As you might remember, I wrote about Alicia Marie´s Sonya Blade (“Mortal Kombat”) cosplay back in January. Well, guess what? I had the great pleasure to do a really long interview with Marie just recently. So we talked about everything from Gaming, cosplay, fitness to sexism in video games. With that said, please enjoy the interview =)
For those who might not know who you are, could you give a brief introduction of yourself =)
Hi! My name is Alicia Marie and I’m an author/fitness model/cosplayer/gamer. I wrote a book called The Booty Bible ™ and I am on a Heroes of the Storm Twitch stream entertainment team – The MYSTIKS.
When exactly did you start to get interested in fitness? And have you always been a healthy and athletic kind of person?
I got into fitness when I was very young actually. Maybe 9 years old? I saw the bodies of the women in my cousin’s comic books and wanted that strength and beauty combination. I was a skinny kid soooo I got picked on all the time. I set out to build the body that I wanted. People in my class thought I was weird, of course, a girl wanting muscles…but I never wanted to be a Disney princess or Barbie. I wanted to be She-Ra, She-Hulk, Storm and Wonder Woman.
I have seen a lot of Sonya Blade cosplays over the years. Even so, I have to say that you nailed your cosplay of her. So I take it that you´re a fan of her and Mortal Kombat?
YES! Thank you so much! I was excited to finally bring that cosplay! MK was actually my first fighting game and the only one I used to play well enough to play in front of other people lol. Sonya is my second MK cosplay. I cosplayed Jade at SDCC 2013 with my friend and fellow cosplayer Adrianne’s Mileena. Ed Boon probably thinks I’m a crazy person by now!
Have you been cosplaying for a long time? And which cosplays are you most proud of, and why?
I have been cosplaying for 6 years now! I started with just making costumes for myself for Halloween that were over the top for contests. My first serious cosplay was Storm/X-Men (was a months long TEAM job) and after that I was HOOKED. Now, I go to about 6 cons a year and travel all over the world with it. I was in Indonesia in September for Jakarta Comicon! Good times meeting cosplayers all over the world. I work with a cosplay team, Birds of Play/Castle Corsetry.
The cosplays I am most proud of? All of them! But to choose – my firsts: Storm and then Ms Marvel because the artist who created the Sideshow collectible statuette Ms Marvel told me I “look like her come to life!” I also really loved cosplaying my Fhloston Paradise stewardess (The 5th Element).
In 2012 I was named as one of MTV’s Top 25 Hottest Cosplayers so recognition is nice!
Have you ever regretted any of your past cosplays? (maybe you weren´t quite satisfied with how the cosplay in question turned out?).
I don’t regret TIGRA despite what went down at SDCC in 2014 – 3 hours of body paint at 4am and all — I feel like I set out to really bring her to life and I was happy.
The one cosplay I did not “gel” with was Poison Ivy. I did a kawaii version of her 2011 (??) that the Huffington Post actually featured in their “Freaks & Geeks” publication, but it still didn’t make me happy (I felt like a walking bush?) so I sold it after wearing it once. I am just not an “Ivy.” lol
I also tend to stay away from “cutesy” characters unless I am parodying them. I love when fans and friends give me suggestions on what character they think I should cosplay next, but sometimes I’m like, “Smurfette? Smurfette didn’t have biceps!”
I like to portray characters that are strong, characters that I admire. Whether it’s video games or comic books or anime – I am usually drawn to the badass chicks that are a blend of owning their sexuality, inner strength and confidence! Do you feel me?!
If I’m not wrong now, you´re a supporter of the Right2Game Campaign? How did that come by? And where is the campaign standing right now?
Yes I am! #Right2Game is Twin Galaxies initiative in support of the individual gamer. I am pretty much all for anything that helps give gamers the recognition they deserve for personal accomplishments in gaming. Perception of esports: it’s definitely getting better over here in the US, but we still have a long way to go.
Sometimes it takes a movement – one that is geared toward banishing the misconception that we are all just wasting our time by gaming — to “push the needle.”
The campaign has wrapped as of right now and they were very happy with the response and are working on next steps. Twin Galaxies has teamed up with The Guinness Book as the official record holder for all gaming score-keeping. Right2Game was something fresh and different so it caught the attention of people beyond just our community. Hollywood and professional athletes who were interested in esports and pro gaming got involved!
Not to sound like a moral police or anything now, but obesity has become a huge problem in today´s society. So don´t you think that there should be more fitness games out there? You know, games that motivates and helps people to lose weight? (advice on diet, training and so on).
Of course I do! I actually streamed Dance Central for 2 hours with one of my MOBA teammates. We were DYING at the end and we are both trained dancers!
I’d love more games that require the use of webcam motion sensors – so you have to get UP some. Fighting games? HILARIOUS. But the reality is it’s all a business and it will always come down to MONEY. I remember reading a news report that was online right after E3 2014: They were naming the “20 biggest losers” when it came to games of the year – not surprisingly, the five worst performing games were fitness and kinect platform games… Jillian Michaels’ fitness game (who you might think could inspire anyone).
So. The change would have to come from the people buying the games: US.
What´s your take on all the rants about sexist game design and sexism in today’s video games? (“The Witcher 3”, Dead Or Alive Xtreme 3” and “Street Fighter V” are some of the games that have been accused of being sexist towards women).
Ahhh yes. More women play games now than ever before and there has been a lot of sensitivity with regards to what the characters are wearing and the camera angles (upshots) and the “body parts that move” while the female characters are fighting. As I am sure YOU know, historically games were marketed only to male demos. Now that women are making waves in gaming in a more meaningful way than ever before, designers and developers, male and female, are rethinking things.
1. Truthfully, I actually appreciate a well-built human form whether male or female like a lot of people. Tyrande’s “side booty” and Kerrigan’s super-toned physique in Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm are the stuff legends are made of. As far as appeasing the masses, BALANCE is the answer: multiple skin choices and multiple heroes. Why is it not “OK” to have some sexier heroes and some well armored?
2. There are a lot of people/female gamers who actually like and don’t mind the “sexier” skins. Owning your sexuality can be empowering. On the other hand, those same scantily clad heroes really turn other people tf off. Going back a bit, I do remember that DOA did rub me the wrong way with some of their updated packs but it’s because “cheerleader” and “bikini beach party” aren’t that forwardly “creative” and not at all inventive in my opinion. But when all is said, if I can kick your butt playing her I don’t give a flying flack what my personal hero has on.
3. I read recently that Street Fighter has been accused of designing characters specifically for sexual reasons. OK, what to do? Let’s go back to what I said earlier about BALANCE and let me ask you this: If they had more sexy, half-dressed male characters, would people play them? If I recall from reading message boards, shirtless, flexing “prisoner Tychus” really didn’t set any hearts on fire when Blizzard first released that skin in their MOBA. Still, it was very nice to see!!!
It’s 2016. It’s naïve to think that “sexy” game characterizations will go away entirely. It comes down to what would be popular aka SELL – which AGAIN leads back to money. I’m old school. I really had more of a problem when the female characters weren’t playable. Talking to you, princess peach.
Back in July last year I wrote an article called “Female video game characters. Vs realistic proportions” (http://thegg.net/opinion-editorial/female-video-game-characters-vs-realistic-proportions/). Long story short, “some” people don´t like that there are so many good-looking and fit female video game characters (I have no problem with body diversity, but I think this is a ridiculous issue). So, what´s your thoughts on that?
Funny related thing is: I get a lot of LOVE on my Instagram (@AliciaMarieBODY) account – from people everywhere, which is nice. BUT I also do get hate from time to time. Recently, someone wrote to me saying that I, personally, am “perpetuating an impossible female ideal – that is both harmful and obsessive.” I’m over here reading that thinking, well damn. All I do is workout to look the way I WANT TO LOOK, not because I think everyone should look like me or like some Victoria’s Secret model or an elite professional athlete. There are plenty of people who do NOT want nor care about appearing “super fit.” And that is OK. My job is to inspire the people who do want to take their bodies there and to motivate others that might want to make a healthy change. I was once referred to as a “nerd fitness evangelist.” I thought it was fitting so I’ve adopted that description!
I think it’s nice when there are more “different” types of characters that are playable. Short, thin, fuller figured, tall – Overwatch has some interesting new characters. It makes the game fun.
Addressing a complaint that it “upsets” that there are “too many attractive” characters in gaming, well that’s not change because statistics reveal the truth of what people who game are choosing. The two most POPULARLY PLAYED RACES in the most popular MMORPG right now are humans and Blood Elves. The two “races” that are considered the most physically “attractive” over say, trolls or taureans. Just to give you an idea.
Personally? I like the way Dranei and Undead “look.”
Since you know a whole lot about butts (“The Booty bible”). What´s your thoughts on Feminist Frequency´s “Strategic Butt Coverings – Tropes vs Women in Video Games”?
LOL It’s like asking a shoe designer what they think about “designer shoe hype!”
Regarding what they are saying in FF, you could easily say all of that about anything in any category as it relates to the way men and women are depicted. Is this supposed to be some breaking news because if so, FF is a bit late.
Video game characters are caricatures of the human body. Many of their physiques are anatomically impossible – so it’s hard for me to take it this seriously. In fact, I find the idea of kicking someone’s butt while wearing a thong, mildly ridiculous, therefore, harmless. Butt cracks? I see more live human ones on Instagram.
Now, games could give us Batman’s bum …if they really wanted to even the score….
Do you have any favorite video game titles? And which Super-Hero and game characters (good or bad) do you like the most?
Game Titles right now are (in no particular order):
Mortal Kombat (all – even MKU v DCU)
World of Warcraft – from Cataclysm on
Heroes of the Storm
And yes, DANCE CENTRAL lol
ALSO currently waiting for Black Desert Online –
Game hero favorites:
Sonya Blade/MK: because she is one of the originals, who doesn’t love her “Bodies in Motion” green aerobic outfit from the very beginning?
D’Vorah/MKX: BROODMOTHER, queen of swarms.
La Mariposa/Dead or Alive: even though I haven’t played in forever, I loved her capoeira fight style!
Tira/Soul Calibur: because she’s a fast, hula-hoop wielding nutcase.
Crimson Viper/Street fighter: One of the only fighters I play well in SF lol
ETC/Heroes of the Storm: EPIC. TAUREAN. CHIEFTAN. Nuff said!
If you could become any Super-hero or video game character, you wanted for real. Then who would it be? And why?
In real life? It would have to be Storm/X-Men. Omega level mutant, can’t beat that.
Either her or Mystique. That chick is crazy but I love the idea of shape-shifting.
I put a lot of thought into my cosplays…people choose their cosplays for their own reasons, but for myself, I have to play the character in a game, have some history with the character and reallllly LIKE the her most of all because you spend so much time and money on putting all the things together to make her kit come to life. It’s performance art when you are on a con floor in cosplay. Part of it is “acting like” the champion/character/comic/hero.
Have you ever had any ideas about starring in a video game or Super-Hero movie before? If so, which movie would you like to be a part of?
YES x over 9000! I would love to be a playable character in a fighting game – I have always been fascinated by motion capture and since I am already really athletic and can perform gymnastic stunts…Mr. BOON, CALL ME!
The hardest part is – HOW? How do you get “into” certain fields that are seemingly inaccessible? I won’t stop trying though. Watch me lol
I’m not “really” an actress, but if someone were ever to make a She-Hulk TV show or movie – I am telling you right now that I would fight to the death for an audition, Gladiator style! Jennifer Walters is a lean green smart sexy power machine!
Don´t you find it to be rather strange that a loud minority is telling video game developers, fitness people and companies how females (and males) should look? (the fitter and sexier you are, the more wrong it seems to be in today’s society).
I noticed. Kind of hard not to especially when you are in all the fields that I am in!
I like being an example of what the human body can do and be with discipline. But just an example NOT the rule. I also know that “abs” and being “shredded” isn’t everyone’s goal. I really just hope that in my passion for what I love to do, that I’m a living example to inspire others to chase their passions. If seeing me working hard at staying on top of my workouts and doing what I love, haters be damned – inspires just one person to get a workout in that week, or to start writing that book or to begin putting that first cosplay together – when they otherwise would have not, I have done my job =)
What´s your plans and hopes for 2016?
I am building AliciaMarie.com!!! FINALLY. Expect her launch before spring 2016 is over. I am writing another book and continuing to create and envision new cosplays to rock out at conventions this year. I will also be at E3 and then cosplaying at BLIZZCON.
COMICONS planned for this year so far include (come see me!): Long Beach Comicon, Wondercon, San Diego Comicon, New York Comicon, Salt Lake City Comicon, Dragoncon and Stan Lee’s Comikaze!
I stream on Twitch (visit TGLive.com) with my MOBA team the #MYSTIKS Mon and Tuesday nights 7-10pm PST. You can come chat with us, ask questions, talk smack, cosplay, fitness, girls, esports – anything!
I am always ON: Twitter and Instagram @AliciaMarieBODY – come over say ‘HAI’
Thank you for having me TGG!!!!! J
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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