What was advertised as a professional cosplay panel quickly turned into a Meg Turney Q&A after none of the other scheduled cosplayers showed up.
Meg is known for her online hosting at Source Fed, YouTube and on Rooster Teeth. She's a cosplayer who's made 30-plus costumes, a journalist and host for The Know, a popular video game news channel on YouTube. She voices Neon in Rooster Teeth's popular anime "RWBY," and makes fantastic vidoes on YouTube. Her "Ask Megs" are always a delight.
The online host/cosplayer/Rooster Teeth employee sat on stage, waiting and maybe getting anxious, but not showing it.
She admitted she worked 20-plus days in a row, and that she was tired. But Meg handled the situation with complete grace and simply answered questions from the audience for around 40 minutes.
After all, the panel must go on. Here’s what happened.
Where do you get your wigs?
Arda is where I normally get my wigs. Everything is super quick.
What cosplay have you always wanted to make?
An underwear Tracer cosplay. I would love to make a real Tracer cosplay. We got new bookshelves in our house and I got these metal words. I got ‘love’ and ‘cheers’ and that’s her tagline, ‘cheers, love.’ So I was like I have to do an underwear Tracer set with those words.
What’s your first impression of Indy Popcon?
Indy Popcon has really been so much fun. It’s really cool when I do smaller conventions and I actually get to talk to people.
What’s your favorite kind of con to go to?
It’s a Miss America-type answer, but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I really love San Diego Comic-Con because I get to see friends I wouldn’t normally get to see. That’s pretty much where all of my cosplay friends go. On the flip side, it’s huge and it’s like 200,000 people trying to cram themselves into San Diego.
I truly adore going to RTX because I get to see so many fans and everything is pretty regimented for me there. Everything is scheduled for me the entire time.
Can you dab?
When there’s a cosplay you want to do, how much planning do you put into it?
Planning is easily the most important part of doing a new cosplay. The more you plan, the shorter the construction time. You're going to make so many mistakes in construction if you haven't planned properly. It’s going to be so much more expensive, you're going to ruin fabric and you’re going to have to go buy more.
Part of planning is giving yourself enough time to make the costume. A lot of times I’ll be like, oh I have a convention coming up in two weeks, I should make a costume and I’ve completely screwed myself. Or I’ll decide to make three brand-new cosplays in the span of a month so now I have RTX in two weeks and I haven’t even started on Neon.
Now that I have so many costumes to pick from, I don't feel pressure to have a new costume for every convention. As I’ve learned more about how to construct costumes and what makes durable materials, my costumes last a lot longer.
How crazy does your family think you are?
Well, my mom is here so not that crazy. She helps me at conventions. My family has always been super encouraging of all of my career choices.
How important is functionality in cosplay to you?
It depends. So there are some costumes that I know I can only wear for a short amount of time. That’s fine, I’ll take photos in it and I won’t take it to a convention. I like to find ways to get a bag that matches even if the character doesn't have a bag.
There’s one costume I can’t wear to conventions and that’s Judy from Cowboy Bebop. It’s completely double sided tape so anyone could pull that and that would be it, I wouldn't be wearing a top anymore. But I wore it once to a convention and nobody knew the mechanics of how it worked, so that was cool.
What was your first cosplay?
My first cosplay ever Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon from Sailor Moon. She has these big, beautiful butterfly wings, I didn't have those. She has this awesome purple hair, I didn’t have that. She has these green bracelets, didn’t have ‘em. I had nothing. It was hot glued together.
There was like, no sewing done on it whatsoever and I was so effing proud of this costume, you have no idea. I was 15 and running around in this costume and I was like ‘I made this.’
I know right? I was so naive and adorable. I remade that costume last year as a cool see-how-far I’ve come type thing.
What character do you like cosplaying the most?
I love to wear Chun-Li because my grandmother made the dress and I made all the accessories. The costume I like to wear the most to meet people at conventions? I love to wear Bulma. I never get to wear her anymore because she was cannibalized for a different costume.
I am such a huge Dragon Ball Z fan so it’s really fun to meet people in that. I also love wearing Elizabeth just because once you have as terrible posture as I do, a corset’s actually pretty comfortable for your back.
How long would you say is minimum prep time for cosplaying?
From selection to ‘I’m wearing it’ is about a month, probably. It depends on the complexity. Racing Queen Rei took a little over a month.
Are there any characters you won’t cosplay as?
There are no characters where I’m like ‘I absolutely will not cosplay as.’ It’s mostly just characters I don’t know. There’s been one time where I saw a character and I’ve never played the game she was form, and I just really loved the character design. I just wanted to make the costume and I made it in a week. I wore it too a Canadian convention and didn’t wear it again.
What you’ll find in cosplay is if you don’t really know or love the character, unless it’s an easy cosplay, you’re going to quit halfway through. It’s going to get hard and you’re not going to have the love of the character to push you through.
Have you ever thought about doing a crossover cosplay?
Like take something from one thing and something from another? I love those costumes because they’re so creative but I have never done a crossover costume like that. I would love to if I had good idea, but at this point I’m just not creative enough to come up with a good mashup.
Is there a cosplay that you’ve made but didn’t like, but still wore it around?
Yes. I made a Faye Valentine costume and I wore it to exactly one convention. I love Faye, she’s one of my favorite woman in anime.
The thing is, whoever drew her outfit doesn’t understand how outfits work. Her shorts have elastic that goes over her neck and that’s how her pants stay up. They split around her hips which just means instant front and back wedgie all the time. I let out that elastic so much and still constant wedgie. The material is so hot. You get hot immediately. It makes you sweat wherever it’s touching you, it sucks. She also wears tiny shorts, and she wears these stockings that make your legs look like little sausages. And you have this front wedgie and sausage legs and it's just really uncomfortable.
I’m about 80 percent done remaking the top. I’m going to take some photos in it and I will never wear it to a convention ever, amen.
What hair color are you considering doing in the future?
I've only had it blue for like three weeks so I’m hoping to just let it chill for a while. At some point I’ll probably go back to purple because I feel like I found my soulmate with purple hair.
Do you have an idea for how you’re going to do the Neon wig?
Yes. So Neon has giant pigtails. One of the best ways to make a pigtail wig for yourself is to get a short cut wig and then you add the pigtails on it. Arda makes ponytail extension so you can do that. I’ll probably get four ponytail extensions, and put them together.
When you started out all those years ago, was it just your love of video games and geek culture that inspired you or was it a specific cosplay?
When I started cosplaying I went to Yushicon 1 and I think Yushicon 2 was Yaya’s first guest appearance or one of her very first. She was the only one and they called her something weird, like fashion guest or something like that.
I met her then and she was so nice to me, her now-fiance was so nice to me and so encouraging. They definitely inspired me. Getting to call her an actual friend now is just a huge, incredible honor.
Are there any upcoming cosplays you’re excited about?
Neon for sure. I have a prop maker who’s making the chucks. So I have to finish the costume because he made these. I’m also making Lady Sylvanas from world of Warcraft and that’s a collaboration with another Youtuber. So I’m excited to do that.
How do you like working at Rooster Teeth?
It’s an incredible experience because it’s such a storied company. Working at SourceFed was fun because we were such a new kid on the block.
So many people have grown up with RT and it’s such a unique fan base and such a unique audience. And to live with someone who grew up with Red v. Blue, so it’s really cool to see that side of it.
What brand of makeup do you use for cosplay?
Because my job is on camera I basically wear the same makeup all the time. My brand of choice is Too Faced. My foundation, my primer, my eyeshadow. The only thing I don't use them for is my eyebrows. I use Too Faced for everything except for my Harley Quinn cosplay.
How do you find the confidence to cosplay? What do you say to people who think that they can’t cosplay because they don't look like the character?
First of all, nobody looks anything like the people they cosplay. Nobody is the same weird proportions. Skin tone should not matter at all. There are so many people in the industry who inspire all of us. Especially for people of color, to feel like ‘I can’t cosplay this person,’ screw that.
Finding the confidence is a really personal and lifelong thing. There are certainly times where I think ‘oh my god I can't pull off this costume.’ But then you get to the convention and you're just having so much fun that you forget to be self conscience.
I really think just enjoying the convention helps you find that confidence.
Also, I think the cosplay community has come a really long way in encouraging, not only cosplayers of color, but of all sizes as well.
When you're done with your Tracer underwear line, are you going it to make your Tracer butt cosplay?
I mean, I'm going to show off my butt.
How do you go from cosplaying as a hobby to cosplaying at the professional level?
It's different for everyone. For me, the jump came because I had a YouTube following. I think that's still why I mostly get invited to conventions. Most people don't know me from my cosplay. Most people know me from Rooster Teeth.
For a lot of people, it's reaching out to conventions, going and competing in cosplay conventions, getting some credentials under your name. I'm not a big fan of cosplay contests But a lot of people who organize conventions, it helps them know that you're a serious cosplayer.
I think sharing your photos online, being savvy with media, is very important as well. It's all about getting a following and being able to show that to a convention. Don't shoot for a San Diego Comic-Con as your first convention.
I think a lot of people approach cosplay as a way to make a career and it's just a bad way to approach it in my mind. For me, this should be something that you do first and foremost because you love it.
If you approach it with that love and passion, you can grow your fan base.
How, from scratch, do you make your costumes?
It depends on the costume. Sometimes it's a pile of fabric and I made it into a whole garment. For instance my bombshell Harley Quinn. Hot Topic came out with their bombshell line and the exact jacket that she wears and I was like ‘heck yeah.’
A lot of people said ‘oh, that's cheating.’ No, it's not. Nobody defines what cosplay is. This jacket was really damn hard and I’m excited someone made. I altered it a little bit. The shorts are store bought. If I can buy a piece and then alter it, it's easier for me. I'm not competing in cosplay competitions. It would be disingenuous to compete in that costume, but that's my personal theory.
But on Faye Valentine, none of that is store bought.
Would you ever get Gavin to cosplay with you?
Probably not. I would love to you. Someone recently asked Ryan if he would cosplay with me and he was like ‘yeah.’ Now Gavin is like ‘I would totally cosplay with you.’ I feel like that's the way to get him to cosplay with me, threatening him with Ryan doing it.
Is there any character you want to cosplay as that you haven't cosplayed before?
Yes, I really want to do Spirit Healer from World of Warcraft.
Do you have any tips for first-time cosplayers?
Totally. The internet is your best friend. There are a million tutorials on YouTube. Deviant Art is an amazing resource. Cosplay.com is a pretty good resource.
It's not a question but I just wanted to say that my fiancé and I bought tickets just to see you.
You're so sweet, thank you so much. What an amazing note to end it on. Thank you guys so much for coming and hanging out for this panel, that was not at all what it was advertised to be.
Heart you, Meg!