Claire Vail talks about CosPlay and Fetish Modeling in this CosViewed 7 Deadly Questions

  Name:
Claire Vail
Creative Position:
Cosplayer/Fetish Model
Owner of Geekgasm Productions LLC.
Contact Info:
ClaireVModeling@Gmail.Com
FAVORITE COSPLAY:

WONDER WOMAN

The 1 Superpower you want:
Invisibility
Location:
Rockville, MD. and Atlanta, GA.
Website(s):

How did you get into Cosplaying?
I started attending cons when I was sixteen, but didn’t start going to comic conventions in cosplay until I was eighteen.  I enjoyed seeing everyone in costume and thought it’d be a fun and constructive way to express myself.  I finally decided to create a costume and attend Otakon in 2011.  I didn’t really know what I was doing but it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed all the attention and camaraderie that came from being a cosplayer. I’ve been doing it ever since, and my fanbase has been so wonderful in giving me lots of support, love, and encouragement over the years.
I was approached for fetish work by a photographer who contacted me over the internet after he had seen my work. I had received numerous offers to do ‘artistic’ photography from other people but he was the first one who also backed it up with a good-sized payment.  After talking with him over the phone via an interview he seemed fine and we met for coffee to discuss everything in person.  I explained to him that I was seventeen so we agreed to wait another two months until I turned eighteen so that there’d be no issues with the legality of everything. After that, it was a simple matter to set everything up to start shooting the day after my eighteenth birthday.

What is your Favorite character to cosplay and why?
Wonder Woman, for sure.  When I first started portraying Wonder Woman my big inspiration was the TV show from the 1970’s which I had gotten as a gift.  I binge-watched all three seasons and immediately wanted to make a Wonder Woman costume and be just like Lynda Carter (who lived in Potomac which is only a few miles away from where I lived at the time in Rockville, MD.)

I do mostly a “fetish and kinky” version of Wonder Woman, mainly because while there is a very large market for Wonder Woman as a feminist symbol or as a childhood icon there was a whole DIFFERENT fetishy side to her that went on for decades before they started cleaning up her image in the early 70’s to correspond with the second wave of feminism.  Lynda Carter encapsulated that kinky side of Wonder Woman very well in the first season of the TV show. In the first season alone she was captured and depowered five different times, chloroformed five different times, placed in bondage in numerous episodes, and always looked so elegant even in the most dire circumstances, with not a single hair out of place!

My version of Wonder Woman ends up in lots of bondage. Over the past six years I’ve been tied up with rope, chained to examination tables, suspended in the air, mummified head to toe in saran wrap, entombed in nylon tubes, covered in spiders, strung upside down by my boots, and I’ve been strapped to a rocket.  Psychologically it’s a lot to take in if you’re just a young college student trying to find a way to pay for her college tuition year after year!  The fans seem to be more into paraphilia these days (male fetish attraction to parts of a woman’s clothing) so the past two years there has been a LOT of boot fetish going on.  The fans keep requesting to see Wonder Woman’s boots being taken off, or put back on, or played with, or to have another woman wearing my boots in order to get a reaction out of me.  It’s quite fascinating really.  It’s like a picture window into the inner workings of the minds of my fans.  It’s very strange but usually not at all harmful or malicious.  Most of my fans are REALLY very sweet and I love taking requests from them whenever I can and as long as the requests are within my power to grant!

 Is there a Photo shot that you want to pull or a certain costume you are dying to wear??
I’ve always wanted to do the original Starfire from the 1980’s George Perez/Marv Wolfman TEEN TITANS, but her body is so unattainable by 99.9% of people that it’s almost impossible to aspire for that level of beauty and physical perfection, so that’s one that I had to set aside my dreams on.  I’ve wanted to also do Superwoman from ALL-STAR SUPERMAN but it’s another one where I already have two different Supergirl costumes so doing Superwoman at times seems a bit unnecessary.  I sort of feel the same way with my bat-family cosplays.  I already have Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman, and Huntress.  I feel like I’ve covered the spread fairly well as it is, lol.  Does the world REALLY need to see me do Spoiler or Red Robin?

I’ve lately been toying with the idea of doing a deluxe version of Harley Quinn, but with the success of the Suicide Squad movie the character is a bit overpopular right now and so I may wait a few years to allow the character time to cool off.  HQ is a large undertaking, as in both production and characterization.  There are so many pieces and parts to her costume, and with her it’s all about the props.  The cork gun, the pogo stick, the rubber chicken, she just has so many comedic props which can be used to accentuate the character and make her come to life.

I’ve had a lot of requests to do other characters such as Saturn Girl from the LoSH, Kate Kane Batwoman from the new 52, and indie comic character Ghost, but I don’t have a lot of issues of their comics so doing it seems weird to me since I can’t really talk about any of the character’s stories since I haven’t read any of them and know nothing about their backstories.  I’d be interested in doing some of the Sailor Moon series characters, or possibly a Captain Marvel / Ms. Marvel character in the future to coincide with the movie release, but for right now I’m very happy.

As a woman do you feel men still  do not get its not ok to touch just cause your dressed in 2017?

I haven’t had any serious problems at conventions as of yet, mainly because I have a friend who comes with me and helps keep away anyone who gets a little too clingy or too obsessive. I cannot stress ENOUGH the importance for lady cosplayers of bringing a +1 with you if you’re attending a con in costume and you want to avoid weird situations with fans. The one time I had an issue with a fan was a Power Rangers fan at the Baltimore Comic Con who constantly followed me around the convention hall discretely taking pictures of my butt from behind with his camera apparently for over two hours. When someone told me that he’d been doing it I confronted him and told him to stop. Naturally he played dumb but since then I’ve stopped trying to handle everything all by myself.  I usually ask a roommate or friend to come with me just to help keep everything organized and to help keep watch out for problem situations that may arise.

On the fetish scene it’s a little different, it’s strictly 18 and older (and in some states, 21 or older) so when you’re working a convention or trade show based on adult content the language and the atmosphere is a little more aggressive.  I still don’t let anyone put their hands on me without permission but the overall atmosphere is a lot more permissive considering the nature of the work.  I’ve found that if you keep a “firm-but-friendly” attitude around you that it keeps people from treating you like a piece of arm candy.  If you don’t give off an air of confidence the men at fetish conventions will easily try to control you and dominate the situation.  There are SO many wannabe doms at those events and they’re always targeting me.  Partly because of my young age, but also because I’m not a mainstay on the fetish circuit so they’re always looking for a one-night stand or a quickie. I’m there strictly for work so although I’m friendly to them, I also draw a hard line over what is (and what is NOT) permissible with me.  Some of the bad boys do try to cross the line with me, but a firm rap across the nose usually gets them to snap back and behave properly again.  I very rarely have to draw blood to get them to pay proper respect haha. It’s really two worlds that share a lot of the fans, but have two different sorts of mindsets.

What advice would you give other cosplayer and or  aspiring Fetish models ?
For fetish models?  Set your boundaries and hold to them no matter what anyone else tells you.  I mentored under a great fetish model named Vivian Ireene pierce and she taught me that once you draw a line it’s important to not cross that line no matter what the circumstances are.  If you say you’re not going to do nudity, then never do it.  Don’t cross the line when you need rent money, because that’s how the system takes advantage of people.  Always have a contingency plan for hardship and respect yourself more than you respect capitalism. Just because someone wants to see you do something in no way obligates you to indulge that person’s fantasy even IF he’s your number one fan, in the same way that if a boy likes you, that IN NO WAY means that you’re obligated to return his love.  What we have a social contract with the fans, not a employer/employee contract. Never let anyone tell you what your next cosplay is, or what costume you’ll be wearing to the next convention.  Be your own boss.

Is there any Cosplay you think is over done it now kinda boring to see at Cons?
The Michael Keaton/George Clooney/Val Kilmer Batman is a little overdone, but other than that there’s always exciting ways to variant up a costume to get multiple uses out of it.  I also get how the “boob window” is a big thing for Power Girl, but when I see cosplayers adding a boob window to Huntress, Mockingbird, and Supergirl I just have to roll my eyes and wince at how blatantly transparent some of these cosplayers are.

Where do you general get your costumes?  
I make half of my own costumes, and the other half are made by a little old lady who works at the laundromat near where my first college apartment was.  She was a seamstress who worked for Ice Capades and Disney in the 80’s and 90’s and she’s retired now but she can still sew AMAZING costumes and works on costumes just to stay in practice.  She’s a doll because she only charges me for fabric, but never for time.  She did some amazing costumes for me this last year, and while she’s not the fastest seamstress any more, she does amazing work and the detailing and beading for each of the costumes is just to die for. She’s my go-to for all convention and showpiece work.

I make my own props, including several fantasy guns and rifles, and several melee weapons like maces and swords.  I also created a lot of my own props but there’s a designer in Wisconsin who builds my bat-gear, including a FANTASTIC grapple-gun that actually fires a line up to fifty feet thanks to a special pneumatic capsule you pre-load into the firing chamber and pressurize.  It’s not allowed at most cons since it IS pressurized under gas and can take someone’s eye out, but I do love to take it out sometimes and randomly fire it into a tree or across a building.  It’s so much enjoyment for something so patently absurd, I know!

 
Well done  you have a single paragraph to tell us why we should become fans  and where we can see you next :

I don’t do as many cons as I used to, but you can usually find me at Otakon, the Baltimore Comic Con (not as much in recent years, their presentation is not as good as it used to be) as well as TekkoCon. I also attend most local D.C. and Maryland cons, DragonCon in Atlanta, HeroesCon about once every three years, MegaCon (when I can find a cheap place to stay in Orlando), and of course FetishCon which is my FAVORITE con of all.  You can usually see me running around dressed as Wonder Woman or Batgirl getting tied up to posts, tied to chairs, or just wriggling around on the floor in chains or wearing a straitjacket.  It’s SO much fun and I cannot recommend them enough for all of their support and friendly funwww.fetishcon.com

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