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CCM Interview with TheLibraLiv

From the vibrant streets of New York City emerges a multifaceted talent who seamlessly weaves her passions for acting, singing, and cosplay into a tapestry of creativity. Meet Olivia, affectionately known as TheLibraLiv across Instagram and TikTok, where she captivates audiences with her enchanting portrayals. Embarking on her third year of cosplay, Olivia's journey is a testament to the transformative power of fandoms and the joy found in bringing beloved characters to life.


TheLibraLiv
Photo by @wingate_cosplay

Join us in this CCM Interview as we dive deeper into Olivia's captivating journey as she shares insights into her cosplay odyssey, from her Marvel-inspired beginnings to her heartfelt homage to Star Wars Rebels' beloved Hera Syndulla.


Olivia, it's fantastic to meet you! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first discovered the world of cosplay?


I’m Olivia, also known as TheLibraLiv (as you can probably tell from the name- yes, I am a Libra!). I grew up as a huge fan girl of many fandoms- especially Star Wars, Disney, DC, and Marvel. As an October baby obsessed with Halloween, I always went full-out with my costumes, and because of that, wanting to cosplay was always in the back of my mind. I first got into cosplaying in January 2021 because of WandaVision. I was already super excited to see a show about my favorite Marvel character, but then I started seeing the costuming for each decade that would be featured in the show. I got so much inspiration, and I kept saying to myself “I want to wear those outfits”. At this time, I was also getting more involved with different fandoms on TikTok and started to also get inspiration from the cosplayers I was seeing on there. I did my first cosplay in February 2021, which was a closet cosplay of Infinity War Wanda Maximoff, and then I got hooked. Not long after, I put together her 50’s outfit, then I made her 70's dress, and eventually I did all of her main decades looks- many which I thrifted vintage pieces for. I have done over 20 different Wanda cosplays- ranging from her more elaborate looks from WandaVision, to her casual outfits from the Avengers movies, and of course her Scarlet Witch hero suits.


Your journey into cosplay sounds incredibly exciting! Could you share with us some of your favorite cosplays you've done so far and what made them special to you?


My favorite Wanda cosplay I have done is her house dress from the 1950’s WandaVision episode. That’s my favorite episode of the series and I love embodying her sitcom persona. In addition to Wanda, I have cosplayed a number of Marvel characters including Sylvie from Loki, Lady Thor, Darcy Lewis, and Doctor Olivia Octavius from Into the Spider-Verse. I got to wear my Doc Ock cosplay to an early screening of Across the Spider-Verse last summer and it was the most fun (and I LOVE that I get to use my natural hair for that cosplay).


Even though most of my cosplays were Marvel characters for a while, Star Wars always will hold the number 1 spot in my heart. It has been my favorite fandom since I was about 10 years old. I have done some smaller Star Wars closet cosplays over the years, but over the past few months I’ve finally had the chance to do some longtime Star Wars cosplans like Princess Leia and Bo-Katan Kryze. But no cosplay has meant more to me than Hera Syndulla. Some of my other recent cosplays, which have quickly become favorites of mine, are Physicist Barbie from the 2023 Barbie movie and Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.


You've mentioned your love for Marvel and Star Wars. What draws you to these fandoms, and how do they inspire your cosplay choices?


These are fandoms that I grew up with that have become such huge parts of my life. My family are also Marvel and Star Wars fans (as well as huge fans of DC and Disney) so I always got to share the love with them. Cosplay is just another way for me to keep sharing my love for these fandoms. When choosing what characters to cosplay, I gravitate towards the characters that I relate to the most or have a design that I would love to wear. Feeling connected to the characters I cosplay really helps me to bring them to life.


One of the most intriguing aspects of your cosplay journey is your portrayal of Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels. What does this character mean to you, and how did you approach bringing her to life?


Star Wars Rebels is one of my favorite shows of all time and Hera Syndulla is my favorite character ever. She is such a force of light and good, while also being an incredibly strong leader, and I’ve always seen so much of her in myself. Hera has been my dream cosplay even before I even started cosplaying, and last summer I finally began putting everything together. The big challenge of this cosplay for me was figuring out how to use body paint without having any experience using it before. For the body paint and makeup, I spent a lot of time researching the best way to approach it by looking at animation references from Rebels to see how I would translate her animated look into real life. The first time I did the makeup, it took over 2 hours. Now I can do the makeup in about 50 minutes!


TheLibraLiv as Hera Syndulla

The first time I saw myself in full cosplay, I almost cried. There’s something so special about bringing a character that you love so much to life. I debuted her on social media last month and then got to debut her in person at Katsucon and the reception has been absolutely incredible. I’ve seen so much growth in my social media accounts and have been connecting with so many new people in the Star Wars cosplay community. I also recently had the chance to talk to Hera’s voice actress, Vanessa Marshall about my cosplay! I learned so much from the process of putting this cosplay together and I’m so proud of the work I’ve done.


Your experience meeting Vanessa Marshall, the voice actress of Hera Syndulla, sounds like a dream come true! Can you tell us more about that moment and what it meant to you as a fan?


It really was! I am a part of an incredible community of fellow Hera cosplayers that have been brought together through social media. Last month, we were invited to talk to Vanessa Marshall on her Twitch livestream raising money for the National Down Syndrome Society. Getting to speak to the woman who brought my favorite character to life about my cosplay was surreal and having it benefit a great cause made it even more special. When I first became a fan of Rebels four years ago, I never would have imagined that I would have an experience like this!


It's fascinating how your cosplay repertoire spans various genres, from superheroines to iconic characters like Ramona Flowers. Could you share a bit about the process of bringing these diverse characters to life?


TheLibraLiv as Ramona Flowers
Photo by @alecdeluna

I find that it is a different process from character to character. I range from more complex cosplays like Hera that have a lot of pieces and of course require body paint, and simpler ones like Ramona Flowers and Physicist Barbie, both which were put together by thrifted pieces that I altered. I’m very proud of my wig styling skills, and for most characters I do, I’ll buy a base wig and style it from there. I also am really conscious about sustainability and try to reuse pieces from some of my cosplays as much as I can. For example, I have a wig that I use for Barbie, Age of Ultron Wanda, and Princess Leia and I just restyle it for each character. Not only is it sustainable, but it helps me to save money and space as well!


As someone deeply involved in both cosplay and performance arts, how do you find balance between these passions, and do they ever intersect in unexpected ways?


I started cosplaying at a time when I was out of work because of the pandemic and needed a creative outlet. I just graduated college and was beginning my career as a stage actor with the whole theater world being shut down. Cosplay is still very theatrical in many ways, especially in the aspect of making cosplay videos, and it was great for me to start discovering it during this time. As an actor, I find it really important to have a hobby outside your career, and cosplay is that for me. The theater community and the cosplay community intersect in many ways. A number of my closest friends that I made through cosplaying are also fellow performers!


Looking ahead, what are some exciting plans on the horizon? These could be new cosplans or life plans based on this cosplay path you have decided to take.


Starting in May, I’m going to be on a bit of a hiatus from doing any new cosplay stuff. I’m about to set off on a contract performing on Disney Cruise Line for 7 months, which I am very excited about- it’s been a dream forever! However, I do have some plans for when I’m back home at the end of this year! I have been working on Goldi from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish for over a year and a half, so I’m hoping to finally finish that. After that, my first priority is to upgrade my Hera flight suit- I hope to submit my cosplay for Rebel Legion approval eventually! In addition, I’m planning on doing her live action look from Ahsoka. I also want to work on making actual armor pieces for my Bo-Katan. I’ve been wanting to cosplay more DC characters, and I’m really looking into upgrading my Black Canary. Some other ideas I have on my mind for the future are Aayla Secura, any of Leia’s other outfits, Padme’s yellow meadow dress, Snow White from Once Upon a Time, and Mary Poppins.


TheLibraLiv

How do you envision your cosplay journey evolving alongside your professional endeavors?


I plan to keep it just as prominent and important as my career as a performer is. I have had so many wonderful opportunities come from cosplaying and I would love to continue to grow. Sometimes It is hard for me to plan for conventions with being away a lot, but one of my goals for the next few years is to be a cosplay guest or panelist at a convention!


With a list of future cosplay ideas as vibrant as yours, how do you prioritize which characters to bring to life next, and what excites you most about these upcoming projects?


I try to think about what my schedule looks like and what would be wise to invest my time in. I travel around a lot for different performance contracts, so a lot of it is trying to figure out when I can tackle those bigger projects I have in mind. Planning for upcoming cosplays excites me as much as when I finally get to put the cosplay on. I always enjoy spending time researching the characters that I am working on to get inspiration, as well as gathering audios for TikToks/Reels and finding reference pictures for shoots.



What are some of your favorite parts about cosplaying and the community?


I love getting to express my creativity and bring my favorite character to life. I especially love getting to put my photography, editing, makeup, and costuming skills to practice. It’s amazing to be able to connect with people over our shared interests and passions through this community. I’ve met some of my best friends through cosplaying and there’s nothing I love more than planning shoots, working on new projects together, and spending time at conventions or events with them.


What kinds of crafting skill sets did you have prior to cosplaying, and what skills have you had to learn that you enjoy most, or least?


TheLibraLiv

Before I started cosplaying, I knew how to sew a bit, and also had some experience making foam props. I really want to improve more on sewing and learn how to use a sewing machine, since I only know how to hand sew. When making pieces for my Hera cosplay, I had to learn how to sand and paint 3D prints. I used some great 3D printed pieces from Hyperspace Props for Hera’s goggles and parts of her gloves and boots, and learned a lot by going through that process.


For aspiring cosplayers and fans alike, what advice would you give to those looking to embark on their own cosplay journey, and how can people stay connected with your work and upcoming projects?


If you are interested in cosplay, do it! It’s never too late to start. I felt like it was such a long time coming for me and I’m so glad I took that leap back in 2021. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been told is to choose cosplays that you know you will be passionate about. With social media, I feel like there is pressure to constantly be putting out new cosplays to keep up with the relevant trends, but I know I can’t bring the same passion to a character that I don’t feel connected to. Cosplay is about having fun, so prioritize that!


Olivia, it's been an absolute pleasure learning about your incredible journey through the world of cosplay. We wish you the best of luck on your Disney Cruise adventure, and all of your future cosplay projects ahead. We hope that we can catch up again to hear about it all. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers? And for those who are eager to follow your adventures and creations, where can they find you online?


Thank you so much for having me be a part of this! You can find me on Instagram and TikTok @thelibraliv. I have a lot of new Hera and Ramona Flowers content I’m excited to share soon on both platforms, including photos from the shoots I did at Katsucon! I also have a pop culture podcast called Damsels Distressing (@damselsdistressing on Instagram) that I co-host with one of my best friends Chloe. You can listen to our podcast on Spotify, iHeartMusic, and Amazon Music.

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