Talking FemShep with FemShep Holly Conrad

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We’re nearing the end of an awesome #FemShepFriday and I realized that today wouldn’t be complete unless we heard from someone who is synonymous with the character. I know you’re probably thinking Jennifer Hale… and yes, that would have been a great idea. Don’t fret though, it’s someone else who is very popular in the eyes of the community. Special effects artist Holly Conrad!

She and group Crabcat Industries are known for making the creepy husks in our live-action trailer, and male Shepard/Wrex/Garrus for our 2011 convention season. She’s most known among the Mass Effect fandom, however, for her own Commander Shepard cosplay as a renegade marine in full scars and black armor with a hopeless soft spot for Garrus.

Holly agreed to talk about FemShep, community, and the “Reinstated” trailer! So, as one of the major voices of the fandom, I think it’s appropriate to close our #FemShepFriday festivities with the following interview.


Hi Holly! For those of you who don’t already know you, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m a creature and costume designer who is also a huge BioWare fan (since Baldur’s Gate, yo!). I also have done work with them with my group of friends called Crabcat to make some of their characters real for conventions and events! Oh and I also dress as FemShep. Because she’s the best.


So… what’d you think of the FemShep trailer?

I think it is amazing! It sets up the story for ME3 well and showed a lot of action at the same time. There’s a lot at stake and Shepard is fighting for the survival of the entire galaxy. The trailer wasn’t just epic for FemShep fans, but Mass Effect fans everywhere. The bad guys are bigger, meaner, and require a lot more “baddassery”. It was great seeing a few of the old crew mates too, it makes me curious who we’ll see come back in ME3 and glad I saved them in the Suicide Mission!


What makes Shepard a compelling character?

For me, Shep is compelling because he or she can be anyone. You customize your character, making him/her whoever you want. While I think this new look for canon female Shepard is incredibly cool, I think that making Shepard your own is a really unique part of the game. I love FemShep particularly because of her strong personality. It makes punching people in-game much more fun.


You had a chance to meet Jennifer Hale a few times at our summer conventions. What was that like?

Oh man, she’s awesome. Such a talented voice actress. Not only does she do awesome characters like Shepard, but she has such a huge range. She does roles where you wouldn’t even recognize it’s her! I love her work as Shepard so naturally I was stoked to meet her. I got a picture with her while I was in costume at PAX… it was surreal. Mark Meer, I’m coming to find you next!


Do you have a favorite Shepard line?

Wow, that’s hard to choose! I want to say one of her lines to Garrus, hah! I think she has a ton of amazing lines. I love all the renegade interrupts. One of my favorite moments though is the end of Mass Effect 2 where she gives the speech to her crewmates in the Collector Base. I memorized it and performed it as part of the skit for the San Diego Comic Con costume contest. People might have thought I was insane, practicing that speech in the car to get the lip-synching right. But it was worth it. That speech still gives me chills.


Do you have anything you’re particularly excited about for Mass Effect 3?

I just can’t wait to kick ass and kill reapers. I’m excited to see where the story goes, what happens to your crew, to Earth, rekindle romances, all of that. On top of it all, I’m excited to play multiplayer. Getting to try out playing as another alien race is going to be really cool. I totally want to be a turian. Not surprised?


What is the best part about the Mass Effect community?

I think the best part about the ME community is their passion. They were driven enough to speak up about wanting more FemShep and they were loud enough that it became a movement. Now here we are, and she has, I’d say, one of the most epic trailers for ME3 to date! Mass Effect fans genuinely love the story/the game, and regardless of which Shepard they play, they know we’re all saving the galaxy together. And that’s what makes it awesome.


Any last words?

I can’t wait for launch. I’m working on two new suits of armor, an updated ME3 FemShep armor for myself and an Ashley costume for you, Jessica! That’s life for me until March 6th… wear my N7 hoodie, make armor, cosplay and have a good time. Shepard can’t save the galaxy alone, and there’s no better time to pretend you’re an awesome space commander. Also, beware chafing and make sure to remember to eat when the game comes out. It’s important.


I’m surprised you didn’t say, “I should go”…

AUGH! I forgot. Of course. I should go!

Thanks Holly!

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