Featured Cosplayer: Cinnamon Annie Reps Cosplay in Ecuador

A rising cosplay star in Ecuador and South America, Cinnamon Annie is determined to show that cosplay is truly global and not just a subculture relegated to, and dominated by, Japan, the United States and parts of Europe.  I was super honored to have Annie hit me up to be featured.  Being Panamanian, I was super stoked to interview another geek from way closer to the equator.

Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to get into cosplay?

I have always liked anime since I was a little girl, without knowing that [it] actually had a [genre] name.  My mom used to watch these programs with my brother and I, and she taught us how to draw like that.  After some years, she showed me how to use the sewing machine in order to make my costumes.  She doesn’t realizes that the one who made us love anime and comics was her.  When I entered University, I found out many have the same interest as me, and thankfully, they brought me into the cosplay world.

You’re from Ecuador, which makes you the first cosplayer from South America to be featured on our site.  As a Panamanian, I’m so stoked about this.  For our readers in the US who may not be familiar with geek culture in Ecuador, what’s it like being a geek and cosplayer there?

It’s a real honor to be on this page!  The geek community is really small in Ecuador.  I think it can be called a community from the last 10 years.  We are still growing, and through internet we have the chance to contact other people in different countries and learn from them. Knowledge is important in [order] to transmit our goals to people who [don’t] know anything, or for the youngest ones that want to join. For the cosplay community, it has been easier to contact public media, since this hobby is very attractive to the eye and creative. We still face people that think it’s an immature activity, but with lots of patience, we explain everything we can.  It is difficult to describe.  It is better when you have tasted cosplay for yourself. We have a long way to go, but in my personal opinion, what will make us succeed as a community will always be supporting each other… A joyful wish that has been delayed because of personal interests and troubles [between] small groups that haven’t yet realized common goals.

What are some of the conventions you’ve had a chance to attend in Ecuador, or South America in general, and what are some of the differences between those conventions and the more publicized conventions in the United States?

I have attended almost all the conventions in my country at least once.  Traveling and meeting new friends has been the best.  We went (boyfriend and I) to Gton Party last year in Colombia, there we realized that there is more than normal conventions, and that people who love cosplay share the same kind of expectation before and after an event. I wish we could travel to other countries more in order to compare, but talking with friends from Mexico, Perú, USA and Chile they have more people.  I mean their events target 1000 people minimum on a low day.  Here I think the biggest convention was about 700 in the grand day.  This means less days in the convention, not so many cosplayers on stage, few maids (that breaks my heart…we want fan service!) maybe a smaller concert one afternoon, and no party at night.

Tell us more about how you got the nickname Cinnamon Annie for your cosplay persona?

Oh, that’s a nickname evolution, like a Pokémon.  It began as Ani-chan at an anime forum. People began to call me like that in real life.  Then in interviews, people used to think that my last name was Chan, or Chang.  That was a big mess until one day I discovered even my packages in the mail were sent with that pseudonym. I decided to add another ‘spice’ to my nickname so I finally decide Cinnamon Annie, since I love cinnamon rolls.  A friend of mine told me that a cosplayer already had that name, but I’m Cinnamon Annie from Ecuador.  Jjust like that.  I’m really different [*LOL*].

A lot of your cosplay seems to be inspired by anime, but I noticed you cosplayed Rogue (X-Men) and even did a little steampunk cosplay recently.  Will we be seeing more Marvel or DC Universe cosplay?  

I recently wore my Psylocke cosplay too, which means that there will be a lot of comic characters for this year.  I’m really happy about that since not so many people here like comic books.  I also have some movie cosplays like ‘Star Wars‘ and book cosplays like Harry Potter.  The steampunk crew was a new idea.  We started our character stories a year ago and since then we (cosplay group Cosplayers Quito) have improved our outfits and weapons.

Actually, going back to steampunk.  When we think of steampunk, we tend to think of all things Victorian but more North American or English.  We think London or the American West.  It’s pretty cool to see steampunk extended into South America.  Ecuador having been once part of the Spanish colonial empire and Gran Colombia (like Panamá!) makes the history a bit different.  Does steampunk culture in your country draw from that past history or a little bit of everyone’s history?  And is it growing in popularity there?

We [set our group’s steampunk] story while Ecuador was experiencing lots of rebellions and when native people used to protest for their rights… A chaotic era indeed.  My character, Harisia Lucasta, is from the first capital city, which was Riobamba, who in her [youth] manages to escape the eruption of a volcano near the city (that is very common until now).  There were political persecutions and women didn’t have hope of being more than just a lovely wife.  These facts make my character a true rebel woman for being part of an airship crew.

It has been really interesting to learn more about Ecuador’s history,as well as different countries’ histories during the same time period.  All the crew has these dramatic and obscure stories, which make it more interesting for people.  We made a conference about steampunk and the steam fever is beginning to grow.

What are your goals as a cosplayer and who are some of the cosplayers whose careers you’re inspired by?

World Cosplay Summit, If Ecuador gets accepted one day!  I have [stopped participating in] cosplay contests, but that would be a compelling reason to return. I want to be a cosmaker [cosplay costume maker] every day for the rest of my life, and if possible, to be as talented and creative as Catherine Jones or Yaya Han. I also admire Sid Arthur from my country, Mai from Argentina, and Kiren from Mexico, each one of them try to increase the cosplay level in each country… It’s motivating.  I want to visit my cosplay friends around the globe too, and meet new people through this amazing hobby.

Thanks for taking the time out to interview with us, Annie!  Where can we find you on the internet and what’s up next on the calendar for this year?

2013 is almost over and I have so much left to do! We have 2 or 3 [group] cosplay teams left (some are only with girls), and in my personal projects, I will enter the shiny world of dolls and how to cosplay them in a proper way (without scaring people).

My FB page https://www.facebook.com/CinnamonAnnieCosplay, DeviantArt: http://anne-annie-annet.deviantart.com/ and my blog: http://cinnamonanniecosplay.blogspot.com/