Cosplay Feature: Mad Moxxi

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This has to be one of my favorite costumes to date, and was quite an expensive endeavor by the time all things were said and done. Every penny was worth it, however, when I put the entire ensemble on for the first time.

The original plan wasn’t to cosplay Moxxi at all. Borderlands’ Lilith had all my attention early on. I got so far as to ordering her wig, which I have tucked away somewhere. Still, when Moxxi’s DLC came about there wasn’t much question as to who was the more interesting character. While I love Lilith’s maniacal giggle whenever she pulls off clean headshot, nothing can hold Moxxi back. She doesn’t have any screws left to be loose. And that’s why I love her.

I knew right away that I wanted the jacket to be perfectly tailored and made out of very lush fabrics, so I opted to commission it early on. I might have been able to pull off something on my own, but not to the quality that I desired. Samantha Rei of Blasphemina’s Closet took on the task for me. I provided her with images and screen grabs from every angle, and then we consulted on fabric before going through multiple fittings. The whole process took several weeks, and I was hard at work while Sam was doing the same.

On my end the first purchase I made was the boots, which I found on eBay while searching for “ringmaster” goods. They are spot on and a great find. The fishnets were easy enough to nab at a Party City, but the black and white striped stockings gave me a bit more trouble. I thought I found a pair of thigh-high socks that matched my criteria at American Apparel, only to get home and find out that the non-refundable purchase only had four stripes on the very top – the way it was folded and packaged was misleading. I tried to glue white cloth strips around the sock (while on my leg) to salvage my $20, but it obviously didn’t work. I should have opted to buy the stockings online from the get go, as they were fairly easy to find. I didn’t rip up the stockings till the day of the con to make sure they stayed mostly intact.

Moxxi wears a holster around her waist, attached to a brown belt. I picked up the belt at Target and then scavenged brown material from JoAnns that looked similar to my purchase. I made the holster out of Wonderflex before folding and gluing the fabric around it. If you look extra carefully at some of the videos of Moxxi on YouTube, you can see that her holster reads “Rubi” and has a little heart on it, which I added with embroidered letters. Moxxi’s holster never seems to have a gun in it, however, which worked well enough since it acted as my purse at San Diego Comic Con.

About this time I got my jacket back from Sam. The final piece fit fantastically, and was very high quality. Little details like the missing and discolored buttons made it feel very authentic, as did the custom design on the back and the lining on the tails. It is extra comfortable, too!

During this time I had been looking for materials to start the hat, but as it happened, Sam has a friend who is known for making custom headwear. Megan Bishop of Apatico was up for a last minute commission, and used fabric left over from the jacket to make sure the piece matched perfectly. The playing card and feathers are a perfect match, too. Because I ordered the hat late in the game, I didn’t get to see it till SDCC as it was shipped to my hotel. Opening the box for the first time was a real treat.

I polished off the outfit with a pair of fingerless gloves I already owned, a black bra which I dressed up with some velvet and lace trim, and a black velvet choker that I whipped up. I ordered the wig for another costume I plan to do at some point (Cate Archer), so I already had that as well.

Obviously, the biggest detail left was Moxxi’s megaphone, which I figured early on could make out of a lampshade and a hairdryer. Worked like a charm. I scoured thrift stores and retail locations for weeks trying to find a cloth shade that had the right scallop look to it before settling on the one I used. I used fabric paint to make it a nice pink hue, and spray painted the hairdryer black. I screwed the two pieces together to make sure it was stable enough, and then added black velvet ribbon in the appropriate places to make it match the original design. On the inside, I painted the top to a capsule toy container black before gluing it on to cover the innards of the hair dryer. Lastly, I painted a black gradient on the inside of the bullhorn.

With that, the costume was done and ready to debut at SDCC! I decided to concede the blue panties for the show, and am aware that it is my one big alteration from the original art. Considering that I intended to wear the costume for the first time in a public setting, I didn’t want to risk wearing itty-bitty bottoms and opted for a black leotard instead. I still plan on shooting the costume in the future at a junkyard, and will go for the full ensemble then.

The final touch on Moxxi was her makeup, and I once again relied on Hydred Makabali to pull off the look. We started with a clean face and coated it with white hairspray, before polishing it with a coat of white powder. Lots of black liner, pink cheeks, and red lips pulled the look together. Oh, and extra long lashes.

Wearing Moxxi was a total blast and I was surprised by how many people recognized the character. Even those who didn’t recognize Moxxi seemed to appreciate the look, and I ended up being interviewed for G4 TV and on Maxim’s SDCC Babes list. Very cool.

Like I mentioned, I plan on shooting this costume again sometime in the spring. There are too many scrapyards nearby not to give it a go. Also, I want to build a Claptrap. Why not?

Thanks to Chanh Tang and LJinto for the photos.

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36 thoughts on “Cosplay Feature: Mad Moxxi

  1. I saw the G4 clip back in the summertime during Comic-Con and instantly recognized you on there. Didn’t think they gave you enough screentime, though. 😛

    Great work on the costume. It’s definitely one of the best that you’ve done, both in accuracy to the source and in it’s real-life translation. The red/gold of the jacket contrasts well with the black/white trim and stocking stripes, but what really stands out is how the bright green of Moxxi’s eyes (and yours, of course) seem to draw all attention to them.

    Again, beautiful stuff. You’re one of the few people I know of that do cosplay right.

  2. haha,Mordecai used to be my favorite borderlands character,but after Mad Moxxi’s DLC came I just freaked out for her *o*
    Excellent work with the costume,you managed to get everyor at least most of Moxxi’s details including as the person above said the bright eyes *o*
    After this one I’ll surely check more of your stuff

  3. Holy Jeebus, I just followed the trail from Kotaku to here. Hey Meagan. I’m an actor/writer/director in the game world (obligatory website plug – LiamOBrien.Biz), and I keep up to date on the nerd news. Saw your Moxxi cosplay, and it is freakin’ amazing. All of your recreations are, actually. And seems I’ve been reading your GameInformer writing too. Fist bump. See ya on the Twitter.

  4. Thank you Liam! The kind words are much appreciated, especially considering your impressive roster of work in the industry. Just followed you back on Twitter!

  5. Whoaw! This looks simply amazing! As a huge borderlands fan i can’t help myself into enjoying the attention on the small details…just

    And just as i was browsing your pics my girlfriend walked in and as you would expect normally i’d get a slap from looking at other beautifull women but now she was like “Cool cool, click that other one, ow she even got the buttons and eyes right!”

    Can’t wait on that next photoshoot :-)

  6. Ha! Thanks David! Glad you and your lady like the costume! I’m super stoked to do my “real” Moxxi photoshoot. It is going to be epic!

  7. Amazing work!
    You make quite an amazing beautiful “real life” Mad Moxxi (I didn’t even try playing the game she’s from :P)
    I’m quite impressed, fantastic work on the costume!^^

  8. Truely amazing! Moxxi became my favorite character in Borderlands and I was happy to see such fine work. The amount of time and effort you put into these projects seem to pay off.

  9. Thanks for putting this up! You make a great Moxxi. I’m attempting Moxxi for Kumoricon 2011 cosplay chess and I need all of the references I can get and your run-down helps a lot! I wish I could afford to get my pieces commissioned, but I’m on a tight budget, so I’m making everything myself. Are there any tips you can offer me for this piece? Thanks again ^.~

  10. Totally understand the tight budget. If I was a bit more sure in my sewing skills, I would have tried the coat on my own, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it justice 😛

    Not sure what advice I have to offer aside from what I’ve detailed here. It’s probably worth noting that Moxxi’s original design is VERY risque if you don’t modify it a bit. I chose not to wear the blue underwear for that reason, instead using a leotard for the public event. If you need links to specific items I purchased, I can help in that regard :)

    Hope your costume turns out well! Best of luck!

  11. absolutely AMAZING. the attention to detail is outstanding! i wish i had your motivation & skill in pulling off a job this well done :)

  12. I know when I noticed the blue underwear I thought I’d just forget it altogether unless I were to wear the costume after curfew (lol). I do have a few more questions for ya. When you say you used white hairspray, does that mean the stuff you grab at Halloween to change your hair to white? And how often do you think you had to do makeup touch ups and costume readjustments throughout the day? I have a feeling you probably had some issues with makeup due to the San Diego heat -.-

  13. I’m sorry to keep bothering you, but I had one last question. Is there a design on Moxxi’s back? I notice something in several videos, but I can’t find a good picture of it. Thanks for all of your help :)

  14. Hello Meagan. First of all, sorry for my english, I’m french but I will try to do my best.
    I’m in love with your work, simple as that, it’s just so amazing, first time I’ve seen you in moxxi on DeviantArt I was something like :

    ” … o_o ”

    So many works… You’re gorgeous, no doubt on that believe me, and a perfect girl with a perfect cosplay it’s litterally… Perfect, hehe. I’m clearly a huge fan of you now and I hope your future projects will be as cool as your tribute to Moxxi was.

    Sorry to bother you, bye !

    Kanon Kooper, at your service.

  15. Sorry about the delay Amanda! I’m on vacation right now and haven’t been keeping up with anything on the net 😛

    Glad I can answer some more specific questions! Yes, the hairspray is the same that you use for costumes and whatnot near Halloween. It isn’t too expensive and you can nab it at Party City. I only did one touch-up during the entire day I wore Moxxi. It sticks pretty well. That being said, the reason I didn’t smile in the bulk of my photos is because the super white makeup and the red lips make anyone’s teeth look yellow. I have fairly white teeth, but I might recommend doing a bleach process if you are going to take a ton of photos. I should have done another closer to SDCC. As for the design on the back, here is a link to the video! You may have to pause it at just the right moment, but you can also use the photo in my gallery as reference. :)

    Good luck again!

  16. Beautiful job =) The work you put into your costumes is outstanding.
    If you’re ever in southern california with Moxxi, I have a Lilith and a Mordecai who would love to get some pictures with you.
    But truly, fantastic Moxxi.

  17. well Mordecai and Lilith aren’t up yet, we still need to do an actual photo shoot with them before we put them up on the page lol. Sorry about the confusion.

  18. Ah. I see! I’d love to see them when you do! I don’t know if I’ll be out in LA for a shoot soon, but it would be great to meet up with more BL fans!

  19. Moxxi is one of my favorite Borderlands characters for all the obvious reasons. You definitely brought her to life. All your cosplays are pretty amazing. The sheer fact a hot girl liked video games gave my brain the blue screen of death.

  20. You are absolutely gorgeous as Moxxi! I only ever saw Jessica Nigri as Moxxi but yours is just as good!:D

    You look amazing and your eyes are stunning in those photos:) I look forward to seeing more cosplay images of you. If you have a fb page, I’ll go “Like” it now:)


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