Every Halloween the internet explodes with pictures of everyone and everything in costume, but no one gets more hype than Chubbs the Wampug. Known to her fans as the Wampug, Chubbs is a pug with an amazing sense of style when it comes to costuming. Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chubbs to get her take on the glitz and glamour of being an internet sensation. This year, I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to talk with her handler, head costumer, veterinarian, and mom, Kristen, about all the wonderful fashion Chubbs enjoys, as well as her most awesome costume yet…
The Gamorrean Pug Guard!
The Gamorrean Pug Guard is Chubbs’ own rendition of the Gamorrean Guard–the pig guards that protect the outside of Jabba the Hutt’s palace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It was great talking with Kristen as she explained all that goes into costuming a pug, including the the important safety precautions that go into making each project.
GeekMom (Dakster): What inspired the “Gamorrean Pug Guard” costume?
Kristen Andrews DVM (aka Star Wars Chick): Well, having done the Wampug and then Banthapug, we wanted to stay in the Star Wars Universe for this year as well. The Gamorrean Guards are sometimes referred to as Gamorrean Pig Guards- and, well, pugs kinda do resemble pigs, so it seemed a logical choice!
GM: How long from conception to finished costume did it take?
KA: We pretty much knew at Halloween last year that we wanted to do this costume for this year, so I contacted a good friend of mine to do a concept drawing in December. We received the sketch on Jan 4th, 2013, and worked on the costume through mid-October, when I finished.
GM: Did anyone else help out with this costume?
KA: Yes, this year was definitely a collaborative effort! My good friend Jonathan Wollack did the concept drawing for us. My good friend and Gamorrean Guard costumer Craig McKeeman provided me with reference photos, as well as the axe and some of my material (which he used for his own personal costume). I did all the construction but my husband assisted me.
GM: How many costumes have you created for Chubbs over the years and which is your favorite?
KA: This will be our seventh one so far. It’s hard to choose one. I love her Freddy Pueger cause she just so nailed the look in the photo we took of her. The Wampug is probably the cutest one we did and it is what really got her so much attention. But I have to say, this year’s costume, the Gamorrean Pug Guard is definitely the best in that it has the most detail, the most work, and I
think it is amazingly screen-accurate! I love it!
GM: What’s it like fitting a pug for a costume? Does she cooperate or is she kind of stubborn?
KM: It is definitely a challenge as pugs are not shaped like most dogs, so it’s a lot of trying on, pinning, adjusting, resewing, trying it on, re-pinning, resewing, etc LOL! And a lot of snackies! She is incredibly good and patient, but she has learned that every time she puts any piece on, she must be paid promptly with snackies, and is sure to let us know if we aren’t fast enough with them LOL.
GM: How much time does working on Chubbs costumes leave you to work on your own? Is there anything you are working on for yourself or your husband that you’re proud of at the moment?
KA: LOL, it didn’t leave me a lot this year! I really didn’t realize how much work this year’s costume would be! Honestly, I have to say it was one of the hardest costumes I’ve made and I’ve personally made a head-to-toe Slave Leia and most of the parts and pieces for Jango Fett. So that is definitely saying something! Fortunately for me, this year, my costumes for San Diego Comic Con weren’t too labor-intensive, and we didn’t have a Star Wars Celebration either, so that was a huge relief! But now that this is done, I am hoping to start work on a Mass Effect Fem Shepard suit for next year!
GM: I love the videos you make every year to go with the costumes. What kind of planning, snackies, and post production goes into creating them?
KA: Oh thank you! The Wampug video was such a fluke that it went so viral. We had just finished her costume and we were cracking up at how cute she looked running around the house in it, and the way the horns moved from side to side…
He had just brought Chubbs into our photography room to take photos and I was outside waiting. I saw the video camera and thought I would just shoot video as she came running down the hallway after her photo shoot cause she was so stinking cute! I guess everyone agreed with me on that. On the other hand, The Wampug Strikes Back video was obviously much more thought out.
My husband story-boarded what we wanted to do and then we went up to Mt. Charleston in Las Vegas to shoot all the scenes. Chubbs did amazing and it really was her first time being in the snow and she really seemed to enjoy it! She did get quite a few snackies for that shoot! Then I did all the editing on the video. So it was much more labor intensive.
For the Banthapug video, we scouted locations and found a perfect one about 30-minutes outside of town at a dried-up lake bed. We had some ideas of what to do and knew we wanted only about a 30-second video, so we just went out and shot as much video of her running around as we could. The editing was definitely a lot quicker and easier than The Wampug Strikes Back, but obviously, also a lot more work than the Wampug. I’m not sure what to do for this year’s video but I’m sure I’ll come up with something at the last minute.
GM: Any thoughts on a family Halloween costume for yourself, your husband and Chubbs? I think that would make an awesome family portrait!
KA: As a matter of fact, my husband finally made one of his dream costumes come true, Frank the rabbit from Donnie Darko. He went as Frank while I went as Donnie at San Diego Comic Con this year. We even took some photos of Art in the Frank suit holding Chubbs. Well, this inspired the idea of making her into Puggie Darko. So I bought a skeleton costume and a hoodie for her and am currently working on trying to finish that for Halloween this year!
GM: This year’s costume is going to be tough to beat. Any thoughts on what you’re going to do next year?
KA: I actually do and we have already done some things to help plan for it. Fortunately, I have a friend who is wanting to do most of the work on this one. I can’t tell you what it is yet but I promise, if we can pull it off, it will be pretty epic!
GM: What would you like to say to the people out there who are unsure about the safety of the costumes Chubbs wears?
KM: For those who think I am torturing my dog, or that she is overheating, or dressing her in costumes is cruel, not only am I Chubbs’ mommy, I am also her veterinarian.
Her health and safety are my utmost concern and I would never do anything to endanger her for the sake of a costume. Chubbs has been dressing up in costumes since she was a youngster so she is quite used to it and to taking photos!
She actually gets very excited before we even get anything on her, as she knows she always gets rewarded with treats. As a pug, she always pants when she is excited, whether it be to go for a car ride, a walk, when people come over, doing a photo shoot, or dressing up.
Whenever she is in one of her costumes, she literally is in it long enough for us to take pictures and then she gets super excited as she knows her “payment” is due- hence the panting she does in her Wampug video which was shot immediately after we took her pictures. Trust me, if she hated it or if it put her in any danger, I wouldn’t do it. I love her dearly and she is like a daughter to me. I always have her best interests in mind.
Make sure you check out Chubbs the Wampug on Facebook for all things Chubbs!
Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she's not at the office being the Network Administrator, she's hanging out with her Minecraft obsessed 8-year old son and magician husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups. Check her out on Twitter @Dak903