Cosplay Spotlight: Amanda Dawn

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Welcome back to Cosplay Spotlight! For this fourth edition we present to you Amanda Dawn! As usual, our promise is to bring  you some of the amazing work these cosplayers do, but also we will be focusing on the why’s and the how’s!

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Comic Book Therapy – Good morning! I don’t know about you, but I’m still tired and full from Thanksgiving. How was your holiday week?
Amanda Dawn - My holiday week was great!  I ate too much food which makes for a great holiday in my opinion.

CBT – Glad to hear! What got you into doing cosplay?
A.D. - I started cosplay because I have a fond love of sewing and pop culture characters.  Which in my mind is everything from historical fictional characters from Downton Abbey to Trinity from The Matrix.  I trained under a tailor for 2 years and also worked within my college costume design department and started to love sewing and especially getting into different characters.

CBT – What is your process in choosing the characters you want to portray?
A.D. - Basically any character I fall in love with.  I feel like I’ve a running “costume to make” list in my head since I was 9 and started playing video games.  I love these characters because I identify with them to a part, which also makes me want to become them even more.

CBT – What was the first character you cosplayed as? Your favorite?
A.D. - Well I feel like I’ve actually been cosplaying a lot more than I think.  Aside from the awesome Halloween costumes I did when I was little.  I’ve always been dressing up hardcore for midnight movie premieres. I believe my earliest that I can remember was probably Trinity from The Matrix for the 2nd movie.

Now my favorite, this might be tricky.  I love cosplaying Kitana from Mortal Kombat and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Both for different reasons.  I have a group of my best friends that also cosplay Jade, Mileena, and Sindel.  We go to conventions and make a lot of people happy seeing us in our MK3 versions instead of the newest suits they wear.  It’s so much fun to cosplay in a group.

Ariel on the other hand is super fun.  Mainly because she is so iconic and I have a small acting bone in my body that loves to play her.  You get to laugh and kind of act goofy with her.  My favorite part is seeing little girls so excited to meet Ariel.  I never break the Disney magic for them.  I was once in their shoes and I know and feel that excitement still when I see a character I love too.

CBT – How long have you been making your costumes by hand?
A.D. - I have been making clothes by hand for at least 4 years.  Costumes by hand for 3 years.

CBT – Creating costumes is very time consuming, especially when you want to make sure it’s authentic as possible. What keeps you motivated to continue and how do you handle the stress?
A.D. - What keeps me motivated is the love for the character.  I pretty much immerse myself into that character.  I cosplayed Darth Maul for the 3D premiere of Phantom Menace, to keep me motivated and moving I would consistently listen to the Star Wars film scores, especially Duel of the Fates.  By the end I felt like I could conduct a symphony and wield a double edged lightsaber.  I just try to immerse myself in their world, research the character and become them.

CBT – Have you participated in any contests?
A.D. - I have, I have participated in some convention cosplay contests. Most recently Cincinnati Comic Expo’s cosplay contest which my Mortal Kombat group received 2nd place in the advanced journeymen division.  That was super exciting.  Also I’ve placed my clothes and costumes in the Kentucky state fair and I’ve won 2 blue ribbons in the textile department!

CBT – What is your best Con memory?
A.D. - HANDS DOWN BEST MEMORY has to be when I was greeted by Nick Gillard the stunt coordinator and lightsaber fight choreographer for all the Star Wars prequel films.  As a HUGE Star Wars fan, this was a highlight.  I was with my Mortal Kombat girls group and we were at the Cincinnati Comic Expo where Nick was giving lightsaber fight training school.  We were taking photos with fans around where he was having a meet and greet session.  He personally came up to us and wanted his picture with the best cosplay group he has seen.  My friends had to scrap me up off the convention room floor to get this photo.  I died and went to geek heaven.  He was so nice and was really excited to meet us and discuss our costumes.  Apparently he is huge Mortal Kombat fan.  Best day ever, in my opinion.

CBT – Cosplaying various characters must’ve given you a lot of geek credibility. How would you describe yourself as a geek?
A.D. - I’m an all-around geek.  I love comics as well as video games.  I’m a huge film geek.  I talk your ear off about the visually pleasing cinematography of the Lord of Rings film series and as well as argue why Thor is the best Avenger.  I have Spiderman sheets I sleep on every night and a R2D2 ringtone.  I’d say I’m a true geek.

CBT – There were a lot of great comics and events that’s been coming out. Have you read any this past year?
I keep up with The Walking Dead comics, those are great.  I try to read more but it seems like I keep getting further and further behind on my issues.  I like to buy the graphic novels and read as sets from issue 1 to whatever.

CBT – Cosplayers are vital and very popular at conventions. Is there a network that cosplayers established to assist each other?
A.D. - Yes I think so; I have my cosplay page that definitely enables me to connect with other cosplayers as well as fans of cosplay.  There are also communities online such as American Cosplay Paradise which I am a part of too.

CBT – Any advice you would like to offer up and coming cosplayers?
A.D. - Go all out!  Commit to your character.  Don’t be nervous about it.  Anyone can do this even if you have never touched a sewing machine before.  The cosplay community is a friendly community and loves to talk about our love with other people, beginning or advanced, young or old.

CBT – Thank you so much for your time. Anything else you’d like for us to be on the lookout for?
A.D. - Yes, my upcoming characters.  I am doing so many conventions in 2013 so be on the lookout for me.  My next character costume I creating is Merida from Pixar’s Brave.  She is such a great character, and I identify with her so much.  Next I will be putting together a cosplay costume for Weird Girl from Disney’s Frankenweenie.  She will be super fun.  Follow me on my cosplay page to keep up!

>Click Images For Bigger Versions<

Make sure you hit like on Amanda Dawn Facebook page to check out some of her other awesome photos and keep up to date with her adventures. Give her a follow on @JediManda if you’re on twitter.

Photo Credits:
Ariel: The Little Mermaid > Photographer: Abby Brechner
Kitana: Mortal Kombat 3 > Photographer: Abby Brechner
Arwen: Lord of the Rings series > Photographer: Abby Brechner

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Hey cosplay and fellow geeks!! As the continuing interest in the cosplay world grows, we want to reach out to the cosplay community and highlight those who dedicate their time and effort to a passion for cosplay. Tell us YOUR story! If you know someone that you would like to be featured in this section let us know!

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