“I don’t really have a whole lot to say. I just… I care for you a lot. And… I just wanted to let you know that.”
Today’s interview with the outstanding talent that is Koneco-Chan. She’s a German cosplayer who has also dabbled in Photography and her work has appeared on this page many times. Pull up a chair, grab a Slayer’s Cake pastry and join us for a chat about what skills cosplay has taught her, her best Natural 20 and her adventures in DnD.
1: Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?
Hi! I’m Vanessa. I’m a Cosplayer from Germany studying to become an archaeologist. I’ve been sewing costumes for almost 10 years now and honestly have got too many hobbies for 24-h days, ranging from gaming, historical research, sightseeing and photography to doll repainting and acting. I could tell you my zodiac sign and all that, but I think saying I’m a proud Hufflepuff gives you a good idea of my personality.
2: How Were You Introduced to Critical Role?
It’s actually a really funny story. A friend of mine I reconnected with last year had been trying to get me to watch Critical Role for a seriously long time, knowing I was interested in DnD, but I kept pushing it off until December of 2017 when I was at a really low point of depression and, well what can I say I devoured every last bit of content since then!
3: How did you start cosplaying?
Oh lord…my first costume and convention was in 2009 for a local event called “Japan-Day” which is basically a celebration of their culture where Cosplayers met up as well. I had been super skeptical of the hobby because of a lot of negative stuff floating around the internet until I found Jin (@behindinfinity on Twitter) a Naruto Cosplayer who’s craftsmanship absolutely blew me away. He had such intricate costumes and gorgeous pictures that I just had to try it as well. My first outfit was a really crappy gothic lolita look and then I started making my own character-costumes out of cheap T-Shirts and really bad fabric. The first one ever was Jeanne from Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. I actually still own that costume and want to redo it for my 10 year Cosplay anniversary.
4: If you were to describe Critical Role to a friend, how would you do so?
This is easy, since I am trying to drag as many friends with me as possible! “A DnD show made by some amazingly talented Voiceactors who get together to tell funny and heartwarming stories…also it ends in a clusterfuck most of the time and you’re gonna laugh your butt off. Since the cast is so lovely the community is one of the sweetest I have ever been a part of. You won’t regret being a part of this. I promise”
5: Everyone has favorite moments from Critical Role but do you have a moment that always stands out to you that affected you personally?
So many. I am a sucker for heartbreak so I usually carry the moments of tragedy with me for the longest time. I think one thing that will forever be with me isn’t actually one of the in-game exchanges. And I will warn you spoilers for the last battle of Campaign one ahead! It’s the moment Liam and Sam locked eyes after that final Counterspell and Liam asks whether he wanted to save that Wish for him. Seeing them both burst into tears so genuinely is something that I think about very often.
6: Have You Played DnD and which character do you currently play?
Yes I have! That friend that dragged me into Critical Role? She is one of my closest friends now and is DMing a Curse of Strahd Campaign I am in (as well as being a player in my own upcoming Tal’Dorei campaign). I’ve got a lot of different characters since I like playing One-Shot adventures with friends as well. There is a Halfling Barbarian who is a grandmother out for one last adventure, a Dragonborn Cleric seeking to bring honor to her families name, a Goliath Bloodhunter that works to fight slavery and many more. My main character though is…cliché and probably bleeds Hot Topic. She is a Drow Rogue struggling with her heritage as a chosen of Lolth on her journey to become a better person. Yeah…I wouldn’t be able to play her anywhere but a Strahd Campaign.
7: What was your best Natural 20 or Natural 1 in a DnD session?
I honestly must have brushed shoulders with Will Wheaton at one point in my life, because there is an astounding number of Natural 1’s I can think of. One of the most memorable though was trying to jump out a window with my Drow and landing in horse dung unable to stealth until I had a good wash…gotta love DnD!
The most memorable Natural 20 was actually rolled for a joke. After a fight in a Oneshot (DMed by the amazing @NorFrosch (Twitter) another Critter everybody should check out) my Goliath Bloodhunter and the Human Rogue hugged with us as players proclaiming “Ha! Let’s check for hug quality” little did we know that we would both end up rolling Natural 20s ending with all of us in tears of laughter as the DM described the rainbow, glitter and angel choirs that accompanied our well deserved cuddletime.
8: If money was no option, is there a character from Critical Role you would love to cosplay?
Boy…there are a lot I would love to tackle…I mean I am already cosplaying a lot…I think a genuinely metal plate mail Pike would be a dream come true. I love that Gnome Cleric to bits. There are so many Cosplays I want to do from this show that I am genuinely having a hard time picking one specific character, but I think Pike is one at the very top of that list.
9: What Made you pick Keyleth to be your first CR cosplay design?
Well my first version of her was impromptu for a Christmas Renfair and mainly so because I had everything I needed there, but the more I watched the more I grew to love her. She’s the voice of reason, the goodness and moral compass. I also identified or well still identify with the journey she has to take to become the person her family expects her to be. I’ve always been under a lot of pressure with people expecting me to do great things and it has been tough. I’m still in the process of passing through fire and I feel that my Keyleth cosplay is a companion on my journey, evolving alongside me.
10: Has Cosplay taught you a unique skill you’ve been able to use outside of conventions?
Absolutely! Cosplay is a very layered hobby and there is multiple things I take away from it for everyday life. There is budgeting and time management for sure, but also organisational skills. If you know how to organize a group of 5 or more people getting to a hotel or airbnb, get them ready in time for the con with full makeup and everything and not lose your marbles you can pretty much organize any professional project you’re given. Especially if you are not only getting ready yourself, but helping others with Makeup and Wigs as well as doing the brunt of organisational duties. It very often leads to me being called “Mom” throughout the weekends.
It also taught me a lot about how to learn from mistakes and grow with failure instead of letting it defeat me as well as how to deal with negativity in a productive way.
11: Do you watch any other DnD podcasts? If So, which ones?
Not currently no. I tend to get tunnel-vision once I really latch onto one thing in particular, but before Critical Role I actually watched another DnD show for a rather long time and was absolutely gutted when it stopped. The Westmarches was the first ever DnD show I watched, mainly because one of my favorite Let’s Players (dexbonus) was playing a party loving Half-Orc names Juliette. Bardric Bardison, Juliette and of course Doctor Grigori Petrovich played by the ever amazing Adam Koebel had me enthralled in their stories. During that time I wasn’t really in contact with anyone who was into DnD though so it was pushed to the back of my mind until I was introduced to Critical Role.
12: If you met a member of the cast, what would you tell them?
I actually will meet two of them for MCM! I was lucky enough to get tickets to meet Marisha and Liam for an autograph. I think most of it will just be thanking them. Marisha for the wonderful stories and representation (and also a bit of reassurance that Keyleth is awesome and I love that druid with all my heart) and Liam for that entire Vax arc, that helped me come to terms with my disability, health problems and my own mortality.
13: If you could give a shoutout to any other critters or cosplayers who inspire you, who would it be?
There are so many amazingly talented people and honestly the CriticalRoleCosplay Twitter is always a good start to look for great people to follow, but I will have to give the shoutout to my closest friends especially.
There is @Glitzervampir (Twitter) who is the one to get me into all of this. Her makeup skills are awesome and the Kiri she did is wonderful. Her girlfriend @nyuula who does some Cosplay, but mainly is an extremely talented artist and wonderful friend, that also helped cement my love for CriticalRole. Then of course we’ve got my one and only @lucylaclaire (Twitter) who has been my friend for years now through so many different fandoms and who is the Vax to my Kiki (and has got some amazing Molly progress everyone should check out)
But apart from them there is of course @StarLeighCos (Twitter), @segcosplays (Twitter), @NorthernStar87 (Twitter) and of course my Slayers Cake buddies @elenion_ (Twitter) and @elfmade_chaos (Twitter) who are all a big part of why I feel so welcome in this community. There are many more, but if I mention all of them we’ll be here for days filled with just me gushing about wonderful people.
14: If you could impart some cosplaying wisdom to someone at the start of their cosplay journey, what would it be?
Hi! You’re really brave for wanting to start this hobby it can be really intimidating. You will be able to get through the confusing early stages and you will improve so so much with every step of the way. You will be amazing and if you ever need help there are so many of us out there who would love to help you give you a bit of a headstart so don’t be afraid to ask. My inbox is always open for you.
Thank you to Koneco-Chan for taking part in this interview and if you’d like to support her work and give her a follow, you can do so at her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.