by Sarah ‘Gallifreya’ Minazzo
Recently, we ran a competition with our friends at Shining Starz Photography with a prize of a professional photo shoot and an interview article on the winner. Entrants had to come up with an answer to the question:
With Supanova on its way to the Sunshine State, what are you doing with your cosplays to help cope with the heat?
Their answer had to have the most likes in order to win and the original competition post also had to be liked and shared.
With a grand total of 45 likes on her entry, Ms Sarah Taylor aka cosplay alias Taylored Chicken (Facebook, Instagram) won with her Fire Princess comment. While her photo shoot awaits, for now, we sit down and chat with our star winner on all things cosplay.
Firstly congratulations once again on winning our competition. How would you sum yourself up as a cosplayer to those new to you?
I’d say I’m a cosplayer who really likes to transform herself. I’m big into make-up, prosthetics, wigs, contact lenses, etc. When someone says to me, “I didn’t even recognise you!” that’s when I feel like I’ve done a good job with a costume.
How did you get into cosplay and how long have you been doing it for?
I’ve been a member of a social club, Brisbane Sci-Fi and Fantasy, for about seven years now and we’d often go to conventions together. Eventually, a group of the members convinced me to cosplay with them back in Brisnova 2009 and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s ridiculously fun cosplaying with friends.
What fandoms do you cosplay from? And do you have a favourite cosplay?
I only cosplay fandoms that I love or characters that I can relate to. So you’ll see me in anything from Star Wars to Adventure Time. I also have crazy mad love for anything from my ’80s childhood like She-Ra, Thundercats and Disney Princess films. I really enjoy interacting with kids, so I love cosplaying cartoon characters.
If I had to pick a favourite? I’d probably say Ahsoka from Star Wars Clone Wars. It’s one of the most research and labour intensive costumes I’ve ever had to do. So a lot of love and work went into that costume. Especially because I’m such a stickler for detail. I did a rough trial-run of her for Brisbane Supanova in 2014, but I wasn’t happy with everything, so I went back and remade half of the pieces I’d already done. Now I’m thrilled with it.
Ahsoka was the cosplay you won a Star Wars competition with. Tell us more about that?
Yeah, winning that competition still blows my mind. About a year ago, Disney (in conjunction with Event Cinemas) held a ‘May the Fourth’ movie marathon competition where people had to dress in their best Star Wars inspired outfit and take a picture with their movie ticket. If you made it as a finalist, the public had a week to vote daily for their favourite outfit. The winning prize was an all-expenses paid trip to Celebration Anaheim in the USA, so I expected that there would be a lot of entries!
When I received the call from Disney to tell me I’d won, I was at work and my whole office burst into applause. It’s one of my all-time favourite moments. I have a really solid support network of friends, not only in the Star Wars community, but in everyday life and I’m so incredibly grateful that they helped me to have this opportunity.
That’s brilliant! Do you regularly enter cosplay comps or do you just pick the ones that interest you?
I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a competition junkie. I really only enter competitions that interest me, but if I can incorporate some cosplay into it, all the better!
Well, you got to be in to win it right?
(Laughs) It’s my motto in life!
What cosplay was the biggest challenge to make so far?
Again, I’d say Ahsoka. So much of that costume cannot be bought or modified from something that’s existing. I had to learn how to make templates of my own body for some pieces (something I’d never had to do before) or find ways to make fictional things practical in real life. And it was my first time working with worbla, which I’m now IN LOVE WITH! So it was very much a learning curve in a lot of ways. Now I look at things and think, “I can make that,” whereas before I wouldn’t even have attempted it.
So when you do get back from your awesome trip to Celebration Anaheim, have you thought about which cosplay, you want to have for your prize photo shoot with Shining Stars Photography?
I’m still undecided! I think I’d really like to get some great shots of my Flame Princess cosplay, because I haven’t worn her that often and she’s a great costume to wear. Very simple, very comfy. But I’m also working on a Disgust cosplay from the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. So if I can get that finished relatively quickly, maybe she’ll be my pick.
Oh yeah, definitely. I follow a lot of other cosplayers who are a constant inspiration. Off the top of my head, locally, I’m a big fan of Variable and The Artful Dodger. Both incredibly talented ladies who are really lovely as well. On foreign shores, Riki from Riddle’s Messy Wardrobe and Svetlana of Kamui Cosplay are both amazing. What Svetlana can create with worbla is just mind-blowing.
So many amazing ones out there. If people want to get inspired from your work, you’ve got your page, Taylored Chicken on Facebook. Is there anywhere else people can check out your stuff?
Finally, what would be your advice to anyone thinking about giving cosplay a go?
DO IT! If it’s something you’re curious about, you’ll definitely enjoy it. The best way to get started is pick your character and then get into research mode. Find some good reference pictures and try to get them from all angles. There’s nothing worse than guessing how part of a cosplay is meant to look and getting it wrong!
From there, look at what materials you’ll need and methods on how to make things. If it’s your first time working with something, just get stuck into it! The best way to learn something is to try it yourself first. In this wonderful digital age, there are so many tutorials and YouTube videos to help people on ways to do things. Google is your friend!
Lastly, OWN IT. Don’t go to all that effort of creating something awesome to just be a wallflower on the day. It’s the one time that you’re not actually you. You’re cosplaying someone else for a day, so be THAT character. You’ll get all the more love for it.
Thank you Ms Taylor for taking some time out for our interview and we wish all the best on your trip to Celebration Anaheim. We wish we could go to! But fear not, readers, we will be at Gold Coast Supanova all weekend so make sure you say “hi” to us, grab a card and get your pic taken. Keep watching our page for more comps in the future, and who knows you too could get a super cool prize and get an interview article on you too!