hidden talentsIssue 13

Hidden Talents: Marissa Russo

HIDDEN TALENTS:
PEOPLE NORMALLY KNOW ME AS…
Manager at Cold Stone Creamery. I’m also a musician; I make my own music and play piano and guitar.

BUT WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW IS THAT I…
Make Cosplay helmets. They start as a program called pepakura, which is papercraft. You sort of mold paper into different shapes and then cover it with fiberglass and Bondo and sand it down to make these incredible realistic movie prop helmets. Every time I create something, it’s a new experience: new materials to use and different things to try—my Maleficent helmet is vinyl and Worbla, which is a thermoplastic. When you heat it up with a heat gun, you can mold it and once it cools, it stays in that shape.

I GOT STARTED WITH MY HIDDEN TALENT WHEN…
My friends and I fell in love with the movie Dredd last September. I wanted to be Dredd for Halloween, so I looked online for how to make the costume and thought: I could probably do that. I’ve worked with fiberglass before, and I made everything within a month. I had the helmet, the whole costume; I even made a gun out of cardboard!

WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I’m currently making armor for Prospect Theater Project’s production of Julius Caesar. I’ve made full armor pieces out of cardboard. The armor is articulated, so it moves, and once it’s painted it looks like hammered metal. I’m also making four helmets the same way I make the Cosplay helmets. I have about ten full head-to-toe pieces.

WHERE CAN PEOPLE SEE YOUR WORK?
Onstage at Prospect Theater and MJC. I also have an Etsy Shop, Marissa’s Custom Designs (www.etsy.com/shop/MarissaCustomDesigns), where I’m selling the Maleficent headpiece.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
I would love to do this for a living. I would love to work on movies and build props and armor and helmets.

WANT TO GET STARTED CREATING COSPLAY
COSTUMES? JUST START BY…
Doing your research. When you pick a costume you want to recreate, you’ve got to do your research and see what other people have done. Seeing their techniques really helps you create your own.

IF YOU HAVE A HIDDEN TALENT, submit it to [email protected]

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