Category Archives: cosplay

What is in a name

Would a rose smell as sweet … 

Okay this isn’t about names, at least not entirely. As some of you reading this will know, I don’t go by my given name on some social media platforms, predominantly Facebook. I have taken a gender neutral name which for the most part seems to be taken as a male name. I KNOW RIGHT? Assuming my gender like that. Coupled with this, apparently my profile pictures cause some confusion. 

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So my attempt at a degree of anonymity on line does appear to be bearing some fruit? Well I signed up to Sarahah on a whim at the weekend and combined with my then profile picture (a cat), I picked an illustration a friend had completed earlier which I kinda liked. 

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I didn’t really get much interaction, even after talking to my friend about this, and further inspired by an anonymous comment made about never using my own picture as a profile (profile pictures tend to be set as public, reasoning is to make it easier to tell if you are stalking the right person) which is untrue. However, I used a festival makeup look selfie I had taken a couple of weeks ago that I was pleased with. I changed both my profile picture on FB and within the app. 

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Now I have mentioned my perceived ambiguity on social media previously and how it can lead to frustrating and upsetting interactions. In groups that I spend time in which are mixed gender, it is often assumed that I am male. Luckily the downright rude comments are kept to a minimum. I didn’t realise how much of a different changing a profile picture would have to my interactions.

This is small scale compared to experiments where men pretend to be women on social media etc etc but it just proves again that we are all dealing with people on how they present themselves. I was going to write a blog on Cat-Fishing (a term I am going to assume that you are all aware of) and how this makes me uncomfortable.

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It is all linked in. I don’t tend to put up many makeup free/normal selfies of myself. I don’t encourage tagging in such photos either.  So while I do argue that most of my profile pictures are of me, they are of a version of me, a better version of me. With good skin, great hair, looking like a drag queen, a fairy, a unicorn, mermaid… I won’t go on but you get the idea. So I guess because I do control what images of me go on social media, I am editing how people can perceive me. This is cat fishing to a degree, as much as I struggle against it. 

I guess the problem here is that, there is no winning. Text lacks body language, and inflection and sound in order to be able to take cues from a person that one would normally expect when first meeting someone. So as much as I might struggle again using a ‘normal’ photo of me, my profile picture will be what most people use to base their initial and subsequent interactions on. That is if they don’t already know me outside the SM bubble, or if they do end up meeting me. The latter can be utterly terrifying, it is like you are being unmasked at the end of a Scooby cartoon.

 

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Sex sells, pretty brings gazes, it is not news to anyone. When you are picking a profile picture how much effort do you put into it. Do you just pick the first selfie you have, do you pick something more meaningful, a memory, event, your pet, child. All the considerations or lack thereof will all have a bearing on how you are interacted with. In the same way they are generally. When you get dressed in the morning, no matter what your personal style is, you know that people you interact with will respond to it. So, it is no different in this context. I chose cover myself in a little anonymity on line, and that is fine. I have no problem with it. But now I have written this reflective account, it is interesting to see how much different just changing a profile picture can make your interactions. 

Sorry if anyone was expecting a feminist rant 🙂 I am sure I can come up with one later! 

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The Parallel Doctor

Are we all clutching our pearls…… got the smelling salts at the ready? And emails open to be directed at various institutions including the venerable B.B.C?

The new incarnation of the Doctor has been announced and …. SHOCK. ABJECT HORROR. It appears that they have chosen to pick a woman? What on earth are they thinking with this monstrosity? 

The memes (littered through this article for your amusement) have been interesting, tongue in cheek, downright silly. There has been a massive backlash against men about this casting. In the same way we saw a massive backlash against men when the new Ghostbusters movie was announced, leaked, promoted, and eventually, released. Looking back on it, this might have been why Wonder Woman was released with a whimper and not a fanfare.

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I am questioning a lot of the complaints levied at the new Doctor. Personally, not heard of the actor and honestly in a role like this – that is a good thing. Hands off Americans with your wanting well known actors to carry everything. It isn’t always about how well known an actor is. 

Now, before we go on, I best just say this. I have not really watched the ‘new’ Dr Who. And by that I mean anything really after McCoy. And boy, do I remember the geek baying for blood at the idea that there would be a further regeneration… there is a CANNON PEOPLE! A CANNON! Artistic license is not allowed! You see, we have had an entire fandom rise up in disgust… the very same fandom, over changes to something they love. 

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But what I found interesting, from my own news feed is that … well thankfully no one was bitching about the new Doctor. But they were railing against detractors. And that it was mentioned a few times, how disgusting it is that women were complaining about the new Doctor is female. I mean we are all a sorority, a sisterhood, we should be raising each up… right? 

But if I am able to just look at the Ghostbusters analogy that I cobbled together rather briefly, yes, it comes down to gender. But in so much as the detractors, of the detractors are focusing on this rather than the actual issue. The issue is rarely clear cut. With Ghostbusters, there were legitimate concerns over casting, about the story, the direction, Ghostbusters to many of us is a movie that we grew up with, and still love to this day. So it is hard to see it potentially butchered. I have to say potentially, I haven’t watched it. I don’t plan to. None of the trailers appealed to me. But it was and to a degree, is okay for me to say, because I am female. But a guy saying the same will be accused of hating women, being anti feminist, I won’t go on.

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Now, the same can be said about the new Doctor, in so much that the arguments against her being picked are not, in fact, anything to do with her gender. There were 2 very strong candidates. One was a leak from a BBC source, Kris Marshall was a hotly tipped contender with some even suggesting that he has won the role. For some reason, I am not sure where this came from, Tilda Swinton. I really don’t care for the first (My Family should have quit while it was ahead and ditto the BT adverts… see, a pattern!) and the second, I just couldn’t see being a good fit. But, what I am trying to say, in a particularly round about way,  is that it isn’t personal, it isn’t about gender, it is upset over a favourite not winning the race. These are fans that have been debating this for quit some time, debated, weighed, considered many options and but all their hope behind a particular actor. That all comes crashing down with the announcement of someone who wasn’t even on the radar for most (if not all) interested parties. 

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So, I am going to express an unpopular opinion. THIS IS NOT A FEMINIST ISSUE you are beating the wrong horse with this one. We don’t have to agree someone or something is a good thing based on gender. We are allowed to reserve judgement on how suitable someone is until they actually show us their chops, acting or otherwise. We, feminist, non feminist, person with no real agenda, is allowed to say… y’know … not really thrilled by this announcement… and not be beaten down for disrespecting the new Doctor based on her gender. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BRAS IN THE TARDIS! 

Now, just to switch up the conversation a little, I am actually excited for the Christmas special! Like I said earlier, I haven’t really been watching the recent incarnations of Dr Who, I have seen enough but certainly not a fan. I am also blissfully ignorant of this actress. But I am curious to see how the writers play this, especially considering we saw the release of Wonder Woman this summer. And what I loved about Wonder Woman is her heart. She cared, about people, all people, humanity, she loved, and felt. It gave depth to a movie that easily could have just been a bunch of people fighting each other for supermacy. But is this what the writers are planning for the Doctor? The Doctor is an alien, who does not have the same agency as a normal human. We have foils in the guise of the Doctors companions to give human agency and emotion. 

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I am not trying to suggest that the detractors who genuinely have concerns based on the gender of the new Doctor. I am actually really, honestly, looking forward to this new Doctor. Because I really want to see what she brings to the role, what the writers do. I am not alone, and I am going to suggest that the Doctor Who franchise has won over as many disenfranchised fans as it may have lost. 

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I wonder why the feminist gaze

This is probably not the blog you are looking for. Or maybe it is.

I have just come back from seeing Wonder Woman – and this is going to be my review.

Now, what feels like years ago.. well it probably was years ago, I remember Gal Gadot being announced to play Wonder Woman. I questioned the choice. After all, she is a Amazonian Princess and a demi god to boot. I wanted a physically strong, imposing role model to look up to. I didn’t want some skinny broad who would blow over in a strong breeze. But when I saw her on screen in Batman vs Superman, it was clear that we have the perfect actress to play Wonder Woman. There was something, a presence, charisma, she made the character come to life, she made it her own.

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So let us say, I have been anticipating this movie, more so than any movie in a long while. And would you believe, I almost missed the release? It was put out by Warner Bros with an almost embarrassed, apologetic sniffle. Why ? What marketing ploy is this? To see if a woman could sell herself? To prove that a good movie needs no introduction? But it has done well, although strangely there have been a lack of reviews or spoilers cluttering up my newsfeed. Which instead of looking at with suspicion, I will count as a good thing as it has taken 4 weeks for me to watch it!

Now I know some of you will be waiting to watch it, or just prefer watching at home. So this will not contain any spoilers, but more an overview of the movie. One thing that has been bought up time and again…. Wonder Woman being the ‘first strong female lead’ although the quote was erroneously placed at someone’s feet (does it matter now) the problem is that the idea gathered traction pretty quickly. Lots of people championing this new direction for movies. First we had Brave, Frozen and since animation went so well… we ‘finally’ have Wonder Woman.

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But do we? I mean let us look at these 3 movies very quickly. Brave was a film about a frankly bratty girl, who gets her mother into a difficult position because, she is a brat. And it featured a heavy male supporting cast including her little brothers who also offered comic relief. I can’t really say I cared for her and I can’t see that this was any different from a standard Disney movie. Frozen, we have the bratty teenager who doesn’t get her own way and runs away from home. Gets her little sister into trouble, help on hand from 3 males in the form of a human, a snowman, a moose, and trolls.. I mean.. where do we start with this. Elsa is not a strong role model. She is a teenager. And Wonder Woman. Well, what can I say, the girl wasn’t doing it by herself. At no point in her life was she left to her own devices or given her own agency. She is supported by men, who have their own agenda. But allow her to show her humanity. 

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Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie, and her humanity, her empathy and sympathy for the human condition gave the film much needed depth that films like Batman struggle with. Dark Knight was a study in how we should feel sympathy for someone but because of the male gaze, it felt frustrating and frankly wasted good story time. And this is also why I struggle with the idea that Wonder Woman is a feminist film, or frankly that it has a feminist gaze. Yes, it is important to see more female role models for girls, to see strong empowered women. To show Hollywood that yes, if you film it, we will indeed come. In droves. We love this shit. However, the film was not feminist. Don’t cheapen the idea of feminism but suggesting that giving a woman a sword and letting her fight her own battles it is feminist. The same old story, I mean it was almost as formulaic as a Disney movie. We have a lead, a love interest, the foil and then we have the supporting cast who help move the story along. 

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Lynda Carter Directed by Vincent McEveety

However, I don’t want to put anyone off watching this movie, it flowed well, the acting was fantastic. There were plenty of laughs which felt natural and not planted (looking at you Marvel!) and there was chemistry amongst the various characters. The story was not forced, it didn’t feel shoehorned and there were some really heartbreaking moments. The fight scenes were fantastic and honestly, this is a movie that will have wide appeal without really trying too hard to appeal to everyone and ending up not appealing to anyone. 

But I would just like you all to remember, some of us grew up watching Sigourney Weaver,Carrie Fisher and Linda Hamilton kicking ass. Not inspite of being female, not because they are female. They were just strong characters. And going forward, Gillian Anderson, Sarah Michelle Geller. I could go on. But the point is, that many of us have unknowingly had strong female role models whether we analysed it or not. Nor is it a bad thing to be inspired by a male rolemodel. I agree having strong female leads and roles are important. But we need to have them just because, not to make a political point. Because frankly, making it political muddies the water unnecessarily. 

I really hope that you enjoy Wonder Woman for what it is, a fun comic inspired movie that gives a welcome break to Marvel. I really enjoyed the colour pallet, where Marvel tends to go with very bright, clear colour pallets in their movies, there is a clear definition between good and evil. DC continue to do colour studies using muted hues, in this case, a wash of blue. It worked well, there was still enough brightness but it help cast the mood over the entire movie. I mean there was a war going on, people died. This wasn’t a touchy feely, nice movie to feel good about. The killing started almost at the outset. But it handled this well. There was enough character development that you didn’t feel anyone was just there to fill up some dialogue. This for me, is what DC has always been good at. Looking at the reality, that things are not always going to be bright and beautiful. That life can be hard, gritty, things are not always easy and it is how we handle what is thrown at us that teaches us something about ourselves. Life is hard kids, it is dirty, and you will get bruised, but your true character will show through 😉 There have I rescued you all from the feminist rant?

One final thought. Can we edit the last 10 mins from a movie. Please. Just stop. When you feel the sappiness… just cut it right there. 

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Halloween Makeup walk through #3

So okay, this might be coming a little late this year, but I genuinely didn’t get around to doing any makeup for Halloween this year. Figured better late than never.

So this look is similar to the Pin up Frankie I did last year, but I have done things ever so slightly different this time around. Still super easy to recreate at home, most of the items you will already have in your makeup bag! 

First of all, you need to get a good reference picture, I prefer to use source if I am doing something from a film, book, comic etc so that you are looking at the art in the way it was originally intended. Therefore any changes you make, you are making with full understanding of the original. You are not using someone else’s makeup, which may already have been altered for a variety of reasons, and altering further. If that makes sense. So today, this is the image I was using : 

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Now before we start, here is what I used – Snazaroo face paint in a light blue, 2 shades of blue eye shadow (dark blue in a powder shadow), black and blue liquid liner, mascara. (spray bottle of water for the face paint and makeup brushes) and a wig.

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The first step is to spray up the paint cake, I used a foundation brush to apply out of preference, but a sponge will also work. Apply over all the areas that are visible, face, ears, neck and chest (this will of course depend on what you are wearing.

While you are waiting for the face paint to dry, you can apply lipstick – I used a Colour Pop liquid matt, but anything you have in your bag will do. Once the base is dry, you can start applying the darker blue eye shadow. I used a mineral shadow because the powder is easier to pat onto the face and you don’t run the risk of rubbing your base off. I started around the eyes, roughly following the eyeline. 

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Once this has been completed, I used the blue shadow to underline the stitches – I started on the mouth and worked my way around the face. I did the neck and check last but only because I always find that area more awkward. Once the eye shadow has been applied, I used a combination of black and blue liquid liner (Nyx vinyl) to line the cut and then the crosses to represent the stitches. I also did V shaped lashes on my lower lids.

After all of that is completed, if you are planning on going out, or wearing it for a longer period of time, spray on some finishing spray and you are good to go 🙂 And it really is that simple, I tend to do makeup looks that are simple, easy and mostly use products you have in your makeup bag or cupboard 🙂 

It would be entirely possible to use a blue eye shadow as a base for this makeup, instead of face paint. It certainly wouldn’t be as bright, and might be more wearable. I haven’t tried it out yet but I will update the blog if and when I do!

If you try this out, please let me see! 

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The BiG oppression

I couldn’t want for TBBT to start. I have more recently given in to box sets, but before that, I too watched shows on a weekly basis. Once show that I really enjoyed was TBBT. I identified with Sheldon, worrying finding he quoted me. I found it a fun show, and as the series continued and new characters added – I found this did not diminish the show as one might worry that it could.

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But watching an episode this evening (actually happening right now, the SO still watches it religiously) and I noticed something that has been done time and again.. and i am not sure if the meaning or agenda behind it is missing the point or nailing it exactly. In the scene playing out in my peripheral vision, we have 2 cars, 2 occupants in each car. Male passenger, and female driver in each. Cut to another scene where we have a male character standing in a kitchen wearing an apron. Visual emasculation even if not directed.

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From previous episodes we know that Sheldon doesn’t drive, however, Leonard does drive so there is no reason for him not to drive. But it mirrors – so visually it is pleasing even if you aren’t really sure why, and it makes it easier to draw comparisons between the conversations going on in the car.

Back at the house, there are 2 male characters, and one female. But of course, yet again, we have the relationship of Howard and Raj questioned as well as Raj’s clear femininity. Does this make people uncomfortable? Or does it make the question usual gender roles?

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For me, yet again it is the idea of the ‘man child’ that is yet again bought up in the show, and conveniently, having female characters helps them overcome simple tasks that would have been met with confusion. Amongst the main (male) characters, we have Sheldon who doesn’t drive, Leonard does drive. Howard drives a moped, and although Raj apparently does drive, there is little or no screen time given to this fact. We have a scene in a previous episode where all the male characters are in the same car, and it breaks down. They understand the principal of the combustion engine but can’t fix their engine. So they are emasculated again. Isn’t this what would happen to a car full of girls?

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The boys in the show are so enveloped in their scholastic endeavours, they play computer games in their spare time, go to conventions, and collect comics. They to varying degrees have no social skills. Everything about them, their references, their hobbies, their job, speech patterns are all designed to make them stand out, to struggle to make themselves understood. And there are only so many series that could really be written about ‘and Englishman in New York’ so we find that Penny has more company, to help make sense of their journey’s, new directions and story lines can be written that gives the male characters more dimensions.

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And in this, strange alternate universe… the women are dominant. In subtle ways, we have Bernadette who is better qualified than her husband, Penny, who is charming, pretty, and fits into any social situation with no effort, and Amy who is on the surface a perfect match for Sheldon, mentally and in her employment. But somehow still manages ot have greater social skills.

The more I watch TBBT the more I feel that it is making fun of these men, that instead of us being able to passively able to enjoy a culture that we love in a main stream format, it is exactly what we love that is being used to get laughs. And instead of finding the female characters empowered, and raised in profile, they are just carrying out the same duties that their mothers before them stereotypical would have done, and are having to run around for these men, who are to all intents and purposes still children. I mean who reads comics as an adult, or plays computer games?

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Well the answer is a large portion of the population which is why the show has been so popular but I do genuinely suggest that the show at its very core is subversive in nature and I just don’t get any enjoyment from traditional gender roles being enforced but dressed up in a more modern way.

You want something different but positive? Watch iZombie, Kimmy Schmidt, Super Girl, Jessica Jones, hell go old school and watch Buffy.

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Geek before it was mainstream

So, this weeks show is all about box sets and I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the question from my gaze. What am I going to watch maybe, or cosplaying from popular shows (like GoT) but with a modern twist. Which I did respond to my co-presented with a rather over enthusiastic essay about cosplay which I don’t think was deserved and would probably would have served better as a blog. Then I got thinking about how both Marvel and DC are releasing films and television series which are very much mainstream.

I came up with the second idea this morning, but having given it some thought over the day, I think I can combine both topic ideas.

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My love of cosplay is well documented and so it is obvious for me to look at this side of things. However, when looking at updating a character like Dany from GoT, it really depends on where you fall in cosplay. There are those that will copy a costume exactly, those who will cross play, do casual looks based on a favourite character, armoured Disney princesses are popular at the moment, and to stay with a theme for a moment, apparel like Twisted Disney. But the one thing that remains constant in these is that you are instantly able to recognise the character. It is very much a visible acknowledgement of the character you are portraying. We work in visuals when we cosplay, often we are sharing on social media, or building portfolios, modelling our handiwork. So the costume we design needs to be visually identifiable.

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Which leads me to the observation (that I am not alone in making) that I am winding my way around to slowly. That pre millennium, every show was cleanly costumed. Let us take a quick look at the X Men – leading the way for comic to film cross over. If you didn’t ever pick up a comic, you may have come accross the X Men as a cartoon. And remember all those individual and interesting costume designs ? Each one designed for the personality of the wearer. This goes back to what I was saying about a visual representation of the character. Because comics are primarily a visual medium in the same way films are, with dialogue being secondary (and that is an argument we can have on another day). But if you put the X Men films alongside either comic or cartoon that you remember, there is a marked difference.

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The costume is identical for each member, the individuality is left at school. Once you become a full member of the team you dress, like a member of the team. If you look at shows like Agents of Shield, even shows like The Flash, Arrow, hell let’s throw Super Girl and Jessica Jones in there. The body of the story, the content for the majority of the episode is conducted out of costume. The segments of the show that see our hero, or anti hero in costume (if in fact there is one) is very small and tends to be there to underpin rather than highlight the entire show.

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It is easy to point out that tastes change, and that what was fashionable in the 70/80 and early 90’s certainly isn’t what is attractive to people any more. That we like things to have a sleeker design, just look at our phones, our cars, our lives. I could talk about how the uniformity indicates an end of childhood, and that even while different you are part of a controlled group. But again, a topic for another group. The fact is that superheroes have always worn a uniform but recently the uniforms have changed direction.

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And that, that is what makes these shows more accessible. The fact that we are not made uncomfortable by people dressing up, making fools of themselves, that for the most part they dress like ‘normal’ people. Even in films like The Avengers, they spend as much time in ‘civvies’ as they do ‘in costume’. If you look at shows like Batman (yes, I mean the one with Adam Weston) then you notice that there is a distinct flip between the amount of time that was spent in costume and the amount of time in say, the more recent spate of Batman movies.

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It is about accessibility, you can relate and understand and it makes the shows, and films more palatable to a wider audience. It means that the shows will be watched by people who have no interest or understanding of the background of the film of show – as can be seen by the popularity of the films spawns by the Marvel Universe. This is a genre that has bought the Geek culture into the mainstream. super heros previously resigned to only serious collectors or fans, banished to childhood are now being enjoyed by entirely new audiences because now, being interested in Geek Culture isn’t seen as bad as it once was.And let us not forget, the Avenger that most people want to laugh at Aquaman …. he is had a total make over, and I really cannot wait for that movie 😉

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As for box sets that you might want to check out – Netflix has an abundance, there is my personal favourite – Gotham, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil. Available on Sky – we have The Flash, Arrow, Agent Carter and Agents of Shield with more being planned.

 

Wigs to the rescue

So, it has been well documented that I love wigs, I wear them as often as possible. I have my favourites, I have wigs that I wear more often, or that I wear for longer periods of time. I also have wigs that may not be treated as well as they might, I store them all over my house, on the stairs, on my desk, on stands, in bags. On top of that I style my wigs, and use them around special effects make up. 

So, as much as I love my wigs, I have to be honest and admit that they sometimes need a little TLC. You might remember a while ago, a lovely friend took in one of my more problematic wigs after it got ruined on a night out. Well, that we so well, I thought I would give her a much bigger job, and this is my review of the work on the wigs! 

The lady in question is Scarlett Von Trapp Eco-Uture CLICK HERE for her Facebook page. She also makes costumes and general dress making, up-cycling and re-purposing material to make sure it is as eco-friendly as possible as well as unique.

But that isn’t what we are here to discuss, we are here to discuss wigs, before and after! I sent 3 wigs to Scarlett, 2 were well loved wigs, and another was a poor quality Ebay wig that needed attention desperately. I only have photos of the first two, which were bought from Geisha Wigs, Watermelon and Red Riding Hood :

These were (and are) 2 of my favourite wigs and therefore the ones I would reach to immediately. I started to notice that the crimp was slowly dropping out of Watermelon, as you can see in the photo, and Red Riding Hood was a slightly defective wig from the outset but I had waited so long for it to come into stock, I rolled with it. As they started to wilt, I stopped wearing them which was sad. The third wig in the batch was another crimped wig, which was unmanageable from the outset. I attempted to straighten out the ends to help but this i also didn’t work so I ended up leaving it in a bag to be forgotten. 

I happened to be discussing this with the lovely owner and woman behind Scarlett Von-Trapp who suggested that she would love to give them a make over, so off I bundled them knowing from our previous transaction, that the wigs would be in good hands. I didn’t discuss exactly what needed doing or what I wanted prior to the wigs being received as I wanted to get an honest opinion on the wigs and what would be possible so I wouldn’t be going into the transaction is misguided expectations. 

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Once she confirmed receipt, we discussed the wigs, and initial thoughts on what she could do with them and what she felt would be best. We agreed for a simple re curl on Red Riding Hood, and she suggested tight curls on Watermelon. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was pretty excited to see what she would come up with. The last wig, the taro, I again gave her a pretty free reign on, I really just wanted a wearable wig.

At every point, I was kept in the loop, I got progress reports and pictures. Every step was discussed with pictures being sent so I could see what the wigs looked like. This is pretty important when you are dealing with people online, it isn’t as simple as popping to your local high street.  

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As you can see, quite a transformation and I really do love the progress photos, it is interesting to see the stages of the work! I am so happy now the wigs are happily back with me, and I cannot think Scarlett Von-Trapp not only for the care and attention, but for the work that she has put into the restoration of the wigs. And there are the little touches with the packaging, it is always feels as if it is an actual present you are receiving in the post. And seeing the care in the wigs, considering that Watermelon has had a complete restyle, she has made sure that the tracts and the wig cap is still in perfect condition. And I have to say, although it looks as if it should be super heavy, it is light and very easy to wear! 

A brief interlude to appreciate the wigs as they are now :

I honestly cannot recommend this lady enough, she cares deeply for her craft, for wigs, and is amazing at restoration and restyling. There is not a safer pair of hands to place your wigs in. She does do international work, and is very responsive to messages. If you are curious about what she can do and what the charges are. At no point is there any pressure to commit to anything. And like I said earlier, she also does other work so it is worth checking out her Facebook page to see what else she can help you with 🙂

Two faced? No, I have many!

No secret, I don’t have one, I don’t have two, there are many faces that I show to the world. This really isn’t a surprise to many of you, as I have been fairly open, well, prolific in my love of make up, making up and changing the image you show the world. I have been equally vocal on my feelings toward body shaming of any type.

I have had comments directed at me over the amount of selfies I take, if you go onto my makeup page, and combine that with my IG … well it is the tip of the iceberg. I rarely take just the one and think it is perfect. In my defense, I am trying my best to capture whatever I managed to create with makeup. But you know, sometimes, like the last couple of days, I just feel fabulous and take a selfie. I have said it before and I will say it again, I often don’t recognise myself when I have put makeup on, and that is part of the reason.

There is nothing wrong with using makeup, wigs, extensions, corsets, padding, colour, anything that makes you feel good. Confidence is key, if it takes a dash of red lipstick, or a full contouring routine, it makes no difference. 

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So who hasn’t seen this MEME over the last few months? It has been shared, tweeted, copied, updated more times that I care to guess at. I will be the first to admit at commenting on someone else’s heavily/badly edited picture. Okay, so to me, it didn’t look so good. So what. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We have no real control over how we are perceived by others 99% of the time – no matter how hard we try, something may go wrong – I for example, ran into one of my consultants at work, looking bedraggled. I had just been swept in and he asked if I was okay. It wasn’t until 10 mins later looking in the mirror, that I realised that my hair gave the impression I had been dragged backward through a bush on the way to work. (as much as I normally love my short hair, not being able to tie it up into a pony tail is testing at times!)

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My current hair style with end of day makeup, so you might say, a little different from how i look in most of my photos. Et voila :

So this isn’t a vanity post, this isn’t a post asking you to bask in the glory that is my face. (although you are more than welcome to!)  This is just a post stating, it is okay to look how you want, wear as much paint, synthetic hair, layers of clothing. Don’t let others make you feel bad for doing it. Most of the time people won’t realise what they are saying is upsetting, it is just a thoughtless and throw away comment.

The business of inspiration part 1

This week , the show was about business, and as it happened we recorded the show early at the site of a new business. It also happened to fall on International Women’s day – which was lucky! 

I asked a few of my lovely friends to discuss pros and cons of business, and it was interesting to get prospective from people’s personal experience. But it was also empowering that the respondents were all female. Because of this I wanted to spot light my amazing and inspirational friends.

Firstly we have Donna Bull MUA click here for her facebook page. Her biggest tip for being self employed/running your own business is to keep on top of paper work. She also suggested using Joist which is a great application that you can download onto your phone or tablet to help you create estimates and invoices. Donna also suggested making sure that you don’t spend all night on your phone. With much business being conducted on line, it is easy to forget to switch off. If you are interested, Donna is a fantastic makeup artist, face and body painter. She is based in Slough.

Lisa and David had a couple of suggestions – Lisa said that you shouldn’t try and learn everything at once, there is a lot to learn. Just the way it goes. And her husband David offered this bit of advice: Try something, if it works repeat it, if it doesn’t build a hypothesis on why not, then test that by trying something new, if it works repeat, if it doesn’t loop till it does. Cashflow is king for first 3 years, spend your cash wisely. Enjoy

Lisa owns and runs Espiritu Salon & Spa in Radlett click here for their website, and  click here for the Facebook page. The Salon is a gorgeous place for a mini spa day, a quick treat or a little general upkeep. Very relaxing, with a fantastic range of treatments and I recommend a visit at your earliest opportunity! 
Lisa also has a blog – go check it out!
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Katherine – who has taken a break from running her Etsy store, Handmade by Ify had this to say : Definitely the paperwork as Donna said, but also, if building the side hustle around work then it’s about being organised with your time, that’s where most people go wrong when starting a business. My main struggle was balancing motherhood and side hustling whilst working my day job… Also be patient if progress is slow at first, always be thinking what can I do in this down time? When times were quiet for sales at etsy I always built up more inventory and started designing for the following seasons stuff. Ify has taken a break from running her store – she initially started her store while at university, but after finding herself in full time employment and with a new baby wound down the shop until she could find a better work life balance. I am patiently waiting the big reopening!
Hazel runs Jax ‘n Boo with her husband as well as being a part time model – and online wax melt (and accessories) business and has the following advice: Learning to seperate business and home life, that Facebook message on you page doesn’t need to be answered at midnight when they sent it lol. Utilise social media to access a wider audience. Paperwork I agree with what Donna says, keeping on top of it so there’s not the end of year tax return panic. If you are creating your own product, pricing it correctly and not undervaluing… Oh and to remember it’s your business and livelihood, I always struggle cos I want to help people out, that’s not the way to earn yourself a paycheck though lol
 I highly recommend their products, some of my friends have had the starter kits inflicted on them as gifts – great value! I find that they are not too strong so even if you or another member of your household isn’t a massive fan of scents in the home, I am sure you will find a compromise! If you are interested, click here for their website and click here for their facebook page. 

 

Last (for this blog) we have the lovely Gillian who runs Emerald Wig Emporium Click Here for the website and Click herefor the facebook page- she is also a fantastic costumer and cosplayer! So you will be hearing more from her as I have picked her brain about a cosplay blog I am putting together. I haven’t approached her yet about the Lady Gaga wig suggestion we came up with on the show so watch this space! Now, this is what Gillian had to say : Yeah, the paperwork side of things is huge, and can become an issue down the line if you don’t get on top of it from the start.
I registered as a private limited company, Directors etc., from the very beginning, to protect my family in case there was ever an issue in the future (you must always think ahead). This meant a million times more paperwork, costs, effort and confusion – including all sorts of official scary paperwork and vat returns after the first 6 months.
I’m very organised anyway, and my hubby is an auditor/quality manager/systems developer so having him helping me was priceless. He’s created stock databases, automated order sheets and so on. Absolute time savers.

Try to restrain yourself when it comes to giving out freebies. While I’d only love to give all the wonderful people I’ve met through wig wearing, a free wig as a present, it still costs me to purchase the wig and then ship it…..this money comes out of the funds for advertising, promotional material flyers etc. and brings in no profit which can be used to increase stock variety.
It is a business after all, and if you intend growing a business, you always need to aim to increase stock variety etc.

Work hard, but have fun. I love what I’m doing, and that makes all the difference. There’s no effort involved when it’s something you enjoy.

Be fair to yourself and ignore the negative Nancy types. Hehe! You’ll never please all of the people all of the time. Dream big, and go for it.

Now I am more than honoured to count these people amongst my friends, all inspirational, finding their own path, and happy to help when and if they can. Donna is a stunning makeup artist, she genuinely can turn her hand to it all and will not hesitate to give you tips and advice, Ify is such a kind and generous person – she will help create anything you have a mind to make. She is also the inspiration behind my ‘clashes but matches’ fashion approach. Lisa and David – these are just the kindest, sweetest couple. Will do anything in their power to help and are good to have if you need advice. Hazel is a sweetie – she has had some setbacks in the last 12 months but instead of allowing it to break her, she has come back with a business. Gillian is fabulous – she has put a lot of time and effort into her new business, and is happy to share her experiences. Gillian is not only a great business woman, she is a fantastic cosplayer and I love seeing what she comes up with next. When thinking about what or whom inspires you… you don’t have to look far. Have a look at the people in your life and see what they have done, what they are doing. Every day people are setting new goals and challenges and it is fantastic to see people helping each other, building each other up. 

 

Cosplay by Beth

In a recent show, I talked about Cosplay, I love cosplay, and embrace the fact it has become more mainstream. I follow a few cosplayers on line – I love seeing the process and the costumes they come up with. There is a different level of interaction with different artists, and I approached a couple to gain some insight to their experience of cosplay and the community. One of the cosplayers I approached was Beth Yuka. Beth is a British cosplayer, the only one in this line up! Sorry guys, next time I will drag some more local artists into the love in! Beth is cute as a button, and so sweet! We met through wigs – but I really love her attention to detail and the fact that she shows the entire process. It gives you a glimpse into what it takes and the skill involved.

Beth is a really sweet person, go give her Facebook page a like for gorgeous costumes, some great art work and possibly posts dedicated to noodles. I can’t promise poetic dedications to noodles… but I am sure if you ask Beth nicely! Anyways, enough of my waffling, this is what the lovely lady herself had to say !

 

  1. How did you first get started in cosplay
  2. Why do you cosplay?
  3. What are your favourite aspects of cosplay
  4. How do you find the community
  5. How do you select a costume – do you go for ease, comfort, do you consider your body type
  6. Do you design and create your own costumes? And do you stay true to the source material or ‘inspired by’ designs?
  7. Have you ever faced any negativity while in costume or in the wider community?
  8. Have you ever faced or found yourself in an unsafe situation?
  9. Tips for staying safe and having fun while in cosplay?!

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  1. I first got into cosplay back when I was 12 years old, I didn’t fully know about cosplay at this time but I was a textiles student and I had begun making bags and pillow cases ect and I was getting really into video games, anime and sci fi at this time too. I remember when I was around 14 planning out to dress at Princess Peach for Comic con in London but because I was 14 I wasn’t allowed to go.
  2. I cosplay to become awesome characters. To leave behind boring Beth and bring to life Korra, Lady Loki, Thor or whoever I want to be. Also it gives me a pretty good reason to own a load of wigs.
  3. My favourite aspects would be a majority of the community. They’re very loving and welcoming and accepting of anyone. I also love the fact that there are companies out there who have pre made costumes for people who don’t sew or build/craft like me. It means it’s available to everyone.
  4. The community for the most part is great, there are a lot of people who are very supportive of you and the costumes you make/wear and will give you advice if you need it. However there is a side that’s become more apparent as cosplay ha gotten more popular and that’s the ugly side of it. There are a lot of people who will put others down for no reason and that can be really off putting for a lot of new comers but it’s all a game of just ignoring the haters (lol). You need to be tough and prepare yourself because there are people who will be dicks for no reason.

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  1. I don’t really have a process of selecting costumes. I mainly just fall in love with a character and want to be them so I go ahead and make that costume.
  2. I sew/build all of my costumes, I’ve never bought one. I also like to stay true to the source material however I do enjoy seeing steampunk versions or armoured version and even mashups too, I’ve just never gotten around to making one.
  3. I personally haven’t faced it yet but I feel it’s inevitable. At one point I think someone will start following my page and sending messages telling me I’m ugly and my skills are bad but I don’t care. I do it for me not to please them.
  4. I haven’t found myself in bad situations before but I’m also a very safe and cautious person when it comes to conventions and what not.
  5. Be part of a group, and make sure that the group are your friends. Whenever I’ve been in costume to a convention I have been in a group with people who care about me and help keep me safe. Also never send pictures to people over facebook, tell them that if someone wants to do business so photographing/doing a shoot then make sure you use email as it’s more professional and you can keep emails as proof just in case something bad happens. And something that every cosplayer in general should know is to always carry a bottle of water with you. If you’re in heavy armour it can get hot and in the summer it can only get worse so drink water and keep yourself hydrated. ❤

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