Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every Tuesday and Thursday to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and famous members of the cosplay universe.
About Miss Harley Quinn
Abigail Woodson – Miss Harley Quinn is a Harley Quinn performer, cosplayer, gymnast, and artist. A 20 year old based in Oklahoma City, her goal of “bringing Harley to life” is achieved through screen accurate costumes, the jester’s iconic Brooklyn/Jersey accent, quirky attitude, gymnastics moves, and infamous talent for getting into trouble. Abigail often makes appearances at public events, charity fundraisers, and groups partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation. Her boyfriend and partner-in-crime, Joey Gregory, often appears with her, performing as the Joker. When not donning the iconic red and black suit or swinging a giant mallet, she enjoys writing fanfiction, running a costume business specifically for villains, and dreaming up wacky dessert recipes.
How did you first get into cosplay?
It started with Halloween costumes. Then a friend mentioned cosplay. I attended my first convention later that month, won 1st place in their costume contest, and was instantly hooked! Since then I’ve been actively participating in charity cosplay events, guesting at cons, and performing in character.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
It is a fun, and rewarding experience. But given the opportunity, I would love to see it as something professional. Currently, I’ve started a business making and selling costumes, so in a way it already has. As a character performer, I’d definitely be interested in doing it at a theme park or kid’s parties in the future.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
Typically make everything from scratch – including the props and sewing patterns. My workshop is equipped with a sewing machine, serger, kricket cutter, and 3D printer.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
That depends. If cosplays can be supplemented with store-bought clothing (if the outfit is, say, a uniform or suit). So that takes less time than if I made the whole thing from scratch. It can be anywhere between two weeks to several months.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Hard to choose! I do Batman the Animated Series Harley Quinn, so there’s plenty of outfits to pick from. Her jester suit is iconic, but Dr. Quinzel’s uniform is much more comfortable.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Interacting with fans (both kids and adults) and getting to “bring Harley to life”. I love being able to provide that special experience!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
Group cosplays can be awesome, especially if more people are in character; it’s always fun to interact with the other characters.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Several more outfits for Harley. Most of them are screen accurate, but I’ve got a few original designs as well!
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
There are fans who perceive a character differently or prefer one version to another. If the character has been drastically reimagined, this is even more evident. The biggest issue is many fans are so opinionated and passionate about a character, they forget to be respectful towards fans who have a different opinion. I see this a lot, particularly in Harley’s case. There’s nothing wrong with criticism, of course, or stating your opinion as long as it’s constructive. It would be great to see more of that within the fandom community. Like, don’t bluntly tell someone they’re “wrong” or “don’t know what they’re talking about” just because their opinion of a character’s relationships or portrayal differs from yours.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I love being able to relate to HQ’s crazy, bubbly, mischievous personality. I love the gangster/clown theme, the zaniness, and the contrast between that and Gotham City. It’s a really interesting, fun and unique combination.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Brainstorming ideas, and seeing the final results when everything comes together!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
As an artist, I always draw my ideas. Then save tons of photos off the internet for inspiration, accuracy reference, and to see how different materials, textures, etc. look together. Buying fabric online can be risky, so unless I know exactly what I’m getting, I’d rather buy in-store. Otherwise online in a great place for shopping.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Learning not to give up when you’ve tried really, really hard and it still didn’t turn out. Give yourself a break, take a deep breath, and keep going!
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Be yourself and dance like no one’s watching.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Don’t give up until you’re truly satisfied with something, but don’t push yourself if it’s not right the first time. Research, observe, plan, and test. Also, don’t forget to have fun!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It has become bigger, there are more potential and more people. It’s exciting, but there’s also more pressure and competition, especially on the internet and social media. I’m looking forward to seeing how cosplay progresses into the future, and what new opportunities there will be.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
One very elaborate and unique Haley cosplay I’d LOVE to do…. it would be perfect fop competitions and big conventions. It’ll be a while until I can do it, though, due to the money and time involved. What is the cosplay? That’s a secret.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try to aim for $100 per cosplay budget, but it varies.
What does cosplay mean to you?
It’s a great outlet for expression and creativity. It means freedom to be anything you want to be. To be yourself, an exaggerated version of yourself, or something completely different! It means people having fun, and being brought together by a common love of something.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Different in ways, as cosplay itself, is growing and progressing, but hopefully a good kind of different. Some things change, but some things will always be the same.
What is your favorite con to attend?
The bigger cons! More people, more fun and opportunity for memorable experiences.
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
Hard to choose one in particular, but other cosplayers are a great source of inspiration!
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Being an inspiration to others is a wonderful thing. I’d love to know that my work played a role in encouraging someone else or sparking their creativity.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Unusually someone yells “HARLEYYYY!”, runs over and gives me a big hug, lol. Shy cosplayers might feel overwhelmed by that approach, but I love it.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
Many people who see me performing assume that I’m just acting. There is some of that, but the truth is I love being the Clown Princess of Crime because it feels like I’m being myself. I get to show my crazy, friendly side without any funny looks. I get to admit that I’ve had a crush on the Joker since my teens. And people actually expect the bubbly, blonde goofball that I am! When they think I’m just acting, it’s kind of like a fun little secret.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Wow, I hope not!
You can follow and view more of Miss Harley Quinn here
- David Saunkeah
- Jill Woodson
- Squirrelly Jedi Photography
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