Interview with cosplayer Ms Valentine

Who are you?
My name is Ann Marie, I’m an old school cosplayer who loves anime and video games. I have been cosplaying for 15 years and for the past three years I have been a cosplay manager for GAAM. I also love dogs, cats, and race cars.

Photo of Ms Valentine by BriLan Imagery
Ms Valentine (Photo by BriLanImagery)

What was the first cosplay?
My first cosplay was way back in the day when I dressed up as Agent Scully from The X-Files. It was pieced together with items from Goodwill and my parents helped me put it together. My first official convention cosplay was Yomiko Readman from the anime OVA Read or Die. Again I repurposed store bought items and things I had in my closet. I actually used my sisters lab coat from her chemistry class as the base for Yomiko’s coat.

How did you get into cosplay?
Like a lot of cosplayers, I got my start dressing up for Halloween in home made costumes. Back then it wasn’t known as cosplay, it was just being in costume on that one day of the year when everyone else did it. I had always been into anime and gaming and had dreams of cosplaying one day at a convention. They always seemed so far away living in South Florida so I thought they were out of my reach. My friend was at college in Tampa and she called me saying there was a convention coming close to her school. We decided that we were going to the con and that we HAD to cosplay if we went. The both of us worked hard to make our costumes and haven’t looked back since.

How long have you been cosplaying?
I first started cosplaying at conventions in 2013 when I attended the inaugural MetroCon.

Favourite cosplay you’ve done so far?
This is a tough one because I love so many of my costumes! Halo 3 Cortana was a fun challenge and I have very dear memories from wearing it. I got to meet both the voice actors for Master Chief and Cortana and got to walk on stage at Video Games Live. Black Mage Rikku is another favorite because of all the challenges it presented. As much as I struggled with that one I was so happy with how it turned out.

Which cosplayer would you love to work with?
Vampy Bit Me! I think she is a talented cosplayer and I love her style. It’s really cool to see all the events that she works and I love that she is a supporter of the FGC. It would definitely be a dream to be the Lilith to her Morrigan.

Any group cosplays you’d want to do (eg Mystery Inc, Sailor Scouts, Avengers, X-Men, etc)?
I am happy to say my dream cosplay group is coming true! At Holiday Matsuri I am getting some of my closest cosplay friends to join me with some My Hero Academia love. I’m really excited because these are friends that I have know since the early days of my cosplay and I’m happy to get everyone together!

Any advice for beginner cosplayers, or people wanting to get into cosplaying?
Do. Your. Thing. Don’t let what you see other cosplayers doing stop you or change your vision. It’s always good to research and see how other people work, but you do you. Don’t think that you need to be sexy to make a costume get noticed. Have fun with your fabrics and design choices and never worry about being 100% accurate. It’s cosplay, have fun!

There’re photos of a PHENOMENAL Goku wig on your Facebook and Instagram. How much work went into creating it?
Oh the Goku wig. The project that almost broke me. I am a huge DBZ fan so I knew that I had to step up my game and do it right. This project was a HUGE undertaking as it was the first wig I had ever constructed or styled. From start to finish it took about two months of time to construct. I started with 4 wigs and took 3 of them apart and added all of those wefts into one. Then it was a matter of cutting and teasing and getting all of the spikes sorted out. I must have rearranged the spikes three times before I was satisfied and set everything in place. If I were to do it all over again….I wouldn’t LOL It was a great challenge and I’m proud of the final wig.

You mention playing your XBox One on your Facebook page. What games are you currently playing?
Currently I am playing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. It’s still a little glitchy but over all it’s a fun game. The voice acting is done really well and the over all look of the game and lighting is great.  Oh, and you can Spartan kick. So the game is already fun just because of that!
I also recently finished Spider-Man on the PS4. It was a fantastic game and if you have a PS4 you should be playing it!

Are there any games you’re looking forwards to?
Gears 5! I am a big fan of the series and I’m excited to see this game with Kait as the main character. 
The Last of Us Part 2. If you know me well enough you know I am a sucker for anything Naughty Dog. They are such talented story tellers and I can’t wait to see where the story takes us this time.

If you could have a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Instant transmission! I mean come on, you would never have to pay for a plane ticket and you could travel the world in a day.

Have you bingewatched any shows recently? If so, what have they been?
Believe it or not I just re-watched all of Sex and the City. Not what you were expecting I’m sure, but I really love that show.

If you could live in one franchise, what would it be and why?
I think it would be cool to live in the My Hero Academia world. Getting to see all the different quirks that everyone ends up with and living in a hero society. It’s also neat how the entire world confirms around hero culture and how it changes the way every day things work. Hopefully I would end up with a fun quirk or at least get to become a top designer for hero costumes!

Are there any cosplayers you think deserve more attention/coverage?
@misskoumori @ladyashexii @mega5cosplay

Where can we find you online (social media etc)?
Facebook: MsValentine
Instagram: MsValentine2552
Twitter: Cortana2552