What’s going on Club Members? XBen3000 here and I’m finally bringing back a segment I put my heart and soul into. Cosplay Cafe has opened once again and I have a lot of people coming through. So brace yourselves because it’s going to be on heck of a ride.
Kicking things off, we have Steff Von Schweetz who has dropped by the cafe. So check out the interview down below. Post interview, you’ll see all of her social media links so start reading.
- What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager?
I was terribly shy growing up. Despite being involved with performing arts (dance and singing) I was pretty heavily bullied; which caused me to retreat into my shell. I’ve always been very adamant about the things I liked, even if they weren’t considered “cool” or “girly.” I loved Power Rangers and Hot Wheels; so many of my limited female friends didn’t relate with me. But at the same time, I dressed very girly and didn’t play sports so my involvement with boys was limited as well. Since I didn’t fit into a specific crowd, I was immediately labeled an outsider by the other kids. I remember when Pokemon came out in grade school and I ended up getting two Gameboy Colors along with Pokemon Red and Blue so I could trade with myself to catch them all!
2. Did those things influence who you’re today?
Absolutely! I mean, I still love Pokemon and all the nerdy things I grew up with- clearly. While bullying has many long lasting effects, I try to use my experiences in a positive way. I know the cosplay community, especially, is filled with people who’ve had similar experiences with bullying or being an outcast; so I always try to make myself as open and approachable as I can. It can be intimidating talking to older and more experienced cosplayers but I really encourage people to reach out if they ever need to talk. I’ve kept a few younger cosplayers behind my table at conventions before because they wanted a safe place to cry, eat and regroup themselves for a bit. And if that’s what you need, I’ll try my best to accommodate and help.
3. You’ve been cosplaying for 13, going on 14 years as of next year if I recall correctly. How do you keep yourself going? I mean I’ve seen some cosplayers leave after a year but you keep going.
I’ve always been a very creative person; so there’s never a lack of motivation to make something new. But I think at the very core of it, cosplay had such a positive impact on my teen years that it just holds a special place in my heart- as cheesy as that sounds. But seriously, I was able to make so many friends through this hobby and going to conventions that I never thought I would. It really did open a new world for me where I could meet all these people who liked the same things I do. As a person, it has affected my life quite positively. I probably would have been the same shut-in and worrisome person if I hadn’t jumped into it. Not to mention the amount of skills I’ve learned and continue to improve upon as the years go by. The growth process on it’s own is enough for me to keep going.
4. One of the things I’ve noticed is that you talk to your fans all the time. Like on a daily basis no matter the social media platform. Any tips on keeping your fans interested in the work you’re doing?
I do like to post and comment with my followers but I have no idea if they’re actually interested! Haha Facebook engagement tells me otherwise. However, it’s honestly something I just enjoy doing. I’m still in awe that I have the amount of followers I do. It makes me happy and it’s a good reminder on dark days that people support my artwork. So, naturally, I want to engage with those people as often as I can. If not for them, I wouldn’t be able to travel to conventions or get new gigs. I may not know them all personally, but I appreciate them enough to try and engage them somehow every day.
5. You’ve been busy in terms of cranking out cosplays. From your Vileplume Gijinka, Magical Girl Winter Soldier, Yurio, Jumin Han, and not to mention all the photoshoots you do for those that support you on Patreon. So my question, how do you balance it all?
Luckily, I am a pretty organized person. I work quickly and my boyfriend, who doubles as my photographer most of the time, is very flexible and helpful. Despite all that, I wouldn’t say it’s easy. There are days where I just don’t want to do anything. But when you work for yourself, you’re your own boss and you just need to make it work. That often means I work late into the night, through the weekends, and have to sacrifice outside engagements to get things done; because at the end of the day, if they don’t get completed, I don’t get paid. That’s the struggle of working on your own.
6. None cosplay question, what has been your favorite anime series of this year? Thanks to you I watched Yuri on Ice.
I’m trying to remember what has come out this year but, inevitably, I can only recall what I’ve watched recently: Yuri on Ice and Kiss Him Not Me. KHNM, is a fun show simply because it’s so relatable. For example, one of the female characters is a crossplayer who is very head strong and flirts with cute girls. SOUND FAMILIAR? I kid! I also enjoyed Osomatsu-san, but Yuri on Ice has probably been one of the better ones this year in terms of animation, characters, and plot. And who doesn’t like that opening song?
7. Second none cosplay question, what are you looking forward to in 2017?
I think most people are looking forward to 2017 in general since 2016 was horrible for the entire world. I don’t know if there’s anything I’m looking forward to in particular because I simply don’t know what’s going to happen. I have a few cons lined up already, but I’m always excited for those. I guess, I’m hoping to complete some goals more so than anything. I’d really like to be invited to an international convention in 2017. That would be huge. I’d also like to step up my game and take on an armor project as well, but we’ll see!
8. Patreon! For newcomers who do not know, you’re on the site. So what can fans expect on the Patreon platform from you? As someone who supports you on there, I’ve been digging what we’ve been getting so far.
Thank you for supporting me; I really appreciate it! I’d like to think I have a little something for everyone on my Patreon. I have tutorials, step-by-step walkthroughs of how I’ve made some costumes, and makeup videos for those who are interested in the technical side of cosplay. I also do two shoots a month. One is available for high res downloading and the other one comes in print form only. I do a lot of male costumes, so if people want to see more feminine looks, those are an option as well. I try to get as much feedback as I can from my pledgers because, at the end of the day, the content I provide is for them. I want to make sure I take the time and give back as much as I can!
9. Any advice you would give someone who is starting to cosplay today?
I think cosplay is a hobby that you just have to jump into. There’s a lot to costuming from the clothing, accessories, props, wig, makeup, shoes, etc and I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed on where to start. Honestly, just pick something and go for it. It doesn’t have to be the most glamorous costume at the convention. You don’t even need to make it! Just give it a try. If it’s something you enjoy then you can start looking at what you want to improve on and how to get there. But you won’t even know if it’s for you unless you just try. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it and then you’ll never have to do it again.
10. What conventions do you want to attend next year if given the opportunity?
I’d really like to try new places next year! So I’m already going to Katsucon but I’m hoping I might be able to swing Sakuracon as well. Like I mentioned previously, anywhere international would be a dream. I know there are some followers who have reached out to their local cons on my behalf and I’m incredibly grateful for that. So hopefully one of those will go through!
11. Any cosplay plans for 2017 you can hint at?
I already have fabric for Agape Yurio (Yuri on Ice) and Emperor Lelouch (Code Geass). I have a few other simple ones as well, but those are the two big ones in the upcoming months.
12. Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
I’m always so horrible with these types of questions because I enjoy having more memorable conversations one-on-one. So, I suppose it would be to not hesitate to reach out to me on social media or swing by if you see me in person. I promise it’s not weird; in fact, I’ll probably be the weird one. I do enjoy chatting with people though, especially if we have things in common. *cough*Evangelion*cough* You guys are great and thank you for all of your support!
Always great to catch up with Steff Von Schweetz. For those going to Otakon Vegas, she will be there this weekend. So if you see her, tell her XBen3000 said “Hello” and I’ll see her at Katsucon.
Coming to the cafe later this week is…….
FionaNova ladies and gentlemen, so until the next Cafe opens again. I’m still XBen3000 and I’m out!