LDM: How did you go about chasing after this fantastic passion? Were you involved in any stage productions during your school years, short films with your friends, etc.? NF: I wish I had some big elaborate story of how I got into this, but the truth is, makeup transformation was just a strange hobby of mine. One day I started getting a title as a cosplayer (for years I had no idea what cosplay was.) Before cosplay, I started joining FX makeup forums, prop making forums and fabrication forums. It was great reading about all of these different techniques people were using. I would try some techniques and apply them to my own. Makeup and prop making is cool in a sense that you observe, borrow and evolve your talent. You never stop evolving as long as you are creating. LDM: Speaking of your school years, if I may, were you ever considered an outsider by others? If so, did that encourage you to go even further with your artistic
tastes, as far as creating stuff that was more abnormal and more bizarre? NF: The whole “I never fit in and they bullied me” conversation I get a huge kick out of. A lot of people in the costuming circuit tend to fill their panel time with sob stories about childhood bullying. I guess it goes back to self-evolution. Everyone was picked on, spoken ill of or just plain did not fit in. Growing up is weird and awkward. Kids can be cruel little trolling monsters, and school was a strange, confusing social experiment. I did my own thing to the point where I was supremely an outcast, but I feel like it built my character. By the time I was in high school, I was a monster. Spending my childhood doing my own thing only made my sense of who I was even stronger. I never had to go through the “trying to be an individual” phase. I knew what I wanted out of life and what made me happy. I knew I was meant to create. It was what I was good at, so I had to run with it.
LDM: It was something you needed to do. That makes total sense. Did you gravitate towards makeup and costume design in particular for the satisfaction of seeing a character on the page made flesh right in front of you, or were there other equal types of gratification that came from them as well? NF: That’s very accurate, honestly. There’s nothing more satisfying than to be able to bring things you love so much to life. I would spend a lot of time reading graphic novels or just poking around in local comic book shops. I would get caught up in these stories and beautiful illustrations. I start looking at characters and their garb and think to myself, “God, I want that. I want to wear that. It’s so cool.” It was not too long after this that I would start trying to mash things together and become these characters myself. LDM: On top of makeup and costume design, another one of your many passions is cosplaying at conventions.
To someone who doesn’t comprehend the concept that well, what joys do you find in cosplaying? Does it go back to that childhood like trickor-treat mentality, putting on another character’s skin and transforming into someone different? NF: Here is the thing: I love building, fabricating, sculpting, and I love getting all this stuff on intricately, hopping into my photo room and getting some shots of my work. When it comes to conventions, I get really nervous, especially the big ones. If you are in the car with me, you will hear me repeat, “I cannot do this. I might vomit on the floor [Oh my god], I am not even wearing clothes today. I am pretty sure I am having a stroke because I smell nachos for no reason. Let’s go home.” I really don’t do well in crowds, so conventions are not on my passion list. I do tend to calm down after being on the floor for half an hour, but the first 20 minutes I am often mistaken [for] an ill-placed mannequin, standing in an obscure corner of the venue.
Published on May 9, 2015