I am thrilled to have this talented cosplayer on today. We have a lot of similar fandoms so I greatly enjoyed this interview. I hope you do too!
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
Hello! I am Sam also known as The Geek Herder
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEVERAGE?
Coffee and water. As I write this both are sitting next to me. Got to love caffeine and hydration.
TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am just your average scruffy looking geek herder. When I am not wrangling kids I can be found sprawled out in a sunny spot engrossed in a book (preferably a delightful dystopian), traveling, or playing Pokemon GO. In my professional life I am a freelance writer and social media coordinator.
WHEN DID YOU START COSPLAYING?
In 2014 I started cosplaying after my husband insisted that I try it. He knows me very well and it has been an obsession ever since. My first cosplay was Daenerys which I wore to my daughters 1st grade Halloween party with my toddler son dressed as a dragon. Most people didn’t know who I was but the school librarian was all about my outfit.
WHY DO YOU COSPLAY?
Cosplay is a much needed creative outlet. I grew up sewing and have a background in fine arts and fashion design plus I am a geek so cosplay was a natural fit. It fills my need to create and constantly push myself to learn new skills. There is also this amazing adrenaline rush when showing off a new cosplay at a con and seeing the reactions of everyone. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine how excited people get when they see a character they love walking around. That smile is one of the things that drives me.
WHO ARE YOUR COSPLAY IDOLS?
Sarah Spaceman Cosplay is absolutely amazing when it comes to construction. I could drool over Jumeria Nox’s photos and cosplay all day.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COSPLAYS?
Strong women with complicated pasts that create a lot of inner struggle. Characters that jump out to me the most are ones that aren’t cut and dry. They have a lot of internal conflict that make them question the world around them and often themselves and their actions.
Also, villains. I love a good villain.
DO YOU MAKE, BUY, OR SPECIAL ORDER YOUR COSPLAYS?
Almost always I make my cosplays. The most exciting part to me is the build and learning new skills so I always prefer to make my own.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT COSPLAY?
The best part to me is the community that it brings together. Although there are tons of gatekeepers more and more I am finding open and accepting people who want to talk about their fandoms with others, share construction tips, and just have fun.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING FOR YOU ABOUT COSPLAY?
Committing to a design. My mind is a tornado of ideas which is great for the creative process but a disaster when it comes to actually putting a design down on paper and creating the cosplay. The other hard part which all cosplayers go through is being frustrated with the mistakes. After spending countless hours of research and actually creating it every cosplayer can point out every flaw and redesign they wish to do. Why can’t I just be happy with what I make? Perfection isn’t real!! I need to learn to let go of that myth.
Who is your favorite character to cosplay?
Raven from Teen Titans is one of my favorite characters. There are a lot of ways that I identify with her. Her social awkwardness, not so awesome family life, and suppression of herself were all things have struggled with over the years, but there is a beauty in how she evolves as her friends help her discover her true self and she overcomes the limits that were placed on her. Currently I cosplay the original Mar Wolfman version of her and I am working on her outfit from Injustice: Gods Among Us. I don’t plan on stopping there since there.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN OR VISIT ANY FANTASY WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
Give me the keys to the TARDIS, a sonic screwdriver, and let me go. I want to be a time lord!
Where do you get your inspiration for your cosplays?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. If I connect with a character in a certain way I will add that cosplay to my ‘to make’ queue. Now, what that I have said that I have to admit I do cosplay a Negan/Harley Quinn mashup. Don’t ask how I connect there. It may best go unexplored. Sometimes it is even a great piece of artwork that strikes me enough to recreate it.
If it is an original cosplay that I am making as in the case of my current Maleficent build inspiration came from my love of the character and absolute annoyance at how she is so underused by Disney. My mind began to spin a new origin story for her and it fit perfectly into Game of Thrones so the design is heavily influenced by Cersei and Daenerys, both powerful women that don’t apologize for their desire for power and make decisions that go against the stereotype of how women should behave, rule, and wield their power. I desired that mentally for Maleficent and I am making it so.
WHAT ARE YOUR “FANDOMS”?
Dr. Who has to top my fandom list especially the David Tennant years. Teen Titans, Star Wars, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Disney, Rat Queens, and Batman fill out my fandom list. Also I am a huge fan of Orwell, Atwood, and any good dystopian novel. Not sure if that is considered an actual fandom but I could geek out over what the post-apocalyptic world looks like for hours.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH BEGINNING COSPLAYERS KNEW?
Find out a way to build pockets into everything and always think about how will you go to the bathroom in your cosplay. Just trust me on that one.
WHAT TIPS OR TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER COSPLAYERS?
Dancer tights are amazing. They look great. They are a heavier material than regular tights so they will keep you a bit warmer when outside. They are also what I use to keep up those thigh high boots superheros seem to enjoy to wear while fighting crime. Sew the fabric to the tights and they will never slide down.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH NON-COSPLAYERS KNEW?
No, that’s not a real weapon. No, you can’t touch me. I am not really the character I am dressed as so please don’t project your fantasies on to me. Cosplay isn’t consent, but if you want a photo all you have to do is ask and be respectful.
WHAT COSPLAYS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
There are always several in various stages of completion. Currently I am working on Ganondorf for my husband and a never ending list of pokemon cosplays for my kids. Next up for me is my own interpretation of Maleficent with a healthy mix of Westros mixed in. It is a slow going process since I am trying some new techniques and being way too much of a perfectionist.
WHAT COSPLAYS DO YOU WANT TO DO IF MONEY AND TIME WERE NO OBJECT?
All of them. Is that an acceptable answer? Honestly if I had unlimited time and money I would want to make a Batman family cosplay that included Batman, Nightwing, Red Robin, Batgirl, and Catwoman complete with armor, weapons, and a Batmobile (hey, I was given unlimited money…)
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR COSPLAYS?
You can find me on Instagram @the_geek_herder or at my website samanthabranca.com
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.