Sophomore expresses herself through unique hobbies

Maddie Hanna enjoys the creative outlet that hobbies such as watching anime, cosplaying and learning Korean provide her with

Avery Gathright, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Always having a niche for expressing herself in unorthodox ways, sophomore Maddie Hanna takes part in several unique hobbies, including cosplay, doll customization, and learning Korean.

After taking an interest in anime, Hanna encountered the cosplay community on social media.

“It started because I started watching anime and then I dug deeper into the community and found that there was so much you could do with the characters, and I saw people dressing up,” Hanna said. “I always liked Halloween and dressing up, so I just decided to do it as a day-to-day thing.”

Hanna has cosplayed several characters from various shows, but particularly enjoys the popular anime’ Attack on Titan,’ and says she has “made it my mission to cosplay every female character.”

The freedom of expression found in cosplay is what appeals the most to Hanna.

“[The best part is] that you can become any character you want, whenever you want, so you can just be whoever,” Hanna said. “It’s great, you can bring it to life, [and] immerse yourself in the world.”

Similar to the cosplay community, Hanna first discovered the art of doll customization online.

“I was just browsing Instagram one day, and scrolling through my posts,” Hanna said. “I came across this account and it was just like a random doll account, and it was just like this character in doll form… and it just led me down a rabbit hole that I thought was really cool and I wanted to try it for myself.”

According to Hanna, doll customization is an extensive process that can take months. However, she believes that the various options and finished products make it a hobby well worth the time.

“[I enjoy] the freedom you have, you can make a character, you can make your own designed doll, you can make a werewolf if you wanted to, you just have to take apart all the little pieces and put them back together in a weird sort of way,” Hanna said. “You can do pretty much whatever you want and it’s just fun being creative and it’s different than painting or drawing because you see it’s 3D version, it’s kind of like sculpting but you have to have a base to work with.”

Hanna’s interest in doll customizing led to her taking on another hobby: learning the Korean language.

“Somebody I follow in the doll customizing community lives in Korea, and she would speak the language and she would show around her town, I think she lives in Seoul,” Hanna said. “It was really beautiful and I just took an interest in the language because it is a beautiful country and a beautiful language.”

To Hanna’s surprise, the most difficult part of learning the language was also the easiest part.

“Both [the] hardest part and easiest part is recognizing characters,” Hanna said. “It is so hard to keep them straight in your head, but once you have them all straight in your head, it’s really easy to see them. You kind of have to work to memorize it, notice it, but once you do, you can see words, and the sounds they make are easy.”

When it comes to her hobbies, Hanna recognizes that some people find them strange or immature. In the end, though, Hanna explains that these are misconceptions and that there is a lot of work that goes into her crafts.

“A lot of people think it is really childish to collect dolls, but doll customizing is not a child’s hobby,” Hanna said. “You have to use toxic chemicals and you have to be able to sketch tiny lines, it’s an art, it’s like sculpture. It’s an art doll, it’s not for playing, so I promise I’m not four.”

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