anibee Features: Vampy Bit Me!

There was another awesome cosplayer guest at the Singapore Toys, Games & Comics Convention at Marina Bay Sands this year! A self-certified 'nerd' who loves comics, anime & gunpla building on top of cosplay, we got to speak to Vampy Bit Me from America!

anibee: Hi Vampy! First off, how did you get started in cosplay?

Vampy: It's a funny story! I got into it from a really young age. My Mum was a seamstress, who would go about embarrassing us by making all sorts of costumes for us for us to wear - whether we liked it or not!

But as reluctant as I was back then, it kind of rubbed off on me - and here I am, making my own costumes for cosplay!

anibee: How have you been finding the cosplay & pop-culture scene here so far?

Vampy: It's been great! I find it really funny when people here greet me and treat me with really high regard - as it's very much the same way for me with the cosplayers here!

You guys do all sorts of amazingly cool stuff that I can only dream of doing. The level of creativity and ingenuity here is off the charts - and I've been loving every moment of it!

anibee: What was the transition like for you, going from casual costuming to full-out cosplay?

Vampy: It was actually nerve wrecking for me, as weird as it sounds, I *hated* doing photoshoots! I'm a really shy and awkward person in reality, and I found the camera extremely intimidating.

But it was thanks to a friend of mine, who happened to be a Street Fighter artist, and his heavy persuasion, that I finally did my first shoot some years back. I whipped out my Morrigan (from Darkstalkers), Rei Ayanami (Evangelion) and White Phoenix (X-Men), and I actually had a lot of fun. The rest was history!

anibee: What should equally camera-shy new cosplayers do to overcome their fear of the camera like you did?

Vampy: Study High Fashion, definitely. The way the models in such shoots pose, how they move their bodies - it's really an art form that's worth studying and learning from.

Reading up a bit on photography in general too helps, so you can understand your photographer better and what he requires from you. In short, read up about all sorts of things outside the realm of cosplay, no matter how abstract it may seem. You'll be surprised to discover how relevant; and helpful; it can be!

anibee: You're known to be a big fan of Gunpla! How did you get into building Gundam Model kits?

Vampy: I've been buildings for quite some time, starting with model cars when I was a kid.

But when I first watched Gundam Wing - that's when everything changed! I went all "Wow, what are these things?!" and that was when my Gunpla craze began!

I simply love building them as there are so many different designs, and so many different ways to construct and personalise them. In many ways, it's like its own art form too!

anibee: With more younger cosplayers getting into the scene, one big issue is dealing with negativity from other people. What advice do you have?

Vampy: I've gotten; and still do get; a lot of negativity from people around me with regards to my cosplay. A lot of that stems from the fact that most of my friends aren't cosplayers and don't quite understand the hobby.

One of the most important things I feel one should do? Turn your internet off.

That's right; there are tons and tons of internet 'trolls' everywhere who are just out to say mean things and make your day terrible. It's tough enough to try to make people in your real life understand your hobby; you definitely don't need some anonymous person hiding behind a cartoon avatar make things worse!

While comments online can be as helpful as they are hurtful, I feel that taking a time-out and completely ignoring the internet for periods of time can be a BIG help in keeping your composure.

Keep doing what you love - and don't let anyone get in your way!

Interview photos courtesy of Brian Lim!

- Q