Today we have a great feature with Jedimanda! She's a very talented cosplayer with so many great costumes under her belt. Read her full interview below!
I'm Jedimanda, I've been cosplaying since 2012 and I've been a professional seamstress since about 2009. I studied costume design and fine art in college and didn't find out that cosplay was a thing until 2011. Once I figured out that you could attend conventions in costume, I was hooked. I already made professional costume for actors for stage and I was excited to find a way for ME to wear my creations on a metaphorical stage.
How and when did you get into cosplay?
Like I said above, I dove into cosplay by finding out through attending small cons and watching SDCC footage on G4 (I miss that channel) that you could go to these cons in costume either handmade or not. I was already a seamstress professionally, so it was exciting to find another outlet besides Halloween to wear my custom creations with a pop culture twist.
How did you come up with your cosplay name?
Well, I first started as just Amanda Dawn Cosplay which is my first name and middle name. Kinda boring and too long to write. So I just blended my name with my favorite fandom, Star Wars, thus coming up with Jedimanda.
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
I have two jobs, Im a graphic designer and a professional wig maker for Custom Wig Company. I make hand tied wigs. Yes, with human hair. Our clients range from Santa Clauses to cosplayers. Super fun. I don't have much free time outside of cosplay creations, but I do love to paint. I paint with oils and watercolors, painting mostly portraits.
What is your proudest cosplay accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment has to be with my competition cosplays. My Queen Amidala cosplay winning Best in Show a Gen Con is past year, had to have been my biggest moment up to that time. I poured a lot of work into that costume and it was exciting to win the biggest prize at a big convention.
What cosplay(s) are you working on right now?
Currently just finished an original design take on Anastasia from the 1997 movie. She will be my competition piece for 2018. Next is a fem version of Doctor Strange.
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
I have a lot of cosplayers that I just adore! A couple of them are Ginny Di, Nikita Cosplay, Kamui Cosplay, Starbit Cosplay, and everyone of my beautiful friends that cosplay. EVERYONE IS AWESOME!
What is your dream cosplay?
My dream cosplay...hmmm, Marie Antionette, Captian Phasma, and a Tatooine StormTrooper.
What is your favorite convention to attend and why?
C2E2 is probably my favorite to attend in cosplay because everyone just brings their A game. I love to attend GenCon and Star Wars Celebrations too!
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
Oh boy, here comes the list! Just kidding. I don't really have any cosplay pet peeves except for the fact that it's expensive. HAHA. Convention pet peeves include long hours and sore feet, stinky people (take a shower y'all), long lines for everything, and stressful hotels. But really though, cons are great.
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
Umm yes, don't fly with your costumes. I hate flying with my costumes because of several reasons. But one instance I was traveling to D23 expo in 2015 and my connecting flight got cancel in Vegas to Anaheim. No other flights were leaving and I had a contest at 10am the next morning. Unfortunately I couldn't find my luggage with my costumes in the airport. Ended up having to cry and lie to Southwest representatives about my "deadlines". Eventually found my luggage and ended up having to drive from Las Vegas at 12am to Anaheim CA. Arrived at 4am then took a 3 hour nap and woke up then competed. Horrible adulting moment I had to do but I got through it. UGH.
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplayers?
Yes, before you jump into this crazy world, please attend a convention for all 3 days not in costume and realize if you can sustain the weekend. Ask other cosplayers how they do it and give them hugs. Also realize that you will be photographed if you don't want it or not. Learn to say no if you don't a photo, but also learn to be comfortable in front of a camera.
Do you have anything else you want to say, or add to this interview?
Just be happy and understand that cosplay is not your ENTIRE life. If you can't make a costume happen, IT'S OK! No need to drop yourself into a stressful state about crunching a costume. Take your time and love your craft.
Where can we find you on all things social?
You can find me on all social medias @Jedimanda and also on my website at Jedimanda.com
All photos for this interview provided by Alexandra Lee Photography.
What a great interview. I can't wait to see final photos of her Anastasia! Her progress photos were stunning!
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