Ladies and gentlemen, please gather round because today we have one of the best cosplayers in the whole entire industry. Her name is Little Sparkz and she is a cosplayer from Arizona and she has a huge passion for not only the craft of cosplay but also World of Warcraft. She is absolutely a senpai in both communities and we are so grateful for the chance to get to interview her!
The Geek Lyfe: What is your cosplay origin story?
LS: I had been a fan of Blizzard Entertainment games and cosplay for years and admired the photos from the cosplayers who attended Blizzcon each year. I was living on the East Coast and I wasn’t able to afford the long trip to Blizzcon, but eventually, I moved to Arizona and being only a 6-hour drive my dream of attending could be a reality. In 2014 we decided to try to get tickets. I knew it was really hard to get them, as they sold out in seconds, and decided if I managed to get them I would go all out and make a cosplay to wear.
I had never cosplayed before, but we snagged our tickets and I dove right into the world of fabric, foam, and wigs. I decided to make one of my favorite characters, Chromie from World of Warcraft. I had sewn a little bit and knew how to use a sewing machine, but had never tried to fabricate armor. I don’t really learn from tutorials, I need to just grab materials and try it. I had been told people use floor mats to make armor so I bought some and played around until I was content with what I made. It was a lot of trial and error. I wore it to Blizzcon and the response it got from people was amazing and the confidence I gained was incredible. I was hooked, and haven’t stopped since.
The Geek Lyfe: Out of all the years you have done cosplay, what has been one of your more favorite/proudest memories?
LS: That’s really hard. Sometimes having a costume win an award makes me very proud, and other times just knowing the challenges or new skills I had to master in order to create a piece makes me even more proud. One of my proudest moments was placing at Blizzcon in 2017. Blizzcon is where my cosplay all started and knowing that the best cosplayers from all over the world attend and compete, even getting an honorable mention at Blizzcon is amazing. I was fortunate to get 2 honorable mentions in 2015 and 2016 and assumed that would be the highest I’d ever go. I entered my Mystic Kingdoms Arthas from Heroes of the Storm into the contest in 2017 and walked away with 4th place.
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The Geek Lyfe: Many people online will simply see one of your images, appreciate it for the moment and move on. However, I know that a lot of care and time goes into photoshoots. Could you describe your process for a cosplay photoshoot from the concept to when it hits your fans?
LS: Currently, all of my photoshoots are done at the conventions I attend wearing the costumes. Usually, the first time I wear a new costume out to a con I will set up a shoot with a photographer that I know will be attending. I don’t make a lot of costumes each year, usually 2 large fabrication costumes. I also only usually attend 3-4 cons a year with 2 being at the Anaheim Convention Center, so that’s where the majority of my photos are taken. I work primarily with Tony Julius Photography, he’s not only very talented and local to me, but also an amazing friend. We have gotten very comfortable with each other over the years and can get upwards of 50+ beautiful photos in just a few minutes of shooting, sometimes having to pose and snap-in between the foot traffic of the convention.
Being that most of my shoots are taken at the Anaheim convention center I don’t have a ton of choice as far as the background so sometimes the theme of the costume doesn’t really fit with the sunshine and palm trees of California, but we do our best to make it work. I have worked with a few photographers who are amazing at editing, and have given my costumes new backgrounds and spell effects to make the costume look like it’s in a more fantasy setting. I do have plans to take some of my costumes to places like Flagstaff and areas where there are interesting rock formations and forests to get some more natural-looking photos, the timing just hasn’t worked out for me so far.
The Geek Lyfe: Out of all the cosplays you have ever done which one was your personal favorite even if it was not super well received by fans?
LS: For many years my Heroes of the Storm Master Skin of Chromie was my favorite. It’s the costume I was most known for a long time and still gets a really great reaction from Blizzcon attendees. But then came Leafeon. Leafeon was a passion project. I had always wanted to cosplay an Elin Berserker from the game TERA, but it’s sort of an obscure game and not many people would recognize what I was cosplaying as. I’m also a big fan of the Pokemon games and love the Eeveelution cosplays I’ve seen people make over the years. I decided to find an artist who could take my favorite Pokemon, Leafeon, and combine it with the style of armor worn by the Elin Berserkers. I contacted Taigakunn who is a cosplayer and artist who has designed a lot of Pokemon gijinka designs that I absolutely love. She was happy to take on the challenge and she came up with the perfect design. I had so much fun making Leafeon and it was truly my dream costume, designed just for me by Taiga to my specifications. It gets such a great reaction and is the first costume I have worn where kids actually know what I am and seeing them excited to see Leafeon makes it even more fun to wear.
The Geek Lyfe: You feature a lot of awesome geeky content, what is your absolute favorite geeky medium? (Video games, anime, comics, film, etc.)
LS: All of my large fabricated costumes are video game costumes. Video games are my favorite thing after cosplay, so that’s where my costume focus will always be.
The Geek Lyfe: Subbed or Dubbed Anime?
LS: I actually don’t watch Anime. I love the art style and have tried watching some, but I just can’t get into it. Even Pokemon, I love the games, but never got into the show. For films in other languages, I prefer subtitles so I would think I’d prefer subbed anime overdubbed.
The Geek Lyfe: It is apparent that you hustle to provide content for fans but when you actually have a day off, how do you spend it?
LS: I have a lot of animals that keep me very busy in my off time. I have a dog, 2 cats, 2 parakeets, 8 chickens, and 2 fish tanks to keep up with so that’s a large chunk of time each day. I also spend way too much time sucked into video games like World of Warcraft.
The Geek Lyfe: You just radiate such confidence and the swagger of a champion. However, a lot of geeks often struggle with overwhelming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. When you have those bad days and get down on yourself, what do you do to remind yourself that you are wonderful?
LS: I am one of those geeks who struggle with all of those things and it’s actually very difficult at times to keep going. I won’t lie, I do have meltdowns pretty much every costume I make. Being an older cosplayer (I just turned 38) and being a cosplayer who is short and curvaceous it can sometimes be hard to not compare myself to the very young or very thin cosplayers out there, but I’ve chosen to focus on spreading positivity and helping and supporting other cosplayers through my Twitch streams and social media. I find making someone else smile, helping them through a tough time, encouraging them to be brave, or teaching them a new tip to help them craft their own costume helps me feel good about myself.
The Geek Lyfe: What is one piece of advice you wish you received when you first got into costume design/cosplay?
LS: Don’t wait to start cosplaying! If you have been thinking about doing it, then do it. I had admired cosplay for years and lacked the confidence to start until I was 32. Now knowing all the amazing things cosplay has brought into my life, the amazing friends I’ve made, people I’ve met, places I’ve gone, things I’ve gotten to do, I truly wish I had gotten started much much sooner. So don’t wait!
The Geek Lyfe: Where can we find you online?