First name and last initial: Laney F.
Where are you from originally or reside currently: I am from Woodbridge, VA and currently live in Arlington, VA.
How long you have been cosplaying: I guess I started cosplaying last year at Baltimore Comicon, so a little over a year now.
Characters cosplayed: Black canary, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Ms. Marvel and many more to come!
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
I’ve always been REALLY into Halloween and dressing up. I’m surprised I wasn’t a theater kid in school. I guess my “cosplaying” really started at the ripe age of 10, when I actually believed I was the Phantom of the Opera. My mom bought me the mask, cape and hat so I wore these everywhere I went (yes, even the grocery store). This phase of my life went on for a while until I believed I had become Michael Jackson (God bless my parents). I wore one glove around everywhere along with my Walkman playing Michael Jackson. Still to this day, my mom always says I was very theatrical with my clothes, even my normal clothes. I worked at Kings Dominion for 4 years as a vampire cage dancer in one of their haunted maze attractions called Club Blood. That was PROBABLY my favorite job I’ve ever had because I was able to dress up every day. When I got my “big girl job” I had to quit being a vampire and move to DC. I’ve always been really into video games and comics so I always wanted to go to comic con, but never had anyone to go with. When I found a group of people who were into cosplaying and going to comic cons, I jumped on the opportunity.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
When I’m not cosplaying I’m usually exercising, playing video games, or reading comics. I love going to concerts and seeing any type of live music. Most of my time is consumed by what I call my “big girl job” or work. I am currently a Government contractor in D.C. Lately I’ve been trying to catch up with the many Marvel/DC shows that are out. That stuff is time consuming!
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
I think my Supergirl costume probably took the longest to finish. A lot of hand drawn puffy painting went into that project which was very time consuming. Most of that time was waiting for the puffy paint to dry. However, I think this is my favorite costume I have and it certainly gets the most “attention.” I like this costume because I guess it is technically a “gender bender.” It’s fun to play a different gendered character. I made this costume with my cousin, Jason Evans, who also has a pretty awesome Superman suit. I thought it was cool that we were actual cousins and Kryptonian cousins hah!
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Don’t let the judgement from other cosplayers discourage you. Too many times have I heard “you’re too out of shape to wear that.” Don’t let others words stop you from trying anything or doing anything you want. This is something I have to remind myself of everyday. I would also tell someone to not be afraid to ask for advice. If you see a costume or prop that you like that someone else has made, ask for advice. Hopefully that cosplayer won’t be snobby about hiding their secrets and offers some help. Don’t be nervous about others not understanding or liking your costume. As long as you enjoyed making it and will enjoy wearing it, that’s all that matters.
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
This kind of ties in with the last question. You would think in this world of fantasy and dressing up, there would be no bullying or drama. I think the cosplay community has the most drama I’ve ever seen. I hear cosplayers talking poorly about other cosplays/costumes way too often. Body shaming is another problem the cosplay community has. You do not need to be a body builder in order to dress up as your favorite character. A lot of times people are meant to feel bad about buying parts and pieces of their costume. This is something I don’t really understand. My friend, Belle Bredehoft, once taught me that there is a difference between a costumer and a cosplayer. I don’t see anything wrong in supporting and buying other “cosplayer’s” or “costumer’s” art. If I want to use a piece of work from a friend, it should be allowed and not looked down upon. I’m all about giving credit to who deserves it. I love having talented friends! –END RANT :p