Hero Behind the Mask: Angry Mushroom Pixi Cosplay of The Free Cosplay Project

I am proud to announce my affiliation with this weeks feature!  The Free Cosplay Project is a fundraising effort that shows us we don’t have to be in costume to do something great!  If you like to make props or costumes and have been interested in getting involved in charity work than the Free Cosplay Project is something you should consider! Check out the interview below for details and how you can get involved!

If you are interested in more about the creator of this project make sure to check out her Facebook page, Deviant Art, and YouTube channel!  She loves to share how to make cosplay and props so check out the variety of videos she offers.  It also goes to show she knows how to make things, which means if you enter to win a prop you will be getting something amazing and worth the donation to see if you win the raffle!

Angry Mushroom Cosplay, thank you for letting me be involved in the launch of this great idea!   The only catch is this project will need YOUR involvement to reach its full potential!! So either donate to win a prize or join the group to have a fundraiser for an organization of your choosing  Either way we can show the world the amazing talent and heart of the cosplay community! –Mala 
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Name: Marie Turner AKA Angry Mushroom Pixi Cosplay of The Free Cosplay Project

Location: Seattle, WA

What is the Free Cosplay Project?
The Free Cosplay Project, or FCP, is a non-profit group that organizes and hosts charity raffles for cosplayers by cosplayers. It was created as a vehicle for cosplayers, prop makers, seamstresses, and crafting artists within the cosplay community to help promote their art and pool money for charitable causes at the same time. Each FCP Featured Artist will pick a charity they care about and have a raffle prize as an incentive for the community to donate to that charity.

If someone is interested in adding their own work to this project how can they do this?
There is a submission form for artists (of all kinds!) to enter on the Volunteer page of the website. Having new Featured Artists essential for us to keep the ball rolling. We are always thinking of new ways to involve artists as well, so definitely contact us with suggestions!

How did you determine the organization (cause) you are raising funds for?
We are picking all of our causes through Crowdrise.com. Crowdrise is amazing because the money donated goes directly to the charity and not through us. All the charities on their website have been IRS approved so you can feel confident donating. With their system it takes less than a minute to donate!

What are the benefits of using the fundraising platform you choose?
The Free Cosplay Project is great because its a flexible program that fills a niche in the CAUSEplay community. Each Featured Artist gets to find a charity that they feel passionate about, so there is always a new charity benefiting from the program with every raffle. Allowing artists to gain exposure and promote themselves to the public is a huge incentive for the artists as well. And the art is what creates the incentive for the public. Raffle giveaways have been really successful for aspiring independent prop makers and hey, who doesn’t like winning free stuff? Currently we are working on introducing the idea of gifts for every donor and not just a grand prize, but we are taking it one step at a time.

If someone wanted to donated to win a prop from you how much do they need to donate?
Crowdrise requires a minimum donation of $10. That is a 1 in 100 chance to win! That may seem high but really, what is $10 to you? 1 (and a half) expensive brand name latte? Or the costume of your dreams? Make it a priority to live a generous life and HELP ME SHOW THE WORLD WHO THE REAL HEROS OF COSPLAY ARE!!!

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What got you into CAUSEplaying?
Honestly it was a desperation. I was feeling disconnected from the community. It had been over 6 months since I was able to cosplay because I was going through career changes and things were really hectic. I was either not attending cons or working them, and cosplay meetups were either not being organized or being canceled. Almost like a personal cosplay dark-age! When I finally was able to come back to cosplay I had gained weight and was having a hard time feeling like I could be confident in my skin. I kept that depression to myself for a long time because I felt ashamed of even feeling that way. I know that the cosplay community is really body positive so I felt silly for even being so insecure. Ultimately my favorite thing about cosplay is the technical aspect so even if I didn’t dress up, I wanted to keep making things. But if it was going to be a costume I made, then I had to let SOMEONE wear it! That’s when I thought of The Free Cosplay Project. The idea was rather serendipitous because it was good for me to take the focus off myself and spend time in supportive role.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
Giving feels great. It allows a person to do something transcendent with their lives.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
The first event for The Free Cosplay Project is live now. We are looking to have a different Featured Artist each month.

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What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Because the FCP is an online charity I haven’t gotten the chance to actually cosplay for charity! Pretty ironic.

What is your favorite cause to support?
Anything to do with solar energy, building self sustaining infrastructure in developing countries, or disease research. Hope for Vision is my first charity because they are a research focused charity aimed at curing degenerative retinal diseases. And I think we need greater funding in the sciences. BUT! I really think the way our society views blind people is wrong and limits their potential so I’m really eager to do a fundraiser in the future for World Access for the Blind, because they are an organization focuses on enabling blind people by teaching echolocation. http://www.worldaccessfortheblind.org/

Who inspires you?
I was incredibly inspired by Amanda Palmers “The Art of Asking” because it has a really beautiful view of life.

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Advice for CAUSEplaying:
I think I’d love everybody’s advice instead! I’m not sure if I’m qualified to give it quite yet. I’m still learning and I really wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of family and friends.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Its interchangeable for me. I’m definitely a cosplayer, but I graduated with a degree in costume design.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
This GOD AWFUL Lina Inverse cosplay for 8th grade Halloween party. Its was a thrown together red t-shirt of red tights with scrap fabric, just awful! My first “actual cosplay” was a minor villain from One Piece called Miss Goldenweek.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I work part time for my dad as a licensed Real Estate Agent. You could say I’m his assistant. When it’s slow in the winter I work odd jobs. Currently I work at a plastics manufacturing factory, so I go to work and cast plastic parts, and then come home and do it all over again. One is for an airplane, the other is for cosplay!

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I honestly wouldn’t want to be an independent commissioner for prop fabrication. That seems so stressful! It’s hard to make run business that way, that’s why the FCP is great, because it supports those independent artists. I’d rather work for a studio making props, but that’s Hollywood, which is its own monster.

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Tell us something random about yourself: I love the show Good Eats!

Star Wars or Star Trek: Trek for sure!

Marvel or DC: *stuffs name brand candy bar in mouth to avoid question*

Favorite Comic Series: Tomb Raider

Favorite Comic Character:The Prince from Saga

Favorite Book: I read mostly non-fiction these days. I can’t really call myself a book nerd. Pass!

Favorite Video Game: Anything Naughty Dog or 2K or Valve.

Favorite Convention: PAX or ECCC!

Affiliations (clubs or groups): The Free Cosplay Project! 😉

Website: freecosplayproject.org

Affiliated websites: https://www.crowdrise.com

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

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Heroes Behind the Masks: Superhero Smiles Initiative

This weeks feature is about a couple in Florida who CAUSEplays together! From conversations I have had between it being only two people of the Superhero Smile Initiative they keep pretty busy. Especially around the holiday season. They were kind enough to take some time out of their busy lives to be featured in this weeks blog! Please enjoy this feature of the Heroes Behind the Masks-Mala

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Name: Samantha and Steve Lustinia AKA  Superhero Smiles Initiative

Location: Central Florida

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
We wanted to give back to our community in a way that brought smiles.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The joy and smiles we see.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
A Christmas party at the Howard Phillips Center for Families

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Samantha- Wonder Woman-because she is a strong female role model.
Steve- Captain America- because he is an iconic good guy male role model.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:
Samantha- recently having a cancer patient spend nearly her entire evening with me.
Steve- a young special needs boy spent an afternoon with Captain America, looking for bad guys.

What is your favorite cause to support? Childhood Cancer

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause? Danced with the kids in full costume.

Who inspires you? Lynda Carter

Advice for CAUSEplaying: Get the word out there that you do this as a gift, no fees involved.
Some people are under the mistaken belief that you will charge them for an appearance.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up? We just finished the holiday season, which was non-stop for 3 months straight.  We are currently taking a break until spring.  We will have a children’s homelessness event in March.

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? Either- it doesn’t define who we are as people

What was your first costume/cosplay? Wonder Woman and Captain America

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What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Samantha- I work for a not for profit medical clinic
Steve- Product Specialist at Lowe’s

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
Samantha- working with kids.  I love to see them learning.

Tell us something random about yourself:
Samantha- I love to crochet!
Steve- I am an art graduate

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars

Marvel or DC: Marvel

Favorite Comic Series:
Samantha – Wonder Woman and Justice League.
Steve- Currently Guardians of the Galaxy

Favorite Comic Character: Wonder Woman and Captain America

Favorite Book: too many to list

Favorite Video Game: We play old school Dreamcast games

Favorite Convention:  Used to be Megacon but its gotten out of hand.  We really enjoy the charity work more.

Facebook: Superhero Smiles Initiative

Twitter: superherosmiles

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

Heroes Behind the Masks: Portland Superheroes Coalition

I believe that the world needs more Muppets and this weeks feature has them! Major KUDOS to anyone who adds these amazing characters to the world. BTW I saw them at a distance at Emerald City Comic Con 2014 and they are amazing! If I wasn’t on the escalator going the opposite way I would  have grabbed a picture of them! Okay, enough fan girling!  Though I have never personally meet this amazing group, several friends of mine have nothing but amazing things to say about the participants and creator of the Portland Superheroes Coalition. The do a little bit of everything and have a high level of professionalism.  Maybe one day I can join them and the awesome that they do!  A girl can wish right!  –Mala

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Group Name: Portland Superheroes Coalition

Location(s):  Greater Portland, Salem and Eugene areas.

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Mission Statement: Helping others through fundraisers and community events.

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When was the group started?
The group was initially created by myself and another cosplayer July 2012 after the Batman movie theater shooting, but then sat dormant until January 2013. In Jan 2013 was Wizard World Portland, and so much fun was had meeting other cosplayers that things were ramped into full gear and our first event was in April of 2013 for a college graduation.

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What inspired the creation of Portland Superheroes Coalition or CAUSEplay in general?  
I was always that kid that made things and took apart toys and who loved Halloween. Over the years Halloween became a favorite holiday and I started making more and more elaborate costumes, and eventually wanted to do more with my costumes than just Halloween; and wanted an outlet with a positive aspect. Basically all parts fell into place that way, and other people were recruited and invited.

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Do you have a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization status or other designation? 
We are not 501c3, just a group of volunteers who all want to do good things in the community and make people happy. We have no bank accounts or money to spend on huge things such as filling for 501c3, and personal monies we do have is used to either buy hospital toys or for group purchases like business  cards to give out when people ask of us. We are fortunate to have Sponsors who contact us and ask what we need, and who provide us with extra money and toys for our special visits. We all work on the honor system basically.

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How can someone join Portland Superheroes Coalition?
People who have top-notch non mass-produced outfits can send us an email with a few photos of their character, where they will be voted on by the most active members of the group. There are a few rules listed on our website people must follow too, such as being 18+ years old and expectations of keeping up to date on group outings.

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Is there a website people can go to search for a local chapter?
We have only 1 chapter but will travel and have Heroes from Seattle down to Eugene. www.facebook.com/PortlandSuperheroesCoalition

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What type of costumes do you accept?  Do you have a costume approval process, if so what is it?  What do you look for in a costume?
Currently we are pushing for more superheroes and superhero-type characters than pop-culture. We do have a selection of video game, Muppets, Star Wars and a few other genres in order to appeal to wider audiences though. Needs can always change due to group activities and what is asked of us when invited to an event.  High quality top-notch family-friendly suits only as mass-produced and store-bought are not allowed. We try to raise the bar a step higher than regular cosplay in both class and interaction to give a unique experience while in the public.

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Do you accept crossplay costumes?  Gender bent costumes?   Customized characters?
We do have crossplay and welcome it if it’s done very well. The expectations from dressing at a Con versus going into the public for events are totally different, as the public is far more picky and less forgiving if a character isn’t as accurate as possible. Also if a character doesn’t meet the public’s expectations, it will cause a distraction and reduce the illusion we are going for. We do not accept custom made-up characters for the same reason as they can be a distraction due to people asking too many questions.

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Do you have people willing to help with the costume making process or a resource guide to help with the process?
Yes, and we love it! Between the almost 50 Current Members we have a great knowledge base and abilities on everything from sewing to fiberglassing.

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How many people are currently in your group?
As of today Jan 5th, 48.

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How is the leadership determined?
I am the founder and one who handles all emails, Facebook and events. When a person submits a Hero for consideration, a non-typical event has been asked of us, or just something slightly unusual is happening, we have a private forum where all Current Members are addressed and a Core Group of the most active Heroes to get ideas and suggestions from. Very few things are done without asking another person something, as I believe a group should have group input.

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What have you done for charities (types of events)?
We attend fundraisers and charity events, community festivals, school functions and assemblies, walk in parades, help with canned food drives, spend the day at children’s museums, greet at movie premieres, attend games with many local sports teams, setup photo booths for donations, and visit children’s hospitals.

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Do you create your own event or make appearance when requested?
We never make our own events, we only go somewhere after invited.

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How did you build you “clientele”?
Just from word of mouth, or from giving out cards while attending an event.

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Do you have particular organization(s) or cause(s) you work with regularity?
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Make A Wish Oregon are 2 that we are very proud to support. We have worked with many others and have had very awesome experiences. We attended an event at Christmas time for the Oregon Air National Guard and they are very excited for future fun.

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What is the most amazing thing Portland Superheroes Coalition has accomplished so far?
Helping current and past Doernbecher patients and Make A Wish kids hits us pretty hard and makes everything all worth it. Just making people happy is a main goal and we are accomplishing that at every event by giving people a few minutes to meet a childhood Hero, especially adults who will “let their guard down” to be a kid again.

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Where do you see Portland Superheroes Coalitiongoing in the future?
No way to tell. It’s all done with volunteers and you never know who is coming or going, so you just plan for the moment basically.

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Do you use any fun terminology specifically for Portland Superheroes Coalition?
No.

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Do you have advice for someone interested in creating a CAUSEplay group or getting into CAUSEplay?
It can be exhausting but totally worth it. Surround yourself with good people and good things will happen.

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If people want to donate toys, or money to help with toys, how can they do this?
It’s best for them to message before donating to work things out.

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What future events do you have?
We go to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital every 3 months. Events with the Portland Winterhawks and Portland Trail Blazers are also set, and an event for a large group of foster children.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/PortlandSuperheroesCoalition

Twitter: www.twitter.com/supers_pdx

Email: portlandsuperheroes@yahoo.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/PortlandSuperheroes

Instagram: www.instagram.com/pdx_supers

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

The Hero Behind the Mask: Pastel-Colored Cosplay

I started this blog hoping to inspire people to give back to their communities. The point is to show that anyone can CAUSEplay! My hope has been to show you that you can start at any time, there are many different ways to give back, many causes that need your help, and the different reasons people get into CAUSEplay. This weeks feature is particular exciting to me because its this cosplayers first time using costuming as a way to give back to her community! Though she has helped with other charitable projects in the past this was a new undertaking for her incorporating her love of cosplay! And she plans on making more events in the future! I believe she will go far with her endeavors!  My friends who attended her event had nothing but glowing remarks.  I look forward to following Pastel-Colored Cosplay as her adventure continues! .  – Mala

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Photographer: Shannon Deonier

Name: Pastel-Colored Cosplay

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

What was your first costume/cosplay?
My first real cosplay costumes were Orihime Inoue from Bleach and Hinata Hyuuga from Naruto. I’d tried to imitate other characters before that, but never put in a real effort until I actually went to a convention for the first time.

How long have you been cosplaying?
Since October of 2006, so roughly eight years or so.

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
I’m fairly new to the CAUSEplay scene, having just hosted my very first event.  But back when I used to work in retail, our store hosted a variety of different charity options during the holidays. It was such a great feeling to see the Toys for Tots box get filled each day and to help customers find items for wish lists on the Angel Tree.  Growing up, Christmas was always such a magical time for me and my family. I wanted to share that feeling with others.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
That would be our recent holiday party event! It was held on December 13th at Kafeneio in Salt Lake City. The entry fee was to bring one new and unopened toy donation for Toys for Tots and we managed to collect 43 toys and fill an entire bin!

What is Cosplay for a Cause all about?
Cosplay for a Cause is really new. This was our first event, but we wanted to make it about helping others. There are a lot of cosplay events going on in our community, and cosplayers in general often get a bad reputation so we wanted to show others that cosplayers care and we really just wanted to help kids have a great Christmas.

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Photographer: Eurobeat Kasumi Photography

What inspired you to create this?
I grew up in a large Greek family and Christmas was always a really magical time for us. I wanted to spread that feeling as much as I could.

What is causes has Cosplay for a Cause supported? Or what do you see Cosplay for a Cause supporting in the future?
Our first event was to collect donations for Toys for Tots during the holidays.  As for the future, I would love to have events to help support the Humane Society of Utah and the Utah Food Bank.

How hard was it to arrange this?
Had I been doing it on my own, it would have been VERY difficult. It’s thanks to my friends in the cosplay community that it turned out pretty simple.

From pitching in for the venue rental to bringing refreshments, games, decor and entertainment, my friends were happy to help and I’m so grateful to them for that.

If someone wanted to create something like this in their area what would you recommend?
Voice your ideas! Share them with friends and plan together, contact the charities you wish to support. One person’s inspiration can go a long way, but nothing will happen if you remain silent.

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Photographer: Shannon Deonier

Who inspires you?
My cousin, Brittni Vega.

If you’ve been on Instagram or just love dogs in general, you’ve probably seen Harlow, Sage and Indiana. My cousin is their owner, photographer and now the author of their new book!

She has been a big supporter of the Humane Society of Utah, featuring adoptions and even participating in their holiday telethon on Fox 13.

Seeing the things she has done has really been a driving force for me.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: With a hobby like cosplay, it’s very easy to feel excluded, left out or unimportant. But anybody can be charitable and pay it forward to those in need.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Plans are underway for our Humane Society event, which we are hoping to hold in the spring time. Nothing is official yet, but we do have an event page that you can follow for the time being!
https://www.facebook.com/events/349392671907262/

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
Probably a cosplayer? Most of my costumes are from franchises I enjoy as a hobby. I guess I would consider a costumer to be someone who either makes creations of their own design or someone who does it professionally.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I currently work on event staff for a local reception center. I’ve also been taking commissions on the side for small projects.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I would love to have any kind of job where I can work creatively. I have a wide variety of things I enjoy, from videography to costuming to writing, so pinpointing just one in specific isn’t easy. I am aiming to go to school for fashion design this year, so we’ll see where that road takes me!

Tell us something random about yourself: I’m the writer of a webcomic, alongside my friend Stacie Pitt (who is currently an intern under Todd Lockwood) as the artist.

Our comic is called Trinity Crest and you can read it by clicking the link below:
http://trinitycrest.thewebcomic.com/

Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars!

Favorite Anime: It’s hard to pick just one! Probably Card Captor Sakura, if I had to choose.

Marvel or DC: I like both, but a lot of my favorite characters come from DC.

Favorite Comic Series: I don’t know if webcomics count, but some of my favorites are Myth by Zelda C. Wang and Monster Pop! by Maya Kern.

Favorite Comic Character: Poison Ivy.

Favorite Book: Anything by Neil Gaiman.

Favorite Video Game: Okami.

Favorite Convention: Anime Los Angeles. If you want to see a convention that goes through great lengths to be well-run, well-staffed and cares deeply about attendee feedback, definitely check it out!

Affiliations (clubs or groups): I’m a part of Right in the Doki’s, which is both a cosplay team and YouTube channel focused on many different aspects in cosplay.

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Photographer: Emily Evans

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pastelcoloredcosplay

Tumbler: http://pastel-colored-cosplay.tumblr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2PiPOo93USfaJ5eVy47hw

Additional Info:  Check out this other interview done with Pastel Colored Cosplay last year!

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories!

Hero Behind the Mask: FirewingCreations

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday season!

For the first blog of 2015 I want to introduce you to FirewingCreations.  This lady is a sweet heart!  I had the please of meeting her at several conventions this year.  At Rose City Comic Con we had fun at a photo shoot and made a fun video!  Its never a dull moment around FirewingCreations! People from Comic Book Character for Causes and the Northwest Mutant Academy can confirm this.  She is a wealth of costume knowledge and shares her skills as a panelist at cons in the Seattle area. I hope you enjoy the interview with her as much as I enjoyed putting this together.  I am looking forward to seeing her at cons and charity events in the future!   –Mala

Name: FirewingCreations

Location: Everett, WA

What got you into CAUSEplaying?
At my second ever convention I happened to see a large group of cosplayers collecting money in a rather unassuming bucket to be donated to Children’s Hospital. One of the members handed me a card with contact info and I joined what would more officially become Comic Book Characters for Causes. I remember thinking that it was a really nice idea to take something that was just a personal hobby and turn it also into an opportunity to help people in real life. Why just dress as a superhero when you have the ability to make an impact in someone’s life at the same time.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
I continue with CausePlay because I know it makes an impact. It is very encouraging to hear the positive feedback from many of the adult volunteers and coordinators that are involved with events. Of course, I often get a lot of good interactions from kids when they are around at events, but often kids can be kind of shy around new people; so many times I’ve had adults follow up after and tell me how the kids kept talking about our participation and inquire if we will be back again.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
My first event was at a local toy store called Bobakhan Toys and Collectables. They hosted a Marvel vs. DC day where they were raising funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I wish I could recall the wish they were fundraising for, but I know they had a really good turnout.

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Bobakhan Marvel vs. DC Fanshots

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?
Currently, Batgirl is my favorite to wear CausePlaying. Batgirl is my most recognizable character costume, it’s quite comfortable (though I’m still looking to make the cowl better), and has a utility belt and cape. I would say character recognition is fairly important in costume choice for charity events, I think it’s often easier for the public to identify who you are and then what you’re doing if they can place your character.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment:  This past summer at a foster family picnic, there were two young girls that apparently picked me as their buddy from our small group of superheroes and princesses. They kept coming back to talk to me and hug me and one even insisted on giving me some candy she had won at one of the games they had there. They were the sweetest.

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July 26, 2014 Foster Family Picnic

What is your favorite cause to support?
I like supporting causes for children in need. Camp Goodtimes (http://www.thegoodtimesproject.org/) is a great group that provides a summer camp for children affected by cancer. They recently lost their funding by the American Cancer Society and so can really use the publicity and donations. I also have enjoyed supporting Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhandkids.org/) a group that supports foster kids by providing safe and comfortable transitional housing when they are removed from their homes and are waiting for their new families.

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
This last summer I had the opportunity to visit Camp Goodtimes West with some other members of the group Comic Book Characters for Causes. We split up and participated with the kids at some of their recreational choices. The activity I joined was a flash mob, dancing as Batgirl to the song “Classic.” It was really fun, and there is video proof.  Which can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzkWwzAyWiY

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by all the people that daily work in jobs dedicated to directly helping others and providing for their needs, particularly when it’s usually a thankless job. I couldn’t adequately list every job position that does this, but some that I’ve personally encountered or worked with the last few years include: veterinary staff (who try their best to take care of the animals they see, even if their owners don’t understand why Fluffy shouldn’t be eating fast food every day…), medical staff (who really wants to clean up and tend to the things that they do daily?), special ed staff (there are some really awesome kids that can be trying at times). Most of these jobs aren’t really high-paying or glamorous and they certainly aren’t easy, but these people do what needs to be done. It’s amazing really.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
Don’t be afraid to talk and connect with people, that’s how you will find a good group to join for CausePlay. Once you connect, be reliable and professional. Do what you say you’re going to do. Last, but not least, leave your drama at home when you attend an event. I think it’s important to remember that we who CausePlay come together to promote a cause that’s bigger than our ourselves and more can be accomplished if you’re able to work together smoothly with your peers.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The next big event for Comic Book Characters for Causes is Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of March. We’ll have a photobooth as usual and will be raising funds for local children’s charities.

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2014 ECCC

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
I tend to use the term costumer because my personal focus is more on the crafting of an outfit instead of becoming a character. However, I’m not the type of person to quibble over vocabulary.

What was your first costume/cosplay?
Well, I’ve had Halloween costumes over the years of course but my first costume at my first convention was Kaylee from Firefly. That basically only involved removing sleeves from a flight suit and sewing on patches. The next year I decided I could figure out how to sew gloves and boot covers and dressed in spandex as Dark Phoenix.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
Trophy wife. Ha! No, its kind of true. Previously I’ve worked in a veterinary clinic as a receptionist and lab assistant and also in the local school system as a substitute paraeducator. My husband works and supports my role as a home maker so I can take care of our household and also help my parents who have had some health issues recently.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I love being a home maker, that is my dream job. If I wanted to do something where I actually get paid though, I think it would be fun to be a lab assistant and do nerdy and scientific things like running bloodwork, looking under microscopes and most importantly not doing retail or customer service. I’m pretty introverted and I love science.

Tell us something random about yourself: I have a bachelor’s degree in business and I’m very good at jigsaw puzzles.

Star Wars or Star Trek: I grew up with both. My dad was really into Trek, but I guess I like the overall aesthetic of Star Wars a little better. As I watch some more Trek…..

Marvel or DC: DC. I started reading American comics because I thought, justifiably, that Batman was just the coolest. I’ve stayed with DC because of the strong females like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Canary… etc.

Favorite Comic Series: Fables. Birds of Prey. But really, if we go international… Sailor Moon.

Favorite Comic Character: After much mental deliberation: Storm from X-Men.

Favorite Book: *sigh* Ella Enchanted. But I love so many others too…

Favorite Video Game: I love me some Pokemon. I still remember saving up my own money to buy myself a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Red game package back in the day. And yes I still play.

Favorite Convention: Sakura Con in Seattle. 2014 was my first time attending and it was super fun. This may be in part because I got to join a Sailor Moon group and costume as a Sailor scout, something I’d wanted to be since about 1st grade.

Affiliations (clubs or groups): Comic Book Characters for Causes (cbc4c.org) and Northwest Mutant Academy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FirewingCreations

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Let me know how you are getting involved! I want to hear your stories!! And adventures!! Or tell me about a CAUSEplayer or a group you think are making a difference! Email AdventuresWithMala@gmail.com with your stories! If sending info on an individual person please let them know you have done so, to reduce the creep factor of a stranger contacting them for a potential interview.