Today, we sit down with New Jersey-based cosplayer GlitchyKitty to discuss her epic Super Smash Bros. skills, the cosplay scene and how she got started with all things nerdy!AiPT!: Let’s start off with learning where you are!

GlitchyKitty: Northern New Jersey, about 20 minutes from New York City! I’ve been here my whole life.

AiPT!: When you aren’t cosplaying, how do you spend your time?

GK: I play Super Smash Bros. Melee competitively. Not only do I spend time playing, but I spend time traveling the country for tournaments as well! From the Smash community, I also found a love for streaming on Twitch! So I guess to narrow it down: smash, traveling and streaming.

AiPT!: Growing up, were you always into nerd culture? Or is it something that developed later on in your life?

GK: Neither of my parents were ever really into cool nerd things, so I wasn’t really “raised” by it. However, I loved Pokemon from before I could even talk. My mom even told me one of my first words was “Pika.” I remained in love with Pokemon and other Nintendo games from then on and my parents let that flourish by buying me my first game system, my Nintendo 64.

AiPT!: How long have you been cosplaying?

GK: I always tell people since 2013, so about 4 years now. That’s when I started to plan and sit down and work on costumes before the night before the convention. However, I will admit I threw clothes together in an effort to look like different Pokemon and miscellaneous characters (I did this with Larvitar, Raichu and even Nyan Cat) since like 2010 when I started going to conventions. Thankfully I have no pictures of them. [Laughs]

AiPT!: When you think of cosplay as an art form, what does that mean to you?

GK: It feels like home … as cliche as that sounds. I don’t really know how to put how it makes me feel into words. When I’m at a convention in something I worked so hard on and am so proud of I just feel like nothing can stop me and I just feel like “home.” Then I looked around and see everyone else’s magnificent creations that I know they also slaved over and it makes that feeling explode even more. I love doing it myself and I love admiring other people.

AiPT!: How much time, on average, would you say you invest into each cosplay?

GK: This is a question I get a lot and it’s so hard for me to answer. I’m a big time procrastinator. On top of it, I’m in college full time. How it usually works (especially during the school year) is I’ll bang out one huge project and maybe one more minor one in two-to-three weekends. I will spend my time doing nothing but that. Sometimes I’ll stream my work so I have people to keep me focussed but sometimes that does just the opposite.

AiPT!: Does it get to a point with costumes where you’ll sacrifice accuracy for comfort or will you force yourself to be uncomfortable to get that extra bit of accuracy?

GK: I rarely get to be comfortable in costume. So going in with the thought that I’ll probably be uncomfortable anyway, I will most definitely make it more accurate over comfortable. [Laughs]

AiPT!: What would you say is the most ambitious cosplay you’ve ever taken on?

GK: Probably Renekton from League of Legends. The armor in itself was a little scary but the blade he carries was really daunting. Renekton’s blade is my one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, weapon in League of Legends and I was so enamored with it that I pushed through to make it so I could hold it in real life. It makes me feel really cool, I won’t lie.

AiPT!: Is there a cosplay you’d love to do but feel too intimidated by?

GK: This happens often but if I really love it, I’ll try to go for it. Right now I feel that way about Super Galaxy Shyvana from League of Legends, but I’m planning on trying to make her sometime next year, with her probably being my biggest build of all time. Since cosplay is definitely a learning experience, the beauty of being intimidated by a costume you want to make is that one day you’ll be at the level where you can do it.

AiPT!: As the finishing touches are put on your cosplay and you hit the convention floor, what’s the first thing you like to do?

GK: My standard procedure for walking into the convention when I’m wearing a more uncomfortable and elaborate costume is get pictures to make sure I have some before everything potentially falls apart. [Laughs] Then I like to meet up with friends, check out panels, and eyeball potential things I wanna buy in the dealer’s room/artist alley.

AiPT!: Very few men are known as being famous in the cosplay scene, while comparatively it’s the complete opposite with women. What’re your thoughts on this? Do you think it’s harder for men to be recognized for being great cosplayers?

GK: I 100% believe it’s harder for men to get recognized. It’s really a shame but I think with the growing power of social media and cosplayers with more followers spotlighting other cosplayers, we can start to change that.

AiPT!: Whether it be from a friend, stranger, fan or fellow cosplayer –  what’s the best cosplay advice you’ve ever received?

GK: I really look up to cosplayer/YouTuber MangoSirene and honestly, all of her Cosplay 101 videos include the most amazing advice. However, she ends all of these videos by saying “and as always, Happy Cosplay!” and I feel that emphasizes that fun and happiness should be the #1 priority when cosplaying.

AiPT!: Due to the heavy prescience of social media in our society, a lot of people are able to form and voice opinions of the cosplay community, without being a part of it. What do you think the biggest misconception about cosplay is?

GK: While I don’t think anyone who doesn’t participate would ever call it “easy,” I’m most certain that many people don’t realize how hard it actually is until they try. Seeing the finished work is one thing, but watching a time-lapse video/work log/tutorial of something that took hours/days/weeks is a whole new world.

AiPT!: Out of these films, which are you most looking for to in 2017 and why? Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Alien: Covenant, Thor: Ragnarok  or The Mummy?

GK: I’m actually not the biggest comic book gal myself, but I’m a huge Rocket Raccoon fan so I gotta give it to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

AiPT!: Lastly! Where can people find you online?

GK: My Instagram is @glitchykitty, my Twitter is @shannondorf_ and my Twitch is shannonGK!