Candy Cosplay and Angelic Luka Cosplay at Toronto Comic Con 2019.
Candy Cosplay and Angelic Luka Cosplay at Toronto Comic Con 2019.

Cosplaying is hard work, but what makes professional cosplayers put in the hours and effort to do it? We ask the professionals.

At Digital Fox, we love to champion the art of cosplaying. Recently, we spoke to professional cosplayers Angelic Luka Cosplay, Candice Windfall, Candy Cosplay, The Cosplay Sisters, Lee Howard, and Northern Belle Rogue at the 2019 Toronto Comic Con about what makes cosplaying worth the effort for them.

What is your favourite thing about cosplaying?

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Angelic Luka Cosplay

“Being the character. Sometimes when kids get excited to see you, that’s real fun. Meeting people, and making friends.”

Candice Windfall

“Honestly, it’s when the kids come up to me, and they seem so enamoured by the costume, or because it’s their favourite character, it just melts my heart.”

Candy Cosplay

“Becoming the character, and also creating. I’m very artistic and I love the challenge of creating something new, or learning something new. Sewing’s not my biggest thing – when I have a sewing hurdle, I always run to one of my friends. I’m like ‘okay, I don’t want you to sew it, but show me how to do it, so I get to learn it at the same time’.”

Marisa Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Being someone else in costume. You get to feel powerful and different and it’s fun.”

Stefanie Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Dressing up as your favourite superhero and just embodying that hero.”

Katrina Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Giving yourself permission to be a kid again – it’s basically like our Halloween.”

Lee Howard

“The best thing is when kids see you and they get so excited. The character that I play a lot is Batman and when kids see you, they think you are that character. Even if it’s been a long day and you’re really uncomfortable and hot in your suit, when a kid sees you and gets excited, that’s just the best part.”

Northern Belle Rogue

“The inspiration that happens all around. The inspiration that I find from other cosplayers to do amazing work. Seeing kids get inspired! When I did my Wonder Woman cosplay – I was walking down the Skywalk and Frozen on Ice had just let out and there were about 500 tiny Elsas and Annas and they all saw me as Wonder Woman. The way they just ran up to me and their eyes lit up – that is definitely, for me, the driving force of cosplay.”

What’s one moment in your cosplay career that stands out?

Angelic Luka Cosplay

“Probably meeting my best friend [Candy Cosplay]. She’s amazing! She’s got me into a lot of conventions and we always try to sit near each other. She’s just the most wonderful person. Her family is so embracing, almost like a second family. She’s got me more into the cosplay stuff.”

Candice Windfall

“It was in my Catwoman costume, a little girl comes up to me, and she’s screaming ‘Catwoman. Catwoman’. And she stayed with me for like a good hour and it was so cute. That’s stuck with me because it was adorable! I walked around with her all day because she was dressed as Batman. It was so cute.”

Candy Cosplay

“I was guesting at Fan Expo Canada about four years ago, and I was dressed up as Maleficent. This little girl came up to me and I bent down to her low – she had to be like three or four – she didn’t want to leave me. The mom was like, ‘I could leave her here’, and I said, ‘Yeah, please just leave her!’. She just hugged me and clung to me and I love that – making people’s day, being that character that they love, or they’ve grown up watching on TV. I love making people happy.”

Stefanie Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Getting a booth last year at Comic Con was probably a cool thing. That we are now known enough to be invited as a cosplay guest and that is really cool.”

Marisa Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Two years ago, we did the fairy godmothers from Sleeping Beauty, we got quite a bit of attention from third party people that we didn’t know. That was exciting for me, as well. I don’t think I realised how cute we looked! Seeing it from someone else’s eyes, I was like, ‘oh my gosh! That’s us!’.”

Lee Howard

“With the kids, it’s really always awesome. There’s always one kid at a convention who gets so excited. Sometimes, kids will run right up and hug you. Like, you look down and there’s a kid hugging your leg – you didn’t even see him! They’re just so happy to see you, all those are just the best moments!”

Northern Belle Rogue

“At this Toronto Comic Con actually! We did a live Captain Marvel body paint, so that took us about four hours. And then we did a body paint panel – me and Jim from Artistic Curves. We came out of our panel – where the room was basically full, which was really exciting – and there were all these people asking questions about the body paint process. It was a lot of fun!”

What challenges have you faced as a cosplayer?

Angelic Luka Cosplay

“This is one of my first armour builds that I’m wearing right now [Jaina Proudmoore from World of Warcraft], and that’s been really difficult. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! But I think I’ve done a good job.”

Candice Windfall

“Definitely body-shaming, it’s a huge thing, actually. I’m pretty resilient, though!”

Candy Cosplay

“Trying to make sure, if you’re doing a big armour build, that it doesn’t fall apart on you. Today, I actually had to send one of my [Lich King of World of Warcraft] pieces back up with my husband and he’s fixing it for me, because it’s starting to let go.

“And also making sure you can go to the bathroom, because in some costumes, you just can’t!”

Marisa Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Constantly improving. Just putting out new cosplays is challenging. We’ve been doing it for [10 years] so coming up with new cosplays gets tougher and tougher. Especially because we want to do stuff that we really like, versus whatever’s popular. Because it’s hard to embody someone that we don’t really necessarily connect with.”

Katrina Codsi of The Cosplay Sisters

“Coordinating. Because we cosplay as a group of three, so coordinating times to sew and craft stuff. We’ve really learned a lot of patience and communication skills, as well! Definitely way smoother year 10 than year one.”

Lee Howard

“Sometimes, the suits are very uncomfortable so just trying to get through your day is a challenge. I don’t make a lot of the stuff myself, so some of the things I do to learn how to make the costumes better – because everyone’s getting really good, some of their suits are amazing – so, that’s a big challenge, trying to get better and learn more tricks.”

Northern Belle Rogue

“I think the main challenge that a lot of cosplayers face are trolls. People who either want to make fun of you because they’re not brave enough to do it, or you don’t look a certain way, or because you didn’t make the costume exactly like the movie version, whatever the case maybe. You know, those sort of ‘humans’ who have that drive, or need, to be on top; I would say that’s definitely the biggest challenge.

“Second is probably financing all the cosplays, because if you want to do a lot of them, cosplay is not a cheap hobby!”

It seems the general consensus is that one of the biggest perks of being a cosplayer is seeing the joy on children’s faces. Are you a cosplayer? Tell us about some of your best moments as a cosplayer.

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books or video games. She always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media.