Cosplay Cafe 12:Viva Valentina

What’s going on Club Members? Happy Friday first off, we have Viva Valentina coming though the cafe. We’re about to play Mortal Kombat X. I think I can beat her but her Mileena is pretty good. So go ahead and read the interview and I’ll fill you in on what happened.

Photography by Just Cosplay Photography

1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager?

Whew. Baby me was kinda weird, not a loner but definitely weird. I was the kid picking flowers, looking for rocks, and pretending to be a cat while the other kids played games. I have always been a reader and fell in love with Fantasy and Sci Fi in middle school. I grew up playing Final Fantasy, Pokemon, and other RPGs! I didn’t start reading comics until college but feel in love with the characters and the humanity comic stories explore.

2.Where you always this outgoing? Meeting you at Magfest was a highlight for me and you came off so chill. So I was wondering have you always been that way or has cosplay helped you come out your shell.

I have always been hella extroverted. I love people. I love meeting and bullshitting with people. If anything, cosplay has made me more socially awkward. I get nervous in costume, I get nervous complimenting other cosplayers, and I get anxious getting my picture taken or getting a lot of attention for cosplay. I think the attention has made me more self conscious and this past year I have been working on myself to let go of these negative feelings and find that balance of confident but not cocky, humble but not self deprecating.

I hate that my first reaction when someone compliments me is to point out something wrong, be it my costume or how I think I look in it! I am actively trying to change the way I react and think about myself. Self-love conquers all.

Photography by JustCoz Photography

3.You speak up about a lot of diversity issues within the cosplay community. What got you to speak up instead of staying silent.

Oh I’m embarrassed because I feel like I don’t speak up ENOUGH! I suffer from “mixed kid displacement” and that experience comes from the feeling of not being “brown” enough for the brown kids, but also not “white” enough for the white kids. The feeling of not having a “place”, in my opinion, is a commonly shared feeling us nerds share. For us, we’ve found our place in cons, online communities, and micro cultures we’ve created ourselves. So representation within the cosplay community of POC’s and other minorities is so so so important. I love feeling like I can celebrate what makes me different with other people that understand. If you’re looking for a safe place to mingle and interact with other POC nerds, consider joining the POC Cosplay Group!

4.Switching gears for a bit. What is your funniest memory in cosplay or Kigu for that matter? I recall you terrorizing villagers at Magfest one year in a Dinosaur Kigu.

That was a great time, it truly embodied the atmosphere of MAGfest: Run around in costume and make new friends with everyone then go play video games! I can’t really think of any specific time, but it is always hilarious when a group of people in costume leaves a con to have food and drinks with non-con goers. The looks and questions are priceless.

Photography by Daniel Lin Photography

5.I’m certain when it comes to cosplay, you get some weird looks from people. What cosplay of yours has drawn the weirdest look or reaction?

My Star Sapphire. It’s my favorite cosplay & character but also the most full frontal almost nude costume I’ve ever made! People are either staring because boobs. Or trying to figure out how they are staying where they are! (Spoiler alerts… it’s a bra, clear straps, and lots of prayers)

6.Off topic, favorite food?

Potatoes. Boil ‘em, bake ‘em, put ‘em in a stew. Just gimme.

Photography by Just Cosplay Photography

7.Second off topic question, what are you looking forward to this year?

Lots of empire building for life stuff! But cosplay wise… working on more elaborate projects. Last year I spent a lot of time re-connecting with the “party” side of cons and this year and had a lot of fun. Now I want to go back to creating not half-assing. I’m looking forward to pushing my creative limits and try new things!

Photography by Gerry of GCF Photography

8.Blerdcon, I saw you post about it and as someone from Maryland. I’m helping out as well to get the word out. So how would you describe the convention?

Like I said before, representation matters. The celebration of our differences and of diversity is what makes our country great and blerDCon will be a celebration of our nerd culture and the variety of people who are a part of the nerd community. This includes POC’s, the LGBTQ community, Persons with disabilities, but also EVERYONE else! The convention is a place where you can not only celebrate but also learn and teach and EXPERIENCE something different. All in the setting of a convention with all the fun things a con has to offer as well!

Photography by Wage War Productions

9.What costumes are you currently working on? I saw that Mileena alternate costume by Justin Murray on Instagram and I can’t wait to see you pull it off.

That costume is still on my list and hopefully will be ready for MAGfest 2018! Justin Murray is amazing and I’m really keen to make his design JUST RIGHT. Other things I’m working on include…. Ocean Master (DC), A Seven Deadly Sins Cosplay (Anime), Sophie from Saga, a bunch of other things that are in my head…. This list changes all the time. If I showed you the actual list of “To Do” cosplays you’d think I was a crazy person.

10.What’s a cosplayer you would want to collab with? Whether it’s a serious photoshoot or silly photo shoot.

There are so many talented cosplayers I crush on. This year I hope to finally cosplay DC Comic’s Ocean Master with my friend Laney Jade as Aquaman. Kit Candela as Mera. I’d love to do DBZ bros with Castle Cosplay.  I want to do some armor builds with my husband who runs Brotastic Nerdom

I also want to do nothing but silly cosplay shoots at Dragon*con with my far away friends.

Photography by Maze Studio

11.What conventions can people find you at this year?
So far for 2017

April 7-9: Great Philadelphia Comicon
May 13-14: Tidewater Comicon
June 16-18: Awesomecon *tentatively*
June 30-July 2: Blerdcon
July 15: FredCon
July 28-30: The Nova Con
August 11-13: Otakon *TENTATIVELY*
September 1-4: DRAGON*CON
September 22-24: Baltimore Comicon

If you want to see me somewhere, say something! Message your local cons! Spread the word!

12.Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?

Thank you. It’s an honor to have so many people interested in what I do, so thank you for your support. Thank you for not only supporting me, but also the photographers that bring you content, the cons I attend, and the cosplay community as a whole. And overall, thank you for being respectful to me, in person and online. Stay Golden.

So I’m not saying I lost but I’m not saying I won either. Well have to have a rematch at Mag-Fest next year. All joking aside it was fantastic having Viva Valentina in the cafe. As always Social Media links for Viva are down below.

Social Media

Coming to the cafe next week is….

Roka Cosplay, so until then I’m still XBen3000 and I’m out!

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