If you’re a regular reader of Gamma Squad, then you know that there is an impressive number of extraordinary cosplayers out there. That said, I don’t I’ve seen a cosplayer that more closely resembles the character they’re dressed up as than Belle Chere. Whether she is dressed up as Ivy from “SoulCalibur”, She Hulk or Vampirella, Belle Chere’s appearance is shockingly dead on.
I chatted with Belle Chere via email about cosplaying, comic conventions and costume making. Keep reading to check out the interview and photos of some of her most amazing costumes.
All images via Belle Chere’s Flickr.
Gamma Squad: What advice do you have for cosplayers who would like to try and cosplay professionally?
Belle Chere: I apologize in advance: I’m going to derail this question. There seems to be a common misnomer between ‘professional’ and ‘popular’ when it comes to cosplay. Realistically, there are very, very few professionals (ie, people who are able to support themselves based off of profits they’ve earned from cosplaying) and I’m not one of them. I’ve been fortunate to be recognized enough to have my expenses paid for to attend a convention, but cosplaying is definitely not a source of income for me. I would not recommend trying to become professional – it’s a miniscule field with no room in it, even if your craft is flawless and your characterization impeccable. Enjoy costuming for what it should be: a hobby.
GS: I was wondering if you could pick one of your favorite costumes and give an explanation of how much time, money and energy was involved in making the costume?
Belle Chere: I rolled a d20 to choose a costume. Red Sonja! I knew I wanted to aim for Frank Cho’s vision of her. For such a small outfit, it took me close to 75 hours of hand-sewing roughly 750 steel scales to a suede-cloth bikini. Lots of TV time. Including wig and shoes, not including labor time, it cost me $60. I have no idea how long it took me to achieve a physical fitness that allowed me to feel comfortable enough to put that metal bikini on, though, hah!
GS: What’s your favorite convention to attend and why?
Belle Chere: DragonCon! How do I love thee – let me count the ways… It’s Mardi Gras for geeks. It’s filled with not only some of the best costumers (eye candy, galore!) but the best people. It’s where I get to see all my friends from all over the country. No other convention compares.
GS: What is the most impressive cosplay performance you’ve seen to date?
Belle Chere: You might be looking for me to refer to a skit I’ve seen, but stage performance or even convention floor performance hasn’t impressed me as much as when costumers apply their craft to helping out the less fortunate. I’m not talking about vigilantes, but groups such as the Heroes Alliance, who have brightened the lives of the chronically ill by visiting them as favorite superheroes. When cosplaying has a cause, that’s when it truly impresses me.
GS: If you had unlimited time and resources, what costume would you like to design and why?
Belle Chere: Kerrigan (human/Zerg hybrid form) from StarCraft. Why? Just LOOK at that! Not only a phenomenal character design visually, but a compelling, believable story to boot.
GS: What would you say has been your most popular costume to date?
Belle Chere: Oh, Ivy Valentine, from the Soul Calibur video games, for certain. The speed in which it became popular unnerved me, initially.
GS: What is the most elaborate costume you’ve made so far?
Belle Chere: A personal design and interpretation of Linsner’s Dawn. Based off the goddess Kali, the outfit had six arms (two were my own, four were crafted by me) and each of them moved individually. It looked like a scene out of Silent Hill to have all those arms lying arou