Universal Studios, etc. I think it is very appropriate and so natural to do so because we have been doing it since we were little and we want to meet our heros in real life. When I was a child, going to Disney World was a big deal; I was ecstatic to go up to Ariel from the Little Mermaid and getting my picture with her! I felt so comfortable because I knew the character and just seeing someone who I love and look up to made me feel very happy. I love when people, especially children, come up to me and ask for my picture while I’m in cosplay. It’s an honor and it really makes me feel awesome to know that I made another person happy with my art.
PNN: Are you expecting as someone in costume that this is part of your day and not just trying to get first place at the contest at the end of the night?
KM: When you are in cosplay you better be prepared to have your picture taken. Especially when you put so much time and effort into your costume. I go to conventions feeling so good about how I look in my cosplay and I know that through out the day I will be mobbed by people who want to take my picture. It doesn’t just happen to me it happens to all cosplayers who have awesome costumes. People who compliment you on your cosplay and want a picture makes you feel like a super star.
Is it better for worse for you if someone comes up and asks for a pose and everything or if they were like the creepy cameraman who just kept snapping pics thinking no-one was looking! He couldn’t have been any less discrete either; he was trying to shoot over his shoulder with an ipad!
KM: I will get the usual creepers who want a sneak attack picture while I’m not looking and then I’ll see a picture of me as Catwoman online but all you see is my back side. It has happened to me more then once but there isn’t really much you can do about it. When you cosplay you are putting yourself out there. I do prefer to have someone come up and ask for my picture, or if a bunch of people are already taking my picture to just join in. Don’t be afraid or shy to ask, trust me I wont say no; I find it absolutely flattering.
PNN: Speaking of creepy guys; now you’re a rather attractive girl dressed in skin tight leather, you’re bound to attract some weirdos, what percentage of people would you say are coming over wanting to see that character come to life vs creepy guys that just want to take pictures of the aforementioned attractive girl in skin tight leather?
KM: The majority of people who want my picture are mostly people who want to see the character come to life who also think I’m gorgeous but express it in a more polite way. I say about 90% are the nice polite people and 10% are creepers. Although, they don’t really bother me unless they try to hurt me or do something really stupid around me. I have been lucky to not have any danger with creepers but if it ever happens I have a lot of superhero friends to help me.
What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had with someone like that?
KM: I’ll get some people who will want me to do certain poses in my cosplay that are inappropriate. I’ll get some people who want to cop a feel; and for some reason guys want to pick me up and carry me. It happens at every convention I go to and I’m used to it by now. I usually don’t say no to requests at conventions, however, if it’s out of my comfort zone then I will decline.
PNN: So what drives you to cosplay; is it out of love for the character or the costume and the flaire that you as the cosplayer get to bring to it?
KM: It all connects to me as an actress and model. I only cosplay the characters I absolutely love or the character I relate too. I find great joy in portraying the character I am because it’s so much more fun to act as your character then just to parade around in costume. Acting and modeling is my life; I love comic books and sci-fi, and It’s awesome that I can put all of them together!
Everybody wants to be able to make a living doing the things they love; have you found a way to subsidize or monetize your cosplay?
KM: I work my butt off to get the cosplays ready and when I have a convention coming up. My TDKR Catwoman took 8 months to complete because I had a hard time finding what I was looking for and with what money I have. Once I got the costume together it came out so bad ass and I am very proud of it. I go to conventions to promote myself so I can find comic, sci-fi and horror related things that have to do with modeling and acting. I want to do this for the rest of my life not just because of the money but because it makes me happy in so many ways.
PNN: Now I’ve noticed in going around cons not only are the general quality levels of costumes rising from just the dude in the captain America t-shirt and walmart plastic bat cowl; but also certain trends emerging among the ones that are really serious about it. Obviously people want to bring out a particular costume when it’s recent or relevant (you probably wouldn’t wear Jessica Rabbit to the Batman premiere). However the most interesting trend I’ve noticed are girls doing fem-centric versions of guy characters; like Lady Skeletor, Lady Hawkman, or the multitude of lady Captain Americas who were at WWCC, what’s the deal with that? I really like it but where does this notion spring from?
KM: I have been doing fem-centric versions since the beginning. My first two cosplays were Luigi and Tails because not only do I love these characters but I knew that cosplaying them would catch peoples attention. Right now I am working on a female-centric Dexter cosplay. I think it all has to do with having fun as a guy character but also enjoying it in a very seductive way. I love cosplaying as a male character because it’s fun, cute and sexy. There are plenty of images and costumes of women portraying male characters. The reason why it sells so much is because obviously men find it very attractive.
PNN: Thanks for talking with us! Anything you want to plug or anyone to thank?
KM: If you would like to get in touch with me my information is below. I will be posting which conventions I will be attending in the future. Thanks to all of my friends who have helped me out with conventions and with my cosplay. You guys are all family to me and I love you all.
Kimberly was just featured on the premier of Comic Store Heroes on Nat Geo; congrats!
Stay Nerdy My Friends!