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CCM Interview: AnnieChie Designs

Get ready to dive into an electrifying CCM Interview with AnnieChie Designs! Hailing from the charming town of Ontario, Canada, Annie is a cosplayer extraordinaire who's been weaving her cosplay magic since the tender age of 13. But there's so much more to Annie's story. With a background in Fashion Design and Costume Production, she brings an extraordinary blend of creativity and craftsmanship to her cosplays. By day, she transforms into a Historic Costume Specialist, stepping back in time to the 1860’s at Upper Canada Village. But when the cosplay world calls, Annie answers with her full-time gig as a dedicated costuber and YouTuber. Join us as we uncover her journey, passions, and a peek into the world of AnnieChie Designs in this exclusive CCM Interview!


@anniechiedesigns

Q. Can you tell us more about your journey into cosplaying, starting at the age of 13, and how it eventually led you to study Fashion Design and Costume Production?


I was raised by parents who really supported my twin sister and I and whatever endeavors we were interested in. My mother is extremely crafty and creative so when I wanted to try cosplay I asked my mom to help with sewing the costumes. I had been familiar with arts and crafts my entire life so she said she would as long as I also did some of the work. This was the best thing she could have done, as I realized quickly that I really enjoyed sewing and making things with my own two hands. This led me down a rabbit hole of research in my later teens, discovering where I could study sewing and creating further. I ended up going straight into Fashion Design at Fanshawe College in London Ontario after finishing high school, and then post-graduate in Costume. Cosplay led me to realize my calling was in these two fields.


Q. Cosplaying since the age of 13 must have led to some interesting stories and moments. Can you share a cosplay mishap or funny convention memory that still makes you smile today?


There are definitely many but some that stand out involve cosplay competitions. I started competing at age 16, and in my local convention circuit that was quite young at the time. Now you see many teens in cosplay competitions, but back then I was the only one. The way so many of the adult competitors noticed how I was young and very nervous and stepped in to help me and talk to me will always be an important memory to me. If I had not had such a warm welcoming experience, I may not be where I am in cosplay today.


Q. Your passion for cosplay creation has led you to become a costuber and YouTuber. What inspired you to start creating content about cosplay, sewing, and convention experiences, and how has this journey evolved since 2019?


Video as a format has always interested me, so starting a YouTube channel felt like a natural progression in my adventures in cosplay. But the true inspiration that gave me the push to start was actually my local cosplay community. It’s a small town, and the community is bustling with younger and newer cosplayers, and I was getting a lot of questions about making things and general cosplay tips. It made me realize I had a lot more to share with an audience than I had thought. Every time I make a video about cosplay tips or imagine who I am addressing when I do address the camera in any of my videos, I imagine some of these younger cosplayers from back home. Since my start my content has evolved a lot. I cover a lot more than tips and tutorials, and love to focus on creating videos that both show and tell, as opposed to older videos that did either one or the other instead. My new videos I try to focus on making them more interesting and informative, while engaging at the same time. I try to implement more of a story telling element, even if it’s just a simple con vlog.


Q. It's fascinating that you work as a Historic Costume Specialist at Upper Canada Village, interpreting Canadian history in the 1860s, half of the year. How do you balance this unique job with your full-time cosplay content creation?


Part of what makes the balance between my full-time job and cosplay content creation possible is the nature of the job - it’s seasonal. Canada is a very cold place half of the year; therefore, Upper Canada Village’s season is only the warmer half of the year, and I therefore only work during that open season to help make, maintain, manage and mend the costumes during that on season. The other half of the year I am off of work and able to completely concentrate on cosplay and content creation. I still am able to effectively make content during my on season though because my job inspires me every day - no two days are alike, and I never know what kinds of projects I will be taking part in with the other staff on site. I’m constantly learning and using the new things I learn in my cosplay creation. All that really happens is the amount of content slows down during these warmer months.


@anniechiedesigns

Q. You mentioned that The Legend of Zelda is the fandom you cosplay from the most. What is it about this particular series that resonates with you, and what have been some of your favorite Legend of Zelda cosplay projects?


While nostalgia is something that majorly impacts my love for the Legend of Zelda, I also find the games themselves just inspire me so much. I love a story with an amazing narrative that makes the world feel bigger than it is. Zelda is truly what made me fall in love with fantasy as a genre and I love the characters, magic and the world of Hyrule. I also love puzzle solving, which is probably also why I love sewing so much, and the Legend of Zelda feels like a grand adventure with a lot of problem solving which I find very satisfying. One of my favourite Legend of Zelda cosplay projects to date is actually my original version of Princess Zelda. I made it completely with resources on hand for the Scrap Epic Challenge in the beginning of the Covid pandemic which was very fun and challenging, but I am so happy with the final look and I feel so gorgeous in it.


Q. Congratulations on being selected for Team Canada 2023 at the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya, Japan! Could you share the experience of competing as Madoka and Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and how you brought out such emotional and expressive performances on stage?


Thank you! Competing as Team Canada for the World Cosplay Summit has been my biggest dream since I was around 17. The entire experience was amazing! My teammate, Mae-Gwyn cosplay, and I had a lot of fun creating our costumes for the competition and presenting our skit on the world stage was just surreal. We met cosplayers from all over the world, and not only got to see amazing craftsmanship up close, but also got to know the wonderful people who were presenting them. The WCS is a truly unique experience. Our performance was definitely a highlight of the experience, and we brought the drama. One of our strengths in performance comes with our expressions, so we decided to hit all the strong emotions. Fear, horror, anger, extreme sadness, pain and death to name them. I never knew I could emote that strongly and am very thankful to our friend Le Bon Barde Chaotique for helping us realize our potential. It felt so validating and wonderful when other teams approached us complementing our acting.

I actually have a full vlog on the entire World Cosplay Summit experience on my channel which is currently one of my favorite videos I have ever posted!


Q. Competing in cosplay competitions in Canada is no small feat. Have you had any memorable experiences from these competitions and how they have contributed to your growth as a cosplayer and performer?


Absolutely. My favorite story to tell is a time where I didn’t even win anything, but the experience was just THAT good. At Ottawa Comic Con 2019 I was one of only 3 cosplayers competing in the Master Division, and I was competing with a smaller and older costume, as I had just finished a semester of school. Meanwhile my two friends I was up against were in much larger builds, and I knew I likely wasn’t winning anything. In the green room everyone was having so much fun together, there was even a large group hug after the final entry came off stage and so much support and camaraderie. The next day at the awards there was so much genuine excitement. When it came time for the Master Division my two friends and I held hands in a circle, and they were squeezing my hands so hard. One ended up with Best in Class, and the other Best in Show, both very well deserved. Everyone was exploding with happiness and excitement, it was contagious, and I just remember feeling so happy for everyone. I didn’t need to win that time, it was just a fun experience and I think back about it often.

@anniechiedesigns

Q. Looking ahead, what can your viewers and fans expect from your cosplay content in the future? Are there any new topics or discussions you plan to explore or evolve in your videos?


There are definitely some new topics and discussions coming from my content! I have a new cosplay in the works that will require experimenting with many unique historical sewing techniques that I am looking forward to trying and sharing those attempts with my viewers. I am also looking forward to sharing the costume as I work on it. I also hope to discuss more about something I love that is cosplay adjacent - and that’s Costume Design. How costumes are approached to convey things about a character. I love this particular topic and have some fun ideas on how to include this kind of topic into my content!


Q. For aspiring cosplayers and content creators, what advice would you offer to those who are just starting their cosplay journey or considering entering the world of cosplay content creation?


My advice for beginners in either area is to just do it. That sounds simple, but I spent a long time “waiting” to get to a point where I had more skills in order to start doing both cosplay and video creation. I felt I needed to save up for the fancy equipment, and all the right materials. But I found I just needed to take the plunge and start learning. The best way to learn is to try!


Q. As a dedicated cosplayer and Youtuber, you've likely faced your fair share of challenges. Has there ever been a particularly tricky costume or prop-making project that tested your skills but ultimately brought you a great sense of accomplishment?


I definitely have come across challenges. When it comes to trying to make content in a timely manner, I get so worried about taking too long on my cosplay making. If the cosplay takes longer to make than I expected, then the video also will take longer to go out. While working on my Mirror Mirror Snow White I was discovering that it was going to take me a lot longer than expected and just had to accept that and divide the work in progress videos up into smaller bite sized pieces so to speak. And this worked really well as I ended up very happy with that project. That was the only way to hit my upload schedules and also make the costume at a pace that was healthy and enjoyable. I know now that I would much prefer delaying a video in order to have a costume piece that I am happier with, than rushing to finish a project and not being happy with the final video or costume.


Q. In the realm of cosplay, there are often unexpected fan interactions. Do you have any encounters with a fellow cosplayer or fan that left a lasting impression on you, whether it was heartwarming or just downright amusing?


Oh my gosh yes! At Ottawa Comic Con (why is it always this convention?) 2022 I was one of the judges for the masquerade, so I had to wear something comfortable to manage the long day, but also colourful and impactful enough that it would look fun on stage. I chose my Ravio cosplay, the merchant from The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds, and little did I know there was a young cosplayer also cosplaying Ravio in the audience. She came to meet me after the competition and we got pictures together and her father informed me that they had watched my Making of Ravio Cosplay video in order to figure out how to make hers. And they had no idea I would be at this event, let alone wearing this cosplay. It was really wonderful meeting not only another Legend of Zelda fan, but to see in person and before me that my video was able to help someone make something - and it was her first cosplay! Definitely a highlight moment!

@anniechiedesigns

Q. For cosplayers who attend events often, getting the opportunity to meet and interact with special guests who are also attending is always a great experience. Have you had any in memorable interactions with any special guests that left you in shock, or just a good memory with any that you’ve had a chance to meet?


The best guest interaction actually came from when I was also a guest at a con - Animaritime 2019 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. My fellow guest was Youtuber CDawgVA, and this was only a bit before he had really blown up on Youtube with Trash Taste. We had some fun interactions in some downtime and I found him extremely genuine and kind. But what really impressed me was the “guest quality” he brought to the convention. He is extremely good at interacting with fans and attendees and is very genuine in his interactions, thanking people, giving big hugs, the whole thing. One attendee was so nervous they were in tears and he slowed down, helped them remember to breathe and spoke so calmly with them. I have never been that impressed with the quality of guest interactions at conventions as I was with him, and he wasn’t even interacting with me in these moments, I was just next to his booth witnessing these things.


Q. When you're not immersed in cosplay, what are some of your favorite hobbies or pastimes that help you unwind and recharge your creative spirit?


Where does one even begin? I really enjoy D&D and have an ongoing campaign with friends that has been going for about 3 years now. I love board games and need more chances to play them (Flamecraft is my most recent favourite). And also as a Zelda nerd I of course have dabbled in playing Ocarina. I love music and it’s such a satisfying instrument to play. I also play video games (mostly Nintendo titles) have quite a large Legend of Zelda collection, if we count collecting as a pastime as well.


Q. With Halloween coming up, as a cosplayer, do you still get excited about dressing up for the holiday? If so, what are your Halloween costume plans for this year?


Yes and no. Obviously I love dressing in costume, but I feel that by being “The Cosplayer” in my new community people expect a lot out of me. I don’t exactly want to wear a large silk ballgown to a Halloween party with dancing or drinking, or handing out candy to trick or treaters, as it’s not very practical. On Halloween I prefer smaller or more casual costumes so I can participate in the festivities a bit more. This year I think I may just be handing out candy to the kiddos in casual cosplay, which I am looking forward to!


Q. What are some of your other favorite characters, shows, movies, etc. are you into that you’d like to create cosplays for one day?


Oh gosh there are so many things! I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and am hoping to make some costumes from the films eventually, Arewn and Tauriel are both dream cosplays. I also plan to cosplay from Critical Role, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Sakizo, and Magic the Gathering in the future to name a few fandoms.


Annie, it's been an absolute delight hearing about your incredible journey and experiences in the world of cosplay. Before we conclude, could you please share where our readers can follow your captivating work, stay updated on your cosplay adventures, and is there anything else you'd like to say or any message you'd like to convey to our readers?


Thank you for having me! I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share my experiences. Cosplay is such an amazing hobby that has really shaped who I am today.

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube as AnnieChie Designs (@anniechiedesigns). I am most active on Instagram and YouTube and you can follow my cosplay WIPs as they happen on my Instagram stories!



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