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Local News

October 31, 2013

Nederland couple makes assault on world of cosplay

NEDERLAND — Wherever Michaela Voth and Eastwood “Woody” Almazan go, they attract a crowd.

Whether it’s at Comicpalooza or walking around at the Texas Renaissance Festival, Voth and Almazan garner fans.

The Nederland residents have combined Voth’s makeup skills with Almazan’s costumes/weapons skills to create a picture perfect cosplay couple. Their work is so intricate that Almazan’s Drow, or dark elf “Eammon” character was featured in a photo spread for Cosplay USA taken by Michael Shum. His photo appeared right next to one of a big league cosplay person Nicole Marie Jean.

Cosplay, or costume play, means more than just wearing makeup and a costume.  Fans of cosplay typically go to great lengths to create not only a memorable character but one with a story. And while Almazan portrays Eammon, Voth transforms herself into a dark elf named Veyllin among other characters.

“The first character I created in Skyrim (video game) was a dark elf named Eammon,” Almazan said of the origins of the name.

Almazan got hooked on cosplay about a decade ago.

“My friends got me into Japanese animae and video games then I met her and she loved to do makeup and go to Ren Fest,” he said. “Then our powers combined.”

About six years ago Voth was walking through the mall looking for a job when she wandered into a Merle Norman store. She got a job there and learned makeup techniques. A few years later she began to experiment with makeup portraying fairies, she said.

As she perfected her makeup skills, she began to work with latex prosthetics. She also came up with a technique for the latex that can be worn multiple times as evidenced by finger webbing, gills and fins she created for a mermaid costume.

“Most of what I’ve learned I found on Youtube and the rest is through experimenting and finding ways to do it,” Voth said as she pointed out details in her work that made the fins appear to have scales.

Their past costumes have ranged from  X-Men Comics characters Azazel and Nightcrawler for Almazan to Voth’s own version of the comic book villain Poison Ivy. Future characters in the plans for Almazan include the Japanese animae Trigun, Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy and maybe even Link from the video game Legend of Zelda.

The couple are fans of two Syfy channel series’, heroes of Cosplay, docu-series following the lives of a group of cosplay stars as they travel around the country for comic book conventions, and Face Off, a reality show where prosthetic makeup artists compete which is judged by some of the biggest names in the business.

Voth and Almazan are patiently waiting for the next big event where they will show their skills and hopefully catch a glimpse of actors from The Walking Dead and the movie Boondocks Saints at Wizard World Austin Comic Con in late November.

The couple are already planning their next appearance at The Texas Renaissance Festival this weekend, which has a pirate theme.

“We’re going as sea monsters, to add a twist to the pirate theme,” she said with a laugh.

Self-professed “dorks,” Voth and Almazan have their very own business cards they hand out during festivals when the crowd of photo enthusiasts descends on them. They also have a Facebook page Woody and Shay Cosplay.

And while they are content living their lives with regular jobs in the regular world with cosplay fun sprinkled in periodically, they admit they wouldn’t mind making a career out of their hobby one day.

“Wow, if we could get paid to do this,” Almazan said with a smile.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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