Sunday, 9 March 2014

Why Gabby?

So ok, here’s a big question I was pondering when I first dreamed up this blog. If I’m going to make a character from ‘Xena’ my inspiration for spiritual strength and physical fitness, surely Xena herself would be the obvious choice, right?

Well it’s true enough that Xena is certainly the driving force behind some of my emotional developments. The “Warrior Princess” theme is my ‘get up and go’ track of choice, and I am considering getting a WWXD bracelet to refer to when times get tough. This is all well and good, but as a cosplayer I like to have a more practical goal to aim for, so naturally the journey I’m taking involves at least one cosplay.

As it stands, I do not have either the skill or the budget to be Xena , nor do I look even slightly like her in terms of face or build. (There was a brief time long ago when I had considered making myself a Xena costume out of leather or leatherette and cardboard or plate metal but ultimately I kind of like playing characters to whom I bear at least a passable resemblance.) So I decided to look elsewhere.

Velasca, God of Chaos. Another cosplay I considered.
As a show, ‘Xena’ is abundant in beautiful costumes. I have considered a variety of other outfits from the show as well, either for aesthetics or for giggles. I’m also a Joxer fan and while I’m not adverse to crossplay (I spent a year running around as the Tenth Doctor) his kit also falls under the category of too complicated in terms of prop making. There is the option of genderbending which would give me a bit more freedom in terms of design but I reckon ultimately I’ll show my Joxer-love by cosplaying Annie Day from ‘Deja Vu...’ at some point. Yes I’ll have to work with leatherette again, yes I’ll undoubtedly wind up bleeding over my sewing machine, but hey – I get to wear my glasses as part of a costume! Velaska was another one I looked at, and may still do, simply as I have always loved her outfit and character. The asymmetry and fabrics of her outfit as awesome. I’ve also done Aphrodite, but (un)fortunately there are no photographs. However I do believe she is still lurking in a box somewhere....

Even further back in the mists of time I had considered a Callisto costume. That may have been more feasible than Xena, as most of the metal work in that seems to involve hitting rivets with hammers, and that’s something even I can do. But in terms of physique I am nowhere CLOSE to Hudson, and while I don’t rigidly cosplay only to my own build, I doubt attempting to look like her would do much for my confidence. Years of eating disorders have taken their toll and my body image is a shy, fragile little creature prone to go scurrying off into the woodlands like a frightened rabbit at the first hint of an unflattering photograph. And while I WAS able to slim down to spend a year as a moderately convincing Amy Pond, THAT didn’t involve a leather bikini. Facially I am more like Hudson than Renee, (wide skull, brown eyes, small chin, rather toothy grin prone to looking a little manic) but I’m probably a passable Gabby in terms of both face and physique. (Well, I say physique, I mean a physique I can reasonably aim for in the time I have without resorting back to unhealthy habits.)

So, Gabrielle looks to be the best in terms of both self image and costuming ability, but what of the costumes themselves? How do I choose, what to do, what to skip?

I agonised over which one to choose before deciding to do ALL of them: The peasant dress, the crossover twinset, the BGSB, the sari, the leathers, the red velvet, then most likely the Amazon Princess and Amazon Queen kits and maybe one of her one off dresses too. She has a lovely range of costumes which decrease in coverage throughout but increase in complexity, so I can expand my skills and fitness simultaneously as I work my way through the seasons. I’m going to be implementing many different skills as I work through the project, including embroidery, beading, weaving, leatherwork, prop making, jewellery making, and maybe even the odd bit of metalwork. And hopefully as each costume comes together I’ll have achieved the physique I want to look and feel good wearing it, and can, little by little, show some abs as I gradually regain them...

The ever shrinking outfits of Gabrielle.

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