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.

 photo BobakhanMarvelvsDCFanshots11_zps45aa1d27.jpg

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.

 photo July262014FosterFamilyPicnic10_zps10d32aea.jpg

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.

 photo March302014ECCCSunday9_zps4d014ab6.jpg

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

—————————–

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.

Advertisements

The Hero Behind the Mask: Harley’s Vintage Kisses

I want to introduce you to a personal friend and an inspiration for CAUSEplay. This little vixen is obsessed with detail and accuracy, which pushes her to make amazing costumes and learn new things.  She isn’t afraid to share her knowledge, posting tips and WIPs on her Facebook page!   So, make sure to follow her to see what new tips she has or what she is working on.  She also has a huge heart for such a tiny gal, always going the extra mile to make sure the kids are smiling at charity events!  Love your face and can’t wait to see all your new adventures!!!  –Mala

 photo EdwardElaison2_zps671cf8b2.jpg

Name: Harley’s Vintage Kisses

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

What got you into CAUSEplaying? 
I was invited by HEROIC Inc when I appeared in my Harley Quinn costume for the opening night of Dark Knight Rises

What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
There is nothing, I mean NOTHING like the feeling you get when you see a disabled or special needs child meet their favorite super hero.

What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a community event at the local library themed, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. They had police, fireman, truck drivers, and all sorts of different careers children might be interested in, including super heroes.

What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why?  That’s a double sided question, lol! I like to wear Harley Quinn because I get to be giddy and silly, same with my Gir (from Invader Zim) mascot costume, but they are not the most comfortable. Harley Quinn started out as a 2 hour makeup ordeal. Now I have it down to about one hour, depending on the method and product I use that day. Gir requires zero prep, but I need assistance getting in and out of the costume and need a dedicated handler, or spotter, while in costume. Wearing Gir is like wearing a portable Sauna. I truly like wearing Black Canary for comfort reasons, but she isn’t nearly as popular with kids as Harley and Gir.

Most memorable CAUSEplay moment :
I get just ONE?? There were a couple events I was wearing my Gir costume and I had little girls take a huge liking to me. One event the little girl didn’t know what I was, and when my spotter informed her I was a dog the toddler kept finding sticks around the park and bringing them to me. At various times she would just come out of nowhere and give me a huge hug. It was SO adorable. Similar things have happened where I get a little girl around 3-6 want to just keep dancing with me (yes, I dance as Gir). Other times I’d let them scratch Gir behind the ear and tap my foot with excitement when they did. This would be followed by a gale of laughter form the little ones and they’d keep coming back to dance, give me hugs, and scratch my ears, haha! The funny thing with my Gir costume is the visibility is so limited for me inside the costume half the time I don’t even realize someone is posing next to me for a photo, let alone what they look like, so later on I see pictures of myself or get comments as I make new friends “YOU’RE GIR!! OMG! MY KIDS LOVED YOU!!”

 photo Make-A-Wish-Duckie-Derby_zps284a1e8d.jpg

Make-A-Wish-Duckie-Derby as Gir

What is your favorite cause to support?
I’m honestly not sure I can pick a favorite. I’ve really enjoyed supporting the down syndrome walks, MDA events, and anti-bullying.

 photo Anti-BullyFair8_zps9b213cf6.jpg

Anti-bullying Fair as Harley Quinn

The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
It’s no holds barred when I embody a character for these kids. Harley Quinn flails a chicken or rubber mallet about while encouraging kids to come dance with her. I’ve done hula-hooping, cartwheels, line dances, and obstacle courses while wearing Harley Quinn. After 4 hours of literally dancing, skipping, and running I am one tired lady.

Who inspires you?
My friends inspire me the most. Most my friends are involved in costumed charity work and their big hearts continuously instill my faith in humanity.

Advice for CAUSEplaying:
Remember you are there for the children. They should always come first. Second, WEAR COMFY SHOES!

What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
The Purple Dash a 5K for Epilepsy Awareness

Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer?
It depends on if I am costuming or cosplaying. 😉 Honestly, I genuinely embrace the character and act in addition to dressing up, so I’m okay with either term.

 photo walkwithangels20148_zps1a17967e.jpg

Walk With Angels as Black Canary

What was your first costume/cosplay?
I was probably 13 when I dressed up as Princess Leia in the white robes from A New Hope. I spent lots of time studying her costume and looking in to the details, like how glossy her lips were. I also put an Ewok costume together for my younger sister. Then in High School my cousin made a Sailor Mercury costume for me. The first costume I had made (by the same cousin) as an adult was classic Harley Quinn in 2008. I wore it to the Chicago Comic Con.

What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m an account manager for one of the waste/garbage companies. Yeah….not nearly as awesome as being a billionaire by day and vigilante by night.

If you could have any job what would it be and why?
A professional super hero for kids in need. But that would defeat half the purpose, since it would no longer be charity/volunteer work, but rather a job. I can’t imagine anything better than bringing smiles to children’s faces all day. Too bad the Disney Princess market is so competitive. Since those are not likely, I think being a voice actress would be superb! Think about it; it’s okay if you don’t look like a super model, or have fancy clothes, or even if you smell funny! You just come in your sweats, have a seat in a little box, and talk to yourself in various voices all day.

Tell us something random about yourself:
I eat souls to sustain the lustrous shine in my hair.

Star Wars or Star Trek:Star Trek for the sake of humanity, lessons, and warm fuzzy feelings. I always liked Star Wars, but there wasn’t enough for me to love. Star Trek has endless seasons and tons of movies! Star Wars wins the bad ass costumes contest and action side of things, though.

 photo walkwithangels20145_zps70e5c3e1.jpg

Never a dual moment with Harley’s Vintage Kisses!

Marvel or DC: DC! I relate to more of their characters. Favorite Comic Series:Sailor Moon, actually. My 13 year old self fell in LOVE with the TV series and opened the gates to comics and anime. Batman would be second, cliché, I know.

Favorite Comic Character: Harley Quinn (Original classic derived from the 1990’s animated series, NOT the newer versions!)

Favorite Book: Wheel of Time series

Favorite Video Game: Skyrim

Favorite Convention: Otakon and SLC Comic Con

Affiliations (clubs or groups): HEROIC Inc, Dolls & Gents (Vintage/Pinup Charity Group). Huge fan of the Mandolorian Mercs.

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

Additional awesome to share:
Here is a link to article on Fox13 News about the Down Syndrome walk. I’m on the featured photo for the article with two freaking adorable girls I helped through the obstacle course.
http://fox13now.com/2014/09/20/heroes-the-theme-of-fundraiser-for-down-syndrome-foundation/

———————————————–

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.