Toska the warthog.
Toska the warthog.

Toska the 'warthog' shares her story

EVERY day for four days we'll feature a 10-question Q&A with members of the furry community as their meet-up at the botanic gardens gets closer. 

Introducing...

Toska, AKA Kelly Hampson, (BunFur special guest/staff):

1. When did you first hear about furries, and what made you join in?

I first heard about the furries in 2009.

I was browsing YouTube and found videos of people in things called fur suitsrunning around and having all kinds of fun.

By mid-2010 I had decided on my character, made myself a fur suit and was off to my first furry meet.

Since then the furry fandom has been a huge part of my life.

Kelly dressed up as
Kelly dressed up as "Tyler".

2. Describe the adventures of a typical fur meet:

Meets can be as simple as a group of friends meeting in a park for a barbecue and a chat and as big as conventions with hundreds of attendees spanning entire weekends full off laser tag, talent shows, video game tournaments, fur suit games and dances.

It's all about getting together, socialising and having fun with your friends like any other social group.

3. What's your chosen animal, and why did you choose it above all others?

My character is a black and neon green warthog by the name of Toska.

I chose a warthog to be different and since creating Toska in 2009 I haven't come across another warthog.

4. Has the success of furry meet-ups in Bundaberg been a surprise?

As an outsider yes actually, but having seen the madness that goes on behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks there is a lot of work that goes on to ensure the success of the meets.

5. How do you source the fur suits, and are they difficult to get around in?

As I mentioned above the furry fandom is a huge part of my life, that's because I make fur suits for a living.

I have been making fursuits for three years now but officially started my business The Menagerie Costumes (TMC) in 2012.

Imagine being wrapped up head to toe in your warmest blanket.

Now imagine while in your blanket you can only see directly in front of you, no perioral vision and you can't see below your nose.

Now imagine you are also looking through thick flyscreen… that is what it is like to wear a fur suit.

It's hot and sweaty, you can't see very well, your hearing is muffled by layers of foam and fur, and your hands are trapped in bulky gloves, it is also the most fun a person can have!

It's hot and sweaty, you can't see very well, your hearing is muffled by layers of foam and fur, and your hands are trapped in bulky gloves, it is also the most fun a person can have!

6. What would your advice be to someone who was thinking of getting involved?

Jump on in! Find a local meet and go make some friends, I did it  three years ago and haven't looked back since.

Kelly Hampson minus her fur suit.
Kelly Hampson minus her fur suit.

7. What's the age range in your group?

I personally have furry friends ranging from early teens to their 50s.

8. When did the furry culture start?

The furry fandom started in the 1980s as an offshoot from the science fiction fandom, since then it has grown into a worldwide subculture.

9. What's the most unusual animal you have seen someone suited up as?

There are a few unusual suits out there that I really like, in particular a coati, honey badger and a spider.

10. Is there a celebrity or politician you think should suit up? If so, what as?

I personally think everyone should jump in a fur suit but I would love to see Jack Black suit as a panda or maybe a tiger (refrains from going on a long winded Tenacious D based explanation).