Karli Woods Talks About Being A Fan Favourite Cosplayer
As a Canadian born geek-centric internet star and content creator, Karli Woods is well known in the cosplay community for her costumes, interview skills, and panel discussions. The 28-year old uploads behind the scenes vlogs, costume tutorials, makeup tutorials, interviews and cosplay advice to her YouTube channel GeekinGorgeous. Woods also has a strong following on Instagram, @itskarliwoods, where her followers love her crazy costumes, marvelous makeup, and on-the-go lifestyle. Real Style sat down with this prolific cosplayer to discuss what it takes to be a cosplayer, the ups and downs of sharing your life online, and the costumes she has planned for this month.
Real Style: How did you get started doing cosplay?
Karli Woods: When I originally started in the industry it kind of all fell together. I had graduated from film school and my brother had invited me to come to FanExpo. He said everyone dresses up in costumes, so it’s fun. So, I put my first closet cosplay together and we had the greatest time, and after that my brother and I started my YouTube channel. After interviewing a cosplayer I found out that you could do it as a full-time job, so I went back to school for fashion, learned how to sew, pumped out a bunch of costumes and started traveling for it.
RS: Did you find that going back to fashion school was crucial to be able to make the costumes?
KW: No, I would say that 90 percent of the people that I know in cosplay are all self-taught and with YouTube nowadays you can learn everything online. A lot of the techniques that you need for cosplay like worbla, which is the thermal plastic plate that people use for armour building and sculpting, you don’t learn in fashion school. That’s all trial and error. So, I think having a degree can be helpful with certain things and I think it’s definitely beneficial, but you don’t need to go to school for design to do it.
RS: Do you feel as if you’re embodying a character when you choose to dress up as him or her?
KW: I find that if you’re not interested in a character you might not put as much time and effort into it. As soon as you get the costume on and everything completed, you actually have transformed into them and you kind of feel like them. When you turn into a villain you feel like a badass. So, it’s really cool.
RS: Do you find your background in television broadcasting has helped you in this field of work?
KW: Yes, 100 percent. Creating content online is the majority of the work that I do and going to school for broadcasting and television played a huge part of that because I learned how to edit video, I learned about video production and I learned about producing. I worked on a bunch of TV shows, I used to be an agent for different acting agencies in Toronto and I’ve done the casting side of things. So, I definitely have learned the business side of entertainment. You need to pitch yourself to companies to get booked on different shows, you need to learn how to do pitches for brand endorsements on Instagram, all of that stuff. So I think having my TV and business background has definitely helped me a lot.
RS: Speaking of social media, do you ever see some negative sides of it?
KW: Yeah, social media can be a negative place. It’s hard on you physically because people are always judging you based on what you look like. So that’s a really big downfall. Another part of it that I’ve recently been struggling with is keeping your personal life separate from your social media life. My fiancé (Robert Wickens) is an IndyCar driver on social media as well. So we’ve actually been posting pictures and videos and stories and things, you know, on our time off. People, when we see them in person, don’t really ask you how you are. They’re repeating what they’ve seen online. It’s nice that people are touching base with your social media. They’re trying to keep up with what you’re doing. But, I feel like there’s a sense of disconnection with your real friendships. People forget to ask you actually how you because they feel like they are just catching up with you on your social media. What I’m struggling with is just what do we post, when and how much do we share of our personal life.
RS: Can you tell me about your costumes planned for Fan Expo in Toronto?
KW: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it yet because they’re both for filming jobs. I do have a group costume with Jess Nigri, Leeana Vamp, and Soni Aralynn. I will probably bring one of my tutus because I always do. I make tutus and I have like 15 of them in different characters so we’ll probably bring a new tutu as well. There is a costume coming on roller skates. But that’s all I can say.
RS: How long do these costumes usually take you to make?
KW: It depends on the costume. If I’m making a tutu I can sew one together in like three, four hours now. If I’m making something that includes a big armour build it could take days, a week. It really just depends on the costume you make. I know people that make a really crazy costume in three days and they just do all-nighters. But, my job and lifestyle can’t do that. I have to plan months ahead to know what I’m wearing. I hate being rushed and missing things, so I like to schedule it in advance so that I can get it done.
RS: Do you remember the very first one you ever made?
KW: The very first costume I ever wore was Black Mary and it was just like a closet cosplay that I threw together. But, the very first one that I made was Poison Ivy. Which, looking back on it, wasn’t that intense it was just gluing leaves to a corset. But, I feel like my most intense costume that I made after that was my Tardis tutu. That was my first big tutu project.
RS: What is your favorite cosplay?
KW: My favorite is definitely my R2 D2 costume. That was my favorite just because of the reaction when I tell people, they’re like, “oh my God, it’s R2”. Everyone loves the name of it.
RS: What would you say your favorite aspect of cosplay is?
KW: I think the creativity, being able to make whatever you want and twist and turn different characters into different things is just so much fun. And the community as well. You can be wearing a costume at FanExpo and you don’t even know half the people that come up and say hi to you, but then they immediately have an icebreaker because they have some sort of connection with the character that you’re cosplaying. That creates friendships instantly. Everyone should do cosplay once in their life.
FanExpo runs from August 30 – September 2 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Photos: Karli Woods
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