Leo Nocedo : How did you discover cosplaying?
Steven Rodriguez : As someone growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome, it was always hard for me to socialize with my classmates in school, especially when it was the “good ol’ days” where you got bullied for being a nerd or gamer.” I think I had found out about cons from a friend, and it seems scary at first. I had made a poorly made Master Chief helmet and went to my first con, which was Florida Supercon 2009. My parents had thought I would be laughed at, but when they came to pick me up, they were relieved that I had a great time and “found my people”.
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Steven Rodriguez : About two years after Supercon 2009, I started on my first cosplay, a Halo 3 Mark VI Spartan. I learned from a tutorial on a YouTube video from Indy Mogul, which then took me to the 405th Infantry Division, a Halo costuming community. It ended up becoming an art project for my senior year in high school. Since then, I made various cosplays and props to this day.
Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
Steven Rodriguez : I’m currently on a break because of this Covid-19 Pandemic, but I have Tinker Knight from Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Raphael from Fire Emblem Three House and Orville from Animal Crossing: New Horizons planned.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Steven Rodriguez : I’ve entered various cosplay contests for the past nine years, but I’ve also been a judge for cosplay contests as well.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Steven Rodriguez : I prefer armor and prop making.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Steven Rodriguez : It’s honestly depends on the venue, but cons are easier because you have less of a chance of having the cops getting called on you because you look like a suspicious individual.
Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Steven Rodriguez :I’m known for cosplaying from the Fallout series of games, alongside cosplaying Nintendo characters, mainly Wario. Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Steven Rodriguez : That’s a hard question to answer, since I’ve met so many cosplayers with various talents and skill sets that have made amazing costumes and props.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Steven Rodriguez : I’d have to say my Nuka Raider. I used a mix of metal, foam, and recycled material to put that costume together, to make it look like the armor was put together from scraps:”
Leo Nocedo : What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Steven Rodriguez : Tip 1: Don’t let anything go to waste, sometimes you can find things you can do with scrap foam, wood, or metal for future projects. Tip 2: Don’t procrastinate your projects, although I’m constantly guilty of this. Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to improve. Sometimes you might not be happy with your progress, and that’s okay.
If you’re not trying to learn new skill sets or improve your work, you likely plateau in the long term.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Steven Rodriguez :My current favorite is my Vault 76 Dweller. I made that cosplay for the midnight release of Fallout 76, while the game kinda bombed at launch, I enjoyed all the work I put onto that costume, along with the Guitar Sword prop I made for it.
Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
Steven Rodriguez : My worse cosplay horror story would have to be from FIU Japan 2019, where I judged my first cosplay contest. There was a cosplayer that was originally going to be a judge alongside myself and a third person, but they decided to bail at the last minute and enter their biggest costume to try to score an easy win. When he didn’t win Best in Show, he started talking trash about the winner on social media. Later on, I found out that this cosplayer is known for commissioning costumes and lying about how he made them. For my first cosplay contest I was at a judge at, it was stressful as hell.
Leo Nocedo : What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Steven Rodriguez : One of the funniest stories that come to mind is when I had a panel at OUT Con a couple years back, I had to bring a tv for my panel, since they didn’t provide equipment. After the panel, when I was carrying the tv back to a friend’s car, another friend took a picture of me with the TV and added memes onto the TV. It was a fun thing to edit for a while.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Steven Rodriguez : I think one of my best in-character interaction was going up to a group of Vault Dweller cosplayers and singing along to Roy Brown’s Butcher Pete.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Steven Rodriguez : I cosplayed with my brother earlier on, but since then. I usually do my own thing.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
Steven Rodriguez : Honestly, it’s currently between Lou Carrion Photography’s photo of my Vault 76 Dweller “playing my Guitar Sword” at Comic Con Revolution WPB 2019 and MyKey2Lyfe_Photos’ photo of my Nuka Raider posing like Captain America holding his shield in The First Avenger at Megacon Orlando 2018.
Leo Nocedo : What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?
Steven Rodriguez : I usually go to Jo-Anns, and Michaels, and Harbor Freight for EVA Foam and Clothing Dye, Home Depot and Wal-Mart for Spray Paints and Plasti-Dip, Valsan for belts, and Amazon for everything in between.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Steven Rodriguez : I usually try to avoid wigs, but when I buy them, I’m honestly too lazy to style wigs
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Steven Rodriguez : There was a grandma that confused my Vault Dweller cosplay for a Minion.
Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Steven Rodriguez : Halo 3 Mark VI Spartan Desmond Miles from Assassin’s Creed Bojack Horseman Trevor Phillips from Grand Theft Auto V Genderbend Rarity from My Little Pony Fluttershed from HotDiggedyDemon’s Pony.Mov series
Bruce Banner from The Avengers The Incredible Hulk Red Dick from The Filthy Frank Show Professor Birch from Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald Canterlot Royal Guard from My Little Pony Tingle from The Legend of Zelda Ellis from Left 4 Dead 2 Junior from RWBY Junior’s Henchman from RWBY Genderbend Yang from RWBY Speedwagon from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure The Courier from Fallout New Vegas Wario Warfare (Mario/Call of Duty crossover) Warioware Warfare (Mario/Call of Duty crossover) Custom Vault 21 Dweller from Fallout New Vegas Team Skull Grunt from Pokemon Sun and Moon Raider Armor from Fallout 4 Agent 3 from Splatoon Wario from Mario Tennis Aces Legion Veteran Armor from Fallout New Vegas Nuka Raider from Fallout Genderbend Mercy from Overwatch Inkling Boy from Splatoon Vault 76 Dweller from Fallout 76 Vault 69 Dweller from Fallout 3: One Man and a Crate of Puppets Dr. Wario from Dr. Mario World
Leo Nocedo : What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
Steven Rodriguez : I think it might had been either Megacon or RTX.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
Steven Rodriguez : Because I hate myself, I prefer to carry props and heavy armor. You know what they say, go big or go home!
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
Steven Rodriguez : I’m sure I’ve lost small pieces, but they can be rebuilt or rebought.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?
Steven Rodriguez : I’ve bought some, like a Jet prop from Fallout and a Nuka Cola Flask.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
Steven Rodriguez : I prefer to be a Lone Wanderer, if you catch my drift, but I tend to group up from time to time.
Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
Steven Rodriguez : I had the chance to meet Kamui Cosplay a couple years back. If I meet her again, I’d say thank you for the inspiration and the various tutorial books you’ve written.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
Steven Rodriguez : I’ve participated in various cosplay panels in the past.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Steven Rodriguez : I prefer to make my cosplays.
Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Steven Rodriguez : Learn how to sew and solder electronics.
Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Steven Rodriguez : I’d like to do something big, like Liberty Prime from Fallout 3.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
Steven Rodriguez : This would have to be my Nuka Raider. In between the mix of materials I used, the weight of everything together when worn, and the lack of mobility, it’s up there.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Steven Rodriguez : Maybe it would be the Inkling Boy makeup, since I’m not really skilled at doing my own makeup. Scars and bruises are easy for me, making the eye detail for the Inkling, not so much.
Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Steven Rodriguez : Someone that’s a “Jack of a Trades” for craftsmanship, has good social media presence, and someone that respectful.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Steven Rodriguez : My favorite part for cosplaying is finding friends that have the same interests and showing off my work.
Leo Nocedo : When you’re not cosplaying or working on props, what do you do in your spare time?
Steven Rodriguez : When I’m not cosplaying, I play video games, build Gunpla model kits, and work at my job. It’s hard for me to stay still and not be productive. Besides that, I also fundraise for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, FL via Extra Life, a charitable organization that brings gamers together to help sick and injured children getting treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® across the U.S. and Canada.” If you want to help me raise money for this hospital, free free to check out my Extra Life page:https://www.extra-life.org/participant/S15Costuming S15 Costuming