Annie Ragnarek is a cosplayer and stage performer from Belarus, she is a huge Star Wars fan and sat down to answer a few questions about our favorite saga and what it is like to cosplay as Asajj Ventress from the Clone Wars, a Jedi, and Visas Marr from the video game Star Wars The Knights of the Old Republic 2.
So relax and let the Force flow through you, watch a couple of videos and read all about Annie.
1. What do you think is the universal appeal of Star Wars?
Hard question – to summarize the appeal coming to us through time and space :). “Everything and everybody is connected” my answer would be.
2. How were you personally introduced to the Star Wars universe?
I think the same way every fan was – I watched the movie and it was an revelation :). “Music and blasters and old Jedi masters”, you know.
3. Who is your opponent? He is in quite a few of your videos and photos.
My partner and friend Denis Pima-sensei is a leader and inspirer of our small creative group. Most of our costumes are made by him, he also develops our fighting choreography.
4. Could you explain some of your costume’s details?
I am convinced that the costumes should be as comfortable for active wearing as their original design allows. Speaking about details, the most frequently asked question when I wear Visas Marr costume is “How can you see?”. My answer is “Through the Force”. The secret is to use double layer of thin cloth (gauze), which provides the ability to see through, and at the same time covers your eyes and prevents them from being seen outside.
5. How many lightsabers do you have? Do you have the sturdier ones designed for sparring?
Well, we have 5 lightsabers apart from Hasbro toys. All of them are sturdy Ultrasabers versions – c’mmon, the saber designation is to strike people and whatever, not to hang on the wall :).
6. Do you have any training in swordfighting?
Sure, if you have saber – you definitely should be able to hold it right end :). We train in the backyard, no special skills, but I try my best. As I always say: swordfighting makes your left hand very exquisite and slender – in comparison with the whipped right one :). It works vice versa if you are a left-hander, of course.
7. What do you enjoy most about performing?
It is exciting to be able to show some things, that a person can’t do usually. For example, some tricks with lightsaber. Helps to feel more like the character you represent.
8. What was the inspiration for the video Star Wars in Everyday Life?
We thought of the numerous little things that make you a Jedi (besides the Midi-chlorians). It’s a challenging way, but it can be practiced in everyday life. Still the video is not very serious, we like its funny pathos :).
9. Which do you enjoy more? Being a Jedi or being a Sith like Asajj Ventress?
I sympathize with the characters on the verge. Not being part of the bipolar Dark/Light world, they become more real, complex and interesting. All of my characters more or less can be characterized in this way.
10. Do you plan your performances like the one at Starcon, or are they spontaneous?
We develop and train the choreography of our stage perfomances (it takes quite a lot of time, bruises and scratches, you know). All the rest small fightings are spontaneous – to have fun and amuse the public. And it’s a part of role-playing of course: it’s impossible to wear Ventress’s outfit and not to try to kill Obi-Wan sometimes!
12. Is it difficult to work with two lightsabers at once?
Yes, for me it’s quite challenging. Needs very good coordination.
13. Have you seen anything about The Force Awakens that has inspired you to create a new costume?
Not yet. First I need to know characters well, and only then make a decision about new costume creation.
14. As a person who swordfights, do you think the blades on Kylo Ren’s cross guard would be useful? Do you think we will see a new way to use a lightsaber in the film?
Hope so. According to common sword-fighting knowledge, it can help to avoid some feints, that usually leads to cutting-off your hand (you can see smth like that in 2 ep, when Dooku cuts Anakyn’s hand).
15. How often do you do a photo shoot?
Usually we make a photo at convents. We arranged special photoset only once or twice.
16. Are there any locations in Belarus that would be ideal to recreate Naboo, or another Star Wars world?
I think Belarus looks like Naboo with its green fields, Endors’s moon with its woods, Dagobah with its swamps.
17. Are you a Star Wars collector? Do you have any favorite collectibles?
Should 5 lightsabers be counted? 🙂 I also have several SW Lego models, but I’ve never thought of it as a collection. Oh, now I can’t get rid of the idea I need more…
18. How often do you attend conventions?
Twice or thrice a year in Belarus. This year I visited a Russian convention for the first time.
19. What is one of your favorite moments from a convention?
I was amused when people were rushing to me wearing Asajj Ventress outfit with the exclamations like “Have you cut your hair?! Are you really bald?!” My friends were terrified :). I was forced to explain about the baldcap again and again.
20.You find Boba Fett’s jetpack, what will you do with it?
Oh, the eyewitnesses will see the best Force jump ever!
Find more of Annie here!
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