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Fly Girl

Posted by Valerie Bourdeau

Megan isn't easy to like and all right thinking people hate Fedorova and Zhao, but there's one DXHR girl that's universally beloved: Faridah Malik.

Hands up, how many of you reloaded over and over to save her? We've seen the data (not to mention all the Flygirl/Spyboy slashfic), and it's clear that I'm not the only good soul with a soft spot for our chopper pilot. That's why I was psyched to see Bekah represent as Faridah on Cosplay.com. I just had to track her down and ask her some questions about her sweet flightsuit.

Hi Sybyll! Who are you really?

I'm Bekah, I'm 22 and I'm originally from Baltimore, MD though I currently live in Cincinnati, OH. I work in marketing but I'm about to enter graduate school for social psychology, which I hope to also get a doctorate in. I'm a big comic book fan and I love both video games and tabletop gaming.

On cosplay sites I often go by Sybyll. See more costumes on Cosplay.com and Deviant Art

How long have you been creating costumes?

I started doing very simple things when I was probably 12, in 2002, but I didn't start doing anything complicated until around 2008. I've loved comics, games and anime ever since I was a kid so when I discovered cosplay, I thought it seemed like a great way to show that love.

I saw you do a lot of cosplay, aside from Malik. Tell us a bit more about your cosplay career. Do you go to conventions and enter competitions?

I always try to challenge myself with bigger projects, but I don't generally enter competitions. For me, cosplay is just about having fun and showing my love for a certain character or series. Making costumes is a lot like assembling a puzzle and that's the part I enjoy the most. Since I'm from Baltimore, I love Otakon, but I go to cons all over the East coast and midwest. I've been featured in several different blogs and news sites, but since I don't enter competitions, I don't really have a most successful costume.

One reason I don't enter competitions because I don't like getting stressed out about it. Conventions are often the only times of the year I get to see old friends, so I like being able to spend lots of time with them. I also tend to run panels, so I'm always busy at conventions.

Why did you choose to portray Malik?

I love Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I was a huge fan of the original Deus Ex, so I was ecstatic for the game and it did not disappoint. It was easily my favorite game of the year. I decided to cosplay from it just because I loved it so much and because Malik was my favorite supporting character.

As I was playing Human Revolution for the first time, I really enjoyed all the little interactions with Malik and doing her side quests. I thought the Flygirl/Spyboy nicknames were really cute. I always liked Jock in Deus Ex, so maybe I just like helicopter pilots. In my first play through I didn't know you could save her and I was really devastated Later, when I realized that you could, I immediately started a new game doing a no-kill run and made sure to save her. I just thought she was a fun character and I loved her and Jensen's conversations.

How long did you work on the costume?

Probably about a month of work on and off. I was working on 3 other costumes at the time and finished them all within 3 months, so it's hard to pin down exactly how long it took.

First I sketched out the design and collected reference images so that I knew what it looked like from all directions. Then, I drafted the basic grey flight-suit pattern and made that, which makes up most of the costume itself. Next I added all the orange and brown detail pieces. That took the most time since I needed to do a lot of measuring and fitting. Finally, I added the text and lettering as well as the details on the knees.

The lettering was done by stencil using inks and cardstock. For the logo on the suit, I first went in and screencapped it in game so I could get a good shot of it. Then I cleaned it up in photoshop and made an outline of it. Next I printed it out onto cardstock paper. Then I just secured the cardstock down on top of the fabric and inked it in with white. I had to test a couple different inks and paints on the nylon before I found one that worked. I did the same for the lettering. It's more time consuming than iron-ons, but I like the flat printed-on look.

For the lights, I just used a short LED strip. There's a small battery pack in each leg that powers them.

Compared to Adam Jensen or the more fancily augmented characters, Malik is a pretty straightforward character design. What was the most challenging part of building the costume?

The hardest part was, surprisingly, finding material. I spent a long time looking for a fabric that seemed right online. After actually about 2-3 months of looking everywhere, I happened to find a perfect fabric at my local fabric store.

The material I ended up getting is nylon pack cloth. Generally it's used to make windbreakers, raincoats and sports bags since it's water resistant. When I first started doing research, I looked into what actual flight suits were made of, and it's usually fire-retardant NOMEX nylon, which didn't really look right for the costume and would have been incredibly hot, not to mention expensive. Pack cloth had the right look I was trying to go for.

And what's your favorite part of the costume?

I really like adding light to my costumes whenever possible, so I had fun working on the glowing pads on the knees. The costume had a lot of detail pieces in it, which made it a lot of fun to put together. I also liked having the Sarif t-shirt underneath the flight-suit so it felt really complete.

Did people recognize your character?

So far I've only worn it at one convention, Otakon 2012, and only a couple people knew who I was. About halfway through the day I found a Jensen and then, suddenly, I think it clicked and a ton of people recognized the costume. I wasn't expecting it to be popular, so I was surprised when so many people got it.

What tips can you give aspiring Deus Ex cosplayers?

I would say just be patient and give yourself plenty of time. If something seems troublesome or difficult, just take a moment to sit back and think it through. I spend probably as much time in the planning stages as in construction. Never give up!

Are you going to attend any cons next year?

My next big project is going to be Phyla-Vell/Quasar from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, since it involves a lot of work with wiring and lights. My next big convention is Ohayocon, but I will be at Otakon and Dragon*Con this year as well as a number of other smaller anime and comic conventions in the area.

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