Hero Behind the Mask: Anna Belle

Not going to lie! This weeks feature is one of my most favorite people ever! Not only was she the maid of honor at my wedding but she is my best friend and costume wife (its like a derby wife, if you are familiar with that term).  We even bought rings! Talk about commitment!  I will never forget the first time I meet her in as Poison Ivy.  We are forever the Blue Girl and the Green Girl.  **Whispers** I was Mystique that day, she was Poison Ivy, and no one knew who we were. **Ends whispering**.  I will never forget the conventions, the commercial shots, winning Halloween costume contests together, photo shots, and the everything in between we have done together. It has been a pleasure to begin my CAUSEplay career with her and I look forward to following her in all her costume endeavors.  Be it CAUSEplay, mystery theater, plays, musicals, or make-up!    –Mala

 photo 10376267_334723343402346_5166054532058404357_n_zpsz01wnmzw.jpgName:  Anna Belle

Location:  Salt Lake City, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying? 
A happy accident.  I joined up with a friend who wanted Disney characters at a local charity fundraiser.  I went as Mary Poppins.

What keeps you CAUSEplaying? 
The incredible high of being able to help people and make children smile.  Nothing makes me feel better than making a difference in a kid’s life.

What was your first CAUSEplay event? 
Angel’s Hands Foundation.  I dressed as Mary Poppins.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why? 
Belle.  Everyone knows who she is, the kids LOVE her, and to be honest, what girl doesn’t love dressing up in a beautiful gown?

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :  There are so many.  There are many children who touch your heart with their kindness and positive attitudes so it’s hard to pick a most memorable moment.  I’d have to say one is when a sick little girl asked me to sing “A Spoonful of Sugar” with her while I was dressed as Mary Poppins or the child at a shop-with-a-cop day told me she had spent her Christmas spending money on church shoes, warm boots, and a gift for her brother.  So selfless.

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What is your favorite cause to support?
My favorite events are hospital visits.  Those kids are so happy to see their heroes!  Also, the shop-with-a-cop events around Christmas.

Who inspires you?
Honestly, the kids.  I am so floored by the love and generosity and the positive attitudes of the children I get to help support.  No matter what they are going through, physically or emotionally or both, they light up and are always so happy when they get to see their heroes.  I love that feeling and it makes me want to be a better person.  More patient, loving, kind.  More like them.

Advice for CAUSEplaying: 
Put your heart and soul into it completely opening yourself up to the experience.  If you do that, you will be vulnerable and sensitive and that can be scary, but it’s so worth it when you have your heart touched by the sweet little people you are there to help.  When you see the complete gratitude and adoration and happiness you’ve given them, it will change your life.

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up? 
With the charity group I’m a part of, HEROIC, we have several events with local libraries, as well as with MDA fundraising for their kid’s summer camp!

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? 
Costumer by far.  My degree is in costume and makeup design and I feel like it’s viewed as a more professional title.

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What was your first costume/cosplay? 
When I was 4 months old, my mom dressed me as a baby witch for Halloween.  In all honesty, I feel like I’ve been doing it my whole life because of my involvement in the theatre, but my first costume for a charity purpose was Mary Poppins.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)? 
I’m an Executive Assistant for my family’s chiropractic practice.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I truly love what I do, but if I had a different job, I’d choose to be a designer full time.  I love the creative process and the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project.  I just wish I had more time to do it.

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Tell us something random about yourself:  I am the child whisperer.  They just seem to love and gravitate toward me!  I love children, so it works out well for me though.  It also helps in raising my army of glitter minions as I work to take over the world.  Mwahahaha!!!

Star Wars or Star Trek:  Star Trek.  I have loved it for years.  I’ve never even seen the Star Wars movies (except for the first of the newer ones)

Marvel or DC:  Either!  I have costumes from both universes.  I feel like they both have great qualities and fantastic characters!

Favorite Comic Series:  X-Men for sure!  I also really like Batman: The Animated Series (I know, it’s a cartoon not a comic, but still!)

Favorite Comic Character:  Rogue.  She has a lot of emotional depth and sometimes it is difficult to get her to open up to people.  I feel like I can relate to her on that level.

Favorite Book: I feel like that’s asking a parent to pick a favorite child.  I will say that the Complete Works of William Shakespeare is one of my most prized possessions.  I have a copy given to me by my parents in High School, and I have my grandmother’s old copy.  They mean a lot to me sentimentally.

Favorite Video Game:  Well, as a kid I really liked Crash Bandicoot and Mario Brothers.  I also liked Duck Hunt and the Aladdin game for Sega.  As an adult, I haven’t ever really been into video games though.

Favorite Convention:  Steamfest.  I have had more fun running around with my friends and I love the history of the time period surrounding the steampunk culture.  History was my back up major in college, so I’m sort of a nerd for that.

Affiliations (clubs or groups):  HEROIC 

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

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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!