For any woman who has cosplayed at a local convention or event, you’ve most likely dealt with two different kinds of attention from patrons. Those who think your costume is badass and deserves praise, and then the no-so-appreciative who stare and leer and snap photos when you’re not looking. At the most recent Salt Lake Comic Con, those kind of disruptions were quelled greatly with an increased police presence, but with our geek community steadily rising, more action needs to be taken by the cosplayers themselves to help end these kinds of acts and make the artform thrive. Enter: GeekGirls Corp, a local women cosplayers organization reinforcing the empowerment of women within the geek community while also giving them a platform to showcase their talents. Today we chat with the founders of the organization about forming the group and their thoughts on the local geek culture. (All pictures courtesy of GGC.)
Gavin: Hey ladies! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Dez: Hi, Iâ€™m Dez or Dezcreepcore in social media! I have been a part of the geek community as far as I can remember. I recently got into cosplay and finding a way to make my outfits unique and different. Iâ€™m a girly girl when it comes to fashion and makeup, I enjoy traveling and trying new things, I live a very healthy geek life, and I love body art!
Amber: Hello all! My name is Amber, but I usually go by Dahlface or even â€œheyâ€ you if you must. I have been a lover of all things geek since I was a wee lass. But my biggest loves are Star Wars and Disney. I am always trying to incorporate those two things in my wardrobe so if you see me, Iâ€™m always wearing one or the other. Iâ€™m also an artist, gamer, Cosplayer, and love helping out with charity events.
Gavin: How did each of you get into all things geekdom and what were some of your favorite things growing up?
Amber: I had 4 brothers so I didnâ€™t have a choice. Seriously though, since birth. As I said, I LOVE Star Wars, but also some other things that are nostalgic for me is Flash Gordon, Nintendo and Batman. The Legend of Zelda, I am a complete sucker for as well! I latched onto my brothers a lot and got sucked into the same things they adored.
Dez: Probably since the day I could hold a Nintendo controller. I grew up moving a lot due to my parents work and the only consistent things I had were my video games and comics so they are a huge part of my life. Growing up the main things that sucked me in were probably video games such as the Zelda franchise! I was also very into animes like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball.
Gavin: As you got older, how did you first discover cosplay and what were your first thoughts on it?
Dez: I first discovered cosplay when I was living in Malaysia in 2005. I noticed a lot of people would dress up and cosplay as an everyday outfit which I found amazing! The detail and the passion these people showed in their outfits caught my eye. That inspired me to start wearing very edgy and fun outfits, but I hadnâ€™t dared to attempt a full cosplay until later.
Amber: I started noticing cosplay probably around 2004. I always wanted to go to a convention and dress up as my favorite characters, but didnâ€™t know how to get started in it. So I watched articles and would look at pictures to get inspired. Iâ€™ve always loved dressing up as different characters since I was a child so for me, I instantly fell in love. Especially when I would see people put their own twist to it.
Gavin: At what point did you decide you wanted to try it and what was your first costume?
Amber: Since Utah finally put on its own convention, I decided to get brave and go for it. I was a pin up girl version of Boba Fett. I had a ’50s style dress that had Boba Fett colors, had my helmet, and jetpack and couldnâ€™t have been more pleased. My addiction increased tremendously as I was walking around with all of the other cosplayers and seeing the ideas they created.
Dez: In 2007, I was invited to a Doctor Who Runway Party and I decided to attempt my first cosplay and I was the Tenth Doctor! We had to walk a runway and act like the character we were portraying. I felt so welcome and it was so much fun after that I was sucked in.
Gavin: What’s it been like for each of you to go to conventions and events dressing up?
Dez: For the most part, which is the part I like to focus on, it has been very welcoming and very fun! I like seeing the looks on peopleâ€™s faces when they recognize who I am. Celebrities have also gotten a kick out of it! Amber and I dressed up at the Torchwood team (Jack and Gwen) to meet the actors and they absolutely loved it! Recently when I cosplayed Catwoman I had so many children recognize me and it was so fun taking pictures and acting like I was defeated by a tiny Batman. At Anime Banzai, Amber and I were serenaded with the Pokemon theme song when we dressed up as Ash and Pikachu. It has been so fun and welcoming and I seriously feel like I do fit this community.
Amber: I love it so much. Itâ€™s so much fun seeing other people get excited with your cosplay and want to take pictures with you. Especially the little kids. I love seeing the looks on their faces and how excited they get. And like Dez said, dressing up in our Torchwood outfits and seeing how excited Eve Myles and John Barrowman were, was totally worth it. And Anime Banzai was so much fun. I was shocked when we had people come up and recognize who are team was. Iâ€™m not used to that, but itâ€™s very flattering and sweet how people have been. I just feel like I finally found my place with the best people you could ask for.
Gavin: When did the two of you first meet each other and become friends?
Dez: Amber actually reached out to me to do an interview and we decided to grab some dinner after. During that dinner, we realized how much we had in common and how our plans and goals were the same! Ever since then itâ€™s been plotting and plotting for the future!
Amber: Yup! I was totally fan-girling over her and after meeting her face to face, it was instant. We both are obsessed with the same things and we couldnâ€™t help, but have an excuse to hang out and play. Sheâ€™s a genuine soul she is.
Gavin: How did the idea for GeekGirls Corp come about?
Dez: After Salt Lake Comic Con in September, Amber and I got together to discuss future cosplays, conventions and plans and it came to usâ€¦ There are no female cosplay groups locally to inspire other female geeks to embrace who they are and express their love for all things that are geeky! Thatâ€™s how this idea came to life! I had a panel at Fantasy Con addressing females in the geek community and the amount of messages and people that came to me thanking me or asking more questions made me want to keep spreading a positive message about female geeks.
Amber: We know how difficult it can be to be a female geek and feel that acceptance. There will always be someone to tear you down. Like Dez said, we wanted to be an influence and help other female geek embrace their creativity and feel they have the support needed. I have a daughter who happens to love geek things as well and I want her to feel brave about her passion. There are a lot of girls who feel like they are alone and we want to reach out to them to know they arenâ€™t. We just feel really passionate about it and thought starting a group would be great!
Gavin: What was it like putting the group together and bringing in new members?
Amber: I love my boys and for me it was obvious to have them there. Iâ€™ve worked with them on projects before so for me it was a no-brainer. I met Ainsley from Dez and we felt she would be a great addition to help the positive influence we want to spread and work her cosplay magic. We seriously make a great team and we all have an understanding of each other. I am all about us working together as a team and ensuring we make things as fair as possible.
Dez: It came very natural I think to us. We were already friends with the boys in the team and they are totally on board with this so it felt great! Ainsley also joined the team and her cosplay crafting skills are superb! Having her in the team is also great because not only is she a great cosplayer that can teach us many things, but she is a geek like us fighting for the same things we are!