Where are you from originally or reside currently: Newcastle, UK
How long you have been cosplaying: 2012
Other Characters cosplayed: Jade Harley, Her Imperious Condescension, Vriska Serket, Latula Pyrope, Nepeta Leijon, Princess Peach, Aoi Asahina, Kyoko Kirigiri, Poison Ivy
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
I first began cosplaying so that I could identity myself as a fan and meet people, but after seeing all the elaborate and amazing cosplays at the first big con I went to (London MCM) it really inspired me and showed me how much you can do with cosplay! I really enjoy going to cons because I found it easy to meet and talk to people there, and since then I’ve tried to make cosplays of characters I love while putting in the effort to constantly improve and be proud of myself. A lot of people say they are too shy to cosplay, but personally I feel I’ve become much more confident since I started cosplaying as there is lots of positive reinforcement, and it’s a hobby that encourages you to view yourself in a way you love!
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
As well as cosplaying, I also like playing games and roleplaying – both tabletop and live action! Live action roleplay (LARP) is probably my joint favourite hobby with cosplay, I love being able to create my own characters as well as recreating outfits of the ones I love. I’m currently studying English literature and creative writing at university, I’ve just finished my first year but I’m really enjoying it as I like reading and want to get better at writing. I like all kinds of creative hobbies really, writing, drawing, sewing, I find it fun to try new things even if I won’t always be the best! I’ve also started making flower crowns and jewellery out of recycled toys recently – in August I have a dealer’s table at a con and it’ll be exciting to experience that aspect of conventions.
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
Painwheel was a big challenge for me as the costume really relied on the accessories rather than just the clothes. With my previous cosplay, most of my work went into sewing the outfit, whereas the sewing in this one took hardly any time! I had to plan how I was going to make the mask, the tights, the arm socks, the hair accessory – and most importantly the wheel itself! It taught me how much planning need to go into props (I was still working on it an hour before the event!) but I think it also improved my resourcefulness as I found lots of ways to work around problems and learn new skills. It was only a small event I wore it to so I don’t have the best photos but I’ll always be super proud of my Painwheel cosplay as my first big project.
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
I think it would be to not be afraid to approach people! It’s great if you’re lucky enough to know people into cosplay, but the first few cons I went to I knew no one but still had a wonderful time! At larger cons there’s often meets for certain fans, and even if there isn’t cons are a great place to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Also, if you love someone’s cosplay or the series they’re from, tell them! You can really make someone’s day. If there aren’t any conventions in your area, maybe try to find local cosplay or fan meet ups it you want to meet people.
Aside from getting immersed in cons and meeting people, my advice would be to start small and work up. Everyone learns at different rates and no one is born an expert, plus you’ll feel a lot better doing a great job on a simple cosplay than trying something far too complicated and having it not turn out how you want. I tried to do Her Imperious Condescension from Homestuck as my second cosplay, but looking at it now my wig looks frizzy rather than voluptuous, and the paint on the body suit is so sloppy! Learn from your mistakes and see cosplay as a way to learn lots of new skills, while having fun and meeting new people!
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
I think in cosplay it can sometimes feel hard to get noticed which can be very disheartening, especially online. I used to get quite upset when I’d worked hard on a cosplay and have it get no attention when I posted it on Facebook or Tumblr. It’s easy to overlook beginner cosplayers, especially if they haven’t got anyone to take good quality photos of them, or they’re just starting and have made a simple mistake with the sewing of wig styling. I think the community could benefit everyone by trying to recognise cosplayers of all levels, as well as celebrating those who might be more popular and experienced. I find personally if someone has left a kind comment on one of my photos I don’t mind as much if I don’t have as many views or likes – so I’d encourage everyone to leave a comment if they can think of something nice to say, or help if they can when someone is starting out and looking for opinions or advice.