Today’s interview features JediManda. #TeamSMC member Bandit Spurs arranged this interview, and we’re so glad to have such a crazy talented cosplayer on the site. Enjoy the interview and feel free to leave comments on what you thought below.
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SMC: Why did you start cosplaying?
JediManda: I started cosplaying because I was an already established seamstress and costume designer and I really just got tired of dressing actors and dancers. I wanted to be the one to perform in my own creations so cosplay fell into my lap.
SMC: What was the first convention you attended in cosplay?
JediManda: My very first con I attended in cosplay was Derby City Comic Con in 2013. It’s my hometown’s con.
SMC: What has been your most memorable convention moment?
JediManda: Well so far it’s been in competitions. I cosplay to compete, I really love doing it. I know that might sounds weird to some but I do love competition. One of the most recent memorable moments is when I won with my Mary Poppins cosplay at Gen Con 2016.
SMC: What is your favorite thing about cosplaying at a convention?
JediManda: Getting to show off your creation, finally! Nothing beats hitting that floor in something brand new.
SMC: Where can fans expect to see you next? (2017 Schedule?)
JediManda: I will be traveling a lot this year for competitions and big cons. My schedule so far are these cons: Anime Crossroads, Louisville Arcade Expo, Star Wars Celebration, Con of Thrones, D23 Expo, GenCon, Cincinnati Comic Expo. Probably more.
SMC: What cosplayers inspire you?
JediManda: I HAVE SO MANY! The funny part is that some are my best buddies. To name a few, Alyson Tabbitha, GinnyDi, AngiViper, Yaya Han, Major Sam Cosplay, April Gloria, Starbit Cosplay and Nikita Cosplay.
SMC: Which is your favorite cosplay you’ve created?
JediManda: That’s such a tough question because it’s like choosing between children. But I’ll divide it into two categories. Con floor love and Competition love. Con floor love would be Yang Xiao Long and Ahsoka Tano, and competition love would be Mary Poppins and Queen Amidala so far.
SMC: What cosplay are you best known for?
JediManda: Mostly my Sith Elsa and Ahsoka Tano.
SMC: If money was no object what would be your dream cosplay creation?
JediManda: First Order stormtrooper!
SMC: Do you have any new cosplays currently in the works?
JediManda: Well I recently just finished a 9 month creation of Queen Amidala from Star Wars, I’m starting on working on another Yang Xiao Long from RWBY cosplay then another version of Ahsoka Tano.
SMC: What are your cosplay strengths? (Tailoring, fabric painting, worbla armor, incharacter performance etc.)
JediManda: 100% anything with sewing. That is where my strength is. But I have been gaining confidence and strength within my wig styling and designs.
SMC: What’s one thing you wish you knew about cosplaying before you got started?
JediManda: I wish I just traveled more and did more cons.
SMC: Any advice for people interested in cosplaying for the first time?
JediManda: Yes, stay simple and experience what other cosplayers feel at conventions. It’s a whole different world and sometimes people aren’t ready for the attention. It can get overwhelming with con photos and even online traffic. Just do your research and start small.
SMC: What do you do in the real world for a job?
JediManda: I’m a graphic designer and social media manager for a manufacturing company.
SMC: What is something your fans may not know about you? Other hobbies?
JediManda: You mean there is life outside cosplay?! haha. My other hobbies include drawing and painting. I actually went to school for that before I started sewing and cosplay caught my life. I create realism drawings and painting of anything you can imagine. It’s how I escape the cosplay life sometimes.
SMC: What part of “geekdom” is you favorite avenue of entertainment (i.e. comics, movies, video games, anime, etc?).
JediManda: My geekdom lies in movies and TV mostly. I rarely do anything outside of that unless I’m SUPER INSPIRED. Star Wars is my main fandom though.
SMC: Any favorite TV shows, movies or cartoons?
JediManda: Star Wars anything, seriously. But I’m a huge fan of cartoons like Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Archer, American Dad. I also love Game of Thrones, RWBY, anything Tim Burton, and Xmen stuff, unfortunately those movies hurt me a bit inside.
SMC: What is your gaming system of choice?
JediManda: I own a PS4 but I play my Nintendo 64 more than anything. MarioKart for the win!
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