Jenn Croft Interview
Interview with an Extreme Cosplayer
I'm basically a 27 year old jock, having been involved in sports my whole life, particularly the more interesting and daring ones such as pole vaulting.
In high school, I discovered Tomb Raider for the PS1 and enjoyed it so much I decided to dress as Lara Croft for Halloween. While researching the costume I discovered that I wasn't the first one with that idea. Eidos had the official models and there were numerous different websites featuring Lara Croft "look-a-likes" with many cosplay pictures of girls wearing the Lara Croft gear.
A look-a-like contest sparked my interest and being the competitive person that I was, I decided to enter albeit with pictures from a creative and athletic standpoint.
From then on, it became a hobby and my passion. I enjoyed challenging myself to get the costume as accurate as possible but at the same time maintaining functionality and practicality, since I needed my gear to withstand the stress of flipping, running, diving, swimming, etc.
Since then it was always a goal of mine to see how much adventure I could capture into a single photograph; To do things that nobody has seen before in a cosplay picture.
Q: What has been you most exciting and dangerous photo shoot thus far?
Ironically, the waterfall rappel photoshoot wasn't the most dangerous thing I have done in a Lara outfit. That stunt had lots of safety gear and backups to protect against any failures.
The most dangerous thing I did was probably "rappeling" off my roof in the catsuit without a harness and just holding onto the rope. One of my last photoshoots featured a stunt where I hung off a railing of a platform using just one arm. We had to get the shot rather quickly because if I fell, it would have been about a 12 foot fall.
The most exciting photoshoot was definitely the waterfall rappel though. We had a large audience of tourists at the falls watching. They seemed to enjoy the show, and although the police did show up at the very end of the shoot, they didn't bother us.
Q: Could you tell a little more about the waterfall scene?
The waterfall shoot was planned out in advance. We scouted the location a couple of weeks before going. When we arrived there for the shoot, we were somewhat disappointed and nervous at how many people were there. We decided to go ahead with the shoot anyways though. The stunt was a little scary at first since the ledge is overhung. I had to just jump back and fall about 5 feet in order to weight the system (fun!). Once on the rope I started playing with different poses and trying some of the moves that lara does, such as the wall running.
I would do some stunts, then rappel down the rope a little bit, then tie myself off to free up my hands so I could get the guns out. If not for the thumb straps on my holsters, the guns would have fallen out.
I eventually came to a section on the rope where I couldn't touch any of the wall. Climbers sometimes refer to it as a "space rappel." That part was somewhat challenging because I kept slowly spinning and had to wait till I was facing the camera to hold a pose as still as I could.
Posing on a rope isn't easy so it ended up being a great workout. At the bottom of the rope, the water was blasting out from the falls and got me pretty soaked. After unhooking the rope, I slipped and fell on the rocks, making my friends laugh. Instead of laughing they should have gotten a pic!
To sum up the experience: It was amazing! I got to combine three things I love very much: Modeling, cosplay, and rappeling. There is nothing like the feeling of being on top of a tall object and getting yourself to the ground using only your skills and abilities. I looked back up at the cliff and top of the waterfall, thinking "I just owned that. Sweet!"
Q: What ideas do you have for what to do next?
I have always wanted to do a stunt shoot with a motorcycle. I got my motorcycle license last summer and am planning on doing something crazy on a bike in the not too distant future. I also want to perform a base jump in the Lara outfit. People have never really seen Lara do a base jump in the games. You see her skydive in Legend and you get to see her jump off cliffs in various games, but never an actual base jump. I also would love to do a skydive out of a helicopter in the catsuit. There are many many options out there.
Q: What other cosplay have you done besides Lara Croft and what other ones would you like to do that you have not done before?
I cosplayed Abbey Chase from Danger Girl back in '03. I have plans to do a female version of a popular male videogame character but who, I won't say. It will have to be a surprise.
Q: What Tomb Raider games have you played and which is your favorite?
I have played Tomb Raider 1,2,4,5, Angel of Darkness, Legend, Underworld, and Guardian of Light. Tomb Raider 1 has to be my favorite with The Last Revelation as number 2 and Legend close behind.
Q: What games and consoles do you play and what is your favorite?
I don't stick to just one console and I have been known to buy a console just because of a game I wanted to play. These days I try to stick to PC games. I am a huge Blizzard fan, my favorite game of all time having to be Diablos 1 and 2. I replay them every 1-2 years.
Q: Are you excited for Diablo III?
Incredibly although I am very very skeptical of how it will turn out. From what I see of it, it looks like they changed the look of the game, opting for more of a cartoony and colorful look, which I have to wonder if WoW played a part in that. The thing I loved about the Diablo games was the realistic look of them. The cutscene movies had graphics that were WAY ahead of their time and looked incredibly real. Even the gameplay was dark and had a very gothic look to it. I actually got scared while playing them.
Q: Have you played Torchlight?
I have also played Torchlight and I loved it.
Q: What is the best place for fans to keep tabs on what you're doing these days?
Either on http://www.facebook.com/jennlaracroft/ or on http://xtremejenn.deviantart.com
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
You're very welcome!