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 Hendo Art, a masterful cosplayer, comic book nerd, and lover of video games. With a keen eye for design and an affection for both badassery and beautiful Disney princesses, Hendo is a multi-faceted lady in geek we couldn’t be more excited to spotlight. We had the chance to chat with Hendo to learn more about her inspirations and discover how she got to where she is now.
Geek Bomb: First off, when did you realize that you were, in essence, a geek? What geeky things are you up to now?
H: I don’t think I have a single moment when I realized I was a geek! I honestly think that everyone likes geeky things and everyone dabbles at least some! I loved cartoons and video games especially, and I always knew people who could enjoy them with me. A lot of nerdy things were out of the price range of myself and my family, but nerd culture can be acquired through TV, books, friends, neighbors, etc. I’m not sure I could pinpoint my geekiness; it’s part of me and the world around me!
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?
H: I have been attending cons for a long time always thought cosplay looked so fun! But I usually attended cons alone and cosplaying seemed like something more fun to do with friends. When I got a job at a gaming company, I finally had some nerdier friends who were into the same convention scene! A few of them cosplayed and encouraged me to try it, too.
My first cosplay was Ivysaur from Pokemon at Anime Los Angeles in 2015! I do think that the best way to get started in cosplay is to find like-minded people and do it with friends.
GB: What is the most difficult obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your industry or maybe even still overcoming?
H: In my cosplay career, the most difficult obstacle has been finance. Cosplaying CAN be really expensive. Though I’ve always been able to make a costume for a small budget, it can be frustrating to know that there is a better, easier, faster way of making something if only I had the budget!
As I’ve added points to my skill sets, it’s become easier to work with cheap materials and make them look fancy. Cosplaying is definitely for every budget, and craftsmanship can expand your range a ton even on an empty wallet.
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?
H: I’m actually not sure I’d tell her anything! I think I was a good, responsible kid and I’d trust her to get herself to a good place no matter what! I’d probably be surprised by how many female friends I have now, but I was always changing my mind about what I wanted to do or be as a kid, [so]it probably wouldn’t surprise me too much to learn what I do now.
GB: Who are your female role models and/or inspirations?
H: My inspirations are kind of all over the place! Senator Elizabeth Warren is a political inspiration to me; she reminds me of Dumbledore in that she is kind but firm, and incredibly progressive in her endeavors to do right by everyone! I’ve always related more to male characters, but I don’t think it’s because they are male. I really loved Batman and Pocahontas as a kid. [laughs]Maybe they shaped me!
GB: Who are some of your favourite fictional female characters of all time?
H: It always astounds me that people can have a favourite anything! There are so many types of characters and people, its difficult to pick one even from a specific genre or category! I enjoy Tiny Tina (Borderlands 2) for her humor, Wonder Woman for her resolve, Spider-Gwen for how much I relate to her, Raven for her pensiveness, Samus for being a space bounty hunter… THERE ARE TOO MANY COOL LADIES!
GB: How would you like to see this industry grow for not only women, but within the entertainment space?
H: I would like to see the cosplay industry grow to learn its worth. As cosplay becomes more and more mainstream, it is being consumed and incorporated into the entertainment industry. But we are all just a bunch of nerds doing it mostly as a hobby; we aren’t familiar with how much our talent or time is worth to companies trying to hire us.
I’ve seen cosplayers earn next to nothing for making a costume, advertising on social media, or appearing at an event. There is such a strong stigma even still surrounding cosplayers making money on a hobby that it makes everyone afraid to talk to one another about working in the industry professionally.
Though most of what we do we do for fun and free, there are opportunities to make a small profit or earn back the cost of an outfit, but it’s so hard to know what to do or how much to charge! I try to be really honest about what I’m paid to appear places or how much it costs to make a costume because it’s so hard to find that information when you are new. Cosplay is inevitably becoming a professional opportunity, and the more we all talk about it together, the more we can benefit together, too!
GB: Where can people discover more about you? Socials/website/podcast or channel links.
H: You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see more pictures! I also stream on Twitch and occasionally post tutorials and BTS on youtube!
Thanks again to the lovely Hendo for joining us to celebrate the magic of women in the nerd world!