|Posted by HERETICPRIME on October 16, 2019 at 8:35 PM|
I wanted to feature an Up and Coming Cosplayer for each week in October, but I had a couple of cosplayers flake on me in the past few months. That, plus later realising that there are argueably five weeks in this month of October also left me scrambling for content for this month...BUT, I was fortunate enough to get a messenge on Facebook Messenger from AZ Powergirl Cara Nicole.
For those of you that don't know it, AZ Powergirl Cara Nicole has been a cosplayer for a relatively long time when lined up against other cosplayers. She has worn many hats in her career as an entertainer and continues to perform many jobs and services even to this day.
Becauise of this, I could not call AZ Powergirl Cara Nicole an "Up and Coming Cosplayer." She has paid enough dues for five Patreon cosplay models. What we have here is an interview with an internationally recognised influencer, cosplayer, public figure, and icon. We have the extremely talented and beautiful AZ Powergril Cara Nicole.
I've actually been following you for a long time, now. I know that you personally go by Cara Nicole, and I get the "Powergirl" part of your name. The one part of your name that I don't know where you got is the "AZ." Would you mind enlightening us? (Please don't tell me it has something to do with Arizona. I swear to goodness, I'll lose my mind if it does.)
'Looks like you will be losimg your mind then.
When did you start the cosplay aspect of your entertainment career? I know that you personally discovered it doing charity work, but when did you know that it would become a part of your world?
I knew from the beginning that it would be a part of my life. From the first time I put on the costume, I knew. I didn't know it would become my entire world until about 2012 when it took over my time to the point I could no longer work a day job.
You have your fingers in a lot of pies.
-- I like pie and no one gave me a fork.
You are also a comic writer, editor, and colourist! Most importantly, you are also a co-founder and co-owner of 183 Degree Studio! Could please give a little background on that? (How did you all come up with the name?)
I had nothing to do with the name. I was brought in to the company the same way most people do. I did the work and helped pay the bills. AZPowergirl and 183 Degree merged in 2012 with the first photobook. It's all usual boring business stuff.
Wow it sounds like you just pulled that straight from my bio! It was totally an accident. 'Right place, right time. I was at a small comic event in Mesa, AZ, and I was asked to be photographed by Mark Winters. We chatted and he hired me. Then in 2016 he hit me up for the new card.
I know that you enjoy comedy and consider yourself a comedian. Have you ever done any stand-up? Do you do any stand-up, now?
Consider myself!? I have done comedy shows all over Arizona, a few other states, and just finished a tour in Los Angeles. I have also done the State Fair and even some Comic Con comedy shows. I love doing stand-up and it's cheaper than therapy.
Is it true that you are also a Positive Growth Coach/Speaker?
No it's not. I have yet to be hired for that. I do some cosplay coaching, and always try to do educational panels at conventions.
'Care to tell us a little about your political career?
It went worldwide. I was made to be a crazy person. Some people supported me, but the press had a field day and used me for ratings. I have been active in legislation since 2013, and actually did more as a civilian than my opponents who I lost to. It's a shame that a "lowly cosplayer" can pass more bills than those who were elected. I also helped to stop some very corrupt laws from being passed.
This is more of a statement than a question. Even early in your cosplay career, you embraced the sexier side of cosplay. I like sexy cosplay as much as the next red blooded USAmerican man, and one thing that I can say that have always appreciated about you is that you never gave mixed signals to your fans and admirers. You shoot and share some really sexy stuff, but it's never anything overtly sexual by behaviour. It's the female form. Even the captions do not invite confusion. They are either cleverly suggestive or a little cheeky for humour. Is it hard being sexy without tipping over that line for you?
No, but thats why we take many, many, many photos. We can weed through things and put out what I want. Believe me, there are so many things I'd love to do just tongue in cheek, but unfortunatly some take things way to literally and ruin it for everyone.
Do you ever make prosthesis, weapons, or props?
Yes. 'Not so much on the prosthetics. I have a latex allergy and everytime I deal with someone from the place that sells silicone for cosplay, I have been sexually harassed.
Do you enjoy hair/wig styling or makeup FX?
I do. I will often cut and restyle wigs that have become damaged or need extra wefting. Makeup is not my specialty, but I try.
One of the things I love about interviewing veteran cosplayers is that you were around before the big BOOM of cosplay, and before Patreon became such a huge part of career cosplay. When I get the chance, I like to ask others about the changes to the landscape of cosplay, and what they think. What are your thoughts on how Patreon has changed cosplay? Do you think that Patreon has attracted more cosplayers rather than the art itself? If not, what percentage of "new cosplayers" would you say it has influenced to start cosplaying?
I think its given people an easier way to build their businesses. I have a Patreon and fully support anyone who uses it properly. When I say properly, I mean those who use it to spread the word and create art, cosplay, videos, books, music, podcasts, etc. Unfortunately, there are people who will steal pics of ladies from the internet and open a fake Patreon. Then they come over to mine and other legitimate pages, and comment on our pics and posts in order to lure our supporters over to their fake sites. It's something that I haven't seen discussion about, but it's a reality. So know who you are supporting. I built my business through purchasing space at conventions, paying my own way, and meeting people. Most people who support me have met me in person. I am so blessed to have these opportunities to get to know so many wonderful people.
I have to admit that I was really afraid of Patreon and the trendiness of cosplay, and the affects they would have on the art and lifestyle. However, I think I have begun to see a tipping point where media is oversaturated with Patreon cos-famous models rather than cosplayers, and they are not able to make the living they thought they would. I think there were even some "actresses" that thought they could use cosplay as stepping stone to fame. In your career of cosplay, have you bumped elbows with any of these types of cosplayers?
Well, as a cosplayer who went into politics, I have seen an upswing in politicians wearing costumes. *LOL* I don't judge anyone. We all have our reasons for doing what we do. I do think that the media has spead false ideas of cosplayer salary. I have had people ask me to help them get a costume so they can make money, that's not at all a thing, and ask me what cosplay pays; 'not how that works either. As it stands there is no cosplay "job" where you clock in and dress up and get paid. This is a small business and needs to be treated as such. You don't just quit your job and decide to be a cosplayer. That girl that makes 8K a month on Patreon isn't everyone. It's not me and likely won't be you. Everyone wants to be "nice" and unfortunately that isn't helpful. It's like when people say they are a YouTuber, and you ask if they make their living doing that and they say no. I will always encourage, and even mentor cosplayers, but I will be honest and tell them not to quit their 9-5 right away.
Are there any cosplayers that you like to work with?
You are an international cosplayer. Would you mind sharing some of your more favourite conventions you regularly attend?
I love small town conventions. I have to say that Smallville Con, in Hutchinson, Kansas, is in my top 10, and I have been a guest at Atlanti-Con in Corner Brooke, Newfoundland a few times, and I adore that place. Anyplace that wants to have me, I am excited to be. These shows give me the opportunity to socialize with people in their own areas and really get to know them and their communities, as well as understand their way of life. The internet has given us so many ways to speak to one another, but you really can't understand their point of view until you spend time in their communities, meet their families, and see things from their side. I always look through their local newspapers and magazines as well.
What are your more favourite parts of convention? What parts do you make it a point to hit? 'Certain panels? Concerts? Parties? 'After parties?
*HAHAHAHAHAHAHA* You think I have time to do stuff at cons. *ROTFL* I will go to afterparties when I can, but often I have art commissions, or I am exausted.
How does your professional life affect your personal life? Do you get any time to do many fun things? Do some of your fun things exist completely outside of things you do professionally? Is romance still possible?
If romance is sitting next to someone in a cleansing mask while yelling about stabbing yourself with a needle while you sew, I'd say sure. I try to get out for karaoke, but it's been a while. I go to movies because you have to know what's going on in the nerd world, and people let out spoilers. There is an old drive-in theatre near my house that I like to go to. I can bring my own food, and get to temperature control my own environment. No one looks at you weird, and I can bring my blanket. For those of you that don't know what this magical place is, look it up. You drive your car into a spot, and the screen is outside, and you tune your radio to the station they tell you too, and the movie sound comes out there.
Do you ever feel understimated because your beauty is so obvious, but you also have so many not so obvioius behind the scenes talents as well?
Well now you're making me blush. I never thought of myself as beautiful. I was a late bloomer and picked on as a kid. In my friend group, I was the "smart one," but yea, I do think that people underestimate me. I have come up with some new ideas that are expanding the cosplay world and business. I have 3 books out, as well as 4 calendars, all crowd funded successfully. I have created new products like raised mousepads, mini-booklets, a collectors card set, fridge magnets, and even a patch. Check out my current campaign on Kickstarter to see what I am talking about. http://kck.st/2n2jl95
What would you say to someone reading this that wants to pursue cosplay as a lifestyle, and maybe even a part of their career?
I woud say don't jump in feet first, it can be overwhelming and cause burn out. Enjoy it and don't listen to criticism. People will say hurtful things just to validate themselves and it has nothing to do with you. I have written some articles about cosplay and am available for hire as a cosplay coach as well.