Victoria: How long have you been in the hobby of costuming?
Heidi: I’ve been costuming since 2000, before I really knew what “cosplay” officially was. I’d go to local sci-fi and anime cons to raid the dealer’s hall, visit friends, and to play some of the tabletop games, and just thought it was super fun to dress up as my favorite characters. As time went by and I made more friends in the hobby, and both conventions and cosplay itself grew to be a popular trend, I became more entrenched in it – it’s such a creative outlet, and nothing is more fun than being in a costume group with all your friends! I also find the act of sewing to be very relaxing. When I start cutting into a piece of fabric or patterning something out on muslin, all my stress just melts away.
Victoria: What is the most complex costume you have created?
Heidi: It’s really hard to narrow it down to just one costume, especially when I have so many, because sometimes I have to custom dye, cut, and style a wig for something with a relatively easy costume, or I have to pattern out crazy designs or build a very unique prop for a lot of things (good luck finding a Minotaurus costume in the Simplicity pattern books, lol!). My Lulu costume from Final Fantasy 10 took a lot of work, because that belt skirt had to be built so that I could still walk in it, and both my Darkstalkers Felicia and Record of Lodoss Wars Pirotess had to be strategically engineered to not fall off or slip out of place, but I guess I’d have to say my Katt costume from Breath of Fire 2 is pretty complex because of the bodysuit. I made an undersuit from spandex which I custom dyed orange, and then airbrushed stripes, flesh tones, and a belly button on it. I guess it turned out better than expected…I still to this day get accused of being naked and wearing nothing but bodypaint, when in reality I’m covered from head to toe!
Victoria: You are into all sorts of fandom. Anime, video games, cartoons and comics. If you could pick just one, what would be your favorite?
Heidi: That’s a tough call! But I’d have to say my favorite fandom at the moment is definitely comic books. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’ve found I can pull off the superheroine look pretty flawlessly, and I love being able to look like a badass buttkicker, lol. Female superheroes also fit my body type very well…I’m pretty athletic and I’m also very tall. I kept getting called “the real Wonder Woman” at Denver Comic Con this year because I towered over full grown men like a proper Amazon should!
Victoria: Are you currently working on any new costumes?
Heidi: I’ve got a couple costumes that I need to keep secret for now, but a few of the ones I’ve started making are Echidna from Queen’s Blade, and the ever famous plant loving villainess from Batman, Poison Ivy. I also want to finish up my Naga from Slayers costume for Fanime next year!
Victoria: What was the first costume you created?
Heidi: My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young - I think I was only ten years old when I was making my own clothing and costumes! I had a Nintendo, and was addicted to role playing games…my favorites at the time were the Final Fantasy series, and I adored the White Mage. So my very first costume was a White Mage from Final Fantasy, sewn out of a white bed sheet and decorated with a red sharpie marker, lol. Years later, I was still making costumes, but had gotten a lot better at it! I’d made friends with other costumers through the internet and my circle of friends, and in 2000 a bunch of us went to Anime Central as Final Fantasy characters – and Aeris Gainsborough from Final Fantasy 7 became my first “real” costume worn at a convention. I’ve since redone that costume twice, as I’m my own worst critic and the 2000 version of my Aeris was quite…interesting. I didn’t even know anything about makeup or hairstyling or prop making then, and it really goes to show that practice does make perfect.
Victoria: What conventions have you attended?
Heidi: Oh geez…I’ve been at this for fourteen years now so I’d fill up your page if I listed them all! The most memorable ones are Katsucon, Otakon, Dragon Con, Anime Central, Anime Expo, San Diego Comic Con, Fanime, Wondercon, Denver Comic Con, Starfest, Nan Desu Kan…there are also a whole bunch of smaller ones as well as ones that no longer exist. Anybody out there remember Anime Reactor?
Victoria: What would you say is your favorite convention memory?
Heidi: Honestly the best “memory” I have is actually all the friendships I have made. While the adventure of traveling to conventions and meeting new people and participating in contests as first an entrant and later a judge and host is an amazing experience, and the thrill of recreating your favorite series with a huge group of friends can be the highlight of a convention…the friendships I have made over the years are still with me to this day. They are memories that never fade and continue to bring me happiness.
Victoria: I think it's safe to say that people recognize you from the internet when they see you at a show. What's it like when people recognize your work?
Heidi: I’ve got mixed feelings about it, honestly. I cosplay to have fun - it’s as plain and simple as that. While the creative side of cosplay appeals to me because it lets me experiment with different methods of making things, and lets me strengthen my own talents, there is nothing more wonderful than gathering with friends, goofing off, and laughing together while sharing in the things that we love most. So on one hand, it’s very flattering and wonderful when the attention I get leads to new friendships, new costume opportunities, being able to help less experienced people, and having my hard work appreciated. But on the other hand, there’s always a downside. While almost all the responses to my costuming have been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and sometimes I get judged by people who don’t know me simply for what I’m wearing, or how I look, or I’ll attract the attention of someone who gets jealous of me or even worse, obsessed. I could fill a small phone book with my creepy stalkers. In the end though, what matters most is that I have fun doing what I love.
Victoria: Where can people contact you and view a portfolio of your work?
Heidi: You can see more of my work at: