Interview with Traci Hines
Interview by: Zelda|
Geek Girl Zelda recently had the opportunity to interview the lovely and multi-talented Traci Hines!
Q: Most people in the geek community already know who you are, but just in case they don't, give us the reader's digest version of who you are and what you do.
A: My name's Traci, and I'm a singer, actress, model and designer. My life is pretty nuts, so I never really know how to introduce myself these days, haha, since I do so many different things... I also write music, voice act, am a part time mermaid, design & sell wigs and accessories, and do my best to stay active on YouTube
...all sorts of artsy stuff. I guess, mostly, I'm a dreamer. Music is my passion, but I also count myself lucky that I get to express myself in other artistic ways for a living. The two biggest things in my life ATM are music (I've got an album and a music video in progress), and my recent clothing line launch, AdorkableApparel.com
Q: You are most well known for your (incredibly lovely and beautifully constructed) portrayal of Ariel, but you have dressed as nearly every princess, changing between them effortlessly and flawlessly. What is it that draws you to Disney and fairytales?
A: Thank you! You're making me blush! I've been drawn to fairy tales ever since I was a kid. I think I gravitated towards Disney especially because I'm a sucker for happy endings. Original fairy tales tend to be dark and twisted (which I appreciate so much more now, having acquired a taste for Tim Burton and other darker-tinged storytelling over the years), but back then, I just adored the stories of Disney's classic princesses, and Alice and Peter Pan. I definitely idealized those characters as a little girl, and wanted to visit Neverland, Wonderland and kingdoms far far away. I think that's pretty common, but those stories shaped me in certain ways. I saw parts of myself, and who I wanted to be in those movies. When I first saw The Little Mermaid though, it stirred something in me, and gave me a direction. I think I was about 4 when I saw it, and no joke, that was when I knew what I wanted to do, and be, when I grew up. (And no, I didn't want to "become a mermaid" or be a cartoon character/cosplayer, haha! It was to become a singer and voice actress. I knew music was where my heart was truly at. I think it's a funny coincidence that I not only grew up to do those things, but also dress in costume and play an actual mermaid-actually become Ariel in a way- on top of it! -And so much in my day to day! I never expected that!
Q: Not only do you embody the look of a Disney princess, but you also sing like one. Tell us about your music, and your upcoming album.
A: Thank you! Music and singing especially has always been my truest passion. I write my own music, and am inspired by so much...a lot of people associate me with Disney music, because that is what sort of became my niche on YouTube
when I was covering music on there pretty frequently-and of course I love Disney music- but I'm a pop singer. I like it call it Fantasy-Pop, because that encompasses me to a T! I'll always have that Disney sound in my vocal tone, but the other half of me is a pop singer...I dream of hearing my music on top 40 radio someday! Most of my recent music has been inspired by things in pop culture, since I've been in process on an album where each song is inspired by a pop culture phemon...literature, movies, games, etc. The album has, unfortunately, been on hold for some time now, but I am still determined to finish it. When I have a goal, usually, even if it takes me some time, I make it happen. I've never been one to give up easily. Or at all, haha! It may be a complete record of pop-culture inspired tunes, or I may choose to add a few more personal songs to the mix, but it's still very much in progress, so I guess we'll see what the end result will be! For now, I've been releasing each new song on iTunes/Amazon, so no one (including me!) has to wait in between!
Q: Your first music video for "Part of Your World" was also released not too long ago, what was that experience like?
A: Yes! I've been dreaming about making music videos for as long as I can remember- I also think that because so much of my following is on YouTube
, it's the best way for me to really get my music out there. I'm a very visual person, and I think, a storyteller of sorts, so getting to express myself not only through music, but also through the camera, is where I want to be. I was itching to do music videos for my original music, but I felt that it was important to make my first video a tribute to the film that shaped so many of my dreams, and really, what got me my start in the first place. It was a labor of love, and I'm so grateful I got to have that experience. Being on location at those beautiful beaches, and recreating scenes from the film felt surreal. It wasn't until I watching it myself, much later after we filmed, that I really understood what we as a team were able to accomplish. Regardless of whether people enjoy the video or not (and man, I sure hope they do!) it made my year truly special. And now, I feel like I can move on, and be "Traci" a little more, because I was able to sort of live that dream for a time. Now, I'm ready to live other music video dreams!
Q: In addition to cosplaying at standard cosplay-centric events like conventions, you also perform at children's parties and regularly host themed outings at Disneyland. How does performing for children compare to going to events that are mostly populated by adults?
A: Performing for children is always so magical. It's rare to see the same magic in an adult's eyes, that you see in a little child's, when you introduce yourself as their favorite fairytale character. It's extremely rewarding to perform for kids, and I think it's really hard to top a special experience with little ones, creating experiences for them that they'll remember for (hopefully!) the rest of their lives! But performing for adults is amazing too! Sometimes, you will still meet that fully grown person, with a childlike heart, who is just as touched as a kid would be. And it's still totally magical. I think just knowing that someone had a great experience, and that their heart was touched in some way...it's a huge honor.
Q: How did the Hipster Mermaid thing come about?
A: Haha! So much of my life now is "Hipster Mermaid" themed! It's great! It all started when the meme came out. It was a brand new thing, and a friend of mine, Lindsay Stanley, wrote me a message and told me I should take a pic, or make a little YouTube video as Hipster Ariel. So, sometime shortly after that, I was in my car with my friend Jimmy, on our way to a Little Mermaid event, and I looked over in my car and saw an old pair of those 3D glasses sitting in there with the lenses popped out. (I used to wear them around after seeing movies..I'm silly..) It sparked a memory of Lindsay's text, so I shoved them on and took a few pics with my phone. I didn't think much of it-I texted her one of them, and I think I uploaded them on facebook and DA a while later....it was quiet for a while, and then, 2 weeks later, out of the blue, I was seeing that same phone pic on all these gamer blogs and all over the web! Someone came across that pic on my DA account
, and I guess the rest is history! I think I was one of, if not the first, "cosplay" of Hipster Mermaid/Hipster Ariel to go viral. That's how the persona was born, and how it all began!
Q: As if costuming and performing weren't enough, you also recently started your own apparel line, Adorkable Apparel™
. What prompted you to start your own line? Do you design all the products yourself?
A: I've always hoped that someday I would be successful enough as a (musical) artist, that I would have the chance to have my own clothing line. I revel in designing, whether it's an original gown for one of my music videos, an interpretation of a fairytale costume, or a graphic on a tee shirt. I've also felt like my sense of style is a little off the beaten path, and I always find myself wanting to buy things that don't exist...yet. Fast forward a few years and the opportunity fell into my lap much before I thought it would even be possible! My brother, Cam Oden, is a successful photographer and graphic designer and just happens to handle many aspects of graphic design for the companies he works for. One day while hanging out at my folks house with him, he suggested that I "make some shirts." I'd been asking him about how to go about doing some designs to sell on my website, you know, basic artist merch. I told him a few of my design ideas, and he ran with it! He got so excited and really felt like my ideas had potential, that he talked me into doing a full line, outside of the 'Traci Hines' music circle. I was stoked. So we just decided to go for it. Even though I'm the face of Adorkable Apparel™, there are really 3 main players in the team. Cam, myself, and my hubby, Benjamin. Cam and I are the main creative forces and Benjamin handles most of the business aspects, but there's definitely a ton of crossover. The designs usually start in one of my sketch books, or as a note in my phone, and then that gets translated when Cam and I get in front of the computer. Cam is a whiz at graphic design and really gets the feel of the brand, and the look I want to get across. I probably know our audience the best (since I'm creating for girls just like me), so Cam sits down with me and regularly checks out all of my new design concepts; (Benjamin's often there for this too). We discuss what's good enough to move forward on, and what gets thrown out, and then Cam hones in on the best way to accomplish that design. Some of my favorite parts of creating the brand have been sitting at the computer with Cam for hours, coming up with the mockups. And this launch is just a small tip of the iceberg that I want to attack! We have so much more in store!
Q: You have always been a very positive voice in the cosplay community. What advice can you give fans and cosplayers alike to help keep the scene a positive place to be?
A: I definitely try to extend that positivity to every aspect of my life. I think that is an important key to success, not just in cosplay, and hobbies, but also just in general. I think its important to place your focus on the positive, and not to give much thought, if any, to the negativity that surfaces when anyone finds themself in a public light. I think a good rule of thumb is just to ignore the thoughtless comments and people spewing negativity. I do my best only to speak up against it when it's absolutely necessary. Usually it's just immature dribble from people seeking attention, and if you give in to it and feed it, it only makes it worse. And in turn, I'd like to say, to those doing the spewing, pushing someone else down doesn't raise you up any higher. All it does is isolate you from people, and make you even more unhappy. Want to have joy? Support and love others, and you just might find you get support and love in return.
Q: What's next for Traci Hines?
A: I'm currently focusing on 3 major projects: Adorkable Apparel™
, my Hipster Mermaid webseries
and my next music video! You can keep up with me for details on my facebook
and other social networking pages. I'm pretty good about updating facebook and instagram regularly.
Q: What upcoming events will you be attending, and where can fans go to see more of your work?
A: As far as conventions go, I plan to go to Comic con this year, and also may be attending Anime Expo, the Labyrinth of Jareth Ball and D23 this summer. I haven't been planning too many concerts/appearances this year because I've been so focused on the projects I mentioned above, but I do have a special meet & greet I'm currently planning in Southern California, so I'm excited about that! I entered a music contest, and even though we didn't get named "winner," at the end of the day, we had more votes than any other contestant, so I'm still claiming victory and want to celebrate with everyone who helped get my music so much play for the contest! I don't have the date set yet, but I'll be announcing it soon!
If anyone reading this wants to keep in touch, I'd love that! Here's where to find me...
Interview by: Geek Girl Zelda
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July 10 2013