Where are you from originally or reside currently: Austin, TX.
How long you have been cosplaying: I made my first Harry Potter themed costume back in 2003 and continued to modify that and wear it to events for the books, movies, parties, etc. But I wouldn’t say that I officially started cosplaying until about 2013.
Other Characters cosplayed: Katniss (Hunger Games and Catching Fire versions), Gwen Stacy, Catwoman (New 52 and Julie Newmar version), Poison Ivy, Jafar, Rainbow Brite, Harley Quinn, Lilith (Borderlands), Princess Anna (Frozen), and a couple of mashup characters like Roller Derby Princess Peach and A League of Their Rogues Penguin.
Facebook Page and Instagram: @thehardyway_
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
I’ve always enjoyed making costumes. I used to make up musicals and plays in my house as a kid, and I would scour the closets and garage to build costumes, props, and sets for intricate shows that no one was actually in or watching. In college, I created my first Harry Potter costume for a party, and when I went to the movie and I saw that people were dressed up it kind of changed my world. From then on I dressed up for every movie and book event, slowly improving the costume as each year passed. But it wasn’t until I started to going to conventions that I realized it wasn’t just Harry Potter fans who were passionate about their characters, there was actually a whole culture of people enjoying nerdy things and bringing them to life through costumes. It was Heaven. Eventually, my best friend and I decided we wanted to really become a part of that magical fun, and we started cosplaying together regularly, developing newer and better costumes each year.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying? (hobbies, community service, in school or work)
I’m actually a Young Adult writer, so I spend a lot of time in my own imaginary world, making up characters, new worlds, etc. This year, I started working as Assistant to the Director of the Comic and Cosplay Convention, Hero Con, which just had it’s first convention this year and has already started making even bigger plans for next year. Outside of that, I enjoy hiking to find amazing waterfalls, taking trips with my friends, and continuing my work to create a library to rival the one the Beast gave Belle.
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
One of the most tedious costumes I have ever done was when I made Rainbow Brite. Each one of the arm and leg wraps was individually hand-sewed and stuffed. It took a full physical day to complete them. And then I had to rebuild the elastic in the leg wraps because they wouldn’t stretch far enough around my leg. But Rainbow Brite was my absolute favorite show as a child so it was a labor of love. The cosplays that I have planned for this September involve some very intense builds, so planning those has already provided stress, but if they work out they are really going to rock!
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Have fun! So many people stress over whether or not every minute detail of their costume is perfect, or how they don’t know how to make something so they are going to have to buy pieces of their costume which they somehow feel makes them less of a cosplayer. But in reality, that’s not the case. If you are wearing a costume and having fun you are embodying the very definition of cosplay. You are costume playing. That’s what it’s about. If something breaks, if something isn’t handmade, if something is slightly altered to fit your vision instead of the comic creator’s vision, that’s not the end of the world. You are there to have fun bringing your favorite character to life, because they mean something to YOU. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the build, remember at the end of the day it’s really about having fun!
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
The whole “treat others the way you want to be treated” mantra goes along way. I have been really fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of cosplayers who I know I can ask for help, call for supplies, and count on for encouragement at any time. But I know that isn’t always the case. In every division of the world there are always going to be people who think the only way to build themselves up is to tear other people down. And this community isn’t really any different. We’ve all seen the people talking down about people’s work or judging women by their body types. And I think that we need to remember that most of us got into cosplay to have fun, to be a part of a world where being nerdy and enjoying it was accepted. As long as we remember that, and accept others the way the community accepted us when we first started or the way we want people to accept us, I think we will be in good shape. Cosplay is for everyone. Period. Let’s show the world that we don’t just love our favorite characters, but we love each other too.