Continuing our look at the names that make cosplay special, in this article we have a quick chat with Gabrielle Riddlough, better known as East Coast Annabelle; who has an interesting story to tell, and we find out just why cosplaying (and causeplaying) is so important to this very special lady!
Gabrielle in full Merida mode hosting the childrens Cosplay competition at Scotlands For the love of 80s event
GW: Firstly Gabrielle thanks so very much for taking the time to chat with Gamers Web, I know that you always busy, and are only recently back home after a hectic weekend in Edinburgh at Comic Con Scotland: For the Love of 80’s. How was that for you?
Comic Con Scotland was amazing and a total thrill of an experience.
I have never hosted a cosplay contest or quiz before so it was certainly a first but I really enjoyed it.
I loved how well I was treated by the Monopoly team and it was just an exceptional experience .
GW: So can you tell us about your story and what got you involved in cosplaying?
My story is a bit of a mad one haha …however I was badly assaulted a few years ago and apart from the physical injuries I had PTSD and anxiety. I attended a convention in Belfast and saw an amazing variety of people dressing as fantasy characters and I thought wonder if doing this will make me feel safe again.
So I decided to create my own Princess Merida and she totally made me escape my own worries and become another person. So ultimately it saved my life .
GW: You were heavily involved with When Involved Share Happiness (W.I.S.H) could you tell the readers a little more about that and how you got involved?
When Involved Share Happiness was a group I created for Cosplayers who want to get their costumes out more than a couple of times a year and can attend charity events to help raise funds .
There is no necessity of screen accuracy etc as long as people know who you are then it’s for fun then it makes it magical and that is kind of what set it apart .
GW: You have done a few cosplays over the years but what do you feel is you’re favourite?
My favourite will always be Merida. She saved my life and I don’t think any others come close. Well my greatest showman PT Barnum cosplay comes a close second as it represents how I am with my with family. The ring leader who has her own issues but believes in magic and sharing the magic to make others smile.
GW: You always seem to have total immersion into the characters you cosplay as, especially Merida. Do you practice your accents as your Merida is spot on?
Lol surprisingly never actually practice accents they just seem to work…i believe that when I am the character I AM that person and not myself so I transform.
GW: So the first time you cosplayed at a convention and someone stopped you for a photograph, how did that feel? Do you get nervous when folks stop you and ask to take your photo or pose with them for a selfie?
Love love selfies especially duckface its become a joke I do it in photos. When I was first asked for a photo it was as Merida I was shocked but didn’t mind because it again wasn’t me they were taking the photo of it was the crazy loud Scottish princess .
GW: Do you make any of your own outfits or plan on doing so?
I wish I had the talent so many other cosplayers have when it comes to making costumes but I have zero ability to craft anything. Can’t even work a glue gun without getting burnt lol.
My hubby makes my Mandalorian Nakari Marr and he is the core at my cosplay .
GW: I know that for many people who go to conventions cosplaying can be a family thing, what do your children think about dressing up?
My kids do it too. We have it as a very family orientated hobby. My kids are teens and they enjoy getting out at times as spiderman princess Anna minions whoever they can because they get to help charities and see kids smile. They enjoy the way it can help them escape too.
I’d encourage families to get into it as it is most certainly something you can all do together away from the tv.
GW: What plans do you have for future cosplays?
I am planning a few cosplays soon but can’t be saying much ssshhhhh
GW: What would be your dream cosplay if money or time was no problem?
That’s a difficult one ..I don’t really have a dream cosplay that pops into my mind straight away . I wish I could find a proper villain that I could portray but honestly I get attracted to characters by their stories and haven’t seen a new one that made me go WOW I want this lol.
GW: Finally what advice do you have for anyone wishing to start cosplaying?
My advice to anyone is DO IT!!! I can’t express the gratitude I have for cosplay and the cosplayers in my life who have helped save me from a very low place.
I genuinely feel that it is a kind of therapy and a way to escape. When life gets a bit crazy it is nice to escape and have fun . It really brings a family together and can introduce you to some amazing people. So please go to a convention give it a try and if you see me stop for a selfie .
My many thanks to the very wonderful Gabrielle for taking the time to chat with us at Gamers Web