Angi Viper joins us for this week’s Cosplay Confidential sporting some quality costumes from some of my longtime favorite female characters from Dark Phoenix, Warbird and Catwoman, but she also included one new one from Frozen. Check her out now and prepare to be amazed at her work.
Name? Angi Viper
How did you get into cosplay? In high school I was heavily into anime, manga and Japanese culture. I started out having my mom help me make costumes for Halloween of my favorite characters and through wearing them to school I found out about a local scifi/fantasy/roleplay/anime/game convention.
I started going in costume and absolutely loved it, but when I went away to college there weren’t any local cons and I was a broke student so I stopped for a while. After graduating, living in California for a few years and losing my job, I was looking for activities to re-inspire me and ended up getting back into the community and I haven’t looked back since.
What was your first costume? It was either Cardcaptor Sakura’s final battle costume from the 2nd movie or Gunner Yuna. I honestly can’t remember which came first because they were so close together and so long ago.
What’s been your favorite? It’s a tie between Madame Hydra and Elsa. I select cosplays based on how I connect with the character and I have never been more proud of my representation of a character than those two. I connect with them so completely that I just love becoming them and look forward to making new variations and altering and perfecting my costumes.
What was the hardest costume you’ve done? To be honest, different costumes are difficult in different ways. Lady Amalthea was hard because of the amount of time I had to invest in hand sewing the details on and trial and error getting the skirt to work the way I wanted it to. Viper was hard because of the patterning and finding a way to make the venting along to sides work.
Coronation Elsa was hard because of the time and attention I put into the rosemalling details on her skirt and corset and both Elsa costumes were a struggle because of how little reference I had when I made them due to the film having not come out yet. Every costume is a challenge and I try to push myself further with each new project. I love trying new things and learning new techniques so each costume is harder then the last.
How much do your costumes take to make? Between time, energy and money, it takes a lot. On average, I’d say I spend around $150-200 on each costume. It depends on the design though. Some costumes require a ton of fabric, or elaborate wigs and that racks up quickly, wheras others just need a few yards of spandex. I’d say my range is around $75-300 invested in any given costume and that’s just for materials. I put everything I have into each new costume because I want it to be perfect.
I’ve had multiple cons where I’m up until 5 a.m. the night before putting final details on a costume I’m supposed to wear the next day. It’s non-stop work and I’ve pushed myself to my limits and made myself sick working on a costume, but I love it and every second of struggle is worth it for the end result.
How much time does it take to make an average costume? It depends on the costume. I can make a bodysuit in a day or two, but a project like either of my Elsa dresses can take upwards of 2 weeks. Granted I work full time so I only have evenings and weekends to craft, but I spend every second of that time researching characters, designing, shopping for materials, finding/making patterns, experimenting with new techniques, cutting fabric, sewing, painting, sculpting, styling wigs, etc.
What makes it so rewarding? The biggest thing for me is seeing a project come together. I love watching a costume come together and being able to see something I visualized come to life is extremely rewarding. I cosplay because I love it and it makes me happy so the most rewarding thing for me is being able to become characters I’ve always dreamed I could be. In addition, it’s extremely rewarding to see the reactions from fellow fans of those characters, especially kids.
I love watching people’s faces light up when they see a character they love step off the page or screen. It’s exactly the way I feel when I look at myself in the mirror and being able to bring that to my audience and see all my hard work pay off is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced.
Do you have a regular group you partner up with for costumes? I definitely have a regular group of friends I hang out with at cons and are my go-to people for groups, but we all have our own interests so it’s not like we’re constantly doing group costumes.
When I do cosplay in groups you’ll normally see me with Cosplay Tay, Katherine Crown and Lonstermash but I also have groups planned with Sam Bamm, Claire De Lune, Countess Donatella Canterburry and Jimmy Sherfy. My friends and I have such broad interests that I’m constantly working with different people depending on what each person is most passionate about.
What would you say to people who have thought about doing cosplay, but haven’t quite worked up the nerve yet? My biggest statement is do what makes you happy. If you’re going to cosplay, do it because you want to, cosplay a character you’re passionate about and ignore the haters. Cosplay is supposed to be fun. It’s a way to connect with a character you love and express yourself. Go with some friends, wear something you’re comfortable in and just have fun.
Do you have a website people can check out more of your costumes? I post most of my photos at facebook.com/angiviper but you can also find me on Instagram @angiviper, twitter @angiviper, angiviper.tumblr.com, youtube.com/theangiviper and I sell cosplay items and commissions through etsy.com/shop/angiviper