Just in case you haven’t noticed, Cosplay has become a huge honkin’ deal. What used to be the hobby of a handful of a few obsessed fans has somehow morphed into a HUGE community of artists of all skill sets and levels of dedication. I think it’s safe to say that more than half the reason a lot of folks go to conventions is to check out the work of costumers like our friend, the Scruffy Rebel herself; Victoria Schmidt. She’s a hardcore full contact Cosplayer whose work is so good it’s caught the eye of Lucasfilm. Spend some time getting to know a Cosplayer who works so hard at her craft that she makes it look easy . . .
My big costume this is my new Clone Wars – Season 3 Ahsoka Tano costume. That’s the only definite costume plan I have, but there are other costumes I would like to bring and wear such as Leeloo from Fifth Element (bandage outfit), original-design Tron party dress, and Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, to name a few.
When was the first time you dressed up for a convention?
The first time I dressed up for a convention was also the first convention I ever attended – Anime Expo in 1999…which seems depressingly long ago. I feel so old! I dressed up as the catgirl Merle, from the anime Escaflowne. I was forever hooked after my first cosplay experience.
Have you ever met any of the actresses or creators of the characters you dress up as?
Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to run into a few actors/creators over the years when I was dressed as characters they had portrayed or created. They’ve all been great experiences that I’m grateful to have had.At SDCC a couple of years ago I cosplayed as Raven from the Teen Titans cartoon and was approached my Raven’s voice actress, Tara Strong, who complimented my costume, as well as the creator of the Teen Titans comic, Marv Wolfman. I sought out the creator of Disney’s Gargoyles cartoon, Greg Weisman, at one of the Gathering of the Gargoyles conventions in LA a few years ago to show him my Puck costume. Puck was one of his favorite characters from the show and he was really excited to see my costume. I met Carrie Fisher at WonderCon in 2009 while I was dressed as Slave Leia. I really didn’t mean for that one to happen, but they day I was dressed in costume was the only opportunity I had to have her sign her book for me, so I went with it!My first Ahsoka Tano costume caught the attention of Clone Wars supervising director, Dave Filoni. He’s really wonderful about communicating with the fans and he expressed his appreciation for my first Ahsoka costume by sending me a personal sketch! At this year’s WonderCon I was allowed backstage after the Clone Wars panel so he and Ahsoka voice actress, Ashley Eckstein, could check out my Season 3 costume – they both really loved it!
What is your favorite character to dress as?
I don’t think I could pick a favorite! I really love wearing any and all of my Star Wars costumes, but I also really love dressing up as Disney characters like Tinker Bell.
Do you make your own costumes?
I make the majority of my costumes. Actually more and more my boyfriend is the one making my costumes because he’s just better at it! One of the main reasons I make a costume is when I don’t believe there’s an accurate enough one available for purchase. When there is, like with the Colonial Warrior uniforms from the original Battlestar Galactica series, then I’ll buy it.
Do you ever make costumes for others?
Nope. I feel that I’m barely competent with making costumes for myself!
What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you because of Cosplay?
It’ll sound cliché, but honestly the best thing that’s ever happened to me because of cosplay would be meeting my longtime boyfriend. He was the friend of another friend I was meeting in person for the first time at Anime Expo in 2005. Love and friends aside, the other best thing that’s ever happened to me because of cosplay was being chosen by Lucasfilm to be Princess Leia in the 2007 Rose Parade.What’s the worst thing?
I don’t really know if I have an answer for this. Costuming can put a lot of emotional (and financial!) stress on a person. My lousy temper over the stress of finishing a costume has ruined parts of convention trips for my boyfriend and me, but that’s a negative side-effect of costuming I’ve worked really hard at altering.
What’s the craziest thing anyone ever said to you while you were dressed as Slave Leia?
“It’s a bisexual buffet!” is probably the craziest commented I ever heard directed at me when I was dressed as Slave Leia. It was when I was walking around the SDCC dealer floor with my scantily-clad friend Luke, he was dressed as Dilios from 300. It was pretty fun and crazy to have a guy and girl walking around half-naked, I heard all the best and weirdest comments that day!
What are you going to school for?
I’m no longer in school, though I’d be a perpetual student if I could! I graduated with a Master’s Degree in English Literature in 2008.
What can people find at your website?
My website is woefully out of date, and needs an overhaul both in look and content! I’m enjoying using Facebook right now as the best way to interact and keep in touch with people through my costumes. You can keep in touch with me and what costumes I’m working on through my public page on Facebook
I have to imagine that Halloween was HUGE for you as a kid – what’s your earliest trick or treat memory?
I definitely always looked forward to Halloween when I was younger! I don’t know what my earliest memory was, but I know Halloween was a clear sign to my mother that I REALLY loved dressing up in costume, so I don’t think my costuming hobby as an adult is a surprise to her at all. I remember dressing up as the Phantom of the Opera when I was little and scaring other little kids when I answered the door…oops!
What do you want people to know about Cosplayers that they probably don’t?
There’s more to costuming than just being a hot girl (or guy) in a costume; though of course there’s nothing wrong with that. While some cosplayers like to dress up for the fun and enjoyment of dressing up as a character they like, others go beyond that and put a great deal of time, money and effort into creating the most accurate costume they can of that character. But it’s usually only others familiar with that character who can truly appreciate the level of effort involved in those costumes, while a lot of times it feels like the average person only appreciates whoever looks more attractive.
While we wait you should go “Like” her Facebook page so you can see who she’ll be next.