For The Uninspired Woman: Our aim is to inspire women from all walks of life and today we want to provide content for all our female nerds, geeks, cosplay and anime lovers.
Have you ever wanted to attend comic con but not had the confidence to ?
Have you ever found yourself daydreaming for hours, wishing you were in a fantasy world ?
Do you find it hard to express your nerdy side to the people around you ?
Well Wonita Christine has your back because below we have an exclusive interview with Lolita Nightingale a.k.a Renee. BE INSPIRED.
Be inspired articles uploaded every Monday
Meet Lolita Nightingale aka Renee
Renee is an extremely creative individual. Not only is she a cosplayer but she’s a writer, voice over actress and university student.
Where did your creativity derive from ?
Ever since I was in primary school I’ve always had that side of me that wanted to make or create something! I enjoyed reading a lot of those fairy books you’d get in the school libraries and every day after school I remember going to the public library with my friend – which is where I was introduced to manga, anime and AMV’s (anime music videos). I think it was the fact that I had spent so long experiencing these fantasy worlds; each of them filled with endless possibilities, that I got the urge to create one through writing. It was one of those realisations of: “so I can just put all my favourite things in this world and have it become reality on a page?!” And from there the need to create in different mediums when I was experiencing creative blocks with writing forced me to delve into other interests such as voice acting and cosplay.
Did you face any challenges growing up, in regards to being a black woman trying to express her creativity ?
There are a lot of challenges when it comes to doing anything creative. I think as a black woman there are things expected of me when I tell stories. I HAVE to write about slavery, I HAVE to write about black peoples rights. I HAVE to write about my origins as a black woman. I HAVE to write about the bad times and the struggle. There is the fear that I will be known more for my colour and what that represents than myself as a person. Even though I know sometimes those people had good intentions, there was always the complaint of why isn’t my main character black, and so on. I think there’s also the fear of not being taken seriously that I struggled with growing up. I mean it’s common for writers in general but I think growing up black meant most of my teachers didn’t believe me when I told them. Or my mother would think it was a waste of time and not academic enough. Something that wouldn’t provide me with a real job. I was always directed onto another route. I had one teacher who was American who did her utmost best to help my writing career though. She’d bring me magazines for competitions and she would read my work for me and encourage me which was endearing in its own right. But other than that a lot of my teachers and family members growing up ignored my desire to create something and make it into a career. I think they either thought I wasn’t going to do well or thought it was a phase. And so I delved into other creative outlets: Fine Art, Music, design, a lot of these things looking in retrospect thought it wasn’t big and obvious always felt like I had a glass ceiling I couldn’t get past, from my perspective it felt like I was being let down because of my colour.
What’s the biggest misconception that people have about you ?
This is a tough one. I have no idea. I guess retrospectively a lot of people will assume I’m shy and recluse. Which is technically true. It’s actually an aspect of many people who are creative – I struggle with a lot of social environments if I’m surrounded by strangers and it takes me ab long time to become social in a comfortable sense rather than putting on a brave face and talking to people sense. But you can ask any of my friends and I’m absolutely crazy when I get comfortable. It’s like two different sides of me I guess 🙂
Is the community competition based or is it a free space to express your creativity ?
It depends how you want to approach cosplay! If you want to make a costume and spend thousands on it to enter a competition like Championships and so on then you can. But the community as a whole is very much self-expression. You can cosplay whomever and whatever you like and it’s more about showing love and dedication for a character who you’ve been inspired by. Many people can do both; do cosplay as a free expression and then enter competitions if they want to. Some competitions have sections where cosplayers can show off their cosplays non-competitively before the competitive cosplayers come on. It’s a really nice environment in general.
What’s the most challenging costume you’ve designed and why ?
hmm if I had to pick there would be two, one would be my Pokemon Go Candela outfit which is entirely made out of pleather. Now the reason this was so challenging was because I had never worked with so much pleather before in my life and her jacket was also a design that wasn’t common to get a pattern for. Not to mention my sewing machine is great and has survived long but it wasn’t made for sewing such a tough fabric without struggling a little. It took a lot of tries and a lot of hard work to push past the obstacles I had to face to make it. Even though I only had to make the jacket, measurements had to be precise – which they weren’t XD – because pleather tends to be very stiff and doesn’t have any give or stretch.
My second most challenging cosplay I think would be my Aranea Highwind, it was incomplete, and completely fell apart by the time I got to the con. It was my first time making armour for the entire body and I cheaped out on the type of foam I used. And so it didn’t fit me properly and I didn’t account for things such as whether the shoes would fit me once I added all the pieces or the chest armour and so on. It was a tragedy and though I got it done it was far from a success in my opinion XD but it’s something to learn from. My most recent armour piece which was Terra from Teen Titans came out far better. And it’s because of the mistakes I made that I was able to learn
Do you become the character that you’re playing or is it more dressing up ?
For me when I walk around I’m dressed as the character but if someone who likes the show or someone who wants a picture comes up to me I am always willing to act as the character just to give a sense of realism to the costume. I think there’s a universal understanding between everyone who goes to a con that it’s just one massive theatre production. Like we’re all just actors waiting to be called on stage when interacting with people who are “outside” of our costumes.
What character can you cosplay over and over again without getting bored ?
Link from Legend of Zelda, I think I wore him like 4/5 times making little adjustments each time. Legend of Zelda is a game series that was the beginning of my nerdy childhood so it means a lot to me to be able to cosplay as a hero and act like him as well. Especially since Link is made in a way that you can self insert your own personality into everything he does.
If you had to create your own video game what would it be about ?
I like emotive games, games that pull on the emotions of the players so probably an RPG game about a girl travelling through her past in order to come to terms with actions she’s done in the future and their consequences. It’s actually a game idea I’ve had for a couple of years but I want to work on my writing skills before I push forwards with it.
What defines a beautiful person to you ?
It’s going to sound cheesy but I think everyone is beautiful in their own way. I would say it to strangers when I was 2/3 years old and I’ll continue to say it now. It’s very easy to get bogged down with the physical details of someone and though some people can focus on physicality which is no problem genuine aspects come from the heart and the mind. If you have good intentions, a considerate heart, a empathic mind and as long as you don’t forget to care and love yourself beauty is all around you. I also think beauty is a fluid thing. There’s no set definition. My thoughts on beauty could be different to someone else’s. And at times I can admit to struggling with self love, care and worth so I know at times It can be easy to see beauty in others but not yourself. It takes time, growth understanding and perseverance but it’s there. It always has been and it’s ever-present.
What advice would you give to the female who lacks confidence, enjoys videos games but has no friends to share her experiences with ?
My advice to them would be that you’ll find someone eventually. Nerds are everywhere! Once you start spotting them you’ll find them in the strangest of places. The internet is a great pathway to socialising in groups specifically for video gaming and other nerd and geek culture aspects. Join one on Facebook! Introduce yourself. It can be a little daunting but maybe you’ll find someone in another country with the same interests or someone closer to home! There are also tons of nerdy places in London – for example – namco arcade, Las Vagas arcade, forbidden planet, orcs nest, and you’ll automatically find people there that have the same interests as you. Another way is conventions! One of the biggest nerd and geek social events you could go to and because you have the same things in common with people many are always willing to talk about anime and video games. You don’t have to go in cosplay as well! And by the time you finish the conversation they want to get to know you more and you’ll be adding each other on Instagram in no time! You’ll find them trust me if you don’t go to them they’ll eventually find you down the line 🙂
When you’re feeling nervous about a project how do you defeat that fear ?
Throwing myself into a more personal project usually helps me. Just so I can get my creative thoughts running and that I write all my worries out on paper whether that comes out in the form of a poem or in my style of voice acting or even making a last-minute cosplay I busy myself to release tension and stress so that when I finish I have a clear head to focus on the project with
I take it a completely different route and just stop. I stop writing, I focus on doing something where I don’t have to think. Gaming, socialising with friends, taking a walk. It’s always good to take a breather and remind yourself that it’ll be there when you get back to it. And that even though your mind is a machine sometimes the cogs and wheels can stop working too. They need a break. And sometimes that’s usually best if you take a step away from the project for a little bit and come back to it with a new or slightly different approach.
What do you want your legacy to be ?
“Legacy is planting seeds in the ground you never get to see” a little Hamilton reference there. But it encompasses what I want to go for. I want to create something that will last longer than me. A novel, a movie, a game something that will remind people who I existed to let them know that I was once alive. I think if I can leave a mark on this world before I leave it then that would be enough.
I hope you all enjyed that installment of be inspired see you next week.
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Yup this the greatest post you’ve done and she’s kl as fak where are the nightingales in my life.
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