So I have been on this site for a few months now and I have been overwhelmed by all the attention I've been receiving here. From the wonderful comments people have been leaving on the page to all of the requests to post my pictures in various groups - it's been an awesome experience! I have worked very hard to do justice to the Baroness character and receiving so much positive feedback has made all the work even more rewarding. I have had quite a few people emailing me with questions about how I first got into doing Baroness costuming or how I put together my uniform. So I thought I would take this opportunity to talk a little bit about my background and answer these questions.
I have always been interested in costuming, but was more of an observer than a participant for many years. My first real foray into cosplay was in 2008 when I talked to a seamstress friend of mine about creating a Silk Spectre costume (the original, pin up-inspired Silk Spectre). I have always been a huge fan of the original Watchmen graphic novel, and when I saw the costume that had been created for Carla Gugino, I knew I had to cosplay her! So over the course of a few months, my friend created a dress and waist cincher for me and I put together the rest of the accessories and I debuted the outfit at the 2009 SD Comic Con. I loved walking around as an alter ego, becoming that person for the day, taking pictures (so many pictures!) and feeling like I was part of this greater community. I was hooked.
Part of the appeal of cosplay for me was the idea of being in a dedicated costuming group. As fun as it was to be in costume as Silk Spectre, I thought it would be even more fun to connect with a group of people who also shared a passion for particular characters. Then in 2010, I was talking to a good friend of mine who was forming a Cobra/GI Joe costuming group. I was intrigued. He was looking for someone to do a Scarlet uniform, but then he brought up the Baroness and I was instantly drawn to that. I have to admit, I was not a huge GI Joe fan growing up, so my knowledge of that universe was limited, but the more I read up on the Baroness, the more she appealed to me as a character. I had never done a villain before, and she was both sexy and a serious ass kicker, so I was in! At that point, I started doing research into putting together an appropriate uniform. I found that there were a lot of variations on the uniform, so I chose to go with the classic black from the 80s cartoons. My friend, the leader of the group, gave me a lot of information on costuming sources and reference info and I was off and running. He was also the one who referred me to Pit Viper Studios, pitviperstudios.net/ the awesome folks who created my chest plate and arm guards.
Putting my initial uniform together took a few months and I wore it for the first time at Wizard World in 2011. Looking back at it now, it kind of sucked. (This is one of the lessons I've learned about costuming: A costume is always a work in progress and you're always repairing/upgrading.) But at the time, I was thrilled with it. It consisted of a shiny black vinyl catsuit with a red Cobra logo decal attached to the front, a black vinyl waist-cincher, a simple military-style belt with one holster, shiny black platform boots and, the crucial Baroness accessory, black-framed glasses. I had a blast at Wizard World; it was my first time as part of a costuming group (there were only three of us at this point, myself and 2 troopers) and if I thought I had been stopped for a lot of pics as Silk Spectre, it was nothing compared to how many pics we took as Cobra. This is another thing I would quickly learn about cosplay: when you're in costume at a con, be prepared to walk 5 feet, stop and take a pic, walk 5 more feet, stop and take a pic - I am so not complaining about this, btw, I love it
Between Wizard World and SD Comic Con, I greatly improved upon my costume. I switched out the military belt with a custom made leather belt with dual holsters. I upgraded the glasses to some sleek, rectangular black framed Ray Bans. I received my custom armor from Pit Viper and the addition of the chest plate and arm guards transformed the costume from ok to WOW. (And after some adjustments to the fit of the chest plate, it looked even better). SDCC was my first time attending a con with a large costuming group and it was an amazing experience. The attention was overwhelming, but it was so gratifying to have people coming up and just saying "WOW" or having lifelong fans of Cobra and GI Joe telling us that our outfits were amazing. Hearing comments like, "wow, you ARE the Baroness" or "you just took me back to my childhood" just blew me away. Of course, I'm not naive. I do realize that the Baroness's outfit is pretty sexy and fetishized and that is the appeal for some people, but I have to say that people were generally respectful and friendly and I never felt uncomfortable.
After a rather tragic wardrobe malfunction at SDCC (I brought 2 catsuits with me and not one but both of them ripped while I was there) I decided I needed to upgrade the catsuit. I had been buying them through ebay and the quality was dubious, but I found a site www.liquidvinylclothing.com/ that offers catsuits made to your custom measurements, so I laid out a significant amount of money and invested in one. I have to say, it has totally paid for itself - I have had it for over a year and it still looks and fits great! The final upgrade to the outfit was a Cobra logo belt bucket to replace the plain silver one that came with the belt. And that is the uniform I have worn to all the cons from late 2011 until the most recent con, Long Beach Comic Con. (I did recently receive an upgraded pair of arm guards that I wore to LBCC, but they still need to be adjusted/sized). I am still thinking about upgrading a few things though: I would love to find/create a belt like the one featured on the new Sideshow Baroness figure and I'd like to add a pair of Cobra-logo'ed knee pads.
And as the 2013 con season approaches...I will be adding another costume to my repertoire. Several folks from my Cobra group are in the process of putting together our uniforms for an awesomely retro Star Trek: TOS cosplay group! I'm really excited about it and we will most likely be debuting our group at WonderCon in March of 2013. I am also seriously considering upgrading my Silk Spectre costume (the dress needs to be resized as I've lost weight since 2009) so I can wear it to SDCC this coming year. Stay tuned for more details and pics and thank you all for continuing to support my page!
QUICK PLUG: If you have not done so already, please check out and "like" my Baroness fan page on Facebook www.facebook.com/Cobra3NWBaron… to see lots more photos!