She may be the ghoul of your dreams, but LeeAnna Vamp is our Cosplayer of the Month.
At the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention, LeeAnna Vamp sat down for an interview to discuss cosplay, the undead, tattoos and being a bad ass.
Tell me how you got started as a cosplayer.
– “You probably met us at the very beginning. It was years and years ago. Just going to San Diego Comic-Con as a fan, this year will mark 13 years of SDCC, for me. I’m always with Cameron, he’s the camera guy. He and I started I Love Nerd Girls. Basically, it’s a highlight show of what’s going on at the conventions. In doing that show, we saw people dressing up in fun costumes. I knew about cosplay, but I feel like within the past five years, it’s really picked up and within the past two years it’s really become a thing. People recognize it. So, I’ve probably been doing it for five years, coming out as a guest, getting a table and signing prints.”
What was your very first costume?
– “If I really go back, when I was first going to conventions, it was my Vamp character: Leather, studs, spikes, all that kind of stuff. The first big one that I’m proud of: Chewbacca.”
This is the first time I’ve seen you at a convention without your Chewbacca suit.
– “Yeah. I know. I usually do bring it out. The only thing is, when I travel, the shoes take up about a whole suitcase. It costs a lot to ship it and it’s had some battle damage. It needs a little re-do in some areas. It’s just loose fur and stitches, falling apart.”
Do you sew your costumes by hand?
– “I try, as much as I can. There’s certain things that I get commissioned, like the Han Solo belt. Obviously, I’m not a leathersmith. I don’t have a machine shop. There are certain things I can’t do. When I know I can’t do it, I commission pieces and I’m perfectly OK with that.”
You seem to crossplay quite a few characters.
– “I tend to do male characters. I don’t know why, it just happens. I don’t really think about it. Mostly, it’s because the male characters are bad asses. Chewbacca’s a bad ass. Han Solo’s a bad ass. Daryl, from The Walking Dead, is a bad ass. I want to be that. It’s just things that kind of catch my eye. Now that I look at everything on my table, I might have some issues going on, like an identity crisis. (laughs)”
What kind of advice do you have for beginner cosplayers?
– “My biggest advice is: Do what you love. The most important thing is to have fun. I know there’s drama in the whole cosplay scene of people picking things apart, but if you have a store-bought costume for your cosplay, that’s perfectly fine. If you want to make every aspect, from head to toe, that’s fine, as well. Just do what you love and have a good time doing it.”
Obviously, you’re a fan of The Walking Dead. Who are some of your favorite characters?
– “From the show, it’s Daryl, because he’s a bad ass and he has a cross-bow. I love carrying a cross-bow around. It feels cool. From the books, I would have to say Rick. It’s an obvious pick, but he’s been through so much more in the comics. If you go through them, you think, ‘How is this man alive?’ I give him a lot of credit. In the show, he’s great as well, but he doesn’t have a crossbow. So, sorry Rick.”
What’s your favorite Zombie show or movie?
– “Right now, the Walking Dead is my favorite show. There are so many amazing Zombie movies, but I think I’m so zoned-in on The Walking Dead. It’s an obsession. I’m going to miss it tonight, because I’m going to be on a plane, so I might stay up ’til 3 or 4 in the morning… it’s been a local trend this weekend. We’re just going to roll with it, so I can watch it and be up to date and not look at Facebook and ruin it for me.”
What are you currently geeking out to?
– “The Walking Dead comics. I’ve got all the books, 1 through 19, and 19 will be read during my plane-ride home. I’ve got one left to read. It’s pretty intense, completely different from the TV show — which I love. It’s a whole-new experience. It’s got a lot more villains. So many new villains have been introduced in the past two or three books. I’m interested to see which direction the show’s going, at this point. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.”
Tell me a little about your new knuckle tattoos. What was your inspiration?
– “I can bend my hand. We’re making progress, now. I’ve always seen people with knuckle tattoos, thinking, ‘That looks cool.’ Usually, when people have knuckle tattoos, they’re covered. I only have one other one and I’m going to be perfectly honest: I’m a huge baby. It hurt so bad, I was almost in tears. I think I want one more — a small cat on my wrist — and then I’m done. No more. It’s too painful.”
Will your tattoos be an issue with your modeling job?
– “I have the one on my wrist. It’s pretty big. It stands out. It’s easy to hide. Just turn your hand. Most places don’t care and they can Photoshop it out, if they hate it. I think we’ve come a long way, in that industry. You even see high-fashion models on the runway with tattoos, so I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as it was before. Now, you can even dab on makeup to make them disappear. I think I should be OK… I hope.”
What conventions are you headed to next?
– “I’m very excited, actually. After this, I have a couple of weeks off — which is fantastic. I get to be home and work on stuff and be with my animals. The next big one is Salt Lake Fan X, in April. After that, I have one May. Check my Website. I don’t even know. I have it written down, somewhere. Another big one I’m looking forward to is Montreal Comiccon in September. I’ve never been there before. Possibly Mexico, later in the year.”