Cosplay Fanatic: By Odin’s Beard, Toni Darling Cosplay
SCHOOL: Arizona State University
HOBBIES: Fitness, music, boardgaming
ZODIAC SIGN: Leo
CF. How did you get into cosplay, who did you portray first, and why?
I fell in to cosplay by accident. Jim Miller, a film maker in Mesa AZ invited me to cover conventions as a host of his youtube show Geekssociated Press. I first covered gaming conventions, then comic conventions and it was only a matter of time before I discovered cosplay. Halloween was always my favorite day of the year, and the moment I realized I could dress up all the time and people might actually think its neat, I was hooked. The first costume I made is still my favorite – Thor. Almost three years ago now, I decided to cosplay Thor as a woman, Not Lady Thor or Thor Girl, but my interpretation of what Thor would look like as a woman. (I chose not to go with the Earth X version of female Thor because I thought the costume was atrocious). I chose Thor because I am Scandinavian and I grew up with the legends of Thor and Odin as bedtime stories. I also love the strength of his character and that he is often humbled by humanity. His development as a character over the years has always interested me, and to portray him was an honor both to my heritage and my love of the comic.
CF. What’s the best part of cosplay?
There is something very magical about loosing yourself in a costume. You become a different person for a little while, you put on a persona and you can experience your love of that character in a deeper way. To really get in to a character mentally is what I love about it. Ironically about the only form of entertaining I have no interest in is acting, and when I am in costume, I don’t act like the character per se. But I channel that energy and emotion while I am wearing the costume so I think it adds to fans enjoyment and perception of my presence as that character. What fans of cosplay enjoy is seeing someone really personify an icon that they love. Feeling that character from the inside out is the ultimate personification of an icon, but when you mix that energy with your own you can truly give the character life.
CF. If you could be any super hero or villain who would you be and why?
Batman. Because as appealing as super powers are, I like the idea of becoming the best you can be while still being human (it helps when you are super wealthy and can afford super awesome toys of course). I think Batmans popularity comes from that fact that he is still a human being, no matter what awesome things he accomplishes. In that way he is… almost attainable. He is a legend but he is also a man, and that is inspiring.
CF. If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
Coco Chanel. I’d rather not say.
CF. What’s your favorite sci-fi movie and what captivates you about the plot?
The Matrix. I love the idea of challenging the boundaries of the mind to see the truth and unlocking ones inner potential. Also, anything that involves a grand destiny is always intriguing.
CF. What’s the craziest thing a fan sent you or requested?
I got a unicorn bouquet for my birthday once. That was awesome.
CF. What sidekick would you hire to be your personal assistant and why?
Pepper Pots. Because sexy. And also she’s not really a sidekick but considering her resume….. she would be very qualified to deal with me and all of my madness.
CF. What character intimidates the heck out of you, why, and when will you attempt take the challenge to portray them?
Lightening from Lightening Returns…. dat leather tho….
CF. Do you know a lot about the series you cosplay?
Absolutely, unless its a commission. And even then I usually do not take a commission until I have researched the character and decided that I like her/him.
CF. What’s your favorite comic con to attend and what makes it so special?
Comikaze in Los Angeles. Part of my love for this show is that it is in my home town and favorite city in the world. It holds a special place in my heart because at Comikaze two years ago- I met Seven Factor and his band and they inspired me to include music in my career. As a result we have worked on a few great projects together. Also, its just big enough that its exciting, yet still small enough that it isn’t overwhelming. I also LOVE the main stage being in the exhibitor hall. So many people hate it but I LOVE it! Also, they hosted an absolutely killer afterparty with Club Cosplay this year. Best official con after party ever.
CF. What comic con’s are definitely attending in 2015?
Phoenix Comic Con, Comikaze and I am sure a ton of others. But I have been procrastinating on making my show schedule.
CF. What’s one thing you wish fans wouldn’t do?
I would like fans to always think before posting, and remember that we are human beings with feelings. If we make a mistake or post something they don’t like, one can always choose to say something about it either tactfully, privately or not at all.
CF. Who was your favorite character to portray and what rocked about it?
I love being Thor. I feel like I really could take on the world when I ware that costume. I also love the intense physical training I do to get ready for it. Lots of heavy lifting and protein shakes.
CF. How do you keep cosplay fun?
I try to stay true to what I love. This is part of why I haven’t put out anything new in a while. I really got caught up in trying to keep up with everyone… trying to make a new costume a month and valuing quantity over quality. I approach everything in my life with passion and at least some level of depth. The moment I loose sight of that in my cosplay it shows in my drive to create. I don’t want to just create fluffy fun stuff, because in truth I am not a fluffy kind of person. I am a pretty serious person. I need to love the character but also feel that I embody them. For instance, while I do really love Black Canary as a character, I do not really personally relate to her and so I don’t enjoy wearing her costume as much.
CF. Where can new fans go to follow you?
CF. Other than this interview, what’s the craziest thing you agreed to do?
I agreed to record in LA with Seven Factor after meeting his band at Comikaze and knowing them for only one day. But as it turns out, I now have a song on iTunes and we are great friends.
CF. In your opinion what’s the meaning of life?
I don’t believe that life has a meaning really. I think we are simply here and we should make the most of it. I think what you do in life is more important than knowing or focusing on the meaning of it. I can say what I hope to achieve in life… Glory. Victory in Battle. To live successfully and honor my family and ancestors in Valhalla… The more of life I live, the more I find that my definitions of glory, victory and success have changed. I used to think of Victory in Battle as defeating the evils in the world. But most often the battles I face are within myself, to always challenge myself to be better and get past my bad habits, mindsets or mistakes. I used to think that glory could only be found in great actions that effect many people. Now I see that glory can be found in great actions that help even just one person. Success to me now is less about income or status and more about the balance I can achieve between my family, home and career. Honoring my family has become less about meeting anyone’s expectations but rather, staying true to myself and my values, which is really the only standard they have ever held me to.