Comiccoverage.com met up with ToughTink Cosplay for an interview and photo shoot in her Winter Belle and Provincial Belle Cosplay.
We first had the pleasure of meeting the talented ToughTink Cosplay at Holiday Matsuri 2015. We took a quick snapshot of her in her Christmas themed Tinker Bell cosplay. We met her again at Holiday Matsuri 2016 where she was cosplaying as Winter Belle. She looked amazing and the detail of the dress and cloak were phenomenal. We asked if she would be interested in doing a photo shoot and an interview with comiccoverage.com and she said yes. Two months later we were able to photograph ToughTink in her Winter Belle and Provincial Belle cosplay. She truly looked as though she had stepped right out of the Beauty and the Beast film. We enjoyed the opportunity to photograph ToughTink and get to know a little more about her in the interview below.
Comiccoverage.com (CC): We photographed you in two different Belle cosplays today so we are pretty certain you really like her as a character. What appeals to you about Belle that made you want to cosplay as her?
ToughTink Cosplay: Belle has been an extremely special character to me since I was very little. I felt like I had a lot in common with her, always lost in a book and sort of not fitting in since I was a very shy kid. She was a character I really wanted to do justice to, so even though she’s been on my cosplay list since the beginning, I held off until I thought my skills could be up to par.
CC: Your Winter Belle Cosplay is amazing and the attention to detail is phenomenal. Tell us about some of the things it took for you to complete this work of art.
ToughTink: One of the things I love about cosplaying traditionally animated characters is that it can leave a lot of room for interpretation since so often their designs need to be simplified to be hand drawn over and over again. For Winter Belle, I referenced my design off of the original animated movie while also looking at other interpretations like her limited edition doll design as well as historical references of both rococo and Victorian era dresses. I landed on a style that fits closer to the mid-1800’s since it matched Belle’s silhouette for this dress.
The cloak was the first part that I started and found that it actually came together fairly quickly, though the sheer amount of and types of materials used for it make it the most expensive part of the costume–velvet devoré and very soft faux fur don’t come cheap. I ended up not having quite the length that I wanted on my initial cloak, so I opted to add gold fabric as embellishment between the burgundy fabric and the fur. Finding the right colors of fabric for the dress was very difficult since I knew I wanted to maintain the value relationship as close to the original movie as possible and the vast majority of pink fabric goes straight for bright magenta. The bodice ended up being a very heavy upholstery fabric, while the skirt is taffeta, and accents in satin with lacey overlays. I added hundreds of rhinestones and tiny ribbon roses to embellish the dress, also. My favorite detail, however, is that I remembered to sew in giant pockets! The pleats and fullness of the skirt (a full circle) hide them perfectly. It was my first time making a floor-length skirt, but it makes for a good half-step in terms of difficulty between the peasant look and the full on ballgown.
CC: How long did it take you to complete your Winter Belle Cosplay?
ToughTink: My cosplanner app says “3 months, 12 days,” but of course that’s counting from when I first buy fabric and most of that time was spent doing non-cosplay-related things or working on other projects. I like to try and give myself plenty of time when possible in case of any hangups.
CC: Where did you first debut your Winter Belle cosplay?
ToughTink: Holiday Matsuri 2016 was my first time wearing the fully finished Winter Belle costume, and the reaction was wonderful! I definitely want to bring it to future HolMats since it’s pretty on-theme!
CC: Almost every time we passed you at Holiday Matsuri, someone was taking photos of you!
CC: Tell us a little about your Provincial Belle (Town Belle) Cosplay.
ToughTink: For Belle’s provincial look, I knew from the beginning that I wanted the materials to feel more historical than my previous Disney Princess cosplays. I opted for a couple of different linens, some cotton, lace, ribbon and an upholstery fabric (used on the wrong side) and dyed to be a pale blue. My two favorite details of its construction are the rose lace I found for her petticoat as a nod to the enchanted rose in the story and the fact that I remembered to add pockets to the skirt. Pockets make everything so much easier when trying to navigate conventions! After spending around 3 months working on Belle in between other cosplay projects, I debuted it at Megacon 2016.
CC: What other cosplays have you completed?
ToughTink: I’ve done quite a few animated characters at this point, many of Ariel’s outfits, Briar Rose, Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Disgust from Pixar’s Inside Out, various form of Rarity from My Little Pony, Opal from Steven Universe, and of course, multiple versions of Tinker Bell. I’ve also done some game and anime characters like GLaDos from Portal, a few Pokemon characters and Gijinkas.
CC: Do you have any future cosplay plans that you are willing to reveal?
ToughTink: I have the unfortunate habit of constantly adding more things to my “future cosplay” list, so it’s always growing and will never ever be completely fulfilled. Two that I currently have in the works are an original BB-8 design from Star Wars and Widowmaker’s Noire skin from Overwatch. Both represent totally new challenges for me like making armor and creating a foam-sculpted dress.
CC: Not a third Belle? (laughing)
ToughTink: More Belle looks are on my list! Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait their turn. Doing my own version of Belle’s ballgown is a dream cosplay of mine!
CC: We saw the sketch you drew for your upcoming original Star Wars BB-8 cosplay and it looks like it is going to be amazing! We love your take on the little droid and cant wait to see it completed. Is there a certain convention you are hoping to complete it by?
ToughTink: My goal is to be able to show off my BB-8 cosplay at Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando! And of course, I’ll probably be wearing it to summer conventions and maybe the next Star Wars movie premiere.
CC: If you had to wear one cosplay for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
ToughTink: This is too hard to answer! If it was just one particular character…probably, it would be Tinker Bell. It’s so fun to be a fairy, and Tink has been one of my favorite characters for longer than I can remember! Plus, I’d always get to be covered in glitter that way.
CC: We were pretty certain that Tinker Bell would be your answer! How many different Tinker Bell cosplays have you done so far?
ToughTink: I’ve done something like three and a half variations on her classic green dress (a half because it was sort of a matter of upgrading certain parts of the costume), as well as a Christmas-themed outfit from some of Disney’s holiday season merchandise. My most recent version is based on her Couture de Force collector’s figurine. So that’s like…. 5.5 in total? I’ve also done some different Disneybound outfits based on her for Dapper Day. Truth be told, I still have a couple more variations on Tink on my ever-growing future cosplay list!
CC: Which fictional character would you say that you are most like in real life?
ToughTink: That is super tough! A lot of the characters that I’ve cosplayed were chosen because of how much I connect with them. As I continue to do more and more difficult cosplays, I feel a lot like Rarity since she loves to design and sew amazing outfits all the time. She’s also creative, very protective of her friends, generous, and proves that femininity is a strength, not a weakness. I don’t know if I really embody all of those traits, but I definitely try to.
CC: Tell us about some of the things you have going on at your Twitch channel, twitch.tv/toughtink
ToughTink: I’m still pretty new to Twitch, but I go between streaming drawing and cosplay progress. Sometimes the cosplay stuff is wig styling, sometimes it’s just sewing. Currently, I’m learning some new skills like applique on spandex and foamsmithing, all of which I plan to stream! Right now, my schedule is mostly Sunday afternoons and the occasional weeknight, but I hope to get more going as I get used to the platform.
CC: Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
ToughTink: I love drawing and designing in general, not just for cosplay. Video games and D&D are also big hobbies for me, especially since I can do them with friends. I also like to read both comics/manga and novels, though I find that I never have much time for it these days. And when I find the time, I’d like to try my hand at more toy customizing because it’s like cosplay on a tiny scale!
CC: Do you have any words of wisdom or a favorite quote?
ToughTink: When dealing with people in person or on the internet, we should always strive to imagine others complexly and not judge just by the minuscule interactions we may have with them.
CC: Would you like to mention any of your social network pages?
ToughTink: Yes, I’m on Facebook: facebook.com/toughtinkcosplay, Instagram: @toughtink, Twitch: twitch.tv/toughtink, and I have two different Tumblr accounts: toughtinkcosplay.tumblr.com and toughtinkart.tumblr.com