Dennis A. Amith interviews Lindze Merritt (2002) - Page 1

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DENNIS: Before we talk about cosplaying, let's get to know a little bit about you. Where were you born and raised?
LINDZE: I was Born in San Diego but have moved all over the place since then. I have no real home town. Lindze was a rollin' stone, baby. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm a Georgia peach!

DENNIS: Curious. What does the South have that California doesn't?
LINDZE: Really good BBQ and pecan pie. Its all about Southern cookin'!

DENNIS:  If a friend traveled to your area to spend several hours with you, where would you take them or what would you do for fun?  
LINDZE: I would take them around the cute and fun areas of Atlanta, like Little 5, Virginia Highlands or some of the more fun clubs, like 80s night at the Masquerade. I like going out on the town, dancing, drinking and being goofy. But I also like having a bunch of people over and playing videogames. You gotta have a little of both.

DENNIS:  If someone were in the passenger seat of your car, what kind of music would they expect to be listening to?  
LINDZE: Well, I listen to a total of like three CDs in my car because they're my favorites. It would be the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, my Death Row rap mix or the Buffy the musical soundtrack. I'm musically retarded.

DENNIS:  If a friend visited you at your home, what would they catch you watching on television?
LINDZE: On TV, the only shows I watch are Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel. Did I mention I'm a Buffy fanatic? (Laughing)

PHOTO: Lindze cosplaying as Barbara from "Animal Magnetism".

DENNIS:  Ahh...a Buffy and Angel fan. If you were a member of the Scooby gang, which Scooby member would you click with. Buffy, Willow, Xander, Oz, Anya, Spike, etc?
LINDZE: I would most likely click with Xander. He's goofy and funny like me. Plus I'm loud and way too honest like Anya, so maybe he'd go out with me! hehehe

DENNIS:  Which Buffy or "Angel" episode was your favorite?
LINDZE: My favorite Buffy episode is the musical episode and I watch it way too often, much to Brad's dismay. I also love "Restless" the season finale of season 4, the dream sequence episode. It's so in depth and subtle, dorks like me love to analyze it! My favorite episode of Angel is "I will remember you" from season 1. Where Angel becomes human for a day when Buffy comes to visit and later has to give up his humanity to save her life and wipe it from her memory. Oh man, I've never cried from a TV show before that. Why did you have to ask me Buffy questions and make me look so lame!? (laugh)

DENNIS:  What kind of student were you back in high school? The cheerleader, jock, computer person, library person, band person, stoner?
LINDZE: My groups of friends were the punk rock, all in bands types. I was punk rock most my high school life. Went through a raver phase too but we pretend that never happened.

PHOTO: Lindze cosplaying as Lillith from the Capcom fighting game "Darkstalkers".

DENNIS:  If there was one word to describe you as a person now, what word would that be and why?
LINDZE: Militant. (laughing) That's actually a joke, my friends call me. I'm just so intense when I believe in something, and nothing can sway me, and I get loud, angry and violent if people disagree. I'm also stubborn and belligerent. (laughing) I can never say I'm a type that gets along well with many people. I'm way too insane for that. But I'd rather have a few friends that I really like, than tons of random acquaintances. But for all my violent tendencies, I really am a jolly sort most the time. At least I'm honest, right?

DENNIS:  Let's talk about cosplay. How did you get involved with cosplaying?
LINDZE: Me and my husband, Brad, were going to a Halloween party four years ago and we wanted to be videogame characters. I wanted to be Lilith, so I was looking up pictures of her online and came across some cosplayers dressed as her. I was so confused. People actually did this and I didn't know about it?! I was so excited that I joined a cosplay mailing list right there and booked a ticket to the next con, Katsucon. I was hooked instantly. Dressing up has always been big in my family, and now I get to do it all the time!

DENNIS:  Do you spend a lot of money on your costumes?
LINDZE: It depends. I have costumes that cost me less than $50 and I have costumes that I spent almost a grand on. For example, Shiva from "Final Fantasy VIII". I'm a big sucker for details being important on my costumes, and shoes and wigs are where I spend most my money on. I also think fabrics are very important and would rather save up and get a nice fabric than make everything out of cheap bridal satin. (shudders)

DENNIS:  Do you feel stressed out when a con nears, that you have to finish a costume or a numerous amount of costumes quickly?
LINDZE: Yes and no. I get all giddy, excited to see my friends and nervous that my costume will fall apart or I'll find something I need to fix last minute but generally I get my costumes done well in advance. I'm really good with time management, generally. Usually, I'm just excited and happy before a con.

DENNIS:  Are you one of those cosplayers that travel around the country going to different cons? If so, how do you manage to travel to all these cons?
LINDZE: Well, it depends. Last year, I was lucky enough to get to go to a lot of out of state cons and my first West Coast con, Anime Expo…which was the best anime con I've ever been to! I had friends help me out with plane costs and worked at cons sometimes to pay for a three day pass. Since I've only been to one West Coast con, the biggest con in the US, it's hard to gauge how they differ from the smaller East Coast cons. But I really did love going to Anime Expo. It's neat to see all the Japanese cosplayers too and being on the beach wasn't half bad either!

DENNIS:  You mentioned going to Anime Expo in California. What differences have you noticed regarding East or Southern cosplayers compared to West Coast cosplayers?
LINDZE: It seems like West Coast cosplayers are more laid back and friendly but its hard to tell. Like i said, Ihavent been to many cons, and I dont talk to many people online.

DENNIS: I'm curious. How is the cosplay scene in Georgia? Are there many events where people can cosplay?
LINDZE: There's actually a fair amount of cosplayers in Georgia. There are also two cons that are in Atlanta. We have AWA, which is a small anime con and there's the best con in the whole wide world, says me, DRAGONCON! Dragoncon is a Sci-Fi/fantasy/media/comic con. It really has something for everyone. I love it cause I can dress up in comic character costumes, movie costumes, anything. There's hilarious stuff to go see, like Midget wrestling, there was a Klingon wedding, storm troopers, you name it. Even if I didn't live here, I would travel from anywhere to go to it.

DENNIS:  How does your family feel about you cosplaying? Do your co-workers or (non-cosplaying) friends know about your hobby? Are they supportive?
LINDZE: My mom loves it. She's a professional artist and used to be a pro seamstress, so she thinks it's great. She's even helped me on some costumes before such as Makie and Bellossum. My dad is a Minister, so he's not as thrilled when I wear sexy costumes. (laughing)

Photo: Lindze cosplaying as HUnewearl from the Sega Dreamcast videogame "Phantasy Star Online".

But I try to keep my family in mind and never do anything too inappropriate. But he thinks my creativity is great. My coworkers think its funny, but cool and my friends don't really understand what cosplay is but think it's really neat and always want me to make them stuff for Halloween.

DENNIS: When you make your costumes, do you make your own costumes or do you have them created by a professional?
LINDZE: I always make them myself. The only costumes I didn't make were Bellossum and Makie, which my mother made actually for me to wear to two different weddings, which is why she made them. Her work is just ….amazing. I hope I can sew as well as her someday.
Sometimes I receive help from a mutual costuming fanatic, Chris Donio, who helps teach me sculpting related costume things. He never just does something for me; he always shows me and then makes me do it. I'm lucky to have someone to teach me! All other things, I do myself.

PHOTO: Lindze cosplaying as Sumire from "Miyuki-chan in Wonderland".
DENNIS:  If you do create the costumes on your own, do you use an expensive sewing machine or a basic sewing machine?
LINDZE: I use a mid-priced sewing machine, a White "Jeans Machine" (laughing) which is great to go through thick materials, like fur and pleather. I also have a serger, the most wonderful invention in the world, and a industrial sewing machine, a present from my mom, which is what professionals use and will go through shoe leather. It's insanely strong. Its great for sewing plastics, leather, and foam. No one needs all this stuff but if you're serious about sewing and costumes, I do highly recommend a Serger in addition to a regular sewing machine. They're awesome.

DENNIS:  Giving one example of your favorite costume, can you tell us a history on the making of the costume? How much? The challenges? Where to buy? Material? And all that cool stuff.
LINDZE: I love my Lilith costume…I feel akin to her, since she got me into cosplay. It's also my most asked about costume. I wanted to make it all out of stretch vinyl, which can be intimidating to sew with, due to its sewing difficulty. The costume really didn't cost me much, but was tedious to sew. I made my own pattern for the wings, which were black and red vinyl.

The red skeleton of the wing was made by sewing right sides together, turned right side out, then stuffed with cotton stuffing. The webbing in the wings, were made by ironing on craft-fuse onto a red piece and a black piece of vinyl, then hot gluing the two together. Without the craft-fuse, the glue would have shown and not been as sturdy. Then I hand sewed the webbing to the skeleton. It took forever, but turned out just like I wanted. I sewed the wings directly into the back, in slits, and then sewed thick fishing wire on to the top arch of the wings, and attached them to 2 blue plastic rings, which went over my middle fingers, so I could move my wings around and support them.

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