I am so honored to feature a Canadian friend who is overwhelmingly talented and taking the cosplay world by storm. Read her full interview below!
Ve’loria Solo is a pint sized maker and cosplayer who makes stuff for her and her other half; and others when they ask! She is in love with the building/making process. She is known as the #EnthusiasmEnthusiast because highly values people expressing their passions, and loves cheering these passions on and celebrating people’s successes with them.
How and when did you get into cosplay?
It’s a very line, blurry line for me when I try to figure out when my casual costume life ended and my actual cosplay life began. Even in elementary school, my friends and I would dress up in themed costumes to go see movies just so we could confuse the theatre employees when we told them there was no special event or birthday party happening.
I think my real ‘aHA’ moment happened when I was invited to a costume party and used the opportunity to marathon blitz through every episode of Batman the Animated series while making a Robin costume (my favourite DC superhero). I loved just holing up in my room and really crappily hot gluing different accessories together, and it wasn’t til I was standing awkwardly on the dance floor that I realised I had subconsciously only went to the party in the first place so I had a deadline and pinpointed reason to make a costume for. I left with friends to go play Risk in a local McDonalds in costume and I think I was hooked after that. I will forever have foam dremel dust in my hair and no fingerprints due to superglue fiascos.
How did you come up with your cosplay name?
Ve’loria Solo actually was my character’s name that I used in the Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic game when I first played it. It is a play off of my real name, but also an excuse to imagine myself married to Han Solo a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. KOTOR I and II are my favourite games of all time, and since I suck at coming up with usernames for everything and that always stalls my account process, I thought it sounded fittingly scifi/fantasy enough to run with!
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
At my job, since I work for an independent, small music store/lesson school and studio, I am a jack of all trades. My email signature says I’m the General Manager, but I also do all of the marketing, graphic design, bookings, admin, reception, hiring billings and everything in between. It’s a lot of hats, but I think you guys know I like taking up different characters in various costumes :P
I went into Graphic Design because I refused to deny creativity in my everyday life, but my first loves are painting and drawing. I never find time for those pursuits in my busy life, but thankfully my cosplay is my creative outlet for it all. Honestly If I don’t have the panic-induced threat of a deadline, I probably won’t get working on anything. If I have time between I love eating good food, playing board games, videogaming, playing tabletop rpgs, or flipping through hundreds of programs on netflix for hours until I decide on something to watch.
What is your proudest cosplay accomplishment?
This year has been a whirlwind for me! Each build I pick comes with new territory and challenges, and my latest MCU Falcon genderbend was no different. Somehow I offhandedly picked this character, not fully thinking how much work and engineering would have to go into having collapsible, translucent, 8 foot (I am 5 feet tall) mechanical wings… but apparently I can’t do anything easy.
I got to work with Polycarbonate and aluminum framing for the first time, and had many headaches trying to figure out how to house the wings on my and have them move. I had so much help from the community and Taylor!. (The things I do for #TeamCap I tell you…) This was the most crunching I have ever done for a con- I was literally epoxy gluing it together and hiding unsealed foam colours with sharpies the morning of the con. The first time we assembled and bolted it together was at the convention itself so it was very do or die, and I didn’t know if it’d work til that moment.
One day my self-destructive cosplay habits will implode in on me with a great ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ but thankfully ECCC 2017 did not have that day. I was especially touched because I was featured in a cosplay article about top genderbent characters for it, and one of my biggest cosplay inspirations Evil Ted complimented me on my work, which I am still dumbfounded by. Looking back, I handmade every buckle, strap and detail on my harness pieces out of foam and I probably could’ve just bought that, but it’s those small details I love.
What cosplay(s) are you working on right now?
If the cosplan section of my brain could be visualized, it’d look like a black hole devouring a star. Officially, I am working on my Samurai Stormtrooper build so I can claim I’m more than someone who makes exclusive Marvel or genderbent characters, but I’m also buzzing in between my husband’s Thor cosplay, my potential Storm cosplay, and a traditional armored disney cosplay, a genderbent Nick Fury, and a genderbent Doctor Octopus… with about 50 other ideas on the backburner. I may have a problem.
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
I’m probably already blathering on too much for all of these answers, but this one is so hard to narrow down. So many people in the cosplay world keep my fuel going.
People like Bill & Britt from Punished Props, Evil Ted, Kamui Cosplay, ZonZonZonbi, Coregeek, Bev Downen… all those who give their wealth of knowledge into growing the community are people I look up to and are so thankful for because they give so many dreamers the feeling that anything is possible and the skills to do so. The cosplay world is a rare gift because instead of keeping it exclusive and secret so one person can be toted as the master with an exclusive skills, the master builders share what makes them great with the world, and make everyone including themselves better for it.
I also am a huge fan of people like Adam Savage, Jechts, JackiCraft, Adria.Renee, Egg Sisters, LyzBrickley, Vertvixen, Alexandria_thegeek, Germa, EzraCosplay, Cyehram cTheStylishGeek, SamSkylerArt, Hendoart… I could go on.
What is your dream cosplay?
I think this changes every day as my brain pulls me to different plays like a dogsled with like 6 alpha males. Whoops was that a super niche Canadian thing to say?
I would love to get mechanized parts into a cosplay one day, so if I can get it together enough to make a moving Jackal Pharah or Iron(wo)man cosplay I’d be very happy.
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
I have a firm belief that no matter your commitment, level of skill or knowledge, a convention should be an exciting and welcoming place for everyone. The whole establishment came together because people love certain characters or games or stories and so a con (or the con community) is no place for excluding people, putting them down for their hard work, or telling people they aren’t meant to portray a certain character. We’ve all been new, we’ve all had insecurities so we should all just embrace the positive and nuture the good feelings of a con.
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
Oh boy yes. Since the majority of things I do for a project are being done for the first time, in an unreasonably short time before a deadline I’ve had many moments of crippling “NOOO I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS UNFORESEEN IMPLOSION OF FAIL”. Hahah kids, always remember give yourself double the amount of time you expect something to take you. Make sure you let your layers fully cure and are using materials that work well together or it’ll be crack-texture city! Make sure you seal and reinforce your trapping and attachments and armour so it doesn’t fall off and break the minute you set foot into Fanexpo Vancouver in front of the perfect opportunity for a photo op with a Dark link who matches your Dark Zelda Perfectly….
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplayers?
Thinking about making the thing but you don’t think you don’t have the skill or ability? DO IT. There is a plethora of people in the cosplay community online or otherwise that are so willing to share their tips and tricks with you. Get into the twitch world, follow as many inspiring people on instagram and youtube as you can, join a close knit community!! Don’t be afraid to ask questions… most cosplayers are so excited to tell you how they made stuff and give you advice. There are huge prop builders out there who I now consider friends because I reached out to them.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF. I know since your desire to cosplay a certain character probably means they are special to your heart and you want everything to be perfect, but it won’t be at first. And that’s fine. Start somewhere. Make little changes. Half the time, I’ll make something, hate it and then look at it in a picture months later and think “wow that was actually pretty good”. There is nothing that feels more rewarding than standing and being transformed in something you made yourself, your little labour of love.
Do you have anything else you want to say, or add to this interview?
Everything from the confidence and encouragement to the physical ability and knowledge of how to work with certain materials or techniques that I have, I’ve been able to develop thanks to the cosplay community… and I’m a huge believer in giving back so everyone else has the same positive experiences as me. If I can be of any help to anyone to any degree of amount, I would be very happy to do so. Never forget to make use of the awesome community we have- and feel free to drop me a line if you need talking through anything from ideas to techniques!
Where can we find you on all things social?
Facebook: Ve’loria Solo Cosplay
Photos for this interview provided by Andy Ahlstrom, and Joe Tym
I love how passionate she is about this hobby and the community. I feel the same way and I'm so honored to get to know her!! Go follow her on all things social!