An Interview with Briana Lawrence

This blog post was originally published as part of the Featured Fatty series on PNW Fattitude; cross-posted with permission from the author and interviewer, Kristine Hassell.

 

Greetings readers, it’s new feature time with our fantastic featured fatty, Briana Lawrence, also known as Brichibi Cosplays. Welcome Briana!

Thanks so much for having me!

Let’s begin with an origin story. Tell us a little about yourself so our readers get an idea of who you are and how you got into cosplay.

Let’s dim the lights and have an epic city backdrop as I tell the tale of Brichibi Cosplays! [laughs]

Deal! The lights are dimmed! Let’s do this!

So I’ve been a geek ever since the Nintendo was a thing, and I mean the original NES. I’ve been playing video games since I was six, then I got into anime when I was ten thanks to a little something called Vampire Hunter D. I also grew up with a dad who collected comic books, and a mom who sat me down to watch all the Star Wars movies (episodes 4 – 6 at the time) because she felt I absolutely HAD to know who Luke Skywalker was.

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All Shapes and Sizes at GeekGirlCon ’14

One of the joys of any convention is the sight of hundreds of people dressed up in celebration of their favorite characters. Daenerys Targaryen playing board games with the Tenth Doctor; Pinkie Pie making superhero masks at a panel; Loki buying a poster of himself in artist alley.

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Rufio, Peter, and a Lost Boy
Photo by Tyler Pruitt at GeekGirlCon Flickr

Cosplay and geek fashion is a means of self-expression for people of all shapes and sizes–except that some shapes and sizes have a harder time of it than others. At GeekGirlCon ‘14 we have several panels exploring the role that clothing and costumes play in reclaiming female sexuality and moving toward a positive body image for people whose bodies are considered unacceptable in mainstream society.

Mickey Schulz of Geek Girls Rule leads “Cosplaying While Fat,” an exploration of the challenges fat geeks face, including negative reactions from other geeks, and the difficulty of finding pre-made costumes.

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Photo by Sayed Alamy at GeekGirlCon Flickr

It’s easy to get into the mindset that it’s our bodies that are wrong, rather than the clothes, so in her “Costuming for Every Body” panel, theatrical costume designer Dodi Rose Zooropa offers practical advice on how to alter the character and the costume to fit your body. Cosplayers of all sizes and shapes are welcome!

For further practical advice, there’s “Working with Worbla”–a guide to using this versatile thermoplastic to create models, armor, and other costume pieces.

 

Sailor Senshi Jupiter and Labelle

Sailor Senshi Jupiter and Labelle.
Photo by Sayed Alamy at GeekGirlCon Flickr

Our panel “Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate’” is a great resource for parents who are helping their kids to navigate cosplay in a world that sexualises young bodies, and for kids hoping to get their parents’ support in their costumed adventures. There’ll also be discussion about ‘appropriating’ versus ‘appreciating’.

Meanwhile, “Crafting the Body” invites you to join the “participatory craftivism” movement, which uses crafting and cosplay to bring together geeks who think critically about pop-culture narratives and mainstream beauty ideals, and who undermine them together.

For a more direct way to translate geeky costuming into support for good causes, check out “CAUSEplay.” CAUSEplayers use their creativity for good, whether it’s running a toy drive or cheering up sick kids by cosplaying their favorite characters.

Steampunk corsets

Paige New (left) and Michelle Thorstrom (right).
Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr

 

 
Outside the world of cosplay, as geek culture goes mainstream, it’s no surprise that fashion designers are taking pointers from geeky fashions. Call it a mash-up. “Geek Couture: Pop Culture in the High-Fashion World” discusses this trend, and the future of the fashion industry.

Other geeky fashions raise interesting questions, too, such as the revival of Victorian fashions for steampunk costumes. At our panel “The Corset: Object of Propriety or Liberation,” explore the history of this often controversial garment, from its origins as a means of constraining female sexuality, to its modern reclamation as an expression of that same sexuality.

By GeekGirlCon Copywriter Winter Downs.

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