Roshawn Rochester interviews Kate “Katybear” McCullough. This interview just happens to be posted on her birthday. How appropriate it is to post this on probably the biggest cosplay day in the US, at least, then to deliver this chat.
Red-Headed Mule: What got you into cosplay?
Katybear: Actually I didn’t know about it until fairly recently, but my husband turned me onto it. I love dressing up for Halloween and when I heard there are people that dress up all year long as their favorite anime, video game, and comic characters I was so excited!
RHM: I can understand that. I only found out after I went to my first comic convention. What was your first experience like cosplaying?
Katybear: It was really good. I think my cosplay was well received. It was very scary though, I was waaaay out of my comfort zone (Cammy is pretty skimpy, lol).
RHM: How do you describe cosplay to someone who isn’t into cosplay?
Katybear: I usually just tell them that it’s dressing up as various characters, they usually don’t get it, or tell me I’m a nerd, but I don’t care, I love doing it!
RHM: How do you feel cosplay has changed in the years since you have started?
Katybear: I think it’s getting more competitive by the day. Especially in the female world. There is a lot of cattiness. I really hope that everyone can get along one of these days and stop with the pettiness. It’s unattractive and brings you bad karma!
RHM: When you say it like that, I start to think of the beauty pageant shows they show on tv. For your sake, I hope it’s not that bad :-)
Katybear: It’s not terrible. I don’t let it get to me, it does make me sad though.
RHM: What led you to start making your own costumes?
Katybear: I think there is a feeling of accomplishment in making them, it’s also usually cheaper than buying them (and looks better and more high quality most of the time).
RHM: How much time and effort do you put into a costume? From idea, prep time and then finishing?
Katybear: It depends which one. My Smoke from MK 9 is the one that has taken the most time so far, a few weeks. I have others that have only taken a few hours to make, like my Black Canary.
RHM: Seeing such a diverse selection of characters, how do you go about picking the one you want to be next?
Katybear: I have a HUGE list of characters I want to do, so it’s not hard to find the next one. It’s mostly about the funds to get the materials to make them!
RHM: Nowadays, you see people on YouTube and Instructables creating costumes for people to mimic. Do you think it has become more socially acceptable now that superhero and anime are getting more and more popular?
Katybear: I think it’s still a pretty small demographic, but it’s definitely grown in popularity. I think it will continue to grow.
RHM: What is the costume that you are most proud of?
Katybear: Smoke from MK 9, and my M. Bison Alt Cammy is 2nd.
RHM: In the case of getting ready for premieres/conventions, how do you figure a costume out if there is not a lot of info to go on?
Katybear: I only cosplay characters I like (so far anyway), so I pretty much know what they look like. I always go online to make sure I get all the details though.
RHM: At some conventions, you go and see a huge number f people in costumes. Some make sense, some don’t. But there is always a select few that stick out. Keeping that in mind, besides creating the costume, what else do you feel goes into a successful cosplay?
Katybear: Dedication and time. If you rush it it’s going to look that way. I put lots of blood, sweat, and tears into my cosplay and I hope it shows!
RHM: What is your dream project?
Katybear: Samus from Metroid (full on armor, not zero suit). Or a blood elf hunter from WOW.
RHM: Speaking of video games. What’s your hardest accomplishment?
Katybear: I would probably say when I was in the top ranking for online racing for Super Mario Kart Wii. I also recently got my first character to level 85 in World of Warcraft (of course now with the expansion I have to get up to 90!)
RHM: Do you plan on attending any conventions [that you’ll personally attend] in the near future?
Katybear: I am going to Tucson Comic Con in the beginning of November, and I think my next convention is Taiyou Con in the beginning of January followed by Amazing Arizona Comic Con in the end of January.
I am still dumbfounded when someone comes up to me at a convention and knows who I am, but it’s pretty awesome! :)
RHM: I can imagine that people will see those words and a lot of them will be able to pull through because of it. Some of the people I have talked to at conventions have gotten to the point of getting upset and have rushed their costumes because of it. The next time I see them though, they have usually made up for it and followed through, just like you said.
Katybear: I have to admit that I have rushed some things in the past. I am making an effort to take my time now, and I do think the quality of the work is much better when you don’t rush. It is understandable with all the conventions, it seems there is one every weekend!
RHM: If you could cosplay with any one famous person (living or dead) as a character they portrayed or opposite them, who would it be?
Katybear: I think Leeloo from the Fifth Element. Mila Jovovich is awesome and so is that movie!
RHM: I don’t know anyone that DOESN’T like that movie!
Katybear: It is definitely a classic!
RHM: As one in your position, I am sure you have more than your fair share of loyal fans. Do you find it to be difficult to market your cosplay talents?
Katybear: I wouldn’t say difficult. There are a lot of cosplayers out there and they are all very different from each other. I try to be myself and I don’t planning on straying from that. I am proud of who I am and I hope that the fans appreciate that.
Roshawn: Very cool words from a very cool lady. It was my pleasure interviewing you. :-)
Be sure to follow Katy Bear at her Facebook Fan Site.