Australia’s top cosplayers have managed to build and showcase their own costumes while upside down and covered in spiders, and still look damn good doing it. Also, they’re all unbelievably kind, warm, and friendly. What the hell, guys?
So, what’s your deal? (When did you start doing cosplay? What drew you to it? Why do you still do it?)
Mad Maven: In 2011 I saw Supanova Pop Culture Expo advertised and convinced my husband to come with me. I saw all these people dressed as their favorite characters, and to me they were what created the fun atmosphere at the convention. I always waited for friends to throw costume parties so I could dress up, so I saw these “cosplayers” doing it I decided next year I would make my dream costume, Michelle Pfieffer’s catwoman, and wear it to a convention.
I spent months researching it to make it exactly how it was done for the film, I learned to cast, sculpt and work with latex and wore it to Sydney Supanova the following year. Cosplay is a creative outlet that I couldn’t do without. I love making, I love learning, I love the creative process. I just can’t stop!
Justin Acharacter: I’ve always been into superheroes; before I did cosplay, I played superheroes for kids’ birthday parties and made my own costumes for that. I did my first cosplay six years ago and immediately felt “this is my home.” Ever since then, I’ve made great friends in this community and always will continue to make more.
Breathless-ness: I started cosplaying in 2004. I went to my first convention the year before and saw people dressed up as characters from anime and manga series. I thought it was amazing that they had a way of participating further in their interests, and I later discovered that this was a hobby for a wide range of people. I had been interested in the anime genre for a few years, and as an artist had delved into drawing in this style, so it felt natural to open my creativity further and try sewing costumes. I tried out and modified a pattern from a craft store and since my first costume, I’ve never looked back.
Ardella: I think I started the same way everyone starts — wearing a towel as a cape and running around the house as a kid. I guess the joy of becoming a superhero just never wore off for me. I was 15 when I cosplayed for the first time. I sweet-talked my stepmum into staying up until 3 a.m. the night before my first convention to help me sew my first costume. I didn’t start cosplaying consistently or with any real effort until about 4 years ago, but the reasons I do it haven’t changed. I love it. I love being able to connect to the characters I enjoy in a really unique way. I love being able to show my appreciation for the characters and even the fandoms surrounding the characters. I also find that when you are dressed up as a character somewhere like a convention, other people who are a part of the same fandom feel more welcome to come up and discuss those things with you. It breaks down the social barriers that usually exist and I’ve met some amazing people because of that.
Eve Beauregard: I was taken to my first convention when I was about 14 by my two older brothers and have been thoroughly convinced ever since that cosplayers and other hardcore geeks are absolute rock stars. Having always been the artsy type, I couldn’t wait to try my hand at it, so the next year at Supanova Pop Culture Expo I dressed as Poison Ivy. Looking back on it now makes me cringe like you cannot believe (K-Mart wig, what was I thinking?), but everybody starts somewhere! I’ve made about six different incarnations of Ivy since then. In an immediate sense, perfectionism and an urge to improve parts of my crafting are what encouraged me to return to cosplay. However, on a whole, the friends I made at conventions and the overall positive experience I’ve always associated with cosplay are what keeps me so actively involved. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet such wonderful, like-minded people before and I couldn’t imagine ever leaving that behind.
Rascal: I’ve been dressing up since I was a little kid, and all through my life I’ve taken every opportunity to dress up. I’ve always been artsy, and absolutely love sewing. I was taught to sew as a kid, and by the time I did sewing tech in highschool I had a teacher accuse me of having my mum sew my project because it was too well made. My own personal projects were always making pieces for characters, or drawing up my own costume designs, and when I was shown the insane world of cosplay I knew I’d found my home. I’d found people who understood and accepted the life-sustaining need to bring these characters into the real world.