Stephanie Gutowski is a beautiful geek extraordinaire, making her way around the convention circuit dressed as characters from Star Wars, Resident Evil, and more. She was gracious enough to step away from her sewing machine for a few and answer some questions.
When did you get into cosplay and why? What was your first costume?
I first jumped into cosplay in 2000, as I had a dream to become Sailor Jupiter. Shortly after Halloween, I got distracted by other things and didn’t cosplay again until 2007, when I met my boyfriend Sean. He told me that he dressed up as a stormtrooper. I had to become his Twi’lek counterpart, naturally. After several months of trial and error, I put together my first real costume. It was a mess and I vowed to do better. Thus, I began my slow, arduous journey into cosplay.
What do you enjoy most about making costumes?
I love holding the finished product in my hands, being pleased with it and knowing that I made it. That scraps of fabric and glue and thread all came together and formed a character known across the world by fans of all ages.
What do you enjoy the least?
I absolutely hate being stuck and feeling like I’ve run into a wall. When I first started working with spandex, I ran into a lot of issues sewing it and eventually became so distraught that I gave up. But I’ll eventually come back to it. I just don’t like when I run into road blocks that keep me from finishing what I’ve started.
Do you have any costumes in the works? Any costumes you’ve been wanting to make?
I have one costume brewing that I’m keeping under wraps until it’s finished. I do, however, have a few dream costumes. Someday, I will be Commander Shepard, Hawke, Sailor Pluto, and Rogue. Someday!
Of all the characters and species in Star Wars, why a Twi’lek?
Twi’leks have always been the eye candy of the Star Wars universe. Well, at least until BioWare got in there and turned them into badasses. Well… yeah, there were a few other EU twi’leks that kicked butt, so I guess it was their versatility and abuse of the rainbow that got my attention. Plus the head tails. Latex prosthetic plus body paint? What could be more fun? I knew that if I chose to portray a custom twi’lek, I could have a ton of fun with it. Everything from the clothes, personality, to skin color… I could just go to town. I was also really into purple at the time and it was a great excuse for me to really embrace that. They’re one of the most recognizable species and they’ve got tons of fans. The possibilities seemed endless.
Expanding on the last question, how do you go about deciding what you want to make or who you want to cosplay as? What factors go into that decision?
I only cosplay characters from games and movies that I like. I also pick characters that I identify with. For instance, I’m kind of a goof. Selphie from Final Fantasy VIII embodied the carefree, yet deceptively powerful being I’d always pictured myself as. Though I think I really only ever accomplished the dorky part.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring cosplayers?
Never give up! Never surrender! Seriously, that’s like the golden rule. Use it and it will solve all of your problems.
Be sure to check out more of Stephanie’s work at her Cosplay.com profile.