We are back and once again dipping in the Midwest well with Interview with a Cosplayer!! Des Moines Iowa is the locale this go-round as we chit chat with the yummy Ms. Curly Q. A self-proclaimed Harley Quinn Cosplayer she doesn’t let that proclamation pigeon hole her creativity because her other designs will most definitely knock your socks off. Without further ado let’s pass the proverbial mic to Curly Q and let her kick some knowledge!
What is the Cosplay scene like in Des Moines?
In Des Moines Iowa the community here is pretty rad. I’ve met a lot of wonderful friends through cosplay, and it’s so cool to see just how many amazing cosplayers there are in the state of Iowa, let alone Des Moines.
What got you into the art of Cosplay?
About four years ago, a friend of mine decided she wanted people to dress up for her birthday party, and the theme was superheroes. At the time, I hadn’t really found a superhero character I related to, so I asked her if a villain would be okay. She said sure, so I went online and got an Arkham City Harley Quinn costume (think Spirit Halloween quality), found a cheap wig from the local theatrical shop, and I thought that was it. Another friend saw pictures from the party and messaged me, “hey, there’s a local one day convention downtown, you should go as Harley!” I was hesitant at first- usually the only time I’d dressed up was for renaissance festivals, Halloween, or parties like my friend had hosted. But I bit the bullet and went, and I’m very thankful now that I did. I met a few of my very close friends that day, and they all talked to me about cosplay and got me interested in improving my look to actually get into it.
Who are your favorite characters to Cosplay?
Classic Harley Quinn is my absolute favorite, as far as cosplays I already have finished. She’s super spunky and fun, and getting into that mindset allows me to temporarily step out of my introverted shell when I’m at conventions. I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and Harley was the first character in the show I really latched on to. I have a lot of plans to cosplay some of the newer looks she has from her solo comic, because it’s inspiring to me how she’s become this independent, self-sufficient, badass character who has learned from her past and used it to become a better person. I also just recently started cosplaying as Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation and that costume has gone over so well with people. It’s not the most recognizable Deanna Troi look, but people still get who I am, and since she’s one of my favorite characters from the series, it’s fun to get to emulate her.
Can you tell me what it took to make a particular design? (Time, cost, materials, etc)
Most of my cosplay materials I’ve purchased online or from a seamstress. I unfortunately don’t own a sewing machine and it’s not in the cards to get one right now, but someday I’d love to be able to sew my own costumes. Thankfully a lot of my cosplays have been characters that don’t require a specific suit for their look. With my classic Harley, the biggest time/money crunch was building my hammer. I’m currently on mark 2, as the first build was damaged during a move. The hammer itself is about 7ft tall all put together, and weighs about 20lbs. I used insulation foam for the head, and various bits of pvc pipe to make it so I can remove the hammerhead from the handle. (Makes traveling much easier!) Once I’d got all the pieces of foam attached to one another, I shaved them down to get the hammer shape I wanted, and then used a dremel to get the lines and details carved in. After a few coats of paint, it was ready to go! All in all it took me about 48 hours to get the hammer done in time. I still want to find a way to seal the foam better, so someday I may end up making mark 3.
Who/What is your biggest inspiration?
Oh goodness, so many people inspire me with their cosplays. Trevor Olson/Mr. J is one of the very first cosplayers I met all those years ago and he really inspired me to keep improving my look. He’s also phenomenal when it comes to interacting with kids, and he really knows how to make a potentially scary character much less scary for them. He’s really an embodiment of what I think a cosplayer should be. Another cosplayer who inspires me is Ezmeralda Von Katz , because her looks are always so spot on. To the best of my knowledge she makes all of them herself, and some of her builds are intense. She’s done a lot of cosplays that use stilts, and they’re such amazing looks. She inspires me to want to improve my skills so I can keep improving my cosplays.
What are the Biggest cons in Iowa right now?
Iowa doesn’t have too many big cons, but we have a few. Cedar Rapids Comic Con has only been around for 3 years (4 this coming February) and the attendance has already hit above 10,000 people. Wizard World has also selected Des Moines for one of its locations, next year will be their 4th year in the state as well. Anime Iowa is another big convention, from what I’ve heard. I’ve never been to Anime Iowa, but the location is moving to Des Moines next summer so I may see if I can go then. We have a lot of smaller conventions throughout the year, which is nice when you want to cosplay but don’t have the time/capability to travel out of state. Otherwise, most of the bigger conventions are in surrounding states, and I know many cosplayers are willing to travel to get to them.
Which one is your favorite?
Of all the Iowa conventions, Cedar Rapids Comic Con is absolutely my favorite. I’ve been lucky enough to be in attendance every year since it started, and it’s been so cool to see the growth in it. It’s really a great convention, and I’m looking forward to February.
What are you in to right now?
I don’t watch anime, outside of Studio Ghibli films and the old Pokémon series. I’m currently playing Ark: Survival Evolved, Horizon Zero Dawn, Injustice 2, and DC Universe Online (all on my PS4). I’m working on trying to catch up on all my comics, which includes anything Harley related, Black Panther, Moon Girl & Devil Dino, and the new Teen Titans stuff.
What is your favorite cosplay moment?
I don’t have one specific moment, but every time a kid comes up to me when I’m Harley and says that I’m their favorite character… that’s definitely my favorite moment of any convention/event. Kids are so impressionable and it’s really important that they have good role models. I try to address every child that comes up to me with as much of the character as I can, and remind them that they can be just as great as the characters they look up to.
What is your cosplay horror story?
I have been lucky enough not to really ever have a major horror story while I’ve been cosplaying. I know a lot of people, especially women, have countless tales of things that have happened to them while in costume. I guess if I had to pick a moment… I was at Emerald City Comic Con- my first big convention, my second convention ever. I was walking around with my fiancé, but the size of the crowd would periodically separate us in the aisles. I could usually find him right away because he’s ridiculously tall. At one point though, we got separated and someone cosplaying as the Joker came up and started talking to me. It was fine until I ended the conversation and started to walk away. The guy followed me rather closely and wouldn’t really back up or walk away until I’d found my fiancé again. It was kind of creepy and uncomfortable.
Where do you see the art of Cosplay in the next 5-10 years?
The art as a whole? It’s going to keep growing. Especially with the new technologies coming out that can aid in builds, I feel cosplay is just going to get more intense. My personal cosplay abilities? I hope that I’m able to bring new characters to life. My cosplay dream list is so long, and I probably won’t ever get to all of the looks I want to, but it would be nice to keep improving my skills so I can introduce at least one new look a year.WR