Our latest Geek of the Week is Ana Hotaling from Cosplay Over 40, a popular Instagram and Facebook page featuring cosplayers 40+. Being an over 40 cosplayer myself, I know the older crowd can often get overlooked for features and love that Cosplay Over 40 shines the spotlight on a different group. I’m a firm believer that you are never too old to dress up and have fun, and Ana proves that by showcasing the talents of cosplayers worldwide. You can find her personal accounts on social media with the handle @AMHcosplays.
Please introduce yourself :
I’m a lifelong Star Trek and anime geek who somehow discovered that dressing up as my favorite characters was actually a thing called cosplay. I love challenges and pushing myself to a peak performance, whether it’s portraying a character or making a killer cinnamon-rhubarb jam. I’m fortunate enough to have (some) children who share my interests, a very tolerant husband, and cats (that’s it… just cats). Also, my favorite foods are butter, cheese, and ice cream, which may define me better than anything I could say.
What do you geek out on?
Anime and Star Trek! They are truly lifelong interests. As a kid, I’d burst into my mom’s bedroom at 5:55 AM on weekdays because her TV was the only one with good enough reception to watch Battle of the Planets at 6 AM if you held the antennae just right. I am a huge fan of the Dragonball universe (Bulma Briefs is my main cosplay character; I have more than 30 versions of her) and of Ranma 1/2. I have a Ranma tattoo on my right shoulder and my son’s legal middle name is Ranma. I also love discovering new anime. I’m currently enthralled with To Your Eternity (bring tissues!) and just started watching Record of Ragnarok.
As for Star Trek, I have every ST paperback published prior to 1999. I still haven’t forgiven my mom for selling my ST play set at a garage sale when I was 10 (one is on display at the Smithsonian!). This spring, I rewatched every episode of every ST series to inspire me as I created my Vulcan cosplay. I have four more ST cosplays in the works. Beyond that, I am a proud member of STARFLEET – The Star Trek International Fan Association, Inc., where I hold the rank of Lieutenant and serve as Morale Officer for the USS Grand Petoskey, the Michigan chapter of the organization. But that’s not all, folks! STARFLEET has a full STARFLEET Academy online and available to members, where you can take courses in everything from Paleontology to Midwifery and earn ST certifications, degrees, and awards. At STARFLEET Academy, I am the Director of the College of Mythology, College of English, College of Oceanography, and College of Geology. I’m currently revising and rewriting the coursework and exams at all four colleges. Because I’m a geek that way.
Now that we know what makes you a Geek, what makes you a Mama?
I have four living sons and one little angel who call me Mama. They’re as different from each other as if they come from different planets, but I love them all dearly. I’m lucky enough to have my youngest want me as his teacher, so I get to educate him in our own little homeschool. I just assigned him “The Crucible” yesterday, plus he’s working on African geography and World History According to Billy Joel, so he’s busy this summer.
I’m also Mama to our flocks of chickens and ducks, all of which were hatched here so they all know I’m Mama (or at least Human with Tasty Treats). I’m not sure I’m Mama to our cats Panther, Phantom, and Piper, though. To them I’m most definitely Human with Treats Who Brushes Us.
Marvel or DC? and Why?
Do I have to choose? I love them both so much, although as a kid I was more of The Witching Hour and Famous Monsters type. I definitely do more DC cosplays than I do Marvel, and I currently have a Wonder Woman comic book open, so I guess DC. But I was reading Spider-Woman the other night, so Marvel?
Star Wars or Star Trek? and Why?
Star Trek! Why, beyond what I’ve previously said? Because the Star Trek universe and Gene Roddenberry’s vision called for a multicultural, diverse galaxy of peace, unity, and exploration. I would happily live in that universe. Don’t get me wrong. I love Star Wars and have almost as many SW books as I have ST ones. I have several in my nightstand, in fact. I just don’t like the first or final trilogy. I am a huge supporter of the EU and firmly believe the films should have remained faithful to the books. One of my “some day” cosplays is Jaina Solo Fel. So yes, I do love SW. I just love ST more.
Favorite video game now, or as a kid, or both if you are a long-time gamer.
Oh geez. I’m the kid that would blow her allowance on the Asteroids machine at the local diner. The notes on my high-school yearbook page refer to Tempest and Ms. Pac-Man. I have a GameCube hidden away in my closet (don’t tell the family!). These days, I spend a few hours each week growing Pikmin with my youngest son and watching my next-youngest play the ultra-depressing Nier: Automata. What a beautiful, sad game! I love playing any of the Mario Party games and Super Smash Bros Brawl, and I enjoyed Danganronpa, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, and Pokémon XD. And of course I’ve got Pokémon Go on my phone!
Were you a geeky kid or did you come into it later in life?
I was absolutely a geeky kid! In addition to my love of anime and Star Trek, I had family friends in Japan sending me manga every month. Plus I was co-captain of my high school’s math team and I took the SAT four times, for fun. Wait… that’s being nerdy, not geeky!
Have you ever cosplayed as a favorite character?
Absolutely! Several of them, because I can’t cosplay a character for whom I don’t feel a connection. It just feels weird! Wonder Woman and Supergirl have always been my favorite DC characters; She-Hulk, Rogue, and Jean Grey have always been my favorite Marvel characters. I associate a great deal with Hermione Granger (she’s basically how I was in school). I cosplay both genders of Ranma and I cosplay three Star Trek science officers. I do two versions of Pippi Longstocking, my favorite childhood book character, and then there’s Bulma Briefs. I’m currently working on a cosplay of my favorite Pokémon character and I am planning to do a series of cosplays based on my favorite mythological characters next year.
What is your favorite geeky event you’ve attended or would like to go to?
There are a good dozen comic cons I’d love to attend, the geekiest event I have ever attended is a tie between the Dark Side Challenge and Marathon Weekend, both by Run Disney. It was an absolute blast running dressed as different characters, pausing every mile or so to take photos with official characters or special sets and backdrops. I can’t wait to do Marathon Weekend again, and I am looking very much forward to the Wine and Dine Weekend, since I’m a huge Remy fan.
Are you working on anything right now you’d like to share or promote?
With my husband, I run Cosplay Over 40, a multimedia presence that features and celebrates the older, often overlooked cosplayer. One thing we noticed over the years is that hard-working, talented cosplayers are frequently ignored at cons and group shoots — even insulted — by younger cosplayers and photographers simply because of their age. Cosplay Over 40 gives cosplayers ages 40 and above the opportunity to show their craft, share their love of their fandoms, and be part of an accepting community.
Thank you to Ana for answering our questions, and be sure to check out her cosplay accounts at @AMHcosplays and @CosplayOver40! And if you are interested in being considered for our next Geek of the Week feature, head over to the handy form at: Be a Featured Geek of the Week – Geek Mamas