Before I plunge into the excellent cosplay work of Monique Renée (Rebel Alliance Barbie) I have a confession to make. Now that I’ve dived into the world of cosplay feet first I’ve started to feel a little isolated due to my knowledge (or lack) of popular characters, anime, manga and comics. I never read comics as a kid (aside from a few Beanos from time to time) and to date have yet to read one in full.
So, last week I headed to a comic book fair in Leeds city centre to buy my first proper comic book. The fair was a let down to say the least, so I grabbed Kat and made a B-line for Forbidden Planet. I asked for a few recommendations before my visit, so I knew exactly what I was looking for. I picked up Killing Joke and have yet to open the first page due to the European football tournament occupying 99% of my evenings right now. Still, the first step has been made.
I told you all that story so that you can gauge my level of geekiness and how much time I previously devoted to popular geek culture. This leads to my other confession….I haven’t seen any of the original Star Wars movies in around 15 years. I can only apologise and I genuinely have no clue why I haven’t seen them recently. You’re welcome to class it as the 8th wonder of the world, as I’m now wondering what the hell I’ve been doing over the last 15 years!
I mention the Star Wars movies as a perfect segway into todays featured cosplayer. Her Amidala costume is pretty hard to miss when you trawl through the never ending galleries on DeviantART and for good reason, it’s frickin awesome! Knowing now that it’s handmade with the help of a few people close to her this cosplay costume might well be one of the most striking I’ve ever seen. Rather than blabbering on about the fantastic cosplay costumes produced by Monique lets check a few out below.
Rebel Alliance Barbie Cosplay Showcase
Baby Doll – Sucker Punch
Photo by LJinto
Photo by Bryan Humphrey
Photo by Bill Hicks
Tallulah “Lilah” Black – Jonah Hex
Tenel Ka Djo
A Q&A With Rebel Alliance Barbie
The talents of Monique are unquestionable, but I did have a few questions for her relating to her experience so far and what’s in her future.
1. What made you get into cosplay, how old were you when you started and what was your first costume?
When I was a freshman in high school, I saw the leaflet on the inside of the Attack of the Clones CD and instantly fell in love with Padme’s pastel Lake dress, which was printed in the leaflet. I knew it was going to be my senior prom dress. My senior year rolled around, and sure enough, my aunt helped me out in making the dress (with a lot of help from Padawan’s Guide!) and I went to my senior prom in Padme’s Lake gown from Attack of the Clones. For a year it hung in my closet until my local museum held a “meet the 501st Legion” night during the “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit, a week after my 19th birthday. I was told I should join the sister legion, the Rebel Legion, which represents the good guys of Star Wars, so I joined, submitted my dress, began trooping with the legions, and the rest is history!
2. Do you make your own costumes and where do your source your materials or the pieces for your costumes?
I am not the most screen accurate of costumers when I make my own stuff, at least not when I compare myself to my boyfriend, my Lilah gown I mostly picked up “close enough” trim from the large images I could find online. My Tenel Ka was based on only 2 drawings, and I ran away with it. I do my best, look for close materials, but since the best fabric store near me has closed, I have to live with a dinky little Joanne Fabrics most of the time unless I make trips down to NYC for big projects.
3. How long does the average costume take to make or put together?
Most costumes for me take a while to put together. I’m pretty concerned with accuracy (though that may sound strange with my previous statement, but my boyfriend burns patterns into his own leather whereas I would commission it). My Tenel Ka costume took me about 4 months to put together. I often buy costumes instead of make them, but even then it takes a while–finding exactly the right pieces, altering them, finding someone to make certain pieces, etc. It’s a process that can take months. Since I don’t really costume comic book characters with simple spandex costumes, but rather scifi characters with more complex costumes, it takes me much longer to put costumes together.
4. Do you design and make original costumes or do you create replicas of costumes worn by characters?
Generally I replicate costumes, I’d love to design my own though. Parts of my Tenel Ka were my own design. The boots were my own creation, my own design. I am immensely proud of them.
5. What would be your super power if you could only have one?
If I had only one superpower, it would be the power to be heal. Myself and others, and all kinds of illness, physical and mental. My chronic illnesses really destroy me and I have sick friends too, so I would want to heal myself and others.
6. Do you attend cosplay conventions or events? If yes how many do you attend in an average year?
I do attend conventions. In a given year, I’ll attend upwards of 5-6, my major ones being Dragoncon, Star Wars Celebrations when they occur, and San Diego Comic Con–though I believe I’ve given up on that convention now. Too sold out.
7. Who’s your favourite cosplayer? (Could be a friend or a famous personality in the cosplay scene)
I have two favorite cosplayers/costumers, both are actually pretty famed, but both are very close to my heart. The first is Toby Markham, otherwise known as Sithcamaro. Currently he and I have been together for nearly 4 years, we met on the convention scene, and while his constant habit of putting costumes ahead of everything else in life can drive me insane, I profoundly respect his skill and knowledge, not to mention his determination and self-motivation to get his costumes done. His attention to even the smallest detail is borderline obsessive compulsive and his results are astounding.
The other costumer is Alisa, or AlisaKiss. One of my closest friends, we’ve been through a lot together and I love her to pieces. She’s an incredible costumer, the way she can decide she wants to make an outfit and just sew it together perfectly, deftly, and quickly absolutely blows my mind. She’s so talented and if I had even a fraction of that talent I’d be doing a helluva lot more with my costuming. And she’s as kindhearted as she is talented. She is actually the one who made my Babydoll fuku, knowing I was going through a difficult time to help me out. It’s one of my favorite costumes to date, and she did a fantastic job.
8. Who’s your favourite character to cosplay?
I’d say that Babydoll has become my favorite character to costume, not just because of my deemed resemblance, but because I identify with the character a lot. Trapped and trying to escape. Though it drives me nuts when people at cons ask me to smile for photos–what does this character have to smile about?
9. Favourite TV show, movie and band?
My favorite TV show of all time is Farscape. I am an enormous Farscape obsessive. My favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back, of which I’m even more of an obsessive. I’ve seen the movie at least 500 times. My favorite band is Pink Floyd, and I’m a Floyd fanatic. The greatest anniversary present my boyfriend ever got me was a front row ticket to see Roger Waters perform the Wall live. Those three things, along with my major in school and my sport of figure skating are the big points that make up who I am!
10. Do you cosplay for a living? If not, would you do it if the opportunity was offered to you?
I don’t costume for a living. If I could, I might–for a time. My long term goals involve science however. But I would not say no to money, and work that I enjoy! I do model, and I am going to start offering prints of some of my costumes, so I suppose that’s a start.
11. What’s going to be your next cosplay costume?
My upcoming next costume is Catwoman. Unexpected, because I’ve been working on Mara Jade for a while, but I inherited a cowl, so I had to get the rest of the costume. It’s Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, my favorite!
12. If you could cosplay as anyone and money was no issue who would it be?
If I could do any costume, it would be Chiana from Farscape. That costume has been on my to-do list for 5 years. It’s been driving me nuts. It’s just so expensive though.
See More From Rebel Alliance Barbie
Now that you’ve been blown away by the envious cosplay costumes produced by Monique you can look at more of her work over on her DeviantART account.
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