Just after the conclusion of San Diego Comic-Con 2010 I compiled my list of the Top Ten Sexiest Chicks from the event that included a sexy Rosie O’Donnell look-a-like (it is possible!), Phoebe Price as two different geekdom sex icons, a DILF that would most certainly have Gimli’s heart racing, and the most scrumtrulescent Little Mermaid you have ever seen in your life! (CLICK HERE to see the entire list with photos)
Sometimes I forget that the reason I’m able to write for starcasm and call it a “living” is because lots of people actually look at the posts. One of these people actually looking at the Comic-Con post pointed out to me that the woman dressed as Ariel is named Traci Hines and he provided me with a link to her Facebook page.
Since that time I’ve exchanged a couple emails with the lovely Traci (dangerous ground when I already have an unhealthy costume-influenced crush on her I know) and she has been so kind as to take time from her busy schedule and answer a few questions!
Traci Hines as Ariel and friend Amy Brunolli as Giselle from Comic-Con 2010
First, let me introduce Traci in her own words from the “bio” section of her Facebook profile:
I believe I was born to sing. I am a girl pursuing her dreams of becoming a recording artist and performer. I am blessed to have many wonderful friends, and cursed not to have nearly enough time to spend with them! I love to sing, as I’ve said many times before, (in the shower, on YouTube and most of all on a stage), dye my hair, dress up like various cartoon characters any chance I get, be artistic whenever possible-especially when that includes rhinestones (-; I am a girly girl but not your typical girl. I can be a tad bit shy in big groups but I’m outrageous in small circles-especially if you get sugar in me. Preferably of the frosting variant. I hope my friends would call me loyal. I can be nerdy, needy and high maintenance. My family’s a big part of my life. I’m short in stature and I love the opportunity to wear high heels-for the first ten minutes. Then I’m complaining to whoever’s next to me for the rest of the night. I’m far from perfect. I’m just me.
What made you decide on The Little Mermaid?
Well, it was never really a decision, haha! I’ve been “Ariel”…or compared to Ariel, as long as I can remember. I’ve always been a huge Disney fan, and I vaguely recall begging my grandmother to make me into Snow White when I was a tiny girl, and she did, and I was….lol…but from the moment I first saw Ariel splash onto that movie screen, I knew she and I were one and the same. Think I’m crazy yet? Oh just you wait.
Traci Hines’ slightly different Little Mermaid costume from 2009
Naw…but I’ve always been compared to her…from a young age people told me my singing voice reminded them of Jodi Benson’s, (the golden voice of Ariel), that is, when I could sing. Just like Ariel, I suppose I “want to be where the people are” (haha), live to sing, follow my heart blindly and stubbornly, am curious as all get out but at the same time embarrass my friends with my naivete…and I’ve struggled with losing my voice. I have experienced the utter devastation of a singer unable to sing…or even talk. No Sea Witch stole my voice, but for many years now I’ve been cursed with vocal nodules, a singer’s condition where the singer is prone to fatigued and damaged vocal chords. I do my best to keep it in check but I’m afraid it will always be my Achilles heel, unless some powerful King Triton steps forward and shows me how to fully heal, haha. (Not to worry though-I am undergoing treatment now).
I think I identify with my favorite mermaid in a way that’s beyond loving a character and wanting to cosplay them…I feel like I’ve walked a little in her shoes…or shall we say, swam in her fins? (OMGsh the cheese!) Anywho, I dyed my hair red, once I was brave enough, and have never looked back. It just fits. It was natural to actually cosplay as Ariel after that. I don’t choose to wear my Ariel costume/s b/c I love my body or want to wear something sexy…quite the opposite. I’m not a huge fan of my figure…I’m fine with it, but I don’t go around looking for excuses to show as much skin as possible…I simply want to do my favorite character justice, so I don those seashells with pride! I also love cosplaying other characters, and even work for and helped start a character entertainment company where I portray many classic fairytale characters for my job, but that redheaded mermaid will always be closest to my heart.
Just in case we have a few readers out there that don’t know, could you explain what “cosplay” is?
Cosplay, as I see it, is basically dressing as a favorite character (and usually this includes playing a role in designing or creating your costume, although not always), at any venue other than the stage. I like to be acting “in character” as much as possible when I cosplay, but that isn’t necessary to the hobby. Usually cosplay is just for fun, and it’s like halloween….but anytime!
Most people save their cosplays for conventions, like Comic-Con, and some cosplayers, like me, also enjoy setting up photoshoots for their cosplays that further showcase the costume/s. People cosplay everything from comic book characters, to animated, anime, characters from popular books or plays…I’ve even seen fast food chain restaurant characters at cons! You can cosplay on your own or do it with friends. Cosplay is this fantastical world where most anything goes, and we get to step outside ourselves for a day and be whoever we want to be. Cosplay rocks.
Are you able to attend Comic-Con every year, and if so, what have you worn in the past and what might we expect next year?
Last year was my very first visit to Comic-Con. I had such a fun time I knew I wanted to come back again this year, and for many more years to come! I have these two amazing friends, Amy Brunolli (Pictured above as Giselle) and Liana Padilla, that work at a studio and brought me both times-I owe so much to them! We cosplay together occasionally as well. Last year I wore my Ariel costume (an older version I had made myself, with some help from artistic family members-it was my first Ariel costume), as well as a Cinderella costume that was owned by the childrens’ entertainment company I was working for at the time.
Traci Hines as the White Queen Mirana (Photo: lisarosephoto.com)
This year I wore a brand new Ariel costume, and a somewhat original take on Tim Burton’s White Queen, Mirana (played by Anne Hathaway in the movie). Both costumes were created by my extremely talented friend Lisa Fabio, who creates most of the costumes I currently wear-they were made for me to wear at events with True Enchantment Entertainment. I do get to help with detail work from time to time, like bedazzling and sometimes giving input on fabric choices and opinions on designs, but Lisa is hands down the true genius and visionary for the costumes. In regards to costume design, my talents lie more in makeup artistry and hair/wig styling.
I have no clue about my plans for next year’s Comic Con cosplay…I have a thousand ideas and I have no clue which ones will be finished in time, but don’t be surprised to see Ariel make another appearance. It’s pretty rare I leave her out of the mix if I plan on cosplaying.
You mention in your bio that you are born to sing – is that your true love?
Ooooh yes. I’ve known since I was five years old I would pursue a career as a recording artist. There has never been a doubt in my mind that God placed me on this earth to sing, and touch people through music. Not sure if it will ever really “happen” for me on the grand scale, but if I can make my living doing what I love, I’ll be a happy camper.
Traci auditioned for American Idol in 2008 and 2009. (This photo is from 2008. Traci made the dress herself – can you guess where she got the extra material?)
I certainly don’t think I’m amazing by any means…I just know in my heart it’s what I’m meant to do, and I’ve always known it. I don’t see that I have much of a choice because…I’m also not really good at much else! Haha. I never really took to anything academic in school…I did enjoy writing but that’s filtered into songwriting. Grade school through high school, I only really got up in the morning and sat through my classes because I had drama/music practice after school.
I love a lot of things…acting and modeling probably tie for 2nd place next to my music…I welcome the chance to express myself in artistic and creative ways…I also loved cheerleading and gymnastics years ago, but nothing even comes close to my love for singing. I’ve been songwriting since I was pretty young, but really started to take it seriously a few years ago. It’s kind of magical to hear a song you wrote being played or recorded for the first time. I’m just beginning to scratch the tip of the iceberg of what I hope to do for the rest of my life…it’s been a long journey and it will probably continue to be, but I am hoping against hope someday a major label will see something redeemable and unique about me and what I have to offer as a vocalist and musician.
Lucky for me, I live in this day and age where anyone can make a video and upload it to YouTube, where millions of people have the potential to see your work. With encouragement from my family-especially my dad, who is also a musician, I went for it, and have somehow been blessed with a following of over 20,700 subscribers on my main channel, and a collective 4 million views on both my cover and originals/vlog channel. Because of the internet and YouTube, my life has been forever changed, and I am connected to thousands of people that support me in my musical endeavors.
Traci performs a cover of Katy Perry’s “Thinking of You”
Traci’s original song “Stay With You” (inspired by Twilight):
Traci Hines performs “Part Of Your World” as Ariel:
It’s humbling and amazing, and I am so, so grateful for their support. They make me believe not only that the seemingly impossible can happen in the future, but that maybe my dream has already come true…that somehow despite all the road blocks I’ve run into in my life in regards to becoming a “real” singer, that God has still used me and my voice to touch people all over the world in a very real way. That was always my dream all along….to touch people and make a difference in the only way I’ve ever known how: to sing. ..gosh I’m tearing up. What a sap.
Thank you so much Traci! Talking with you and experiencing your genuine enthusiasm for cosplay (and life!) has only helped distance you from your Comic-Con costume competition!
Haha no thank YOU so much! Hopefully I’ve quelled yours and your readers’ curiosity lol! Not that much to tell…I’m just a dorky little mermaid who wants to saaaang! Haha…I still can’t see myself as anywhere near “sexy” much less numero uno on your list, but I’ll certainly take the compliment! Thanks for the boost of confidence, and the interest in not only my cosplay but also my hobbies and aspirations! If you or anyone else sees me at a con next year, swim on over and say hello! (-;
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I don’t even think I realized it when I was putting the list together, but what attracted me to Traci’s Little Mermaid (in addition to the fact that she is an unquestionably attractive woman) is that Traci and her costume seemed to be more about having fun than being sexy – and that is SOOOOOO sexy! There’s a good chance starcasm.net will be representin’ at the 2011 Comic-Con in San Diego and I can promise you that my eyes will be peeled for my two favorite redheads in costumes – Phoebe Price and Traci Hines!
You can keep up with Traci Hines’ music, costumegery and joyful take on life by friending her on Facebook – but you had better hurry because she is about to “max out” on friends! When that happens, you can still get Facebook updates by “liking” her Facebook music page. You can also get your Traci fix from these handy-dandy locations on the interwebs:
Other Traci Hines links with photos, etc.
And just in case this interview wasn’t enough 411 on Traci, she conducted a video self interview for Fuzzable.com and uploaded it to YouTube in two parts! Be forewarned – Traci’s bubbly personality is quite contagious!
(Top Photo: UPI/Earl Cryer Photo via Newscom)