Welcome to Cosplay Spotlight – a new feature here at Nerd Nation, where each month we’ll be spotlighting a new cosplay artist in a showcase of both their talent on display in selected photos, as well as the personality behind the talent in an exclusive interview. For this second ever edition, we have selected Amanda Finley!
Amanda is a cosplayer, costumer, model, and comic book writer from Greenville, South Carolina who has been making quite the impact on the cosplay world with her multifaceted artistic talents, stunning looks, and infectious personality. We had the chance to sit down with her following our appearances together at this year’s Free Comic Book Day event. Read on for more photos and the exclusive interview!
Nerd Nation: To begin with, how and when did you first get into cosplaying?
Amanda Finley: “It all began with a love of Halloween. To this day, Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, so I’ve always loved making costumes. Accuracy is a big deal to me, and unfortunately, store-bought Halloween costumes are often very inaccurate. So I started making my own! I originally made horror outfits, and gradually, I branched out into video game outfits and comics. Then I started going to conventions and have been making costumes ever since!”
NN: Do you make all of your own costumes yourself?
AF: “Yes, I do! If I’ve bought a costume from a friend or if I’m borrowing a costume, I’ll make a note of it on my page giving credit where it’s due. But 99% of my costumes are hand-made myself, and I only include costumes I’ve made in my Completed Cosplay albums.”
NN: What are some of your biggest influences/inspirations on your cosplays?
AF: “Movies! Comics! I love how things are made.
Also, I have incredibly talented friends that constantly inspire me and offer advice.”
NN: Of all the cosplays you’ve done, what would you say was your favorite one? Why?
AF: “That’s a hard question to answer. Perhaps my Nightcrawler? It’s a very painful cosplay to wear — I’m in body paint, wearing binding with my fingers tied together, heelless high heels, and very uncomfortable contacts that I can’t see out of, but I’m also very proud of it. Nightcrawler’s my favorite X-Man and I suffer that much only for that character.”
NN: Your name seems to pop up on a lot of convention guest lists. Did you ever think you’d be a guest at a con, as opposed to just an attendee?
AF: “Nooo, never. It was never a goal of mine. I just simply enjoy goofing off with friends in costume at cons, so it always surprises me when conventions want me to be a guest.”
NN: On the subject of conventions, what are some of your personal favorite conventions? Why?
AF: “I have a few of them, and I enjoy them all for different reasons: HeroesCon (in Charlotte, NC) and SC ComicCon (in Greenville, SC) because I absolutely adore comic art and meeting artists and writers and buying prints. I’ve always wanted to publish my own graphic novel, so I definitely enjoy the Comic Conventions.
AWA and MomoCon (in Atlanta, GA) because I get to hang out with friends. It’s like a mini vacation! And DragonCon (in Atlanta, GA) for the sheer intense insanity! I haven’t been for the last two years, but I plan on going back some day.”
NN: You also do quite a bit of modeling. Do you prefer cosplay modeling or more traditional modeling?
AF: “I’m definitely more comfortable with cosplay modeling. If I do traditional modeling, I want there to be a theme — Apocalypse or Witch or something artistic and strange. I like to tell stories through pictures, which probably explains why I want to write my own graphic novel!”
NN: Any new projects currently in the works that you’d care to share with us?
AF: “I’ve kinda been wanting to work on something Disney themed. We’ll see!”
NN: Finally, what advice would you give to someone new to the cosplay world?
AF: “I always have a few tips to give to new cosplayers:
Everyone makes mistakes. Even the best cosplayer stays up ’till 3am trying to fix that piece of fabric they’ve sewn on backwards somehow. Don’t get discouraged, but also don’t stress yourself out. If it stresses you too much, it’s not worth it. – The internet is a cruel place. It doesn’t matter how wonderful you look or how talented you are, if someone takes your photo at a con, there is a chance it’ll end up online. And that’s where people hide behind anonymity and say terrible things — You’re too thin, too fat, too pale, too dark, you don’t look like the character, why are you cosplaying if you aren’t showing your boobs… the list goes on. I’ve had people say awful things about me online, and it can kill your self esteem if you let it. A hundred compliments can be taken away from you by one mean comment. Just remember that anonymous words from random internet dwellers have no weight. They live to tear others down to justify their own downfalls. Have fun and let those people type angrily on their computer. At least you’re out enjoying life. – And perhaps most importantly, surround yourself with friends that will support you and offer constructive criticism! Have sewing days! Inspire each other and cheer each other on! I’ve met some of the best people through conventions and cosplay!”
For more on Amanda Finley, including more photos of her work, check out her official Facebook page @AmandaFinleyCrafts. We would like to thank Amanda for taking time out of her schedule to speak with us, and wish her nothing but success in all of her endeavors. See you all next month when we’ll be back with yet another edition of Cosplay Spotlight! Same Nerd Time! Same Nerd Channel!
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine