Tag Archives: cosplay girl

#3 Victoria Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay

#3 Victoria Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay


I am excited to introduce you to my next Featured Cosplayer here and she is no surprise to those who read my last write up on Khal of Atlantis.  She is Victoria Amanda Bradley of Vicarious Cosplay and she is a true Gem!  When meeting up with Pepe of Khal of Atlantis I was pleasantly surprised to find Victoria by his side as the two are a serious couple.  And what a perfect match they make.  More later on these two together, but for now I want to focus on the many wonderful attributes Victoria brings to the cosplay community.

Snow Buddies…Victoria in DC’s Killer Frost makeup with her “Fur-Baby” Kali

Let me just tell you right away that she loves what she does and has the biggest passion for the art of Cosplay more than anyone I have met before and I’ve been doing this for ten years now.  Her zeal is infectious when being around her and I find myself wanting to do more and be more ambitious in the field just talking to her.

So you’ll be shocked to hear that she’s only been cosplaying for about a year and a half now from the time this article is published.  I would have never guessed it by seeing the vast amount of quality, intelligent and fun examples of her work that she’s shared on her social media platforms and that I’ll be sharing here as well.

This girl is on fire and is non-stop, “pedal to the metal” achiever with plans I couldn’t ever imagine for myself.  I’m sure it helps having a terrific cosplayer as a partner who she can feed off of, and as exciting as she is, I’m sure Pepe is getting motivated himself.

I’ve seen her passion first hand, not only by following her Instagram and Facebook pages, but when I invited Victoria and Pepe to dinner during my research on his interview.  As I sat across the table from her, I watched as her eyes lit up whenever she told me about her experience at some of the Cons she went to and meeting and seeing some of the best influential cosplays like the incredible Lycans by @brenachs_props while she was sporting Selene from Underworld.  And as she shared with me her future cosplays and upcoming events.

What can drive someone so much with this stuff?…’cause I love it, too, but I don’t have nearly the amount of energy and enthusiasm to cosplay as she does.  Is it that it’s all brand new and exciting to learn for her or is it taking in all the many different worlds she imagines being in with a good cosplay?  I do know one of the answers for sure and that’s the people she has gotten to meet and become dear friends with.

Friends That Cosplay Together…Stay Together

So I have a list of Cosplayers that I’ve compiled as the next ones I would like to feature here on my blog and the way I found them was by association with the previous Cosplayers I’ve wrote about here.  The next few happen to be local for me here in Florida and they’ve all worked together before, which gave me the perfect opportunity to find out how special Victoria is to them or how they might know what makes her tick.

The common theme as these cosplayers answered me about her was how much of a Sweetheart she is and that they love how she totally gets into character especially with the little ones.  I’ve also learned and seen for myself how she’s full of energy all the time and how much effort she puts into her costumes.  Everyone I talked to also acknowledged how much charity work she does which is a way for her to give back and share the love.

I can tell you first hand how good of a friend she makes as she is genuinely interested in what and how I’m doing. She’s one of the only followers that responds to my stories on Instagram and cheers me on with what I’m working on.

 

 

Just Go To The Source

It kind of sounds like I’m making her out to be a mystery when all I have to do is…well…ask her why she loves Cosplay so much.  And that’s just what I did in the question, “What has Cosplay done for you?” This is what she said:

“Wow, cosplay has done so much for me.  Right before I started cosplaying I was going through a divorce.  I was down, maybe not depressed, but down.  It helped me through the almost year long process.  I have built so many friendships and relationships.  It has even brought my family closer to me.  It has even made my little brother and I closer.  He has even asked me to make his first cosplay for him.  Not to mention I found my soul mate.  Without cosplaying I don’t think any of these things would have happened.”

“Tailor Made” To Be A Cosmaker

I like to give attention to my Cosplayers’ skills in crafting, building and cosmaking their costumes since that is where I have spent most of my time in the field and, therefore, I have a great appreciation to what goes into making a good Cosplay.  There is so much I still need to learn and everyone has something to offer.  Like Victoria is a terrific seamstress and tailor, which I have almost zero knowledge in sewing, but would love to remedy that.  Her grandmother is credited for teaching her how to sew among other wonderful traits as she was raised by her.  It’s important to note that Victoria can do much more like makeup, styling wigs, prop making, sculpting and molding.

 

 

One question you’ll always find me asking as I add more of my favorite Cosplayers to my blog is what was in picking the alias or title name of your Cosplay persona?  And Vicarious Cosplay is a real good one…here’s her explanation into why the name:

“I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted my name to be and then I asked a couple friends what they thought and they gave me some suggestions and one of my friends stated that I should use vicarious, the reason being the definition of it is [experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person].  I thought this fit pretty well because it pretty much embodies what we do…as in Cosplay we pretty much divulge ourselves.”

So let’s get started with my favorite pics of Vicarious Cosplay put into multiple iconic categories:

Disney 

 

DC Comics Cosplays

 

Marvel Comics Cosplays

 

Selene From Underworld Cosplay

 

More Favorites From Vicarious Cosplay

 

Power Cosplay Couple

Khal of Atlantis with his Darling Vicarious Cosplay as Disney’s Jafar and princess Ariel for Costumers With a Cause Fourth of July Parade event.

If you catch a glimpse of one of these two at a con, chances are the other half is right there with him/her and you’ll be witnessing an Epic couple themed cosplay.  These two have won several awards already and they’ve only been at it for only a year now from the date this is published.

It’s important to note, however, that each one can stand on their own with incredible individual cosplays and artistic talents.  It may be tempting not to be able to think of one without the other, but as I’ve come to know them and ask about each of their lives, they certainly are their own unique person…which happens to compliment the other in a wonderful relationship.

They met at a Con of course, Spooky Empire 2017, Pepe as Predator and Victoria as Greta from Gremlins 2.  The funny thing is they have been at some of the same events and in pictures together without really knowing eachother, but being Facebook friends as just “following a good fellow cosplayer.”  She was drawn to his cool skull bandoleer as part of his Predator costume and was talking to a man in a mask.  Later that night while saying goodbyes to other friends she saw him without the mask and they ended up hanging out together the next con day.  Clues on mutual interest were being dropped throughout the day and at the end of the event she was the one who had to nudge him and ask him, “so when are you going to ask me for my number?”

For Pepe’s interview I asked Victoria to say how important she is to him and since this is my writeup on Vicarious Cosplay I asked him to tell me why she is important to him.  This is what he said:

“She means the world to me, since the moment I saw her I felt the connection with her that I’ve never felt before.  And now that feeling evolved into something more deep than love.  There is not a single moment of the day that I don’t think about her.  There is nothing brighter in my life than the light that she shines.  I can positively say that I never met anyone like her.  And my love and feelings will always shine.”

Get a load of these two:

 

 

Out Of Cosplay?

Abby from NCIS Cosplay…Channeling her inner Abby at work.

It’s hard for me to think of her out of cosplay sometimes since she’s so in-tuned to it and that most of what we ever talked about had everything to do with the craft.  Plus I know she’s thinking about it all the time, because I know I am and she is way more passionate about it then me.

Not only does she have the coolest hobby in Cosplay, but she also has one of the coolest jobs that I could imagine and that’s a crime scene technician.  Many things begin to become clear after learning this fact, like why she was drawn to Pepe in his Predator costume by noticing his real animal skull bandoleer before even seeing his face and some of the way she approaches her cosmaking.  Which led me to the question that revealed her career…”What do you do for a living and do you use any of your skills and knowledge from work that helps you at all in cosplay?”  This is what she said:

“My official title is a crime scene technician.  My duties are to observe, document, collect and preserve the evidence while also providing my testimony if needed in court. Funny enough, I am attempting to try to make a face mold with the plaster we used to collect shoe and tire impressions.  This is something I’ve been looking forward to doing within the next month or so.  I plan on taking sand and putting it in a bin and pretty much faceplanting [my head] into it, setting it with hairspray and then casting it with dental stone.”

I’m jealous of the toys, materials and techniques she gets to deal with on a daily bases.  I of course asked the stupid question that I already kind of knew the answer to and that is “Is your job anything like it is on the CSI TV shows?”  A chuckle and then a… “No, however we did get the firearms training, but never really use it unless we go to the range.”

Pepe, their dog Kali, horror movies, trips to the theme parks with family and friends and charity events are just some of her favorite things to do outside of cosplay even though some of those things she would go full costume in as well.  These tidbits of her life I learned just by catching her stories on Instagram which is always a treat to watch following her and Pepe.

A Heart of Gold

Victoria Bradley from Vicarious Cosplay cosplaying Disney’s Ariel Princess for a Costumers With A Cause Fourth of July event for kids

As talented as she is I believe I found something she is better at and more experienced in than Cosplay, which is her extensive work for charitable groups and her appearances at events where she can show her full support for.  Which being a terrific Cosplayer can be a bonus as a way to put a smile on the faces of those who could use some sunshine.

A true humanitarian was a common theme from her friends as I asked them about her and as I have noticed myself.  Some people would not want the attention as a charitable host, and even though Victoria doesn’t need the acknowledgement, she would readily share her experiences only to bring awareness to the multiple causes she supports.  She’s so passionate about it and infectious that I’ll be asking her how I can get involved.

These are the many causes I asked her to provide me with that she has supported in the past and as a Trooper for CWC National (Costumers With a Cause):

“As a Cosplayer for Costumers With a Causes I have had the honor of working with Make-A-Wish Foundation to make kids dream come true, Nathaniel’s Hope, fundraise for many charity organizations and done hospital visits just for those who are there at the moment.  As a person out of cosplay, I have done charity with Habitat for Humanities and Ronald McDonald’s House.  I am also an advisor for the Young Explorers program at my agency which is to teach those at a young age about law enforcement in crime scene which I have done numerous guest speaking at elementary schools to college.  Before Cosplaying and when I was in college I did several fundraising for my chapter 4 cancer as well as Cystic Fibrosis.”

So Much More To Vicarious Cosplay

I can go on forever about her…so I will. Maybe not forever but for at least another segment here.  If I had to describe her in one word I would say Magnetic…because you can’t help but be drawn to her with her lively spirit and zeal for life and Cosplay inparticular.  I know she’s thinking about cosplay a lot and wonder if sometimes she looks at strangers walking by and thinks to herself…”OOH, I bet he/she could do a great cosplay of __________…”

In her short time as a serious Cosplayer she has been invited to be a DC Bombshell Model as you’ve seen above with her Killer Frost, she’s made countless friends in the community and I am honored that she calls me a friend, she’s met her soul mate in Pepe, helped put smiles on the faces of many children, and has learned some new and wonderful techniques to help improve her skills.

I always ask my Cosplayers what their dream cosplay would be and hers is incredibly ambitious and can’t wait to see and watch it happen.  That cosplay is the Queen Alien from Aliens.  I actually have a dream cosplay for her that when we very first met I messaged her super early in the morning the next day excited to tell her.  Somehow I can see her as doing an incredible Mavis from Hotel Transylvania. I hope she’ll do it so I can see first hand or at least prove that I’m right…lol.

Our Shared Photo Shoot With Premier Cosplay Photographer BriLan Imagery

 

 

#1 Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay

#1 Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay


Welcome to what is probably going to be the most popular page here on my website where I get to delve into the lives of some of the best Cosplayers I’ve come to know and respect for their craft.

I knew immediately who was going to be my first Cosplayer to be featured because she’s my favorite…and she also happens to be a friend…so yes, my choice is biased, but after you read my Bio here about her, and you see the artist’s work yourself, I think you’ll agree she is worthy of the praise!

I originally approached her with the idea as an interview, but then after seeing that she’s been interviewed before and I pretty much know the answers to all the basic questions, I decided to go for a more exciting angle to this article and introduce you to Damaris how I know and love her.  I’ll of course be incorporating several of the questions one would typically like to know within the write up from time to time.

Fem-Wolverine Cosplay for DragonCon 2011, 2013 and 2017

Like, I know she’s been practicing her craft for ten years now, which happens to be as long as we’ve been friends.  She’s not only an artist as you’ll see through her cosplays, but she also happens to be an artist professionally as a graphic designer and digital illustrator along with being an instructor in the design field.

Even though, I fully believe, she could easily make a living off of being a Cosplay sensation, it’s only a hobby for her.  Her other interests include body building, sky diving, racquet ball, painting, and anything Sci-Fi.

What sets her apart as a great cosplayer is that she can do it all.  She makes much of her own props and costumes and sculpts her body with body building to get into a particular character. True dedication!

If she has a deadline or a serious time crunch she has incorporated help before with getting her part ready like with sewing and electronics, but she is fully involved no-matter-what. I know this first hand because she approached me to help her with her Star Wars Commander Cody Clonetrooper armor she sported at Celebration V.  I had a lot of fun with it and with her as we crunched away in my garage getting it ready for Orlando’s first hosting of Star Wars Celebration in 2010.

Yes, she can do it all, but there are some things that one has to have help with, and that’s with body painting.  Here is a really cool shot of her getting body painted by the incredibly talented Nick Wolfe for her DC Killer Croc.

Quest of the Muscle Nerd Trailer, Killer Croc Cosplay body painting for DragonCon 2017 by Nick Wolfe

The Fun Loving, Lighter Side of Mystique the Comedian

Having fun is “A” #1 for her, which probably is what the secret of her success is as a premier Cosplayer.  Truly, it is one of my favorite qualities that I love about her.  I’ll let the gallery of pictures tell the story to how funny and witty she is:

 

This Great Cosplayer is a Great Cosmaker…Mystique Shares Her Knowledge

No secrets here.  She enjoys sharing how she does her magic with anyone who wants to know.  It’s a way of spreading the passion.  Some of my favorite pictures when I’m browsing through any cosplayer’s gallery of pics are the WIP (work in progress) shots.  Damaris has TONS of them.  In fact, if you’ve read any of my blog posts, chances are you may have seen me use some of her WIP pics already.  I need to convince her to maybe someday have a blog of her own…she has better and a lot more behind the scenes, WIP shots than I do.

 

True Dedication and Authenticity to the Character to be Cosplayed

Lady Bane Cosplay for DragonCon 2014

If you were to ask her which is her favorite Cosplay she’s done thus far she would tell you her Lady Bane that she successfully pulled off for DragonCon 2014 because of all the work she put into it and how well it paid off…like gaining 8lbs of lean muscle.

Because she’s a comic book junkie she’ll get most of her research just by what she’s read and knows exactly where to look for more information to study her desired character to portray.  She’s also addicted to the SyFy Channel, the latest Marvel or DC film that’s released, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the re-imagined series of Battlestar Galactica just to name a few, so she can easily get plenty of character reference to copy in her chosen cosplays.

But it’s her strength and perseverance through uncomfortable situations that a costume may require; like crazy contact lenses, heavy wigs or tight fitting corsets that has a straining effect on the body, which defines her dedication the most.

She does enjoy the body building portion, though…but who wouldn’t with the results she gets and the beautiful physique she has.

 

So without any further delays, my chosen picks that I give to you:

The Best of Mystique’s World of Cosplay Gallery of Photos

DC Comics Cosplays

 

Marvel Comics Cosplays

 

Star Wars Cosplays

 

Original Designs

 

Group Cosplays

 

Collaborated Action Poses

 

Out of Cosplay

Sons are the anchor to a mothers life.

If you were to ask Damaris what her greatest achievement in life is, she would say being a mother to two beautiful twin boys which is a forever, ongoing happy endeavor.  In her own words about Justin and Ethan, “The world did me a favor by giving me two of you. Although you are each unique, you share the same wonderful qualities that only twins share.  Ethan Degen and Justin Degen. Born June 1st, 2006 at 7:24pm and 7:25pm. I got double the blessing and twice the love!”

Twice the hugs, twice the fun, twice the laughs and twice the proud moments.  She needs twice the energy, too, to keep up with two boys…I can see where she gets her juices flowing to pull off three or four different cosplays for past DragonCons.  Maybe, it’s the other way around…she got twin boys because forces knew she could handle the glorious task of raising them in a fast paced modern world we live in today.

#whorescuedwho

Here are some of my favorite pictures and selfies of Damaris Out of Cosplay:

 

Earlier I told you one of her hobbies is painting…check out these samples of her work, including some sketches, I pulled from her collection:

So not only is she a terrific sculptor and 3D artist through her Cosplays…she’s a  great 2D graphic artist and painter as well.  Her background in fine arts she credits to her success with any artistic task she conquers.

There are times at a comic convention, believe it or not, that an Out of Cosplay experience happens more frequently then you’d think.  It’s mostly about the people and friends you hang out with and Damaris feeds off these times the most.

I don’t go to conventions just to show off my craft or to express my fandom with others.. What drives me the most is to be with people that I consider to be family.. like all these faces right here! THAT’s what conventions has done for me.

Our History Together: A Shout Out to The TCF!

DragonCon Colonial Fleet photoshoot.

Damaris and I first met on a forum for Battlestar Galactica fans called the Colonial Fleet Quorum, where we hit it off right away talking about props and her first and still planned attempt at her Borg Queen from Star Trek First Contact motion picture Cosplay she aspires to do someday.  It’s still my favorite makeup FX of all time and hers too.  We saw that we were local and met face to face for the first time at a TCF (The Colonial Fleet) gathering of the first Iron Man movie release in the summer of 2008. Since then, a few Cons, gatherings and 10th floor Marriot parties later, along with a Clonetrooper armor build together has been a complete pleasure being around this fun-loving friend and Queen of Cosplay.

She’s not the only true friend I made at the TCF…a dozen more immediately comes to mind when I think back at all the past events involving  these Frakkers.  I miss you all and I am soon coming back out of the shadows of lost time.

Here is what Damaris feels about The Colonial Fleet:

Today [December 9, 2017] is the 14th year anniversary of one of the GREATEST shows of all times, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA!! This show changed my life as a geek, introduced me to the best group in the FRAKKIN world AKA: The Colonial Fleet, as well as giving me the best hobby: costuming! It also brought me closer to my fandom and I got to experience many wonderful once-in-a-life-time events such as the BSG auctions ran by Propworx. I raise my Top Gun mug to all you frakkers that share the same feelings as I.. So Say We All..
Thank You Ron D Moore for BSG!

…So Say We ALL!

Notoriety and Publication Appearances

DragonCon2017 Co-hosting a panel on body building for costuming

I knew I had to include this section to my write up on her because it tells you just how well received she is in the Cosplay community. I’m going to include only a few of these because there is so many and also when I asked her to list them to me, she couldn’t remember all the different publications that have featured her in the past.

First I need to give you the link to her Facebook Fan Page here because it is definitely an important achievement, it’s her publication.

Next is her Instagram account here. Go and follow her if you have Instagram.  She’ll continue to update you on what she posts next.

Trailer for Quest of the Muscle Nerd where Mystique makes a cameo appearance with her Killer Croc Cosplay for DragonCon 2017.  She was also invited to be a guest co-host for a panel on body building for costuming, and a judge for the competition:  https://www.facebook.com/JayShettyIW/videos/1995740577407064/

Aside from a few calendars she’s appeared in, here is a few publications and links to past interviews:

 

Thanks for the Fun Ride, Mystique, We’re So Looking Forward to More!

Isis (Damaris Degen of Mystique’s World of Cosplay) and Skull Knight (me) at DragonCon 2011

One question I did ask her recently, which I was reluctant to ask because I thought I should have known already was why she picked the alias Mystique for her Cosplay name. The answer was really simple…Mystique is just her favorite X-Man…

I don’t know if she realized this when picking the name, or you as the reader figured out while reading about her, that Mystique is the BEST most PERFECT name for a Cosplayer.  Think about it…Mystique’s mutant power is shape shifting, and a really good cosplayer, as Damaris is, has the ability to change into any character she chooses…Bravo!  I can’t wait for the next adventure with Damaris at Mystique’s world of Cosplay!