Recently I had the opportunity to speak with the incredibly talented Toronto based cosplayer Purrblind. Oh man did we have a great time nerding out together over our shared passions and connecting over how hard it is to be a nerd growing up. Not only is this lovely lady a fellow Zelda super fan, but she also educated me on Lolita fashion and it’s origins as a Japanese feminist movement. Don’t let her sweet and innocent looks fool you though, there’s a dark and twisted person under all the smiles! Check out my interview below for the full story.
AiPT!: Tell us about where you’re from and how you like to spend your time when you aren’t cosplaying.
PB: I’m from Toronto Canada. When I’m not cosplaying I generally play a lot of video games, as I also stream on Twitch. I love Japanese fashion, especially Lolita fashion and some other sub-styles. I’ve been gaming and watching anime since I was a little kid, so it’s fair to say that my interests are pretty nerdy across the board.
AiPT!: Could you tell me a little more about Lolita fashion? I’ve heard it mentioned before, but I’ve never taken the time to learn about it.
PB: Basically it’s based off of Victorian and/or Rococo fashion, but it’s morphed a lot over time. It started as a feminist statement in Japan. Japanese culture is based around a strict structure of getting married, having children and being a good wife. So some women said “What if I don’t want to get married, have children and be a good wife? What if I just want to life my life for myself?”. So these women purposely dressed up in these outrageous outfits to essentially deter people [laughs]. Which is what really drew me to it, I love being able to wear something on the outside that expresses what’s on the inside.
AiPT!: What was your first exposure to the cosplay culture and community?
PB: I got into it because of my best friend, who was into cosplay when we were 12-13. She showed up to school on Halloween dressed in cosplay as Black Rock Shooter and I had no idea what is was. So she explained to me that it was cosplay and exposed me to FanExpo in Toronto, which is essentially your run of the mill comic con. I thought it was all very cool but I was bullied a lot in school so I didn’t get into it until several years later in about grade 10.
So she took me to a local comic con and I had a little costume we put together. I remember just walking in and having these feelings about how I had been so closeted with my interests because I was so scared to be out there from bullying. Kids were so harsh over liking Harry Potter, I wasn’t about to go out there and say I liked anime. So walking in I met so many people that were legitimately interested in what I was interested in and I immediately knew that I had to go to as many of these conventions as I could. I’ve been cosplaying ever since.
AiPT!: I’ve always found the personas that cosplayers create for themselves rather fascinating. Could you tell us about where “Purrblind” came from and how you decided it was the right fit for you?
PB: I’ve been wearing glasses since I was two-years old because I have a lazy eye. I used to wear an eye patch as well for eye patch therapy. It’s always something that people have noticed about me “Wow I love your glasses they make your eyes look so big!”. But it was also the first thing people would bully me about. I was super self conscious about it for a really long time, so I tried to think of something that I could do to make myself more okay with that aspect of myself.
I kind of just took the thing that I had the biggest insecurities about and dove into a thesaurus looking for synonyms for obscured vision [laughs]. I wanted it to sound cool and edgy, I came up with this handle when I was 16 and I thought to myself “I want to sound deep!” [laughs]. So I came across purblind with one r and that it was really cool. I added the extra the r to differentiate myself from the actual word, I thought it was really cute and wouldn’t doesn’t like cat girls?
AiPT!: Out of all the characters you’ve cosplayed as, which one do you feel you align the most with?
PB: The first that comes to mind is definitely Madoka from Madoka Magica. I’ve cosplayed three of her outfits and I’ve since improved upon the existing costumes. I love the show so much because it’s so beautiful and I love things that are beautiful when you look at them but really dark and f----d up underneath [laughs].
In the series Madoka suffers so much and she couldn’t see how incredible she was for being able to go through so much. That really spoke to me on a personal level because of some past traumas I’ve been through where I didn’t think very much of myself at the time, but since overcoming that stuff I’ve felt really empowered. Madoka really helped me with getting to that good place.
AiPT!: Is cosplay a pure hobby and outlet for your passion, or is it something you look at as a path to a career?
PB: Honestly it started purely as me expressing myself and having fun. At the end of the day that’s always going to be the main reason that I do it. If I don’t have fun anymore, I’m not going to do it anymore. I’ll find something else. But I still as much, if not more fun now than when I first started cosplaying.
It’s really cool that I’ve been able to start sustaining my own projects through Patreon and other avenues. I’d love to able to continue on this route. I’ll always do cosplay for just a fun hobby, but I won’t do it as a business if it ever stops being fun.
AiPT!: What’s a weird quirk or habit that you have that your fans may not be aware of?
PB: Oh man. There’s a lot of them [laughs]. I fall asleep a lot in weird places. I have a fatigue illness, so I can’t really avoid it and a lot of people don’t know that. It’s minor but it impacts me. I’ll fall asleep on my floor, the subway and really anywhere [laughs].
I come off as really shy and innocent because I’m such an introvert. So my friends who know me well laugh when people comment on my demeanor when they first meet me. They know they’ll come to regret calling me shy and innocent [laughs]. I have a tendency not to shut up and say the most vulgar things imaginable [laughs].
AiPT!: I know from your social media pages that you’re playing Breath of the Wild right now. Is that your first foray into Zelda games or do you have another that’s your favorite?
PB: I’ve played a lot of Zelda games. My first was Ocarina of Time and it’s my favorite Zelda game.
AiPT!: Good answer! That’s the best one.
PB: I got the game totally by chance. My mother’s coworker got a Wii so he decided to give his Gamecube away to her and he had said he wanted to keep his copy of Ocarina of Time. But when I got my hands on the Gamecube it had Ocarina of Time in it and he let me keep it since I was playing it so much. I basically lost my mind [laughs].
AiPT!: What are you most looking forward to this year?
PB: Currently I’m excited for Colossalcon in June. All my friends are in that area, I went last year and it was amazing. I love water parks and parties.
I’m really nervous and also really excited that I might get to go to AnimeExpo this year. I was supposed to go last year but it just didn’t work out. This year I have a bunch of friends that want me to come and a place to stay. It’ll be exciting if, fingers crossed, it works out this year.
Here’s where you can find Purrblind online: