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About Harlequinarts Cosplay and Crafts
I’m Harlequinarts Cosplay, and I’m a 20 year old Central Florida based cosplayer. I got my start in 2013 when I worked on a Harley Quinn short film with a friend. Even though we never finished the project, I discovered that dressing up and portraying a character is something I love. I made a couple costumes for fun before I was introduced to the word “cosplay” in 2015. Harley Quinn started it all, so for my first Convention (Holiday Matsuri 2015) I made a classic Harley suit to upgrade from the OC version I had initially. Merida was the second and Human TARDIS was Day 3. I moved down to Florida from my little home town and have been living here and doing Cons ever since. I work with groups such as Guardians of Justice, MUCH Foundation, Costumers with a Cause, and am one of the founding members of Sirens of Cosplay
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was helping my friend film his short film. It was my first introduction to Harley Quinn, so I did everything. Costume and character research, voice work, while nine yards. I ended up falling in love with the character, and I’d wear my costume just for fun. One day, someone in the tiny town I lived in told me about cosplay, and something just clicked
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Both! I’d love to make a career out of what I do because I love what I do! Cosplay is what I love, it’s fun and is a time when I can be completely myself and celebrate my favorite fandoms and characters
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I try to make as much as I can, but if I don’t have the skill set to do something, I’ll ask for help or commission something from someone I know. If time allows, I try to learn the new skill in the process.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends on the costume. Gatekeeper only took a couple days, while Harley took a week. It depends on the complexity of the costume and the materials being used.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Classic Harley will always be my favorite, but Zuul the Gatekeeper and Merida will always hold a special place for me. Harley and Zuul are my two 100% homemade costumes, and Merida is tons of fun to portray.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Good: any time I get to see a child’ she face light up when they recognize their favorite character. That’s part of why I keep doing what I do.
Bad: I was getting gas before con in my Christmas Harley costume. This SUV full of people pulled up and started catcalling. The driver stopped, rolled down the window and yelled “hey, you’re one of those freaks, aren’t you? I bet you’d look better with them clothes off. Show us your claws” then he hissed at me and made the sexual clawing motion. Everyone else in the car was calling me names and the girls were egging him on. I had to hide in the back room of the convenience store until they left.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
YES! Good friends make everything more fun, and if I can get friends in costumes together sharing the fun, it’s a fantastic day for me.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Sarah Sanderson, Mother Panic, and X-Men X-23. I don’t know what order yet, but I can’t wait to have my costumes completed
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Homemade vs bought. I have friends on both sides, and it can get pretty vicious. I HATE being told that one of my friends isn’t a real cosplayer because they didn’t make their costume.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Most of my stuff is comic related, but I try to cosplay characters I love. I pick my favorites because I want to portray the characters that make me want to be a better me
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Seeing a costume come together! My favorite moment is when I see a costume go from a mess on my floor to a recognizable garment
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Joann’s. I go to Joann’s a lot and wander around, comparing character clothing to real fabric. I try to make each of my costumes look like an outfit vs a costume, so I spend a LOT of time wandering around
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Being self-conscious. I keep looking at other who have better quality than me and comparing myself to them instead of comparing myself to the cosplayer I was even six months ago. I have to keep reminding myself that we all grow and we all improve and the cosplayers I look up to had to start somewhere as well.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Remind people of their worth, you can make someone’s day and not even know it. A week ago, I did a shoot with my cosplay group Sirens of Cosplay. Our Catwoman had gotten called “fat” by someone at a show she’s in a couple days before. When the photographer said “holy s**t, you’re gorgeous! Look at those eyes!” She started lighting then crying. I instantly saw her confidence increase and saw her start having more fun.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Have fun! Cosplay is all about fun and self-expression. Unless you’re hurting someone, there’s no wrong way to cosplay! Be yourself and have fun, whether it be learning new skills or making new friends.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I’ve really only been in the cosplay community for a couple years, before that I just did costumes in my hometown for fun. There wasn’t really a “cosplay community” up there. I haven’t been here enough to see the community change, but I’ve seen individuals grow and develop.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Oh god . . . I don’t know if I can pick. I’m tied for 501st level Captain Phasma (suit would need to be custom fit and chromed), a custom for Human GLADOS, or Ariel with a silicon mermaid tail
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not really. I live paycheck to paycheck, so I gather pieces here and there when I can afford it.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means self-expression and fun times with friends, surrounded by people who love the same things. Whether is a little one day con or something as big as Dragoncon or LACC, it’s amazing to be surrounded by like-minded people.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Elitism. If the cosplay community became 100% centered around elitism and valued screen accuracy overexpression, fun, and growth, I don’t think I could be a part of it
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