Ladies and gentle lads of the Jackverse, it is my very special honor to have the Lady of Time herself here in the Jackverse. She’s the face of Klockwerk Kabaret, a cosplay model extraordinaire, and a gem of a human being. Curtsy and bow to the lady of the hour, Maria Urban.
MU: Mostly, the creativity and the act of creating something yourself. I really enjoy all of it, from the beginning to the end. The process of seeing a character and instantly knowing you want to cosplay him/her. Completely tearing apart the character‘s outfit, deciding on materials and eventually sewing and crafting the different pieces. Putting it all together and finally wearing it at a convention is like a reward. The moment you can show people what you have done and every single person who recognises it and makes them say positive and nice things while looking at me puts a smile on their face, is absolutely worth all the pain and effort you put into your costume.
It‘s also a way for me to return some of the love I‘m feeling for a certain show, game, book or character. It‘s like giving something back in form of creativity, like an output, something fans need to do when they are emotionally invested in something.
JW:Why Steampunk? And why do you think it’s gaining such popularity within the cosplay culture?
MU: For me, Steampunk combines many things I love: an interesting perspective on society and history, adventures, victorian fashion, corsets, little inventive gadgets. I love the colors, the details and I especially love pocket watches. I invented this costume mainly because I wanted to combine these things I like and because I really need an original costume from time to time, where I can decide on the details and the clothing.
I think it is this creative aspect that attracts many cosplayers. They can invent and combine to their own liking, all the while being absolutely recognizable in their style because Steampunk has a very high recognition value. It‘s also a very good-looking fashion style which suits man and woman alike, which is probably very desirable to many people.
JW: Do you think Steampunk will ever find its way into mainstream culture?
MU: I don‘t really think that this is going to happen. Or maybe it will need a long time to do so. At least where I live only very few people know about Steampunk, almost no one I know has ever read a Steampunk novel. But I like to observe the development. There are now some Steampunk bands which I find fascinating. Also I‘ve heard about the first Steampunk-themed festival in Germany, which happened a few weeks ago. That is really exciting, but in the end I think it is going to be a subculture for a very long time.
JW: What are the biggest challenges you face as a model?
MU: Finding poses that suit the character and being imaginative in a photoshoot. Some photographers expect you to have perfect posing skills even though you are just a hobby cosplayer and model. Sometimes they only care about the technical details of the picture but won‘t help you to ease into the shooting. To still find a way to represent your cosplay and your character is a challenge since you have no idea how you look like from the other side of the camera. For me personally it is very hard to know how I look like, whether I‘m making a stupid face or a perspective or pose is unflattering. To keep coming up with ideas is a challenge for me, but also it‘s almost always a lot of fun since I work with amazing and talented photographers most of the time.
JW: Which character of yours is your favorite and why?
MU: My Lady of Time is definitely my favourite character and costume so far. I feel really comfortable wearing it and I put a lot of myself into the design and the character. Also, I enjoy wearing the costume at conventions because it‘s something even people who have absolutely no idea about cosplay can look at and still find it pretty or artistic. Also, I really love my watches a lot.
JW: Do you design and build all of your costumes?
MU: I build all my costumes myself, mostly from scratch. As far as the original characters go, I completely design them myself, too. However, I mostly cosplay existing characters where the design is completely preset.
JW: Do you create background stories for your original characters?
MU: Yes, I do. It‘s part of the fun to have an original character. The Lady of Time has a huge background story which I mixed with my best friend‘s Steampunk character and together we created a story of our own and most of the details in our costumes hint to that story or are a part of it. Everything has a special meaning and it‘s a lot more fun this way. It‘s like bringing something to life.
JW: What was the driving force behind you agreeing to allow your image to be used on the Klockwerk Kabaret cover?
MU: It‘s an honour! I‘ve never been asked something like this before and why should I say no? Also, when you told me I was the image of one of the main characters I was completely stunned because it‘s such a coincidence. It‘s very hard to imagine that a fictional character looks like me. It‘s kind of… the other way around and I think that‘s pretty funny.
You can find more of Maria at her Deviant Art profile.