This woman isn't afraid to speak her mind, and that fire makes her such an open and honest person to follow. If you haven't heard of Sarah before, well, you're welcome.
How and when did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay right after The Avengers came out, that winter The Hobbit came out and I was dressed as an Elf to see the the movie. I went to see Avengers in a Thor costume I had made out of old tshirts. I went and saw all the Harry Potter movies in school robes I had made. I had seen the Star Wars prequels in Jedi Robes. It was just this nerdy thing I did. I never really considered it cosplay. I didn't know or understand what cosplay was outside of the sorts of posts that for shared online, which were mostly hot chicks dressed as sexy Pokemon. But I met a friend who was also dressed as an Elf at the Hobbit and I felt vindicated. Like "yes! This isn't as lame as it seems!" And we friended on FB. She asked what "cons" I went to and when I was confused she asked me if I had ever been to comiccon. I answered her no, and so she invited me to my first Con and I wore that Thor cosplay I had made for Avengers. It was a magically fun good time.
How did you come up with your cosplay name?
My cosplay name : PepperMonster is just my screen name everywhere. It came as a play on the name Pocket Monster which is Pokemon, and my two favorite drinks Dr Pepper and Monster Energy. It just worked for me. And my phone eventually learned to stop trying to call me Peppermint ;)
What do your friends and family think of your hobby?
I was never someone with a lot of friends. Being an introverted comic book reader, I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. I basically only made friends through cosplay, and they are -of course- very supportive. My family thought it was odd at first for sure. But this was their daughter that saw the Fox's 2000 release of X-men 28 times in the theaters and only answered to the name "Rogue" for a year. So I think they took it in stride. Sort of "well, at least it's not drugs" attitude. Eventually I started competing and getting attention for my craftsmanship and they warmed up considerably to the hobby. They saw it as a true creative outlet rather than a creepy hobby.
Do you think you will still be cosplaying in 10+ years?
Health and finance allowing, heck yeah! I would only stop for either those two things, or some kind of traumatic event that would spoil it for me. I'm older than a lot of the people who are string into it. So I'm looking to learn and mentor more than anything.
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
I work at Home Depot, clean houses, and work as a maid in a hotel. Bills gotta get paid. I really have no other hobbies that don't include geeking out. Playing a video game or reading a comic or marathon-ing Daredevil pretty much solidify me as a pretty solid geek night and day.
What cosplay(s) are you working on right now?
I am working on a new Jane Thor (design by Zach Fischer, see below), a Madam Magneto, and a DoJ Wonder Woman. There are a few "secret cosplays" I'm planning too. But all my cosplays are controlled by finance, it's all out of my hands.
What is your dream cosplay?
I really want to do a Big Daddy from Bioshock. It's an "ultimate goal" cosplay for me.
What is holding you back from making your dream cosplay becoming a reality?
Money. Space. Time. Working three jobs leaves me little time. Not having a home of my own (I'm a house guest at the moment until I can get a place) makes making anything difficult bc space is tight. Money. People ask me about cosplays and cons I have planned this year and my go-to response is "in this economy!" Because, well, in this economy?
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
I have so many. I think I will go with Becka Noel. She is super nice, SUPER talented, and is willing to get back to fans and help them and talk to us. She is working on cosplay patterns with McCalls, she produces amazing props, and she is leaning away from competing and is now judging cosplay contests because she is just that talented. Her "group" cosplays every year that she sets up and designs and organizes are mind blowing. You know of her Battle My Little Ponies from 2015 Katsucon and Valkyrie Eevees from 2016 Katsucon.
What awards have you won for your cosplays?
I took first place in "Comic Books" at NYCC 2015 with my Angela of Asgard cosplay, and went on to take Second Place over-all in the championships with that cosplay.
I then took Third Place in "Comic Books" with my Dark World Thor cosplay at the 2016 C2E2 Cosplay Championships. I wish I could have placed better in that one, but I am very lucky because everyone was deserving, it was stiff competition.
I also -not so much an award- but was selected to be the Cosplay Variant Cover for the November Marvel Relaunch of The Mighty Thor. I am on the cover of issue #1 in my Jane Thor cosplay.
Tell us about your experience as Lady Thor, specifically being chosen for the Marvel Comics variant cover!
Being Lady Thor has been an amazing opportunity. I was one of the first. (Roughly third or fourth from what I could find online) but I was certainly the one with the most exposure thanks to Marvel. I was asked to appear on Marvel Live and interviewed about my cosplay. My letter appeared at the end of issue number one. I was photographed in the end of issue three, and then the cover in November the following year. I just hit at the right time with just the right amount of passion and it really paid off. I made Thor because of passion and pride and love for the character. And I guess that genuineness shone through and was recognized.
What is your dream convention to attend?
I would love to hit SDCC at least once. But ECCC is a dream of mine. BlizzCon too would be a blast. I am so poor I just can't get to the west coast for those cons.
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
Not too much. Like, I guess bad wigs? Wigs have become so inexpensive and easily available to anyone with an internet connection, and can be shipped internationally typically at a reasonable cost, that when I see a really bad wig, I'm just like...did you even try? It's something that can actually distract from a good cosplay. It takes away from their effort put into their costume, which is unfortunate. So I guess that would be it. Oh, and not crediting the people who make costumes and props for others. If you didn't make what you are holding or wearing, the reply to "I love your cosplay" isn't "thanks!". No.
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that other's can learn from?
My first attempt at using worbla I didn't use a foam base. Don't do that. Use a foam base or things will be rippled. Measure twice cut once. Make sure you are sewing at the right a counted for seam allowance. Sew a little too deep a little too often and your body suit will be too small and you will be sad. Make a test costume if you are using expensive fabric. If you need to change something or adjust something, it's best to figure that out before you cut into your $50 a yard fabric.
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplayers?
Just do it. Don't let your cosplay dreams be dreams. Haha. Don't let people tell you you aren't the "right" gender, body type, race, or that you aren't a "real" fan. Just do it. My first Thor cosplay was made out of tshirts and I'm a chick. People I'm sure would have torn me apart if I went to a big con in that today. Just ignore the haters. They are unhappy people.
Do you have anything else you want to say, or add to this interview?
Cosplaying on a budget with no space is the crappiest thing ever, but don't let it beat you. If you are on hard times, or living with your parents and only have a small bedroom, don't let a temporary situation affect your happiness. Take care of your bills, your schooling, your life. But don't completely shelve you passions. You will become a shell of a person. Just work on something slow. Invest a little time and only a little money at a time.
Where can we find you on all things social?
I'm PepperMonster everywhere; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr.
What an amazing and positive woman. If you want to support her art, head to her Patreon page, and then watch out for her at a convention near you!