You never know what kind of people you will run into in the cosplay community. You can meet models, writers, cartographers, astrophysicists; the possibilities are endless. What really strikes a cord with me is that all these people with different backgrounds, different stories, and different goals in life, are all united by their common nerd and geek interests. I find a comfort in that. It can’t be described other than that it makes me happy to find cool people who share my love of plushies and Studio Ghibli, who are passionate about cosplay. I was lucky enough to have found the work of two magnificent individuals who highlight what I find significant in the cosplay world. They are supremely talented and have very awesome backstories. Please enjoy this interview with The Punisher Twins!
Favorite fictional rivals: Link and Ganondorf
Occupations: Student and Nanny
Favorite fictional rivals: Harry Potter and Voldemort
BNP: Please tell us a little bit about yourselves!
Ashton: My name is Ashton and I’m a Los Angeles native. I’m graduating college in December with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. I am a huge video game lover and video games are actually the reason why I decided to study journalism. I was home-schooled up until the tenth grade, which is another reason why I got into video games. I didn’t first start cosplaying until probably three years after I first discovered what it was because I was scared, but I’m so glad I got over it because cosplaying is probably one of the most interesting aspects of my life at the moment.
When I’m not playing video games (which is rare) I’m writing, studying, listening to music, or making costumes.
Lisa: Computer Science student. I like video games and anime. Something that a lot of people don’t know about me, is I’m a student pilot and I just need to complete one more test to get my pilot’s license. In my free time I like to code and play the piano. I’m also very into Folk Metal and Symphonic Metal, so I like to attend those concerts when I get a chance.
BNP: How has cosplay evolved throughout the years for the both of you?
Ashton: Well, for starters, I’m way better at creating costumes now than I was when I first started (thank goodness). But I think now for me I just have a lot of fun with it and don’t take myself too seriously like I used to. At first there would be times where I was making myself sick from working on costumes too long without taking breaks or getting adequate sleep. I even hot glued pieces on my costume while I was wearing it and ended up with burn scars that will probably never go away. Now I just remind myself that it’s a hobby and if something comes from it then great but I can’t make myself sick over it.
Lisa: This is tough, but I say I’m much better at making costumes now. Over the years, I’ve developed new skills, so now I can make more extreme pieces. When I first started I literally used materials like cardboard and cheap craft foam but now I know how to work with worbla and even solder lights and wires.
BNP: Were there any particular challenges that you both faced that made you consider leaving the cosplay community?
Ashton: I don’t think I would ever leave the cosplay community, but one time that really discouraged me was seeing comments on a video we were in at Wondercon that said “attention whores” and “they’re only pretending to like video games.” It just bothered me a lot because nothing we said in the video merited responses like that. But cosplaying is something I love to do and I’ve made so many friends that I would miss running into at every con if I were to leave the community. So for now I’m here to stay.
Lisa: The only challenge I would say is not being able to afford materials to make costumes. I just hate showing up to cons not in costume when I know that there are people counting on me and who get excited to see a new costume from me.
BNP: How can cosplay be beneficial to those having a tough time finding their place in life?
Ashton: The thing I love about cosplay is there a huge community of us and everyone is always so ready to help one another out. Because of this we don’t tend to judge because, just like that person who may be having a tough time, most of us were also in that same position and we remember what it’s like. I remember when I first decided to cosplay I was so scared because I didn’t think other people in the cosplay community would accept me since I was the new kid, but I ended up making lifelong friends and have never felt so accepted anywhere else.
Lisa: Cosplaying has allowed me to meet some wonderful people and form lifelong friendships. I think people having a tough time finding their place in life can use cosplay to meet others who can help them feel like they belong. Cosplay is also a creative outlet so if you’re having some type of trouble, whether it be at home or with friends or whatever, putting your mind into something creative helps to keep you from thinking about the bad stuff. And when you finish you just feel so accomplished and proud of yourself.
BNP: How do you both go about picking cosplays, as well as creating them?
Ashton: I always like to pick a character that I know and like for some reason or another. Sometimes we will decide to both be the same character, or we may be two different versions/outfits of the character (if they have them) or sometimes we dress differently because it’s a character that we love individually. When it comes to creating, we first look up every picture reference available to ensure accuracy from every angle. Sometimes we’ll use YouTube as a guide for creating something we don’t know how to do. Luckily we’ve been creating costumes and props since we were kids and even though they weren’t always good, having those creative skills early on gave us the means to take on bigger and more professional challenges.
Lisa: When picking cosplays I find a character that I absolutely love from a game, movie, comic, etc. and go from there. When it comes to creating, depending on the character I will either make sure I am meticulous about getting every detail correct, or I will put my own spin on the character. I usually do that when the character has been cosplayed countless times before or if I’m feeling super creative.
BNP: If you could play a game of cosmic bowling with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
Ashton: Hmmm, this is tough because I don’t really follow celebrities. But probably Welsh actor Taron Egerton because he is extremely intelligent and speaks very properly – it’s amazing! That may sound weird, but I find fun in conversing with people so it is ideal if they speak well.
Lisa: Bill Gates. He’s the one celebrity who I would like to meet before I die. He’s a huge inspiration to me and I look up to him. Cosmic bowling makes me think of just being loose and having fun so I think that would be cool to see Bill Gates being fun, and who knows maybe he would even spill some success secrets.
Picture 1 – V Threepio Photography
Picture 2 – CodyBre Photography
Picture 3 – Winton’s Photography
Picture 4 – Winton’s Photography
You see check out The Punisher Twins’ Facebook page here.