Recently, we had the chance to talk with Karli Woods, who will be Toronto Comic Con March 16th-18th, showing off her newest cosplay designs as well as hosting panels and talking about the world of not only cosplay but online digital content creation as well.
Before you got involved in the internet and cosplay, you did many different things including running an acting school and being a video editor.What made you decide to leave that behind and move onto cosplay?
Karli: Well after film school, I was working on a bunch of TV shows, then I got into casting, moved into modeling agencies, casting agencies and started running an acting school. I absolutely loved it, I loved doing that work and I think one day I will get back into it, maybe a cosplay agency and sort of bring it all together but something always felt like it was missing, like I wasn’t being able to express my creativity working in an office. Then I discovered cosplay and loved everything about it, I get to do video editing, create costumes, I get to be on TV, it’s just a mix of all of it together. I guess one day I’d like to go back into that field but for now, I’m very happy where I am.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Karli: Honestly, it’s a hobby that turned into a career and I’m still thankful that it has. It’s amazing because I get to do everything I love in one job, and it’s not just costume design. You get to design, build and photograph the costume, and then there’s video editing that’s involved because you do photo shoots and film behind the scenes at the photo shoot, it’s just this giant circle of this ongoing project that’s very exciting because every day is different.
Now there are a lot of incredible cosplay costumes out there. How do you choose what to create and what inspires you?
Karli: Honestly, it depends on what I’m doing and what sparks my interest. When I did my Wonder Woman costume last summer, I had seen the Wonder Woman movie and fell in love with Gal Gadot and was like, I’m making that costume now and I went home and made it that week. Things just inspire you, there are costumes on my list that I’ve wanted to do for years but I’ve never gotten to it just because other things come up, something that inspires you through reading, something you’re watching, someone may come to you and ask you if you want to do a group costume so you can do that first, there are just so many things in life that just make your decisions for you.
I noticed that you also create content online. Can you tell me a bit about what that involves?
Karli: Well, I call myself a digital content creator, I don’t really go by a cosplayer. Being an online digital content creator means basically you create content for a bunch of different social media platforms, so you create revenue from Instagram, through ads in working with different brands, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Patreon and even Twitch. There are so many areas where you can create revenue and that’s the great thing about being a digital content creator, nothing is the same every single day, everything is constantly changing. You’re working on so many different projects at once so it’s a very exciting career, constantly traveling around, doing blogs and I still get to do video editing which I love so yeah, it’s basically creating content on different platforms.
Can you take me through a typical day for you, when you’re designing and creating a new costume? Do you have a specific routine you follow or does it change depending on what you are doing?
Karli: Yeah, it totally depends on what you are doing. If I’m home it means I’m working on a costume and when you’re traveling to conventions you’re blogging, filming, doing all that stuff. So if I’m home, a typical day is waking up, going to the gym, fitness is super important, especially if you’re working by yourself, especially if you’re sitting at home editing all day, you need to be mentally and physically fit. I always try to tell my community that fitness is very important for your health and then you always feel good in your costumes, after you’ve worked so hard on something. So after coming home from the gym in the morning I’m usually sitting at the computer for about eight hours in a day, doing videos, photos for my Patreon and it’s mostly video editing, it takes a lot of time and I also stream on Twitch, usually in the evening or I’m working on a costume. When I’m traveling it’s usually conventions and then blogging, I’ve done a bunch of hosting, events to go to, if I’m working with a brand that means I’m producing content for them so there is always something different going on, but a lot of the work is on the computer.
You’re going to be at Toronto Comic Con this weekend. Can you tell me what you have planned and I’m sure it’s fun but it also must be a lot of work as well.
Karli: Yeah, definitely lots of hard work. I am doing three costumes this weekend, MJ on Friday, my Ariel gown on Saturday and on Sunday I’m doing Rey from Star Wars. I’m also filming a mini-documentary on Saturday, the company had reached out to me and they are doing an interview/docu-bio/video where they’re talking about people with different careers, strange careers I guess, and we’ll be filming all day Saturday, they will be following me around, getting a glimpse of the life of being a content creator/cosplayer, so that’s exciting. Also, I’ll be hosting some panels and putting on my own panel and this year I’m helping people with social media, kind of like consulting so I’ve been working on a bunch of panels that I’m doing for the Fan Expos this year, kind of talking about how to become a content creator and social media for cosplayers and how important it is.
So after Toronto Comic Con this coming weekend, what other events do you have coming up?
Karli: I’m doing Fan Expo’s show in Calgary and I’m also doing a show in B.C. I’m really looking forward Calgary Fan Expo, it’s my first time going out there, I hear it’s a very big show and I’m excited to meet some of my community that’s from that side of the world. I’m working on my Twitch streaming as well, I’m going to be focusing a lot of time on Twitch, I want to start a talk show online as well, I started one on my YouTube channel but Twitch is really the way to go these days so I started working on that and I have a few costumes I’m working on at the moment as well.
I want to thank Karli for taking the time to talk with us.