We spoke to cosplayers at Fan Expo Canada about why cosplaying is special to them.
Cosplay is an essential part of geekdom, but to become a successful cosplayer, a great deal of effort is required. What attracts people to cosplaying and keeps them coming back for more?
We caught up with five cosplayers at Fan Expo Canada to discuss this and more. Evilyn13, Lucky Grim, Audrey Cosplay, Violet Love, and Luxlo Cosplay shared their cosplay journeys with us, what they love about their art, and what advice they would share with aspiring cosplayers.
How did you get into cosplay?
Evilyn13: I was a model, previously, for a few years. And then, five years ago, I went to my first convention, which was Fan Expo Vancouver, and I realised you can dress up when you come to them. I was like, ‘What? Sign me up!’. So, ever since then, I’ve been cosplaying and I love it. I didn’t know Halloween could be every day!
Lucky Grim: I got into cosplay because I’m a third-generation seamstress. My grandmother came to this country with just a sowing machine and the clothes on her back, and she started her own business, and my mom learned from her and I learned from my mom and my grandmother.
My mom loves Lord of the Rings and Star Trek and she got me into making costumes for myself. I didn’t realise till later in life that I could do this for a living, so now I do!
Audrey Cosplay: It started as a thing I did for fun with friends when we attended conventions. And then I started to really enjoy the process of creating costumes and bringing characters to life, so I just got more and more into it and started doing it all the time!
Violet Love Cosplay: I was just a really nerdy kid. I played a lot of video games and read a lot of comics when I was in elementary school. And I’ve always been a seamstress, so I made a lot of costumes and just wore them around my house, like a nerd. And then I realised that other people actually did this and went out in public and dressed up.
I went to a lot of anime conventions at first in really badly-done costumes, bad wigs, that sort of thing. But it was always a lot of fun to be around other people like that.
And then when I discovered that comic con existed and it was so big, it’s almost like a gravitational pull, I got sucked in and never got out. [laughs]
Luxlo Cosplay: It happened when I went to my first convention, it was in 2012, and I was told everyone dresses up for it, so I thought, okay, I will too, because I like the idea of dressing up. And I just looked around and there were so many people dressed in cosplay and I had no idea that it was that big a thing. I was just really inspired by all the big costumes I saw around me.
Which character do you love cosplaying?
Evilyn13: I love to dress up as Harley Quinn, like the classic Harley Quinn, in the jester outfit, and I love doing Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, because she’s also very campy and fun. Today, I’m dressed as Snow White. Those are probably the top ones that I like to do.
Lucky Grim: My favourite character, because I love her, is Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel, now Captain Marvel. But my favourite costume to wear is Wizard, from Diablo III. I did all the hand embroidery, it’s all 14-carat gold. It’s my favourite thing I’ve ever made!
Audrey Cosplay: I’d say it’s Lexa from the TV show The 100. It’s a really comfortable costume, it’s a character that I love a lot, and she’s an all-round badass. Who doesn’t want to feel badass?
Violet Love Cosplay: My favourite, by far, is the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman. It’s just a really empowering costume to wear; everyone recognises it, it always feels really sleek. And she was one of my favourite characters growing up.
Luxlo Cosplay: Right now, maybe, Monster Hunter armours or my favourite characters from Persona 5, which are Ann Takamaki and Shadow Sae.
What is the best part of being a cosplayer?
Evilyn13: Well, actually, on Friday [at Fan Expo Canada], I dressed up as Wonder Woman, the Lynda Carter version, and seeing the little girls’ faces light up when they see me, and they get so excited because they think I’m the real Wonder Woman, is amazing! So, being a bit of an inspiration for little girls out there who want a superhero is amazing, it’s such a good feeling.
Lucky Grim: I think it’s those true-blue friends you make. Like, whether you’re in an amazing costume or something you bought, it’s the friends you make along this weird nerdy journey. I found my best friends and soul-mates in our little group. That’s kind of what it’s all for.
Audrey Cosplay: For me, it was really meeting people with common interests. I met my best friends through cosplaying and through attending conventions so it’s been great for me.
Violet Love Cosplay: One of my favourite parts is when you’re cosplaying a character like Wonder Woman and kids believe that you are Wonder Woman. And the look of excitement on their faces when they see you, and you can see them light up. They run over and they think they met Wonder Woman that day. That’s probably my favourite thing.
Luxlo Cosplay: Getting to become the characters that I love, that’s definitely the best part! And the friends that I’ve made through it.
What advice would you give an upcoming cosplayer?
Evilyn13: I would just say, do what you love doing, because I love doing this. And don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t cosplay something. Just do it!
Lucky Grim: Jump into the deep end. Just go into the deep end, find a character you like, and stuff what people may say. Because, no matter what you do in life, there are people who are going to be butts to you. Whether you’re at a job, in a car club, whether you’re in a sowing circle, there are always going to be buttheads. So, realise that it’s not you; they have the problem. As long as you’re having fun, that’s all that matters.
Audrey Cosplay: I’d say to give it your all. Work hard, be nice, have fun. It’s a learning experience and there’s always room for improvement, so do not get discouraged when it’s hard at times.
Violet Love Cosplay: I would just say, start wherever you’re going to start. You can start small – don’t worry about coming out with the biggest, best thing in the world. Everyone starts somewhere. Buy your costume, if you have to. Just get involved in the community – it’s a pretty welcoming community as it is. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Luxlo Cosplay: Probably the best is to do what you love, [cosplay] the characters and series that you love. Just have fun with it!
A great community, the opportunity to make life-long friends, and the chance to inhabit your favourite characters. Cosplaying is the way to give your inner geek wings, sometimes literally. Break out the sewing kits, and build those props – your fellow geeks await you!