Anyone that attended MCM Comic Con this passing weekend will know it was an amazing time to be a Rooster Teeth fan. We had the entirety of Team RWBY come out and meet with fans alongside Team OG themselves from Achievement Hunter, Geoff Ramsey and Jack Patillo. I was given the amazing opportunity to talk with Barbara Dunkelman (Yang Xiao Long in RWBY) and Lindsay Jones (Ruby Rose in RWBY) and I did an okay job of it. Not great, definitely room for improvement but as a fan myself it was hard to not go on a tangent.
Paige: First Question, what do you think of the impact that RWBY has had on the cosplay community?
Barbara: It’s really cool to see how many people cosplay RWBY now. In terms of anime on a greater scale, just seeing how big RWBY is in that community is crazy. Whenever we go to conventions or see pictures from conventions, there is always a group of sixty or seventy cosplayers who are doing RWBY. Its cool to see our anime be part of that, it almost legitimizes it in a way.
Lindsay: Yes, I definitely feel like it’s a two-way street too. Obviously, the cosplay community was already huge before RWBY even existed. So for this giant fanbase to be interested in these RWBY characters is very humbling and fantastic, but at the same time, I know our creator Monty (Oum) was really conscious of cosplayers and was a huge fan of cosplaying. So he made sure that all our costumes designed in the show are things that cosplayers can purchase and he made sure that the costumes were cosplayer friendly. I know that people say that their costumes can be quite cumbersome and its very difficult for them to hold onto their stuff. So he made sure there were pockets and made sure that people would be comfortable and actually able to walk around conventions and interact with people as the RWBY characters.
Paige: I know that practicality was a major part of his character design and I’ve always thought it was really admirable as a creator.
Barbara: Absolutely, he’s a hero.
Paige: I don’t know if you’re aware, but in MCM May this year there was a special masquerade dedicated to just RWBY cosplay.
Barbara: Oh really?
Lindsay: Really? Wow!
Paige: It is just that big over here.
Lindsay: That’s awesome!
Paige: The Rooster Teeth community is thriving. At each of the bigger London conventions, there are easily one hundred or so people at their meets, if not more.
Barbara: I hope we see that!
Lindsay: I was going to say I hope we find some pictures of this masquerade.
Paige: I’m sure there are some floating about. Second question, if you had an unlimited amount of money, the skills to do it and unlimited craft time what costume do you think you’d make?
Barbara: Oh gosh, I would make some type of really awesome outfit that looks normal and cool and fashionable and has robotic wings that come out. So I can fly or jet back around like some crazy tech thing.
Lindsay: Like a mech suit?
Barbara: Yes, like in Iron Man.
Lindsay: You did just cosplay too, I mean you posted those pictures of Harley Quinn.
Barbara: I’ve also cosplayed Yang before at our event RTX, and I did Harley Quinn.
Paige: That’s gone Viral very quickly.
Barbara: It’s crazy! I don’t know why it’s just something I did in a couple of days
Paige: It looked brilliant, though! The attention to detail was quite astounding!
Barbara: Thank you. I didn’t get everything, I didn’t get the bracelets and the tattoos and stuff but I’m hoping that maybe somewhere down the line I could hash it out.
Paige: Yeah, it’s always a work in progress kind of thing, cosplay. You rush it, get it was done and then you can say “Now I can make it better for the next event.”
Lindsay: Yeah, I think for me, the biggest one I’ve always wanted to do is Jareth from Labyrinth. An homage to David Bowie would be pretty sweet.
Paige: That would be amazing! Would you have the bubbles?
Lindsay: Absolutely! I’d have to have one of those crystal balls that he spins around the whole time. And the giant eyebrows.
Paige: That would be brilliant! (Note: I’m a massive Bowie fan.) I would love to see that.
Lindsay: Maybe I could convince Arryn to be Jennifer Connelley.
Barbara: (Laughing) Yeah!
Paige: Why not get Michael to do it?
Lindsay: Exactly! Perfect!
Paige: In the ballgown with the puffy sleeves?
Lindsay: He would too, and he would look fantastic in it!
Paige: I really want this now.
Lindsay: Yeah well once this is published I can say “Look, I mean what I said.”
Paige: You have to do it now.
Lindsay: It’s out there, the public knows.
Paige: What advice would you give to people who are planning to start going to conventions or cosplaying? People who are thinking about attending but are not too sure.
Barbara: I think what they should know is that it is one of the most welcoming communities you could become a part of. I know a lot of people are very hesitant to go to conventions if they’re going alone or thinking of cosplaying because they don’t have any practice or they haven’t developed the skills yet in making costumes but there are so many people who are supportive and helpful within that cosplay community. You’re going to meet so many people just like you when you do the stuff that you like and go to conventions so just do it. You’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
Lindsay: I think the online community too, even before you get to the convention, is so helpful. You can easily find people that have cosplayed before and get some kind of advice if you feel like you’re not prepared to go to the convention. But I’ve said so many times, at conventions the beauty of it is that if you don’t dress up you’re kind of the nerd since almost everyone else is cosplaying. I don’t know I guess it feels like ‘This is interesting, I’m dressing up in this cosplay and I haven’t done this before so this is all so new to me.’ But it is common place in conventions.
Paige: Mmm, I completely agree. I say to a lot of my friends ‘Just come for one day and see how you feel’ and usually the next day its ‘Alright let’s make a cosplay out of the things in my wardrobe in two hours because I am missing out.’
Lindsay: I talk to many people too who come to the convention not dressed up and by the end of the day they’re saying “I feel like I’m missing out. I really want to be a part of this.”
Paige: The idea behind cosplay is to take on a new identity and pretend to be a fictional character. How easy or difficult do you think it’d be to be your RWBY character for a day?
(Skip this bit to avoid Volume 3 spoilers)
Barbara: Well now it might be a little more difficult to be Yang based on what happened in the last volume. It takes a little more dedication to get into character now. I actually love seeing people cosplaying Yang because they seem to take on her persona so well and I think a lot of people who do cosplayer are people who tend to be a little more outgoing, a little more boisterous and charismatic. People want to take on her persona of being really loud, excited, happy and loving. So I don’t think it’s too difficult but I think you’d definitely have to put a lot of your shyness behind you to be outgoing to play Yang and the character she is.
Lindsay: It’s the same with Ruby. I think everyone who I’ve met whose cosplayed Ruby have a little bit of her personality. It’s very bubbly and energetic but still a little bit shy and kind of socially awkward which is totally what I am too and Barb is the same way, a lot of our personality is in our characters/
Barbara: We’re all socially awkward.
Lindsay: Yes, we’re all weirdos but our personalities are in the characters too like Barb is very outgoing and treats me the way an older sister would, that’s a part of her personality too.
Barbara: I make sure that she doesn’t get lost.
Paige: You should put a bell on her or something.
Barbara: That’d be a really funny sketch in RWBY. Yang putting a bell on Ruby.
Lindsay: And it just keeps being different things that aren’t her. But since people have that personality, I’ve met a lot of people who say “Hey I cosplay this character because I relate to this character so much.’ Especially Weiss, I see a lot of people saying they really relate to Weiss and want to be her and that’s awesome! I guess you already have this relationship with the character and when you cosplay them you’re just embodying it.
Barbara: Each of the four main characters in RWBY are so different and I think that everyone can relate to one of them in some way. Blake is very reserved and quiet but very smart and I think a lot of people relate to her. he same with Weiss, Ruby and Yang so you can find a character based on your personality.
Paige: I’ve witnessed a case of that recently. My friend has just got into RWBY after me trying for a while to get her interested and she binged it in the last two days and she really relates to Weiss.
Lindsay: Thank you for enabling her.
Paige: Yeah, she came to meet me for Lunch and said “So I’ve got two minutes left of the second to last episode of volume three. Would you be offended if I watched it?”
Lindsay: “I would be offended if you didn’t.”
Paige: Exactly, so, of course I watched it with her and watched her heartbreak in the last episode.
Barbara: Yeah those last few episodes are rough.
Lindsay: If you watch the DVD or Blu-ray of volume three, Jen Brown, the voice actress of Pyrrha actually watched that scene happen for the first time when we were doing commentary and it’s just heartbreaking.
Barbara: We do the commentary before all the episodes are finishes to get the DVDs out in time, so she was there to do the commentary and she said “I’m about to watch this scene for the first time”
Lindsay: We were all like; “Oh. Oh man.” Since we had all seen it before.
Paige: So you all sat there watching her right?
Barbara: Watching her watch it.
Lindsay: I think that there is a solid minute of her watching the last scene is just her sobbing.
Paige: Oh no… I think it’s worse going back and watching when you know what’s about to happen. Just seeing the little hints of Jaune and Pyrrha beforehand makes it so much more heart breaking.
Lindsay: Tragic… Jaune you idiot!
It took him too long!
Barbara: Open your eyes, man!
(No more Volume three spoilers)
Paige: So, you’re both very successful actresses and voice actresses.
Barbara: I don’t know if I’d say successful.
Lindsay: Oh thank you very much, appreciate that.
Paige: Are there any projects, TV shows, video games or anime that you would love to be a part of?
Barbara: So many things.
Lindsay: Yeah I’ve been an anime fan since seventh grade (Note: Year 8 for UK readers) and actually I grew up about fifteen minutes away from FUNimation and I always thought it would be so awesome to voice characters for them. So probably something like FUNimation. Barbara’s already done that for Fairy Tail.
Barbara: Yeah a bunch of us went up to FUNimation to audition like over a year ago and I didn’t hear back from them for a while. Then seven months later they called me and said: “Hey we were just listening to your audition tape again and there’s this character in this anime called Fairy Tail that we think you should voice.” And I was like “Oh! I completely forgot about that!”
Paige: What character?
Barbara: Cosmos, she’s only in a few episodes and she’s a villain. She’s such a different character from Yang but I had so much fun doing that. Honestly, I would just want to do any cartoon, any anime, anything. Just getting to be a different person for a little bit is really fun.
Lindsay: I’m a fan of Wonder Woman clearly. (She has a Wonder Woman Business card holder)
Barbara: That’d be so cool!
Paige: Oh nice, I’m assuming it’s just a mirror. (I did assume it was just a mirror. What do they say about assuming?)
Lindsay: Oh no it’s actually a business card holder.
Paige: Oh sweet, very practical.
Barbara: Mine is just a stack of cards with a rubber band around them.
Lindsay: Hey, whatever works. I’d lose mine otherwise.
Paige: What would you say is your favorite cosplay or Halloween costume?
Barbara: I did Princess Zelda a couple of years ago for Halloween and it was the first costume I ever made myself and as you know Zelda has a lot of intricate armor pieces. It looked like shit, it looked really bad up close but altogether from far away it looked pretty good. I don’t know how to sew though so everything was either taped, glued or stapled together.
Barbara: Oh gosh it ended up falling apart after two uses but that was probably my favorite just because I worked so hard on it.
Paige: You only need it for one night anyway.
Lindsay: Exactly! That was probably your first cosplay experience I would say.
Paige: I mean the look of stress on your face shows it was definitely a cosplay experience.
Barbara: It was. It was the first time I didn’t buy a costume. Here is my Zelda anyway.
Paige: Oh wow! It’s really well done!
Barbara: Not up close, some of it is cardboard that I painted and that is foam that I glued and stapled together.
Paige: It’s still pretty impressive, I’m assuming you went at it with no clue what you were doing.
Barbara: Not at all. I found a big white skirt and thought ‘That’s a good start.’
Paige: I think that’s the start for most cosplayers in all honesty.
Lindsay: And you were Twilight Princess Zelda too so she had the extra braids and everything. It was no Ocarina of Time Zelda.
Paige: No Skyward Sword Zelda where it’s just a dress.
Lindsay: That’s pretty easy too, or Wind Waker where it’s just a pirate. Let’s see, I think the best one that I’ve done so far is Marceline from Adventure Time and that was a pain in the ass too because I went through with the silver paint and I got it everywhere of course. So there were silver streaks everywhere at the party we were at.
Paige: I get that. I cosplayed Marceline with my brother as Marshall Lee and as we were applying the face paint I thought; ‘this is hell and I know I have to seal it but I don’t know how.’ So I walked around the convention just advising people not to touch me.
Barbara: (Laughs) “Nobody hug me.”
Paige: Exactly! It’s one of those costumes where it’s appreciated by all ages too so I had a little girl come up to me almost crying because she recognized me and she was so sweet.
Lindsay: I actually got a tweet recently from a father who had his daughter dressed up as Ruby for her first Halloween it was adorable! I love when people send pictures in of their children who watching the show.
Paige: There’s actually a ten-year-old girl attending MCM this weekend as Ruby.
Barbara: (Gasps) I can’t wait to see her!
Lindsay: Oh I’d love to meet her! That’s one of the most rewarding things, to meet people like that.
Paige: So I asked the lovely Rooster Teeth UK community for some questions and I tried to keep it cosplay related but a popular question of course was is there any information about RTXUK or Let’s Play Live UK? (Credit to Andrew James Fisher, Daniel Lok and Robert Hood for the question)
Lindsay: Annnnd Barbara!
Barbara: I mean, we are expanding RTX. We just did an event in Sydney and we’re doing a second one this year. I don’t think that it’s out of the question that it is a possibility. We realize that we’re not in the UK enough, or as much as we should be, we have a huge fan base here so we should be here more often. So just wait for more information.
Lindsay: Will there be cosplay at RTXUK? Yes.
Paige: Are there any cosplayers that you admire?
(Credit to Kane Burnip for the question)
Lindsay: Oh well obviously Jessica Nigri.
Barbara: Yeah Jessica Nigri.
Lindsay: She’s wonderful, the nicest person you’ll ever meet and could not be more grateful for the fans she has and the opportunity that she has.
Barbara: Jessica Nigri is such a great example of someone in the cosplay community that works so hard, she is obviously very well known and I think a lot of people do not realize that she is just the most down to earth, sweet person and she really cares about what she does.
Paige: Yeah, a lot of people take her at face value, don’t they?
Barbara: Yeah, people assume. They judge a book by its cover.
Lindsay: I’ve said many times too that people say “Oh it’s just her looks that are getting her there.” When she makes all her cosplayers herself, she books all her press events, she’s travelling nonstop and at the same time she’s voice acting for RWBY and Super Sonico. The girl works so hard.
Paige: She deals with it all so well.
Lindsay: I don’t think I’ve ever seen her made or upset once in my life.
Barbara: And her going to a con is like Elvis Presley doing a concert. It’s crazy! She cannot keep people away from her but she is so sweet and humble to everybody she meets so I definitely look up to her in that sense.
Lindsay: And of course, Meg Turney. She’s here actually for comic con.
Barbara: No she’s not.
Lindsay: She told me she was coming?
Barbara: She’s not in the UK
Lindsay: Ah, bitch. I’ll have to message her then. She messaged me like ‘Let’s hang out in London!’ Okay, Well!
Barbara: You keep thinking everyone is in London.
Lindsay: That’s staying in this interview. Meg did not hang out with me.
Paige: Are there any other RWBY Characters you would want to cosplay?
Lindsay: I will say this, just because I think it’ll be funny, Professor Port. Why not?
Barbara: Oh man, I have so many different characters I want to cosplay. I think I would really like to try Weiss at some point. I love her costume design and it’s just so delicate and very snowy. I just love the coloring of it and the way it is so, yeah Weiss one day. I don’t know if I’m as tiny or short as she needs to be to cosplay that character.
Paige: It doesn’t matter.
Lindsay: Yeah just be a tall Weiss. You’d make a sweet Winter if thats the case.
Barbara: Ooh, Winter might be fun.
Paige: I could see you as Winter.
Barbara: I did do her motion capture in Volume three.
Lindsay: That’s awesome, thanks for smacking me. I appreciate it.
Paige: How do you think the relationship between anime and cosplay has changed over the last few years?
Barbara: I feel like it’s more accepted. I think there was always this idea that you have to understand and know everything about a certain show or game or anything that you’re cosplaying from whereas now its like ‘Well I just like this Character’ or ‘I like their design,’ Maybe I’ve seen a few episodes or something but I don’t have to know everything inside out’ which I think is really cool because it gives people freedom to do what they want.
Lindsay: Definitely. We talk about how nerd culture as a whole has become more mainstream and I love that because especially as a female growing up if you liked anime or comic books you were a loser. Now I can’t think of anyone who I talk to who doesn’t have some kind of interest in some form of nerd group, cosplay included. So I completely agree it’s wonderful that people are more accepting of cosplay and at the same time too previously it was seen by some people as childish or they would think of Halloween. Well, now it’s literally an art form people make a living off of it. People are commissioned, the get sponsorships much like any professional athlete its the same thing now.
That is all for my interview process and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both of these amazing ladies for their time. They are both honestly the loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure to sit and chat to for a while and they’re both such amazing role models for the younger generation of women who are part of this nerd culture. They have both excelled within Rooster Teeth as a company and work hard to not only progress but to do better for their fans. To take this matter more personally, they are both incredible role models to me. They work hard at jobs that they love and I think anyone could relate to how inspiring it is to see people succeed in something they enjoy. I sincerely hope that someday I’ll have the great pleasure to sit down with them and chat with them again because they are so welcoming it was like sitting with old friends. So for the umpteenth time, I’d like to thank you, Barbara and Lindsay, for giving me the amazing opportunity to chat with you. And of course, an even bigger thank you to my amazing editor Sean for hiring an aspiring British writer and giving her the ultimate bragging rights to her nerdy friends.
And of course, if any of you three are in London, hit me up and I will happily buy you a drink.
Also a huge shout out to the RTUK community, you are all so lovely and hearing your responses to my question request was amazing!
Any questions or opinions on the points raised in this interview please feel free to contact me on Twitter @Paigedolanxd or via email on Izzyboom@sharemycosplay.com
Photos provided by James Bissett Photography.
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Writer / Cosplayer from the UK.