Interview with Cosplayers Brichibi & Snow
Interview by: Geek Girl Northern Belle Rogue
Hello there folks! Today I've got the pleasure of introducing y'all to two wonderful cosplayers Brichibi
& Snow Tigra
. This dynamic duo have been taking the convention world by storm and creating a place of positivity online! The motto on Brichibi's page reads, "You can be a princess. You can be a queen. You can even be a goddess. You can be anything you want: to love your cosplay is to love yourself." And over here at Geek X Girls we couldn't agree more. So without further ado, Brichibi & Snow!
Photo by Lavonne Brite
Rogue: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me ladies:
Brichibi & Snow:
Thanks for the opportunity :)
Rogue: So just to start off why don’t you tell our readers what it is you both do in the cosplay community?
Brichibi & Snow:
I’m a cosplayer and seamstress. I design and make costumes for both us based on various geeky things. I’m also working to be more active specifically with the plus sized cosplay community in the way of helping people make costumes look great on them.
As our friends say, I’m Snow’s “pin cushion,” lol! She makes the cosplay and I get to wear it. Along the way, I’ve become an advocate for plus size cosplay and the general idea that cosplay is for everyone after I got bullied online and I responded to it rather vocally (frying chicken and writing an article for xoJane
). On top of that, I’m a writer and do crafts with Snow, so we both go to conventions to promote our books, our crafts, and the message of cosplay being for everyone.
Rogue: Wonderful! And how long have the two of you been in the cosplay scene?
Brichibi & Snow:
I’m been cosplaying since about 2001 officially, but dress up and Halloween was always something I loved growing up.
I discovered cosplay at Anime Central back in 2002, which is where Snow and I met in person (we had been talking online since 2001 and she told me about Anime Central, and I thought it sounded really cool, so we met up there). I started cosplaying 2 years after that in 2004 when a friend made a cosplay for me. I’ve been doing it ever since.
Photo by X-Geek & Nude Carbon Studios
Rogue: Snow, you make all of the costumes, correct? Does this include accessories and props?
Most of the time yes. There are a few cases where we buy the props (such as her Mario bow) and some we’ve received as gifts (Tiana necklace and Neo Queen Serenity locket) but if it’s something I think I can make I usually try.
Rogue: Fair! I always love when I get a gift that perfectly fits a cosplay. So Snow, what was the first costume you ever made?
My first one was Priss from BubbleGum Crisis 2040. At the time I wasn’t used to sewing much, so I assembled it from pieces of clothing purchased at thrift shops and Hot Topic and altered them until I liked them. No pictures exist, which I’m mostly ok with, because it was sort of a rushed job.
Rogue: Haha I know that feeling. There is only one very grainy/pixelated photo of my first ever Jim Lee Rogue suit. So how long have you been sewing and what initially got you interested in costume making?
My Grandma taught me to sew when I was very young and I’d often spend weekends at her farm sewing scraps of fabric to my Barbie dolls and cutting them off only to do it again. I also remember my mother sewing my Easter dresses when I was growing up, so its kind of always been around. I forgot about sewing somewhere in middle school and didn’t pick it up again until college, when I needed something to do while I was chatting online. Costumes just sort of naturally worked their way into that when I went to my first anime convention and saw the stuff other people were making.
Photo by X-Geek & Nude Carbon Studios
Rogue: That's amazing. I'm rather jealous, growing up in a homestead where sewing is a common skill sets a wonderful foundation! Do you take commissions?
Of course! I specialize in dresses and skirts, especially ballgowns. I can make other clothing, but its harder and I prefer to not take orders on them, because I’m still learning. Oh, and I hate pants, I will almost always say no to making pants.
Rogue: Pants are overrated! ;) Now do you ever cosplay yourself, or do you prefer to stay behind the needle?
I do, but I’m not as social as Brichibi, so I tend to not be noticed as much. I also like to cosplay characters who are less known. In most cases I have a costume to match each of Brichibi’s.
Rogue: I can understand that, my Cajun is the same way. Now Brichibi, I have to admit I first found you by your beautiful yellow Belle dress that has a gorgeous scene from the movie on the front – but this was not your first cosplay was it?
Thank you for the compliment! It’s funny because now that dress has been altered so Snow can wear it, and I do Princess Tiana with her. But no, Belle wasn’t my first. The first one was Youko Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho, and let me tell you, I was terrified to do that cosplay. When I first went to conventions I did feel like I had found a place where I belonged, but at the same time, I didn’t see many black cosplayers, especially black, plus size cosplayers, so I was worried what would be said when I started. I tried to find characters who looked like me and discovered that there are not a lot of options out there for black, female, plus size characters in the geek world. So eventually I was like, “Forget it, I’ll just cosplay who I want,” because the people who cosplayed did it based on characters who they liked, not based on appearances.
Anyhow, Youko Kurama. My friend made me the cosplay and I ended up changing in the bathroom of Anime Detour, and I was scared to come out. Even with all of those positive feelings I still had that paranoid voice in my head. Youko Kurama is tall, he isn’t plus size, he isn’t female, and he isn’t black. But my friend, and Snow, reminded me that it was about having fun, and so I stepped out of the bathroom and had the time of my life.
Rogue: Yeah, it's an unfortunate reality in our North American society that there really is a lack of characters for anyone who isn't white. However I agree, it is all about fun and you should be able to portray any character you like. What about your favourite cosplay? Who is your favourite character to portray?
I have a lot of favorites, and I feel like it changes every time I get a new cosplay, but I do have a top 3.
- 1. Princess Peach: I have a special attachment to her because this was the cosplay I was doing that got made fun of with comments like “Princess Whale” “Go and fry some chicken,” that I responded to by frying chicken and writing an article for xoJane about plus size cosplay. She kind of feels like the cosplay that started it all, even if I had been cosplaying for quite sometime before that.
- 2. Princess Tiana: When I first saw her I screeched at my computer. I knew I wanted to cosplay her immediately, and seeing the movie made me fall in love with her even more with her “work hard to accomplish your dreams” motto. But what I loved most came from a convention I went to as her. I ended up seeing a little black girl just staring at me in awe, but what really nailed it was how happy her dad looked to see me there, because he got to see his daughter have this moment of, “There’s a princess that looks like me!”
- 3. Wonder Woman: She is the embodiment of loving yourself, in my opinion. When I wear her I feel so empowered, because she’s such a strong symbol for ALL women to be themselves and to love themselves, because we’re all Amazons. I remember the times I’ve been bashed for wearing her, seeing people respond with things like, “Wonder Woman would never do that. She would love all women, no matter what race or size they were,” and you know what? They’re right, she would.
Photo by Ilessthan3photography
Rogue: I'm sorry you had an experience like that with Peach, but at the same time it is great that you were able to channel that negativity into something positive. I also couldn't agree more with Wonder Woman. I recently completed my first WW cosplay and there is just nothing quite like putting on that uniform!
Now, lately your page has been more geared towards advocacy. You’ve been a tireless supporter for cosplay equality, you could tell us a bit about how you got started in all that?
Sure! I touched on it a bit with Princess Peach above, but that’s how it started. It was a complete accident. I started my page in 2013 and got bashed the same year. I didn’t realize me speaking up would have such a reaction. I remember being more upset with people saying things like, “This is why I don’t cosplay,” in response to me being bullied. There are so many creative people in the cosplay community who won’t join in because they see others being bullied, whether it’s me or another cosplayer, or even bigger names out there. There’s this feeling of, “What chance do I have if this person is getting bullied?” “Why put myself out there because I’m surely going to get hate on.” So I decided I had two options. I could pretty much give up on what I enjoyed doing, what I had spent years doing and enjoying with my friends and my partner, or I could keep doing it because the opinion of some random person who I’d never meet shouldn’t stop me. Or anyone, for that matter.
Rogue: I'm glad you didn't give up! On that note, what advice would you offer people who want to cosplay but may feel intimidated that they don’t fit the “right” mold of a character? (Be it gender, race, size etc.)
I talked about it before, how I thought I HAD to find a black, plus size, female character to cosplay or else I’d be ridiculed. And yeah, I have been made fun of, but the support and love has been overwhelming. Focus on the positives. It’s really easy to focus on the negatives but remember the positives, and remember why you’re doing this: for fun, and to show your love for a character. It’s not about fitting the “right” mold, but liking the character you’re portraying. You can be plus size and cosplay Wonder Woman. You can be black and cosplay Princess Peach. You can be any character you want, and you’re the only person who can cosplay that character your way. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. There’s nothing wrong with tweaking an outfit into a style that you’re comfortable with -- that’s where my Wonder Woman ballgown came from.
Insecure thoughts are going to happen, they just will. Even with all of my confidence I still have that paranoid voice in my head, that kid who was called “weird” for liking anime and video games, she still talks to me like, “They’re going to make fun of you,” “Remember when they made fun of you,” and I do worry -- that’s normal. The worrying stops when the cosplay is done, I put it on, I look into the mirror, and I smile. Focus on that feeling of accomplishment when you finish that cosplay, because the only person you need to impress with your cosplay is you.
Rogue: While we all know that the trolls out there exist, and unfortunately bullying can be and is a part of most communities – could you tell us a bit about one of the more positive experiences you’ve had in the community?
I’ve had quite a few! I already mentioned the Tiana moment, but there have been a lot more. I have to say the best ones are people who come up to me and say that they know who I am, and it took me a moment to realize that it wasn’t because of the character I was portraying, but because it was me. And hearing comments like, “You inspire me to cosplay,” are so amazing to hear. I’ve met so many amazing people through cosplay, whether it’s through my page, at a convention, or being part of positive movements like #28DaysOfBlackCosplay. I have had people share my experiences that I never imagined would think twice about me. Fashion blogs have shared me, anime voice actors have shared me, hell, Lynda Carter commented on my Wonder Woman dress. There’s also the fact that every time a negative happens, there is a huge swirl of positivity that comes in and combats it, and a lot of times it’s from people I don’t even know, people coming to defend me and cheer me on. It shows me that this community is always, at its core, going to be a welcoming place.
I know some people don’t think cosplay is that big of a deal, but to me, it’s a creative outlet, a chance to express yourself and, for some, really be yourself. I grew up being the “weird” kid because of the stuff I was into, but when I walk into these conventions, I no longer have this feeling of being the odd one out. Overall, the geek community is a place where we embrace each other’s differences, and even if there’s bad times, we work together to make them disappear so we can go back to having fun and loving one another.
Rogue: That is so great to read! Now, where abouts can our readers find more about you? (Facebook, Twitter, Website any other links you want to advertise here)
Brichibi & Snow:
You can find me on Facebook
and I have a blog
where I frequently have cosplay related subjects.
You can also find me on Facebook
the most. I also have Twitter
, I just need to get better at updating it.
Also, our website is here
, which gets updated with our crafts, information on our books, and convention schedule.
Rogue: Thank you both. Now just before we go, how about a few quick facts for our readers?
Follow us on:
|Favourite Video Game
||Persona 4, Mortal Kombat, Guilty Gear, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy
Favourite Television Series
||Batman the Animated Series
||Utena, Gankutsuou, X/1999, Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho
|Favourite Graphic Novel
||The Death Gate Cycle
|Favourite Comic Book
||The Death of Superman
||Afterschool Nightmare, Black Butler, Tokyo Babylon, Death Note, Descendants of Darkness (Yami no Matsuei)
||Wonder Woman, Storm
||Adachi Tohru from Persona 4
||Gerald Tarrant from the Cold Fire Trilogy
||Mac and Cheese
||Mac and Cheese
||Puppies, red pandas
|If You Could Have One Superpower what would it be...
||The ability to absorb other people’s abilities
The ability to fly
June 14 2015