Leo Nocedo : How did you discover cosplaying?
Lauren White: My biggest introduction to cosplaying was probably dating a man who had just gotten into it. He typically cosplays the Joker and had started participating in different groups while perfecting a 1960s Cesar Romero Joker.
Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Lauren White: Star Trek, of course! Red tunic from Amazon.
Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
Lauren White: While I want to eventually expand, I want to run the gauntlet of Star Trek. I’ve stuck to The Original Series. I would like to combine original series costuming with other elements like Steampunk and other pop culture. I briefly was a pirate last year for Pirate’s Day in St. Augustine. Will likely branch into that as well.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
Lauren White: Accidentally! I attended a Star Trek Opera with the USS Haven crew. Was in my red. I ended up winning for being “a great Uhura” and received a poster signed by the cast. Didn’t even enter. Everyone always assumes I’m Uhura…
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
Lauren White: None of the above!! I prefer to design! I’ve had designs/ideas custom made. I should probably learn to sew…
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Lauren White: I haven’t done photoshoots, per se, but I have photos at cons AND specific locations (mainly, Neutral Zone Studios). I enjoy both, but my favorites are pictures at cons and volunteer events with kids and photos interacting with other cosplayers (recently got choked my Omniman… loved it)
Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Lauren White: I started mainly in Star Trek TOS Red…. Most people assume I’m trying to be Uhura because I’m black, but actually I do it for engineering. I’m an engineer IRL and wanted to represent that.
Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
Lauren White: Love the folks/friends of Starfleet Cosplay. They have different inspirations/takes on Starfleet uniforms and often gear them towards the theme of an event. That is what I would like to do on an individual basis. I’ve been asked to shoot with them whenever we manage to get the opportunity!
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Lauren White: I’m still learning, so nothing that complicated… The USS Haven attends SyFy Bartow annually. Each year has a different theme. For Myths and Magic, I had a black tunic and hooded cape custom made to combine Star Trek Section 31 with a Harry Potter vibe.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Lauren White: Being a pirate! I look damn good in a corset even if I can’t breathe!
Leo Nocedo : What’s your funniest cosplay story?
Lauren White: Changing out of uniform and being walked in on by the Orlando Science Center staff. Also, I love doing events with the 501st… after a certain point and time in heavy, hot costumes, no one cares who they’re naked around.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Lauren White: I met the owner of The Neutral Zone Studios while posing on their bridge set. This led to me having a table at their first open house in Kingsland, Georgia and subsequently volunteering with them and participating in fan films with TNZ, Dreadnought Dominion, and others.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Lauren White: Nope.
Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
Lauren White: Orlando Science Center was holding an event when they had their Ninja Turtle Exhibit. Nemours Children’s Hospital was giving out masks, so I got an orange one for myself and took a photo with “Raphael.” Took another with four of us crew with masks. (See Facebook featured photos and USS Haven cover photos.)
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Lauren White: People always assume I’m Uhura… something about being black.
Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Lauren White: Starfleet engineer, Starfleet Captain (custom tunic), Starfleet Section 31, various takes on Starfleet, pirate
Leo Nocedo : What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?
Lauren White: Megacon
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
Lauren White: It varies. It’s easier, of course, to carry nothing, but when doing Star Trek, it’s fun to have a phaser or communicator to pose with. It’s also fun to give them to kids to pose with in photos.
Leo Nocedo : Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
Lauren White: No, but I can’t count the number of times people have tried to buy or take my phaser, tricorder, or communicator.
Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
Lauren White: Rock on.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Lauren White: Buy because I’m lazy, though I try to get pieces from different places. I want to learn to make, though.
Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Lauren White: Branch out! I never planned to be a cosplayer, but being in Starfleet uniforms and interacting at science centers and cons has been fun. There are so many other characters I could do that would motivate others.
Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Lauren White: I’ve seen a lot of Steampunk Starfleet costumes that are either full blown gowns or… slutty… I want to make something that fully embraces Steampunk, but that is obviously Star Trek, while also being less traditional.
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
Lauren White: Wearing boots with that uniform is always a battle… Did it one time on Cocoa Beach in June…
Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Lauren White: Someone who teaches. It’s important to embody a character, but not get lost in it. Some get in character and that’s fun, but I love that with Trek, I can teach people about Science through demos, trivia, etc. I can show a child how a Star Trek prop inspired current technology. We cosplay for ourselves and our own joy, of course, but spreading the joy to others makes it worth it.