Cosplay Name: Kira Rhian
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Huntsville, Alabama
How long have you been cosplaying? [Since] 1999
Which characters have you cosplayed? Princess Leia (Star Wars), Mad Moxxi (Borderlands), Nozomi, Snow White, Esmeralda, Miss Fortune, AJ Lee (WWE), Freddy Kreuger (Nightmare on Elm Street), Princess Kakyuu (Sailor Moon), Sarah Williams, Nurse Joy (Pokemon), Bellatrix (Harry Potter), Narcissi Malfoy (Harry Potter), Scarlet Witch, Sarah Sanderson, Bulma (Dragon Ball Z), Anna, and many more!
What inspired you to start cosplaying? I moved around a lot when I was younger, which made it quite difficult to make friends. Since I was often alone, characters in novels, comic books, movies, and more became my friends and I would feel a connection to them. For Halloween it was a tradition for either my grandmother or my mother to put together a costume for me; however, when The Nightmare Before Christmas came out to theaters I knew I had to be Shock. There was something about her that really called to me and so, in 1994, I put together her outfit. It was such a joy to be a character whom I had a strong connection to — I knew I wanted to portray others as a way of showing my love to “my friends”.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? Being a single mother, I do not have much free time; however, when I do and I am not cosplaying or working on a new project I love to write. I am in the process of writing a fiction novel. My son, Draco, goes with me almost everywhere I do and since he is now at the age where his favorite thing to do is climbing and walking we tend to go to parks and playgrounds whenever we have a chance. I used to work in Orlando at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World; however since I have moved back to Alabama I have been on the job search. Until I am hired somewhere I have opened my own shop on etsy.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? Every costume that I make has a different challenge. Since having my son my biggest challenge has been making costumes for a toddler. I just recently finished up Dopey (to match my Snow White) and it was more difficult than I originally had thought. Whenever I tried to fit him in his outfit he wouldn’t stand still or wanted to grab something to “help mommy”. As for my outfits, the one that gave me quite the challenge was Moxxi from Borderlands. There were so many details in that outfit, down to doing the cell shading by hand, and since I was losing weight I would constantly have to re-fit the outfit. Once I had finally finished it I was so in love and wore it often.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? My advice is to have fun and never feel discourage. We all start somewhere and there is always time to improve and learn. Things take time and so you should make sure to take your time. I never had any formal training until I was at university, so for many years it was trail and error. When I first started YouTube tutorials were not a thing; in fact my internet connection was dial up. Take advantage of everything that is out there and if you are uncertain never be afraid to ask a question. The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? Attending conventions and cosplaying as long as I have, things have changed over time. I feel that the cosplaying community has become more of a competition between each other especially when it comes to the rise of Facebook Pages. I feel that the community needs to be more about supporting each other, whether it is in techniques, photos, fitness, or even protection when it comes to harassment from others. We should be encouraging each other and helping each other. We, as humans, have struggles in life and cosplaying and the cosplay community should be the place where we can feel love instead of stress, harassment, or even depression. There was a time in my life that I was suffering from major depression and cosplaying/being a part of the cosplay community not only helped me through that time in my life but was a major factor in giving me the strength of overcoming that depression.
Feature Image Credit: Nan Mur Photography