At its heart, Geek Bomb is fundamentally about celebrating, inspiring, and getting to know women in geek. Founded by our Boss Bomb Maude Garrett and featuring a Bomb Squad filled with diverse, talented, and totally badass ladies, Geek Bomb has a mindset much like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Females are strong as hell. And it’s about time we start celebrating that again. So, we’ve decided to relaunch Women in Geek, our interview series that spotlights, shows off, and talks about the wonderful ladies who are leading the geek entertainment field.
Joining us this week is Ashton of SlightlyIdentical! Ashton’s a super-powered cosplayer who dabbles in tons of different arenas — from perfecting looks from her favorite television series to putting hours of work into a flawless Disney ensemble, she’s got cosplaying down to a science. We spoke with Ashton about how she got started cosplaying, what advice she’d give to those just starting out, and who some of her biggest inspirations are.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
Ashton: I realized back in 2012, during my senior year of high school. I loved reading DC comics and watching anything that had to do with DC. Now, I have found myself stepping in all the geeky things and attending about 14 conventions a year.
GB: Let’s get our foot in the door by asking how you got your foot in the door. What’s your industry origin story – how did you get started? What advice can you give to those looking to break into your industry?
A: When I was younger, I always wanted to be my favorite characters for Halloween as any kid would. The Halloween stores never had Darth Vader for little girls, Livewire from DC Comics, [or] Disney characters besides the princesses. For Halloween [in] 2012, I was going to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland and I wanted to be Wendy Darling, whom I adore with all my heart. Now, we all know we can’t just go to a store and buy [the costume]. So I was determined to make the outfit no matter how long it would take. I asked my mom if she could help by buying a sewing machine and some fabric. She helped me, even though I had no experience with sewing. I spent hours searching for ways to make [Wendy’s] nightgown, and I then found the perfect solution. I started cutting and sewing everything up and I managed to make her outfit. It was a long process, but I’m a very determined person.
The best advice I can give someone who wants to start cosplaying is to find a character that you like, that isn’t super complicated in design, and go for it.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
A: The most difficult obstacle would have to be my confidence in myself. When I first started, I didn’t have much confidence, but as time goes on and the more I cosplay, the more confidence I build up. Before when I would go to the beach, I would wear shorts and tank top. Now I can actually wear a bikini and not feel uncomfortable.
GB: Picture yourself at ten years old. What advice would you give her? What would she love to know about present-day you? Anything by which she’d be surprised?
A: The best advice I could give to my ten-year-old self is, no matter what people tell you, or how much the other kids in school will make fun of you, just keep running to your dreams and don’t slow down or look back. If you do, you may never reach that dream and you will never have the wonderful friends who support you in every way. You also will get a lot of opportunities, so don’t let them fly right past you. As weird as it sounds, you will learn to love working out and running, which will help you become more confident.
As for present day, I have a job I love and the most wonderful friends ever. I have made over 40 costumes so far, so make room in your closet. When I said you would learn to love running, I mean I have completed a 5k and a 10k, which I have signed up [for] again this year! As for guys, just follow your gut feeling and you will see what I mean.
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
A: My biggest role models and inspirations to life are Emilia Clarke and Cara Delevingne.
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
A: Kim Possible, Daenerys Targaryen, Han Solo, Dr. Grant, Sarah Connor, and Elizabeth Swann.
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
A: I would love to see it grow with more diversity and less judgement.
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
Thanks again to the lovely Ashton for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!