Our conversation with Cosplay stars Becka Noel and Dhareza Maramis continues…
Becka Noel and Dhareza Maramis: Cosplay graveyard?
Marisa: Where do your past projects live? You must have a museum of these amazing super heroes! And also do you get sad when it’s over… or do you get to wear them again?
Becka: When a convention is over it’s always sad. For costumes you might wear it again, maybe at another convention or maybe a photo shoot. But we have so many costumes…
Dhareza: I don’t even know how many. But they’re all big, because they’re armor.
Becka: When we lived downtown we had all of our costumes on mannequins through out the apartment. So when you walked in it was like…
Dhareza: An armory!
Marisa: That sounds really cool and slightly scary!
Dhareza: It is… it’s kind of crazy! But now I have stuff in my office, we have it in storage… it’s everywhere.
Becka: They’re everywhere!
Dhareza: Becka gets more emotionally attached to her costumes. Once I’m done and I have some shots of them, I’m on to the next.
Becka: Yeah, my costumes are my babies. Some of them stay with you forever. I’m working on my fourth Wonder Woman right now, so obviously that character means a lot to me and she’s a huge part of me. But I also made this goddess warrior version of My Little Pony Pinky Pie, and that was one of my favorites because that character is so similar to my personality. She’s pink and bubbly and she has this high voice, and I always feel like, “Oh, that’s me!” So I feel very close to that character wearing that costume. A lot of them I make as warrior women, because I want to feel strong and like a bad ass when I wear them.
Dhareza: And mine are sort of like aspects of who I am already. So they’re just sort of angrier versions of me, or weirder versions…
Marisa: So you’re just sort of turning up the volume on certain parts of yourself.
Dhareza: Exactly, so when I say goodbye to a costume, I’m still who I am.
Becka Noel and Dhareza Maramis: Work vs. Cosplay.
Marisa: Dhareza, you work as a creative director in advertising, does Cosplay effect your job?
Dhareza: Oh yeah, the theatrics of Cosplay have effected my work, especially with pitching. Also, working on a deadline, I’ve carried that over from work and apply that work ethic to Cosplay.
Marisa: And, honestly, I know that advertising is pretty grueling. It’s sort of mind boggling that you have this intense job and then this whole other demanding lifestyle in Cosplay. Most of the people I know that work in advertising only have time to go home and cry for 20 minutes and go back to work!
Becka: Haha, yup that’s it!
Dhareza: So instead of just crying for 20 minutes and doing nothing, I cry and make a costume, hahaha.
Marisa: Does Cosplay give you the battery charge that you need to keep going?
Dhareza: Sure, it’s a creative outlet. Ironically, my job is not as creative as I would like. So this scratches that itch.
Becka Noel and Dhareza Maramis: MWS and the Cosplay Community
Marisa: So Becka, you just started working at MWS. What kind of plans are you cooking up with them?
Becka: Yes, it’s exciting! We’re going to turn the back section into the Cosplay area and I’ll be teaching a workshop around once a month, and maybe some classes and demonstrations. I’ll be teaching about Worbla and helping people with that. I’m looking forward to introducing the Cosplay community to this place. It’s a treasure trove! I wish I’d known it was here before, because there are so many cool things here!
Marisa: It’s cool that there’s this overlap between what the Film, TV & Theater world needs and what Cosplayers need, and things you can use to be really creative.
Dhareza: Yeah, a lot of cosplayers are driven to be exact, so shopping where the pros shop is really encouraging and cool. This is where the highest level film and TV professionals shop.
Becka: Yeah, and I’ve found so many new things. Every day I find something.
Dhareza: What was that thing you were talking about to make fabric look distressed?
Becka: Oh yeah, Schmere! It’s what is used to distress clothes. I usually use acrylic paint and then sort of wash it down, but then the fabric gets hard. I’ve tried all sorts of things… coffee, tea, all that stuff. But Schmere can get way more precise. There are so many things you can do with 5 or 6 different colors.
Marisa: When I first came in here I couldn’t believe how many kinds of fake blood they had. Do you use stuff like that? Does Cosplay get gory?
Dhareza: Oh yeah. We like to look damaged and battle worn.
Becka: The more damaged and battle worn it looks the more realistic it looks.
Marisa: And the more relatable it is in a way. Life bangs us up but we stay powerful!
Marisa: Did being on Cosplay Melee effect how you interact with the community?
Becka: As soon as the first commercial aired I got inundated with messages from friends.
Dhareza: The biggest surprise was going to the West Coast for the first time and I was taken aback by how many people knew who we were.
Becka: Cosplay Melee really portrayed Cosplay in such a positive light and showed people how much fun it is. Lots of people were encouraged to make their own costumes and get involved.
Dhareza: Yeah, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we were super happy with the way Cosplay was portrayed.
Marisa: You were good ambassadors!
Dhareza: I’m glad they didn’t show every stupid thing I did!
Marisa: Editors are your friends! It sounds like Cosplay has changed your lives and really set you on your path. It seems like you’ll be doing this until you’re 80.
Dhareza: I think that’s the case. We’ll probably only be getting a bigger place to house more costumes.
Marisa: And you guys are engaged! Are you going to Cosplay your wedding?
Dhareza: We just might!
Marisa: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk you guys! What a fantastic conversation!