Rolando Ramos : I first discovered cosplay not at a convention, but at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. When I was 15 or 16 I would go to the midnight screenings where everyone would dress up like characters from the film. I always thought that was cool. Friends I made there would talk about also dressing up for conventions. It was the first time I ever really heard of that.
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Rolando Ramos : Back in 2006 I went to New York Comic Con. It was the first big Con I was going to attend so I decided to throw together a Joker costume… and rest is history.
Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
Rolando Ramos : I’m working on Dr.Doom right now. When he’s done I’m going to make Negative Man from the Doom Patrol and Dr Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Rolando Ramos : I used to do the contest when I started out. I find them extremely fun. Now a days I’m more into hosting them, then being a contestant.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Rolando Ramos : I like building armor and props. Sewing feels more like a chore to me. I’ll do it, but I don’t love it. As for wigs, I’ve never been great with them. If I can use my own hair I will.
Leo Nocedo :Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Rolando Ramos : Photo shoots at cons without a doubt. It’s so much fun and unexpected. I love getting roped in to a crazy scene on the convention floor. Some of my most favourite photo shoots I’ve never seen the pictures from because I never new the people Some of my most favourite photo shoots I’ve never seen the pictures from because I never knew the people who I was in the pictures with.
Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Rolando Ramos : Villains. I’m drawn to them. I’ve always found them much more interesting then the heroes.
Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Rolando Ramos : Too many to name. I follow a bunch of cosplayers amd I love when mu feed is full of their amazing work. The week after a con I’m a little obsessed trying to see everything.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Rolando Ramos : Probably Skeletor. I really tried to recreated the 80s action figure amd add all of those little touches.
Leo Nocedo : What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Rolando Ramos : When working on a comicbook or video game character, action figures and statues are a great place for reference. YouTube is a great source for tips, especially if you don’t know where to start. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. Ypu cam always upgrade later.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Rolando Ramos : Joker will always be my number one. I just love living in his skin. I’ve also done so many different versions, so it might not be fair.
Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
Rolando Ramos : One year at TBCC I was running out to my car to put a few toys I had purchased in the trunk, because I didn’t want to carry them anymore. I was half way to the car when the rain started. I had parked pretty far away and was too far from the convention center to turn back. In a few seconds I was soaked standing in a puddle of green and white. I gave up on the day, and I had to drive home like that.
Leo Nocedo :What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Rolando Ramos : Hosting the costume contest at Tampa Bay Comic Con Harley (Harlequinarts) and I were trying to fill some time while the judges were making their decisions. We thought we would do a bit with Superman (CattyMike) amd get the kids involved. When Superman came the stage, the sound guy decided to play the Superman theme. Without thinking I screamed “Damn you John Williams!” This got Harley laughing, Superman laughing, me laughing, the audience roaring. So much for story, but still funny!
Leo Nocedo :What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Rolando Ramos : My cosplay world has expanded over the years. One way it has is in getting the chance to use cosplay to help out in charitably ways. Through the convention scene I was able to join up the The Guardians of Justice. Some of my most favourite interactions have been with kids who either want to take me down or team up. Some of these kids have real medical conditions, but at that moment they see a character and they want to play.
Leo Nocedo :Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Rolando Ramos : Yes. A few years back I introduced my niece and nephews to the wonderful world of cosplay. I took them to Tampa Bay Comic Con and told them they would wear their Halloween costumes. They had a blast and everyone was so nice to them and welcoming.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
Rolando Ramos : I went to Star Wara Celebration dressed as Darth Joker. Mark Hamill took a picture of me while I was standing in line to meet him and posted it on his Twitter. Obviously I was blown away.
Leo Nocedo : What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?
Rolando Ramos : I’m big on thrift store finds. I get most of my suits that way. You also don’t feelas bad ruining something you didn’t spend too much on.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Rolando Ramos : If I can use my own hair I do, but when I need a wig the less I have to do on it the better. I am fortunate to have much more talented friends who have fixed my poor wig stylings in the past.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Rolando Ramos : All the time. Especially when I go with an obscure character. I remember someone thought Casey Jones was Jason Voorhees. Some people confuse Riddler and Joker which I think is crazy. I usually just laugh it off. Life’s to short.
Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Rolando Ramos : Joker, Riddler, Red Hood, Loki, Casey Jones, Skeletor, Frodo, Zartan, Dr.Frank-N-Furter, Scarecrow, Gambit, Wolverine, Bizarro, Vinz Clortho Keymaster of Gozer, Beetlejuice, Punisher, Inspector Gadget, Gomez Addams, Spider-Man, Dr.Drakken, Larflezze, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Mandolarian, Beast, Sandman, Mad Hatter, Squirrel Guy
Leo Nocedo :What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
Rolando Ramos : Probably Megacon in Orlando.
Leo Nocedo :Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
Rolando Ramos : I love props. I feel like it makes the cosplay. Sometimes I’ll carry too many props. It can be annoying, but I love it.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
Rolando Ramos : Lost a glove once which was annoying. So far nothing major though.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?
Yes. Dressed as Frodo I when and bought the Sting. I was going to order it online, but then I thought which not give a vendor my business. Support the Con, it will support you back.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
Rolando Ramos : I’ve had great times as part of a group, but I also enjoy wandering into new adventures when I’m flyers solo. So can I say both?
Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
Rolando Ramos : I would just chat with them. Maybe learn something new about cosplay, or a character, or a fandome I didn’t know before.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
Rolando Ramos : I done a few over the years. I rather host then be a panelists. I like the conversation that come out of a great panel. Lately I’ve been doing digital panels as part of HarleCon. It’s crazy not to be able to see the audience, but nice to still get a chance to have those great conversations.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Rolando Ramos : A mix of both. I like to buy some pieces and customize it, or mix and match.
Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Rolando Ramos : Keep everything. I’ve gotten rid of so many cosplays over the years that I regret. You never know what will be useful later.
Leo Nocedo :What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Rolando Ramos : Something big like a Transformer. I started a Soundwave cosplay a hundred years ago, maybe someday I build it.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
Rolando Ramos : My Mando armor. It was my first time working with heavier materials and there was a lot of trial and error.
Leo Nocedo :What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Rolando Ramos : Joker, only because I spray my hair. I have gotten really good at it and can put it on pretty quickly if I need too.
Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Rolando Ramos : A pro cosplayer is anyone who takes their work seriously. Who is willing to put in the time and effort. A person who is dedicated to cosplay.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Rolando Ramos : The play part. I love interacting with people in character. I love the moment of recognition when someone digs what you do. Makes me smile everytime.