I think I first met Victori Belle earlier this year at the DuPage Mighty Con, where she had a small table and was dressed as Harley-Quinn. Since then it seems I have run into her at every convention I attend.
Maybe she’s following me? I suppose there are worse stalkers I could find.
Victori is fairly new to the cosplay scene and, like many of us, she almost ended up here by accident.
She started out with a pretty good college basketball career and a Media Studies degree. Like many of us, once she got out of college she had no idea where to go with the degree.
While looking for a job that would work with her degree, she stumbled across a Craigslist posting for help at a Comic Convention. She had gone to the conventions before, but she’d never been paid to attend them; it was a new concept. That’s when the cosplay bug bit her, and it bit her hard. Instead of looking for a job that summer, she spent her time crafting a magnificent Maleficent costume. All of her hard work paid off because in 2014 she won the Best Female Villain category at Wizard World.
But the problem was that it still didn’t pay the bills, which meant she needed to find a real job. After a search, she ended up with a job that fit with her degree, working with Channel 13 WREX out of Rockford, IL. She worked her way up to reporter, but was never really happy on the job. It was just a way to pay the bills (barely).
Her true passion was in acting and cosplay which she continued to do on the side. She even landed a lead role in a short film called Stark Reflections.
I cannot remember a more fulfilling day than quitting my reporting job
….and apparently she hasn’t looked back.
PopCultHQ – What is your favorite cosplay to do?
My favorite cosplay to do is Maleficent… Wonder Woman is a close second but the way I feel while cosplaying both women are so different it’s almost hard to compare. Maleficent’s mystic look really makes people feel differently about the character like not knowing if I’ll be nice or mean so I really like the interactions I get when playing her the most.
PopCultHQ – What was the best cosplay you’ve seen?
Best cosplay I’ve ever seen… Hmm this is a hard one but I’m going to have to say the best I’ve seen LIVE aka in-person is of my now friend’s (Aaron Rabe) cosplay, of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. I met Aaron for the first time I believe in 2013 when I first started cosplaying and his ability to not only look the part of Jack but also fully commit to the role with the accent and mannerisms the whole convention made me respect the art in a whole new way. He doesn’t just dress up… He entertains. It’s amazing and I hope to be able to cosplay like him one day.
PopCultHQ – I fully agree, I’ve seen Aaron in action on more than one occasion and he truly becomes the character. He’s one of many on my list of potential interviews
PopCultHQ – What is your dream cosplay?
My dream cosplay are fantasy gaming artwork… Like a ton of them! I work with people who run gaming sites and send me pictures of from a plethora of fantasy art that just blows my mind and makes my cosplay imagination run rampant!!! A lot of the artists of the card game Magic the Gathering are in this category… I partake in MTG and love the stories. I have to say my dream cosplays would be cosplaying Angel cards from the game… Beautiful angels that look so mystical it will creep you out
PopCultHQ – If there was one award you are hoping for, what would it be?
I have to say I’m not really holding out for any specific awards. As of now, I’ve used my cosplays in the contests only if I’m a patron, not a vendor. But 2017 is an exciting year of a lot of new and hopefully a little over the top cosplays that I might want to enter in some of the contests but I don’t really go in to it looking to nab a certain award but more to have the platform to show people my work. I guess the highest honor at shows is “Best in Show,” so maybe winning something like that would be a dream prize but I’m not holding my breathe.
PopCultHQ – What is your upcoming schedule and any projects in the works?
My most recent schedules of where I will be are on my website… Victoribelle.com… It’s Madison Mighty Con, Madison WI sep. 18, than a Magic the Gathering release party at Top Cut Comics in Rockford, IL on the 24th and 25th of Sept. and then Archon in Collinsville IL… Right outside St. Louis MO.
PopCultHQ – You are all across the midwest it seems. What is the best piece of travel/con survival advice you have?
I am all over the place now, and have to say the best advice for me is to not be on anyone else’s time but my own. Cons can be hectic and stressful especially when you are working them but you have to remember it’s a convention!!! It’s meant to be a fun meet up of like minded people so slow down and enjoy it.
Sometimes the size of the con will make you think you need to rush to see everything but don’t! Cons last for hours and rushing only makes you sweaty and uncomfortable. I love to have people come and just chat with me at my booths to show like hey. I’m here to meet some amazing people and hopefully inspire someone to release there inner Geek. If you are too worried about seeing everything, sometimes you miss those prime opportunities to make connections. The connections I’ve made have allowed me the ability to travel all over with little to no stress. I have places to stay and friends to see at each location making them all special for me.
Another great tip is to bring WATER and stay hydrated! A lot of cons have alcohol and parties after their 8-10 hour run times. If you aren’t sipping on some H2O you will be down for the count way too early. Don’t miss the parties especially at the smaller conventions! They are free (besides the alcohol) and have lasting memories unless you drink moonshine… Then the memories aren’t as lasting. .
Thanks so much April for the interview. I really appreciate the interests and hope to see you and everyone at PopCultHQ again soon!
PopCultHQ – And thank you Victori Belle! I’m surprised you were up early enough to answer my questions before I went to work. It was fantastic talking with you and I hope to see much more of you in the near future.