First name and last initial: Harriet R.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Shropshire, UK
How long have you been cosplaying? 2 and 1/2 years at conventions
Which characters have you cosplayed? Spellcaster Tinkerbell, Davy Jones Ariel, Female Mad Hatter and Female Darth Maul.
What inspired you to start cosplaying? I have been attending conventions for five years and I always loved the cosplay scene and seeing how creative everyone was. However, I was never confident enough to try it myself because I used to be bullied by my “friends” for loving the world of nerd. Back in 2014, I caught Meningococcal Septicaemia strain W, which was the rarest strain of blood poisoning and meningitis. I was given 24 hours to live. Once I was better, I decided that now was the time to cosplay at a convention. I have never looked back since. I absolutely love cosplay, and I don’t care if people judge. I am there for myself, to celebrate creativity and the world of comic con.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I work part time, seasonally from April to September, in my town’s Town Hall. It is a historic building which is open to the public as well as being a venue for weddings. I absolutely love it because I get to talk to people all the time. Other than that, I am looking to go back to university to study Fashion and Textiles so that I can advance my skills further and create clothing which is tailored to everyone. While I wait to hear back, I make cosplay most of the time. I live in a small farmers town in Shropshire, U.K. so finding a full time job is very hard to nonexistent.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? My biggest challenge was to create my first ever armour, I had no previous experience and all I could work off was YouTube videos. I absolutely love the final result, but it cost a lot to make and it still isn’t perfect. The edges aren’t nicely smooth and it rubs against my skin. But it was the first alternative cosplay I have ever made and the way people’s faces light up at the sight of my Spellcaster Tinkerbell really make it worth while. All the little details really made me addicted to detailed cosplay. Not to mention children and families stopping to check out the potion holder and bells on my shoes.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? My best advice is to cosplay what makes you happy; if you love a character and you can’t stop thinking about them, cosplay them! Don’t ever compare yourself with others, as some people have been going for years and I know that can be hard especially when someone has cosplayed the character you want to do. Always go with your gut; what you design will make it your own unique, and always think of your comfort, health and safety first. Also enjoy yourself. It isn’t a contest or a fashion show. You are there to enjoy yourself in costume and enjoy the film and comic industry.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? I think the community needs to be more accepting of people’s abilities, whether they are new or experienced. Everyone should be accepted because we are all there because we love cosplay or films or comics. People need to stop judging if someone gender swaps something or they aren’t the character’s original design or they aren’t “thin” or “curvy” like the original characters. I find it really upsetting when people come up to me saying I’ll never be as good as you, but you can. Don’t be negative; we all started somewhere and we all build skills overtime. Just keep going and stay positive; keep the cosplay goal in mind. And of course you can always upgrade your cosplay in the future if you want to, but just give it a go and have fun with it. The community can put too much pressure on newbies and veterans. Have FUN!