Cat’s Pajamas Cosplay Spotlight: Ashayla Webster
I love my interviews. I get to meet cool people, find out some of their stories and share it with you. I also love a good cosplay. This brought me to a new series of interviews, where I’ll be highlighting some of what I consider very diverse and skilled cosplayers. Cat’s Pajamas Cosplay will feature those who not only nail their costumes but also nail their character.
I decided to stay in my own pond for this first one and interview someone I know and consider to be kind of a badass, well rounded, salt of the earth cosplayer to start, Ashayla Webster. She’s a friend, volunteer, and represents the best of geek culture. Ashayla is actually involved with so many different things, it would be difficult to capture all of them in one space but I’m going to try and share just a tiny bit of this beautiful person with you.
Let’s start with your day job- What is it you do and why?
By day I’m a Social Community Manager. That delightfully douche title basically means I’m a professional social media junkie. I work through a marketing agency where I manage client’s social media accounts. I update their content, respond to customer’s, drive engagement and all the other tasks required of running and growing successful social accounts. I’m also a copywriter, meaning I write good. I provide content for webpages, brochures, posters, TV advertisements and whatever else it is the client wants pretty words for. Why do I do this? Because I can? Haha. I guess I’m a creative with a marketing mindset and writing degree, so this was a fitting position. I enjoy my job.
Separate from work and cosplay- what keeps you busy? How do you spend your free time?
Free time? What is this magical moment you speak of? Outside of work and cosplay I spend some time volunteering for various organisations, mostly to raise funds for children’s charities…though I suppose that still counts as cosplay. Strictly following the ‘no cosplay’ rule, I’m a gym junkie. I’m in the gym lifting weights six days a week and I practice yoga on top of this. I also enjoy photography and spending time with friends and family, especially my gorgeous little nephew who is currently obsessed with football. I love to game, though have seemed to move to board games over the past few years…probably because I haven’t funded the upgrade to a PS4 yet. I also love to garden. Despite only being in my petite little home for a year, I have a thriving garden both front and back and I love to tend to it and see it flourish.
How did you get into cosplay?
I’ve always loved costuming, but I didn’t get into cosplay as such until I attended my first OzComicCon, the very first one to come to my state of Australia. My partner had purchased himself a Smallville Green Arrow costume, insisting you just don’t go to ComicCon out of costume, so I threw together a Black Canary to accompany. That was it. I became a cosplay junkie.
When did you start?
What has been your most difficult cosplay to date?
Probably Elsa. I remade that costume four or five times before begrudgingly buying one. Because I felt such a connection with the character, I wanted the costume to be perfect….a fool’s errand really.
What were the mistakes you made when building at the beginning?
Probably procrastinating. 😛 And being impatient. I have a terrible habit of not making a pattern/toile before creating the final piece. Sometimes that means I’ve successfully skipped a piece…sometimes it means I’ve just screwed the pooch and wasted material.
If you had a material list overall that you always needed at some point what would it be?
Fabric scissor, thread, measuring tape and a piece of chalk. They are always on hand and used far more often than anything else.
How important is cosplaying to your life and what do you get out of it?
Huge question there…I love the researching, designing and photographing the pieces…but I could do without the bitchiness and one-up-men-ship from some other cosplayers. I suppose it fills a lot of time and is a great outlet for my love of research and creation. Self-satisfaction is what I get out of it. When I attend charity events though…it’s quite different. This I love doing. I love cheering up kids and making their days.
Have you experienced cons from the standpoint of a “norm” and if so how did it compare to the cosplay experience?
I don’t think I’ve ever attended a convention out of costume. My first con was pretty daunting, but I loved it.
What are your thoughts on gender bending in cosplay?
I’ve done one or do, so it’s no skin off my nose. I tend to do a more direct cross-dress style gender bend, where you just alter the design slightly to suit the female form, but I have no issues with cosplayers who do a full on alter.
If you could cosplay anyone with no budgetary limits or skill limitation who would it be?
I really want to do Batgirl, but I can’t quite decide between Stephanie’s and Barbara’s New 52 purple suit. Either way….to purchase ready-made I’m looking at well over anything I can afford.
Do you have any recommendations for those interested in starting out? Websites, tutorials, advice?
There are some great groups on Facebook for support and tutorials such as The Replica Prop Forum. My advice for newbies is always don’t worry about what other people do. Cosplay what you want to cosplay and how you want to cosplay it. Screw everyone else. Just have fun!
For more of Ashayla’s work, check out her Facebook page and follow along to see who she’ll be next!