This week we have another cosplayer named Kyle! Foamsmeef Kyle is 24 years young and from Navarre, Florida. He’s cosplayed as Kisame from Naruto, Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Justicar Aatrox from League of Legends, Nuktuk (Bolin) from Legend of Korra, Dorian Pavus from Dragon Age: Inquisition, Yule Ball Hufflepuff from Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire and Pharah from Overwatch. You may have seen him at San Japan 2014, Anime Fest 2014, Pensacon 2015, Mobicon 2015, Mechacon 2015, Emerald Coast Comic-Con 2015, Fandom Con 2015, Geekonomicon, Yule Ball 2015, or Pensacola 2016.
Which character have you always wanted to cosplay as but haven’t had a chance to yet?
Oh man! That’s a tuffy. Hm.
I’ve kind of been working on a Sasori: Puppet Master of the Sand from the Naruto Shippuden series; and I guess by working on I actually mean “neglecting for the last year and a half since its conception.” But, I think it’s gonna be the super boss when I finally finish it.
The idea: I plan to cosplay as Sasori in his basic puppet form from when he was dueling it out with Sakura and Granny Chiyo, with the poisoned cable, spinning blades, and shakra compartment (don’t forget the awesome spirit scroll that gives his puppet body life!); however, I wanted to take it to the next level so I wanna build 4 of his puppets also: the mother, father, Hiruko, and the Third Kaekage! (All with working mouths and weapons and arms and stuff.) … I get ambitious sometimes.
You haven’t been cosplaying very long, what go you started in the first place?
So, it was April-ish of 2014, and I was at a tech school at Goodfellow Air Force Base in the middle of San Angelo, Texas. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever been to San Angelo, but it’s literally in the middle of nowhere Texas with the nearest cities being about 3 – 4 hours in every direction. One fateful Thursday one of my nerd friends asks if I wanna go down to San Antonio in a week for an anime convention. I guess there was a crazy magic tournament and a possible pro-League (LOL: League of Legends) player who would be attending that he wanted to meet. I wasn’t sure what conventions were about so I decided to do some research and happened upon the show: “Heroes of Cosplay.”
I literally fused myself to my computer (I realize the use of literally makes this statement relatively impossible) for the next 12 hours to binge on all the glory that was happening before me. Not only did it feature everything I secretly loved in life from anime to video games but it coupled this love with creativity and something I could make with my hands and really physically work on. I didn’t even see the drama or the plot twists in the show, all I saw was an amazing introduction to the world of cosplay.
I ran to show the three other guys going on the trip with us what cosplay was, (and all being closet nerds) they got really excited and said we should go to the Akatsuki gang from Naruto Shippuden. I spent the next week shut away in my dorm room when I wasn’t at class; toiling away to make a Kisame Hoshigaki cosplay; cutting foam scales to make his giant sword, sewing the Akatsuki cloak, finding blue face paint, converting my shower shoes into ninja sandals.
It was all coming together, and I finished the night prior to leaving for San Japan in San Antonio, Texas. I knew I would have to drive in the morning so I went to bed nice and early so I could get up around 2 A.M. and get in costume before I had to make the 4-hour drive with a car full of dudes to this convention. And so I did, and as I walk out to the car at 4 A.M. I see all four others passed out in the passenger seats not in costume. “WTF?!” I exclaimed. Their initial response was just wild laughter followed by a weak “We didn’t actually think you were serious!”
At that point, I’d already done all the work and gotten ready, and it would’ve all been a waste, so I just said “Fark it! I’m goin in costume without you fools!”
So I did, and little did I know that it was gonna be a decision that would forever change my life. Starting with the awkward and terrifying walk from the parking garage to the con I was already getting looks and pictures, even stopped by a family with kids who wanted to document their trip to downtown San Antonio by getting a picture with some dude dressed like an anime character. Entering into the convention area and slowly seeing cosplays of characters I knew, growing in number the closer we got to the door. Bursting through the entrance and being transported from in real life to the world I had only previously existed in my mind. Exploding into a myriad of characters and fandoms and being admired for the work I had done bringing a character to real life. I fell in love. And now cosplay and I are going steady and intend to be married before the summer is over. That was a joke…
I heard that you are a hardcore self-made cosplayer?
Everything I’ve done so far has been 100 percent made. I just think I have more fun thinking of the ways to try and fabricate all the pieces. It gives me a real sense of pride in what I produce. I have no qualms with anything bought or commissioned. Each of them is a way to really express a love for the fandom. I just prefer homemade, with tender love and care, and occasional fits of despair.
You’ve done a lot of good work, what cosplayers inspire you?S
Cosplay Senpai. The wonderfully skilled and beautifully spirited Holly Conrad “Commander Holly”! If you haven’t checked out her youtube channel yet, you should! She is an amazing cosplayer and Imagineer, but what makes me look up to her most, is her attitude! She is always open-minded, accepting, and encouraging of everyone no matter what their choices are in life. I want to be her when I grow up.
Construction Senpai(s) (I realize adding an s on the end of a Japanese term probably doesn’t pluralize it): Will Morgan of WM Armory and Bill Doran of Punished Props. Thier work speaks for itself. Go check it.
What does Cosplay mean to you?
It means a chance to really do what I love most in life with other people who have the same passions and hobbies.
So it changed your life?
Cosplay saved me. It really has completely shifted my life. It really gave me a purpose. Cosplay actually came to me at a time in my life when I was really down. I’ma be pretty open bookish about this, and this is probably one of the few times I’ve ever shared this story. But, I was 22 and just found out that I was being broken up with and that my spouse wanted a divorce… I didn’t really have much I was living for I was kindof just floating through daily life, doing a routine. I kind of lost feeling. But cosplay distracted me at first, gave me a goal, and then I kindof moved from one love to another. It became my therapy, my coping mechanism, and my future.
I’ve always kinda searched for my calling or a job that I would never get tired of doing, and cosplay is that job! When I get out of the military in about two years, I already have business plans to open up a cosplay supply shop locally here in Florida and run a workshop out of the back. Basically offering costuming and prop workshops to the local colleges and schools, maybe even an after-school program; all while taking commissions and producing my signature “niche” product that I can run on the convention circuits.
What are your views of being body positive when doing cosplay?
I’m all for it. Cosplay is for everyone. You do you boo. Literally whatever character you love the most I think you should cosplay. It makes you feel so good.
The one segway I have to that point (I actually do a panel on this), is that you should cosplay whoever or whatever you want but also feel comfortable. There are many ways you can cosplay a character and take artistic liberties to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. For example: Take Aquaman (I was thinking animated Justice League series from the early 2000s), most of the time depicted as a shirtless character.
If you don’t feel comfortable going shirtless, you can always do maybe a different rendition of this character with a shirt or even design your own you think the character would wear. For females: Let’s use Poison Ivy for this one. If you don’t feel comfortable in a leotard type getup why not transform Poison Ivy into an armored badass. There’s always options, and for those of you who are bold enough to take on less clothed superheroes or outfits that show a little skin more power to you! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Everyone is a special snowflake, and everyone has their own limits and style. No “one way” is the right way and no “one way” will work for everybody.
There’s always options, and for those of you who are bold enough to take on less clothed superheroes or outfits that show a little skin more power to you! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. Everyone is a special snowflake, and everyone has their own limits and style. No “one way” is the right way and no “one way” will work for everybody.
What’s a tip you give to others who want to get into cosplay?
Aidunno if it’s necessarily a tip but, just go for it! Charge full force into that challenge, swords a blazing and spells ready! Go big or go home! Oh and like Jake the Dog says “Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.”
What’s an interesting fact about yourself outside of cosplay?
I have a boy cat named “Hillary Rodham Kitten”. I like puns.
The day my roommate and I were moving his stuff into my house he asks me “Hey, do you own a cat?” To which I replied, “Nah, I hate cats, they practice devil magic.” And he said “Welllll… there’s a cat in your house, and it’s staring at me.” It was a baby tabby kitten who had wandered in through the door while we were bringing in some boxes. It mewed at me longingly, and so I gave it some tuna. Then it never left. My roommate and I had never really seen a baby kitten let alone determine it’s gender so we just looked in the back and didn’t really see much, so we figured it was a girl. Didn’t know he was a boy till he got fixed and by then he already responded to Hillary. So it stuck.
We hope two more kittens wander in, a white or gray one with blue eyes we can name “Anderson Coo-purr” and a female black cat we can name “Moni-cat Lewinski.”
Besides cosplay, what other nerdy/geeky things do you do?
Oh, balls! You have no idea. I have a ridiculous comic collection which costs me a way to much each week. I used to be a video game addict: Neverwinter Nights and Elder Scrolls were my shiz. Most recently I finished a pacifist playthrough of undertake and loved every second of it. It’s super witty for anyone who hasn’t played it yet. Pokemon has a constant presence in my life. I can’t stay away from SyFy and their current series, especially the magicians. And it probably needs to be dusted off, but D&D books take up a hefty space in my hall closet. I try to surround myself with as much stuff as possible, so the AFK syndrome of IRL doesn’t ever feel too permanent.
What upcoming events will we see you cosplay at again?
In about a month I will be at CoastCon in Biloxi, Mississippi representing DarkshiCreations and Darkshi’s Angels (The amazing photographer behind my faun creature). If you are in the area, come check out the booth! And you can always hit up DarkshiCreations on Facebook as well as the angels profile to see what’s going on there.
My next event will be Pensacon, a local but growing con in the area, I’m holding two panels and a workshop (as well as helping out friends with their panels) and tend to compete Pharah with our Overwatch group of Mercy and Reinhardt.
Myself and a local group of cosplayers here have kind of formed a cosplay super crew. There’s about 6 or 7 of us all with different talents and specialties. We call ourselves “The Special Snowflake Brigade”! It’s actually kind of where my handle name came from “Foamsmeef” because I am known for my foam-smithing with cosplay, and naturally during a convention, giving a panel on foam smithing with nearly 0 hours of sleep I started mixing and slurring words. Thus “Foamsmeef” was born.
Where can fans get more of you?
Anything you would like to say to your fans?
If I have fans then “WOW THANKS, GUYS! MESSAGE SENPAI SO HE CAN NOTICE YOU!” If not then… I’m just talking random nonsense into the universe.