For some people, dressing up in costumes before or after Halloween is something saved for special occasions — a Revenge of the Sith midnight showing, or a Wii launch at Rockefeller Center. For others, including those doing Broadway shows each and every night of the year, it’s a job.
But for the people that make those costumes and for those that put them on to transform into someone else entirely, it’s an art form. We’ve seen some amazing examples of cosplay in the past, each demonstrating a tremendous amount of effort in creating. I caught up with 21-year-old Andrea Zampella from Orlando, FL to talk about a couple of the dozens of costumes she’s made and worn in the past. Read on to see some pictures of her Rosalina (from Super Mario Galaxy) and Midna (from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) costumes, and what she had to say about the intriguing hobby.
Andrea: I just recently finished my last semester as an undergrad at UCF. I plan to go into the dentistry field as a hygienist or a doctor. I’ve always had a great love for animals, and I’ve always had numerous pets. I have a particular fondness for reptiles, cats, and orcas. I have two snakes and a gecko right now, as well as a cat and a tarantula. Sometimes, I volunteer with tigers when I have the time. I’m pretty passionate about conservation, recycling, and basically keeping our earth as beautiful as it is, and I was very sad when Steve Irwin passed.
I have a deep passion for music, and I played piano, trombone, and cello throughout my school years. I started getting into anime and other Japanese-related things when I was 10-years-old, but I believe I got my first game system (Genesis) when I was 6. I love different languages, and I can speak and read Japanese, though I am not fluent. I have a minor in Asian studies from my university.
I love cars and I love driving very fast, an incurable disease I developed from my father. [laughs] I don’t have any real fears; fear just seems like a silly thing to me. I’ve been sky diving without a second thought and I used to go on numerous adventures when I was young while camping. Actually, I thought I was being like Tomb Raider, and that thought made me very happy. Just like any other girl, I like spas and getting my hair done, and buying new clothing and makeup, but at the same time I won’t get freaked out by little buggies or spiders; perplexing to be sure.
Andrea: It’s hard to say exactly… (recognize the Tomb Raider quote?)
I remember before I even knew about cosplay or conventions, I’d be planning out how to make a Sailor Moon costume during class in middle school! I cosplayed at my first convention, Jacon 2002, and I don’t really remember anything specific that got me into it. It just seemed like a natural thing to do!
How often do you get to work with costumes? Is it mostly for events scattered here and there, plus any extras you can squeeze in for fun?
Andrea: My new costumes are usually inspired by events and friends that I would be seeing at those events, though I always have a huge list of costumes I’d like to make! The events are usually conventions, but they can also be photo shoots; I will usually fix up something costume-wise for a photo shoot, and initially make it for a convention. I’m usually always working on multiple costumes at the same time. That way, if I get stuck on one, I can move onto another one until I realize what I need to do for the first. The time I have allotted to the costumes I’m making usually has to do with my school work load and money.
How long does a costume such as your Midna costume or Rosalina costume usually take to make?
Andrea: Midna specifically took me a month to make; I think I decided last minute that I would go along with it because I found some actually good reference shots! Rosalina also took me about a month! It all depends on if I’ve made a costume similar to what I’m doing or not. All of the patterns on Midna I made from scratch, but I had a little help from patterns for Rosalina, though they were heavily altered. On the other hand, I can make a Katara costume in a few days.
You’ve made a lot of costumes. Do you have any favorites?
Andrea: Midna is definitely one of, if not my number one, favorite costume. It is not my favorite to get dressed in though… it takes about 4.5 hours. Rosalina is actually one of my favorite costumes too. Katara is always fun because it’s comfortable and I like to wear Utena because I feel like I can do anything in it. Both Katara and Utena are very comfortable.
Are there any previous or upcoming events you’ve made and wore costumes for that our readers might have seen or get to see you at?
Andrea: I wore Rosalina to Jacon and Megacon 2008; I’ve worn Midna to NYAF, Janicon, and AX 2007, as well as Megacon 2008.
I will wear both of them at Anime Expo 2008 which is coming up very soon! I also plan to be at Otakon and AWA this year, as well as some Florida cons, probably. At Otakon, I plan to debut some Bulma costumes.
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