Cosplaying Dress-Up 

By day, Lindze Merritt designs hats and costumes, selling her whimsical products on genkigang.com. By night, she takes part in cosplay -- short for costume play -- both at theme parties in Atlanta and conventions around the country.

Where it originated: "Most of the costumes come from Japanese anime and video game characters, so cosplayers are everywhere in Japan. There are certain districts in Tokyo where people will dress in costume and just hang out all day hoping someone will take their picture."

The last time she went out in costume in Atlanta: "I went to Club Kink for an Alice in Wonderland theme party. I have an [Alice] fetish costume ... I'm not sure, but I think it's ordinarily a swingers club because they had all this fetish and bondage equipment on the walls. ..."

On fetish clubs: "I find no interest in it as a sexual turn on at all ... I'm not into industrial music or the kinky part of it."

This particular costume: "This is Mama San from the anime 'Kodomo No Omocha.' She is the mother of a child actor [in the anime] and is this totally eccentric, weird lady who wears a full, traditional kimono and has a squirrel that lives in her hair. She makes really elaborate hats every day for him to live in."

Why she does it: "I have some costume friends who just love attention and they love making big scenes and being completely out of place, but I like being in context at least. Some people love being the center of attention, but I just enjoy doing it for myself.

On the Spin article which featured her: "The whole article was about cosplay and they called it "Little Furry Things" -- cosplay is not the same thing as furries! Cosplay is not a sexual thing, it's a fun thing, but furries is a fetish. Also, Spin picked the worst pictures of the dorkiest people ever."

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