SPIF Spotlight 01: Tori / by Alex Nguyen

For over a year now, SPIF has been wanting to implement a more solid system of collaboration with members of the gaming culture and the community. We've always seen ourselves as more of a "lifestyle brand" as opposed to just a Smash Bros. brand. Our ultimate goal lies beyond just creating products. We want to generate content based around our lifestyle that is meaningful, and we want to work with people in the community who are like-minded. We're going to use our growing platform to spotlight some of these people and show you all the cool stuff they're getting into. 





- TORI -

We've known Tori for quite some time now, and she is definitely one of the friendliest and most easygoing gals we've had the pleasure of hanging out with. She's always got her hands in a bunch of different projects, and right now is no exception. Stay tuned after the interview for details on a giveaway we're doing together!


Beyond just being a game enthusiast, Tori works her magic in modeling, music, and cosplay. Thanks for doing this interview with us, Tori.

Absolutely, thank you for having me! I’m honored to be a part of the squad!

I just want to make sure I get to do something that’s fueled by passion - if you love what your job represents, it’s so much more fulfilling to get up and go to work every day, y’know?

So Tori, you have a couple different names/tags/handles online. Are you using separate names for different things? Tell us a little bit about that.

Well, being half Latina, I have a name that’s about a million surnames long. I’ve shortened it all to Tori for the sake of time, and that’s what I go by most days. When I’m cosplaying I’m part of Carpe Diem Cosplay- my own little cosplay company. And on Twitter, as you can see, I go by wavebird. I’ve never had a gamer tag before wavebird, even though I always wanted one. Nothing had ever stuck out to me as being “the one.” But one day, as I was hanging out with some of my closest gamer friends, we began discussing the Nintendo GameCube and they became aware of the fact that I prefer the wireless GameCube controller (known as the WaveBird) over the wired controllers. They ALL proceeded to make fun of me, and soon enough they started referring to me as “wavebird.” I secretly loved it, and the nickname stuck. That was when I knew I had found my tag!


Honestly, the WaveBird is legendary, so you should be proud of that name! Let's talk about that a little bit. In this realm of 'wavebird' can you tell us a little about what you plan to use it for? (entering tournaments, online gamertags, etc)

I gotta say, even I’m not entirely sure what kind of trouble wavebird is gonna get into! I’ve never entered a tournament before, although I did just participate in my first casual crew battle at G5 earlier this year. I had a total blast, but I definitely need a lot more practice, LOL. I’m thinking, however, that I may start streaming soon, and I think wavebird would be a great name for playing online— much shorter and easier to pronounce than “diemtocarpe,” my original twitch username!


Definitely makes sense. Honestly I think with Smash Switch recently getting announced, if you get into streaming, it'd be pretty perfect. And as far as diemtocarpe, the name you associate with your cosplay, how is that going? Cosplay has been a passion of yours for a while now, hasn't it?

It definitely has, even if I didn’t know it until recently. I’ve been acting professionally since I was 3 and have always loved dressing up and pretending to be fun characters. My mom used to make my Halloween costumes from scratch every year, so I spent a lot of time watching her sew and build. Once I realized that was a hobby outside of the theatre, I was totally enamored. My first official cosplay was Black Widow, which I wore to the premiere of the Avengers movie back in 2012. My closest friends asked me if I would help them get costumes together for all of us and I was super hype about it, so of course I said yes. Once I saw the reaction of everyone at the theatre I knew it was something I had to pursue!

Tori and friends at the premiere of The Avengers (2012)

Tori and friends at the premiere of The Avengers (2012)

That's amazing. I saw that movie at least 5 times in theatres and would've LOST IT if I saw a group cosplay this good. That's dope as hell. So now that you've been cosplaying for around 8 years now, there must be a lot of things you've learned along the way. Do you predominantly make your own cosplays? Purchase parts of outfits and/or full suits? How do you decide which ideas to pursue?

I try to make as many of my cosplays as I can. If I can’t make them, I try to find someone within my group of friends who can, and ask them to help teach me so I can learn for the future. Some cosplays I’ll order bits and pieces (or thrift shop for hours on end) and alter things to fit the character. Every once in a while if I’m in a major hurry, I’ll order a full costume. As far as choosing what characters to do, I tend to pick characters I relate to, but I have to be drawn to their look as well. A lot of times I’ll see a character I’ve seen a hundred times before and all of a sudden I’ll randomly get an idea of how I could execute a part of their costume in real life. Then there’s no turning back! Gotta get started while it’s fresh in my head!


What's your favorite cosplay you've ever done?

It’s always SO hard to answer that question! I have so many favorite ones but all for different reasons, you know? For instance, Silk is my favorite to wear, but my Varia Suit Samus is my favorite to look at. I think overall though, my Snow White is probably the best. My mom and I made it together totally from scratch and it’s GORGEOUS, and every time I wear it I get little kids coming up and talking to me like I’m a real princess! Nothing beats that!


"Every time I wear [the Snow White costume] I get little kids coming up and talking to me like I'm a real princess! Nothing beats that!"


That's a super good one. I don't really think it gets better than that. It's one of those timeless kind of looks, you know? How do choose what events you're going to, and are there any coming up soon that you have any big plans for?

I mostly choose events based on word of mouth. If a lot of my friends have gone to an event in the past and really enjoyed themselves, then I’m highly likely to attend myself— cons can be so expensive nowadays, sometimes it isn’t worth it to spend all that money on an event if you’re not sure it’s gonna be a good time. My biggest events coming up are Raleigh Supercon, ComboBreaker, Dreamhack, and Super Smash Con. As far as tournaments, I’m gonna be attending both CEO and EVO for the first time this year, and I am beyond psyched about it!! I have a couple new cosplays in the works for these but I’m keeping them under wraps for a little longer, until I make a bit more progress


Honestly can't wait. So what else are you getting into? What do you like to do when you're not traveling?

I spend most of my free time gaming. (Big surprise, right?) I don’t play a whole lot of online games simply because I never know with my schedule when I’ll be around to play with friends, so I tend to play retro stuff because it’s always there ready for me! I have a pretty decent collection of retro consoles that are always set up on our TV downstairs. Outside of that, I like to perform. As I mentioned earlier, I’m into theatre, so I do a lot on stage, and I also sing in a little band called The Sunspots with my sister.



Retro, huh? How old are we talking here? Any standouts in your collection you particularly enjoy over the others?

We have all kinds of retro systems at the house- Sega Genesis, N64, GameBoy SP, GameCube.. but my SNES is my pride and joy. The Donkey Kong Country trilogy is my all time fave, I’ve played it over and over again! My sister and I are in the middle of trying to beat them all in co-op mode right now, but it’s taking a good while because she’s off at college for the moment. We’re about 75% done with the second one so hopefully we can knock the rest out soon!


Solid choice. You’ve mentioned your sister a few times, you’ve done some collaborative cosplays with her in addition to music and other things, right?

Yes, I sure have! Deanna and I are incredibly close. We grew up together as the two youngest pipsqueaks in a family of 6 kids. Our older brothers taught us the ways of video games and our older sister helped us find our voices. She does theatre as well so anytime I need a partner for a cosplay (like Ice Climbers!), I know she’s down to join me. I believe you guys met her at Super Smash Con last summer, actually! She rocks a SPIF shirt you guys gave her that weekend pretty often!

Tori and Deanna as Nana and Popo, Super Smash Con 2017

Tori and Deanna as Nana and Popo, Super Smash Con 2017

That’s an awesome relationship. It seems like you currently have so many interests and passions, and it’s really great that you’re pursuing all of them in some capacity. Can you tell us what your future aspirations are or what you’re planning on focusing on for let’s say... the next couple of years?

Oh gosh. The future is so intimidating to think about some days, but truthfully I’m very optimistic to see what it holds. Hopefully in the next couple of years, I’ll have settled in a city that feels a little more “me,” and I’ll have a job where I get to be creative in some way. I’d love to be in the public eye for obvious reasons, like the host of a small talk show or on stage singing and dancing, but I’ve had a few jobs where I was more behind the scenes as well and that was just as fun and rewarding. I just want to make sure I get to do something that’s fueled by passion- if you love what your job represents, it’s so much more fulfilling to get up and go to work every day, y’know?


Hell yeah. Well with someone as talented and driven as you are, I personally think the future can only hold good things for you. On behalf of everyone here at SPIF, We wish you the very best! Where can the people keep up with all your ventures? And is there anything you'd like to plug before we head out?

Hey, thanks so much you guys! I’m just super thankful to be able to do everything I’m doing! As far as social media, I’m @diemtocarpe on Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, and if you wanna keep up with my cosplay specifically you can do that at @carpeDMcosplay on Twitter and at http://facebook.com/cosplay.carpediem …!



Of course a spotlight wouldn't be complete without a collaborative giveaway, right? Check out the gleam link for all the ways you can enter to win!