What got you into cosplay?
Halloween's always been one of my favorite holidays (still is), and I've had on and off dreams of theater. I guess I just never outgrew playing "dress up".
What was your first costume and why?
My mom made me a She-Ra costume for Halloween when I was (I think) about three or four, but that was long before I knew what cosplay and anime/fantasy/whatever conventions were. My first actual cosplay costume was Blue Mary from Fatal Fury/King of Fighters. She had fast become one of my favorite characters from the series, and her costume was one that could easily be put together for a last-minute con (which Anime USA 1999 essentially was for me).
What is your favorite costume and why?
The aforementioned Blue Mary was my favorite, but I feel like I've worn her to death, therefore that costume is on hiatus until possibly 2008. Among my other costumes, Ginny is the easiest and most comfortable to wear (other than being hot and having to deal with a wig) while Peach is the prettiest and most involved- I can't really decide between them.
Do you have a dream costume you'd like to make?
Hmm, maybe some of Peach's other outfits (like her "Super Smash Brothers Melee" dress (perhaps in one of the alternate colors) and her golf/tennis dress), and at least one kimono.
What has been your most memorable cosplay experience?
Katsucon 2007, when I (as Ginny) was asked for a picture. I consented, and the photographer went on to explain that he wanted to show his friend, who wasn't really much of an anime fan (more of a fantasy/sci-fi type), that non-anime people cosplay and attend cons, too. As a proponent of not limiting one's self to Japanese sources for cosplay and admittedly not all that much of an anime person myself (I'm more into video games and fantasy; my costumes reflect this), I thought that was nice.
A hotel employee constantly calling me "my queen" at Anime USA 2006 (I was dressed as Peach at the time) also deserves a mention.
I guess I can also mention the "Goblet of Fire" movie premiere. I was dressed as a young (aka "Marauder Era") Sirius Black, and throughout the evening I spoke in a British accent and called my then-boyfriend "Remus" (yes, I happen to like that pairing). He played along despite being dressed in normal clothes and even said "Goodnight, Sirius" when I dropped him off at his house after the movie. The fact that this was ultimately our fourth-to-last date (and last good date) before we broke up was also "memorable" in a way.
Have to add: most recently, at Nekocon 2007 I was playing several rounds of "Are You A Werewolf" as Peach. When I got "lynched" in one round despite being an innocent "villager", the moderator said, "Your werewolf is in another castle!"
Can't go without mentioning Professor Lupin's AMA 2008 debut- so many people actually thought I was a guy, and had I not told anyone or posted any pics here they may have never known that I was the same person who'd been Princess Peach and a Weasley twin throughout that same con.
Do you participate in masquerades?
There was a time when Anime USA always saw me take the stage, but I haven't done any masquerades anywhere since (I think) 2002, except at the AkibaFest Christmas Cosplay Concert Ball (2006) and T-Mode 2007. I've had some great ideas for skits, but I can never get enough people.
Hmm, does cosplay chess count? I did that at Anime USA 2007, and will probably continue to do so whenever I can.
What was your best masquerade experience?
I'm ashamed of nearly every masquerade performance I've ever done. Short answer: none.
However, that's not to say I haven't had some good (or at least interesting) ideas for group skits. I just haven't been able to get together all the necessary people for them is all.
Have you won any awards for your costumes?
My Blue Mary costume won the "Judges Choice Award: Biggest Smile" at the Anime USA 1999 masquerade and a Hall Costume Award at Katsucon 2001. A photo of that same costume from an Anime USA 2001 appearance was the "Cosplay Picture of the Week" for the week of November 28-December 3, 2006 at Cammyfan.com (does that count?).
My Princess Peach costume won first place in a costume contest at a local fall festival (2007).
Tell us a little about yourself
I have a brother and (step-)sister, both younger than me. Don't see as much of them now that I've got my own apartment, but we do attend cons together every now and then. I have a cat.
I'm now attending community college and planning to get an associate degree in liberal arts. From there, I'm looking at becoming a theater/drama professor (or something like that).
Also, Mary Ryan Bogard is only my name on the internet. In real life, though I'll still answer if you call me Mary, I prefer to be called Mel or Melly (a variant of my real name).
Another thing: since birth, I've had a medical condition that affects my muscles and joints (this is actually evident in some photos). Therefore, I can only do so much as far as actual costume construction. Normally my mother and/or grandmother assist me. I only commission if a) I/my mom/my grandmother feel a costume is too complicated, b) I can afford it, c) it's an "emergency" (i.e. me/my mom/my grandmother would not have time to finish a certain costume for a pending event, but a commissioner would), d) all or any combination of the above, or e) a wig, prop, or accessory we can't style or make ourselves (or in the case of wigs, I can't just have styled at a local salon or find an existing wig that works as it is) is needed.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
My thoughts on "Harry Potter" now that the series is complete: Love the first four books, absolutely detest the last three. Will only watch the first four movies, re-read the first four books, and read AU fanfics. Will continue to cosplay from it, though. Either way, please do not discuss the last two books and all developments therein with me at all (I can stomach most fifth-book talk, though).
My thoughts on yaoi/slash/shounen-ai/whatever else it may be called: I love the Sirius Black/Remus Lupin pairing from "Harry Potter" (despite J. K. Rowling having blown that ship to bits in the last book), but otherwise it's not my thing.
My thoughts on its female counterpart: First of all, I don't like to call it "yuri", so I won't from here on out. Second, like with the yaoi/slash/shounen-ai/whatever, it's not my thing, though I kind of like Haruka/Michiru.
My thoughts on canon pairings: I support them for the most part, including some that most others don't seem to like such as Harry/Ginny (HP) and Andy/Mai (KoF). Though I may not like how they were handled in canon (I have to turn to fanfic to see either of the aforementioned couples portrayed remotely well, for example). However, there are a few (most notably Remus/Tonks (HP)) that I can't abide at all, and not just because they may conflict with a preferred pairing. For example, the aforementioned Remus/Tonks came out of nowhere and was very detrimental to both characters, and no fanfic can fix that (nor can that little, worthless brat JKR stuck them with- and this is the only time I'll acknowledge said brat).
My thoughts on wearing non-Japanese costumes: People should wear what they want, so long as it's not breaking any rules set by the con itself (or local law) in regards to safety, decency, and such. And do keep in mind that not everyone can make it to the big multi-genre conventions like Dragon*Con or ComicCon, and not everyone likes the same stuff (not even the same animes) anyway.
My favorite anime
Slayers Next, the Night Warriors/Vampire Hunter OAVs, the Sailor Moon R movie, a few episodes from the first season of Pokemon
Those aside, I'm admittedly not really much into anime.
My favorite game(s)
King of Fighters '97 & '98, the Darkstalkers/Vampire series, Super Smash Brothers Melee & Brawl, Super Mario 2/USA/Advance, Super Mario 3/4 Advance, Super Princess Peach, Mario Party 4 & 5, the Wario Ware series, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pocket Fighter, the Animal Crossing series, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Fighter 2 & 3, Samurai Shodown/Spirits 2, 4, and RPG, Fatal Fury 3 & Real Bout Special, Harry Potter: Qudditch World Cup, and Rock Band
My favorite book(s)
The first four Harry Potter books (and just the first four books), The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, several fairy tale/folk tale/mythology compilations
My favorite character(s)
From KoF: Blue Mary, Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, Andy Bogard, the New Face/Band/Orochi Team (Yashiro, Chris, and Shermie), Athena Asamiya, Iori Yagami, Kyo Kusanagi
From Darkstalkers/Vampire: Lei-Lei/Hsien-Ko, Felicia, Zabel/Lord Raptor, Gallon/Jon Talbain
From Nintendo: Peach, Mario, Luigi, Daisy, Link, Zelda, Mona, Team Rocket
From HP (first four books only): Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Minerva McGonagall
My favorite movies(s)
Assuming this means "favorite non-anime movies": the first four Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings movies, the first Pirates of the Carribean movie, the original Star Wars trilogy, The Breakfast Club, several older Disney animated movies
My favorite actors/actresses
Can't think of anyone off the top of my head. Getting to meet the Phelps twins at Dragon*Con 2005 was a real treat, though, as was D*C 2007 when not only did I meet them again, but Matthew Lewis as well.