Geekdom Mainstream in Victoria’s Secret?

So there’s this popular runway show called Victoria Secret!  Were you aware of this tacky underwear show disguised as a high-fashion artistic display?  (If you are a cosplayer, by golly you are aware!) It’s really an elaborate ploy for non-listed designers (please someone prove me wrong, cuz they deserve mad props) to create amazing cosplay WINGS AND MORE WINGS, as featured above from their 2011 show.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the wings.  WINGS!  They are a cosplayer’s dream come true. (Style Channel, why aren’t you doing a big fat special on these wings.)  But for Victoria Secret’s 2012’s Runway Show, I saw a little something – in the background of a pic… WHAT IS THAT IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER—

It was Worth a Google, and I found it!  And what are my feelings!!  I don’t know!!!

For those who don’t know one of the top influential and top grossing anime’s of all time  and the character Rei Ayanami, well now you know.  And now you know it was on the Victoria’s Secret 2012 Hotties of the Hot Hotness Runways. (Oh yeah, I also worked on a Rei Ayanami plugsuit to match my own, 6 years ago!)

Feelings, fellow nerds?  I admit, I was pretty excited to see geekdom finally represented mainstream, at a Victoria’s Secret Show, which pretty much reads mainstrieam as SOMETHING I WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH. Which – let’s admit it – is a foreign, awkward feeling for those on the fringe of mainstream.  Seeing this on the runway for me feels validating, weirdly.  I can’t explain it.  Can you?  But at the same time… it’s not like they did anything innovative with the original design at all.  It wasn’t “influenced”.  It was ripped off.  It was SEXY HALLOWEENIFIED.  They cut out the boobs and put it on a grown woman, like a “sexy bee” or a “sexy cop” or a “sexy whatever of your choice, just make sure there’s boobs”.  (Although, the fact that in the series Rei is 14 and many runway models are also 14 might be a subversive statement.)

Do you think they just threw it out there for the geeks, because COMIC CON IZ SO POPULAR NOW, OMGZ EXCLAMATION POINTS???? It makes me wonder.

Comments?  I don’t really know what to think as a nerd that has loved this show since I was 14 myself.  On one hand, glad to see geekdom get more exposure.  But, how many people in the audience actually got it?  And does it matter?

And most importantly, when can I buy the Rei Support Angel Bra. I mean come on, now. Haha get it, ANGEL.
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Merry Halloween.

punk'in carving

Art by Justin Murray

So it is Halloween.  I am a cosplayer.  Here it is, the greatest of all dress up holidays!  And I am always disappointed.  Here are the top 5 reasons it sucks to be a cosplayer at Halloween.  HOLLA IN THE COMMENTS if you feel me here.  (Yeah, I’m accepting comments again!  And I talk back!  Woo woo!)

1) Friends (including friends of friends) come out of nowhere to ask for costumes.  They just ask for a little help.  On their giant full body armor masterpiece.  The week before Halloween.  Because you know, you make costumes and it’s easy for you.  And the price?  Well, it’s “for a friend” price.  Which is always “free” or “I’ll pay you $20 never” which boils down to “get you a shot of Jack sometime.”  Sadface.

2) Costumes in my closet everywhere, but none for Halloween.  Yes, I have over 60 costumes.  No, none of them will ever be recognized at a Halloween party.  One year I dressed as Pris from Blade Runner out on the town, which I thought would be somewhat popular.  How wrong I was.  The only response all night:  “R U A SEXY RACCOON?”

3) Stains.  Yes, stains.  As in, I do not want to wear my precious costumes that I spent workweeks creating to a bar where some jackass is going to back into me and spill a beer/neon drink all over it and stain it for ever.  No, “sorry” doesn’t pay the drycleaner.  (A free shot might pay the drycleaner, depending on how many people I can convince spilled their drink on me.)

4) A general ennui for Halloween costume parties.  Maybe it’s like dudes who watch too much porn.  I have been to so many insane costume conventions and judged so many awesome costumes that the run-o-the-mill mass-market store bought costume do not excite me.  I have been overstimulated.

5)  Losing costume contests to Vaginas.  It didn’t happen to me.  But it could have, had I not heeded the cautionary tale told by my friend.  Hours of construction slavery, an afternoon getting into an uncomfortable costume, wasted only to lose to a gag costume  for a $1000 prize.  Not me.  No thanks.

So what is the solution for a cosplayer on Halloween?  Dress head-to-toe in full character and give props to the one person who recognizes you all evening?  Or just mix-n-match pieces in your cosplay wardrobe to create something recognizable?  Let me know what you went as for Halloween and why!

I plan to go super casual tomorrow if I go anywhere, that is.  I might just stay home in my robot pajamas.  Kind of a costume, right?

And if you are wondering about this awesome piece of art, it is a collaboration with multi-talented artist Justin Murray who is currently working on Mortal Kombat as a main character designer, hullo!  And he has worked on God of War, Alien vs. Predator, and lots of other projects.  Check out his crap!  (It’s not crap, btw.)

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Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights – Silent Hill


In the vein of cosplay related goodness, here are some (albeit crappy) photos of the Silent Hill exhibit from Universal Studios Hollywood.  (SPOILERS AHEAD for anyone going to the Universal Studios exhibit.)  No flash photos, of course.  And the actors will not pose for pictures, also of course.  A friend tried to ask for pictures after being spooked by a freaky clown, who just shook his head and cartwheeled away.  So, nope.  It’s like wildlife photography!  You get what you get.  Pyramid Heads and Nurses in the wild!  Check out lurking PH on stilts on the side there…

Stalking the Escalator

Here’s what I could grab – the room with the Janitor legit smelled like poop – which was cool and gross (since his scene in the movie is in the toilet).  The costumes were fantastic.  I wish they showed more of a diversity of the SH universe but they were only going by the movie, so that equaled a bunch of pyramid heads, (why, there’s only one?) nurses, and Alessa’s behind glass panels like an expensive museum piece.  And a room at the end with multiple Robbie the Rabbits which was an especially creepy way to end the exhibit.

Mr. P Head

The best was watching the giant Pyramid Head stalking people coming down the escalators.  You can see him hiding in the shadows in the photos.  OH YEAH, he scared the crap out of me.  Even though I thought I was ready for it.  I was trying to turn on my camera while walking down the stairs, and BOO IN MY FACE SMOKE AND PYRAMID HEAD.  They played multiple songs from the SH soundtrack throughout the park, and the ubiquitous sirens the whole night.  Wish they pumped some ash through the park, but those Californians might have mistaken it for snow and left.  Which would have made the lines shorter.

While walking through the exhibit, I got a giant kiss on the cheek.  I thought it was my friend behind me trying to spook me, but when I turned around it was a bloody butcher.  My friend didn’t even notice.  What does that mean.  Ladies, never rely on a man.

While on the topic of Silent Hill, let me direct all 10 of you reading this to my favorite Silent Hill cosplayers, Avianna and Creative Guy.  These are 2 of the most obsessed SH cosplayers I know.  Avianna has created at least 6 amazing Silent Hill cosplays, here’s my favorite that I was lucky enough to photograph:

Siam by Avianna and Daguru - photo by Jia Jem

Creative Guy and his wife Alessa are so hardcore that they’ve recreated the environments of Silent Hill at their own home, and have created countless SH cosplays!  Here are the two of them in their cosplays, on their own set they created.

And lastly, here’s my Nurse cosplay from the original Silent Hill movie.  Click for the full gallery!  Can’t wait for the new movie, OH YES, I will be there in this costume at midnight.  But maybe minus the mask.  Don’t want to watch the whole movie with one eye.  >_o

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Third Cutie Mark Crusader!

Apple Bloom

Here she is, the third and final Cutie Mark Crusader from My Little Pony – Apple Bloom!  I don’t know what I was thinking with my last post saying this design would be more “mature” –  it’s toddler wear, basically.  It looked much sexier in my mind I guess.  (My mind isn’t full of sexy things, sadly.  Mostly just lots of neon colors, 80s and 90s cartoons, and big boots.)  I actually did have to buy supplies for this costume, unlike the other two but it’s like 3 costumes for the price of one!  I couldn’t find yellow corduroy so I dyed some cream corduroy I found yellow.  For the top I found a sheer mini-flower print that looks oh-so country!

The wig was tons of fun to style!  I wanted to do a pinup Victory Rolls style – Apple Bloom has these 3 little blobs on the front of her hair and I thought it would be a unique interpretation.  It started off as a stick-straight 70cm Classe wig.  I don’t know the color because it was a sample.  :(  I cut the bangs first, then curled the sides around some paper towel rolls, pinned it, and sprayed the crap out of it with Rave hairspray.  I used Nikki Napalm’s Youtube tutorial as a jumping point, however I did not curl the front sections first like she did.  Then I just curled the back in sections with a regular curling iron.  I love how the angle of the bangs came together with the ears and bow – it was a happy accident that I think looks totally rad!

I really wish I could take pictures of this costume this weekend, because the fall leaves are perfect in Illinois.  (And we do have, uh… a lot of farms out here for photos!)  However, as luck would have it I’m going to LA this weekend.  Aw man.  I hope the leaves stay on the trees until next week…

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Jumping on the Pony Bandwagon

Cutie Mark Crusaders

Image courtesy of MLP Wikia

So.  I have a lot of extra fabric.  In an effort to clean out my stash, I decided to make 3 quick costumes from My Little Pony – the Cutie Mark Crusaders!  Yes I know I am not a prepubescent girl anymore but I couldn’t help it, they’re just so cuuuuuuuuute!  I’m 2/3 done but wanted to share some progress:

Scootaloo by Jia*Jem

First up is Scootaloo!  Since she is super fast and zips around on her scooter, I wanted to give her a mod 60’s vibe, a la Trixie from Speed Racer or Haruko from FLCL.  The pattern for the dress is Simplicity 2927, with no major alterations made except to add darts to the bust because I sewed it without doing a mock up.  Whoops. :B  I made her a little scarf that gives homage to her bike helmet that’s purple with 2 white stripes.  The wig is a Scruffy in Hot Pink.  It didn’t turn out as mohawk-ey as I wanted, but it reminds me of Trixie so it’s cute in its own way, I guess.

OH YEAH, and I will TOTALLY look better than those crappy crap crap photos of me, crappy model, in the wig store.  God, those pictures really haunt me.  D:  They were meant to be for the forums ONLY, but somehow *someone* (who is not me) put them up as all the main product shots….. UGH.  There were no retakes, no retouching, it was just like having a mug shot taken 10 times in a row.  Not that I’d know.  Well, actually now I do know.  Can I pay bail to get those pictures taken down of me?  That is cruel and unnecessary…. also, I realize I am shooting myself in the foot telling you to not look at the pictures, because now you all will go look at them.  At least do the polite thing and order a wig when you’re there mocking me. :(

I digress.

Sweetie Belle by Jia*Jem

Next up is Sweetie Belle!  Her pastel hair whispered “Lolita” to me, so that’s what I did.  The only thing I bought for this costume was 1/2 yard of pink and purple satin for the large bows – I miraculously had tiny pink and purple bows and tons of white lace and a bolt of white satin hanging around.  I drafted a 4-panel skirt and sewed tons of ruffles all over it.  The shirt is from Bodyline.  The wig is 2 Holly wigs that I spliced together.  (Dark Pink and Light Purple.)   Since I had to use 2 wigs to make one, I made an extra two-toned wig that I am selling!  Email me (jia @ if you want a hand-sewed 2-tone wig.  :)

Last is Apple Bloom, which I hope to finish up by the end of the week!  I’m giving her a Bettie Page Country Pinup twist – definitely the most grown up out of the designs.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think so far!

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So. Um. I’m starting a blog.

After years of hemming and hawing, I’m starting a blog.  I thought it was a fad so I never did it.  HA.  I also don’t have facebook, or twitter, or any other social networking thingies there are out there.  But I’m going to start.  Slowly.

This blog is not going to be focused on cosplay and the cosplay community.  Not about me.  (Well, of course it will have to be about me to some extent… and also lots of progress pics and tutorials and goodies I’ve been storing.)  It will NOT be my masturbatory circle jerk about ME (is it a circle jerk if it only involves one person?) and the fabulous life of ME and don’t you wish you were ME.  It will be philosophical, informative, possibly witty, and hopefully contributing to the cosplay community I have seen grow during the past decade.

So please check back, I have a long google document list of cosplay topics to type about.  I’ll be starting an RSS and maybe allowing comments again.

Post Script:  I’m not doing any Leeloo Suspenders this Halloween season, so to all the nice inquiries I’ve had, I’m sorry but it’s not happening for 2012!  Forgive me if I don’t write back.

OLD Photos :: Lilith from Darkstakers

Jia Jem as Lilith from Darkstalkers

Haha! These were taken by Lane Tech in Chicago, IL a long long time ago. Found them when rummaging through old computer files. It’s pretty sad when cosplay photos bring on nostalgia – that’s when you know they’re OLD! XD