Winners of Sunday’s London film and comic con Cosplay Masquerade
During the weekend of London film and comic con we had the opportunity to meet the amazing trio that won the Cosplay masquerade qualifying them to take part in the 2019 finals that will be hosted in 2019. Helen, Carolyn and Hannah did an amazing performance with not one but two dress transformations!
Read about them and how they are involved in the cosplay community.
Tell us about yourself?
Hannah: I’m Hannah and I am a Physics teacher at a secondary school.
Carolyn: My name is Carolyn. I'm an Accountant. I live in Sheffield, near the Derbyshire border.
Helen: I’m Helen and I’m a trainee teacher
The three of us met and bonded through our love of Stargate, and spent a lot of time at Stargate conventions through the years!
When did you start cosplaying?
Hannah: As a group we started cosplaying 5 years ago when we and another friend made MARIO Kart costumes (and Karts!) for LFCC in 2014. We’ve done a group cosplay every summer since then. I (Hannah) started doing more cosplays in between them over the last 2 years or so. I’ve certainly done more cosplaying this year already then I have in any other year (and the year isn’t over yet!)
Carolyn: I don’t really consider myself a cosplayer as I only do group cosplays and they’re mostly made by somebody else! The first group cosplay I took part in was Mario Kart at LFCC in 2014. Hannah and Helen made brilliant karts for us to hold around our waist with suspenders. I was Toad, we purchased the toad hat and used the waistcoat from an Aladdin outfit. It was a lot of fun and seemed very popular.
Helen: My first cosplaying experience was actually with Hannah, when the two of us had an insane moment and decided to dress as a spaceship from Stargate! It was really fun, even though it was pretty bonkers
Tell us about the cosplay you wore for the LFCC cosplay masquerade.
Hannah: The cosplay we made for this years LFCC was a Cinderella group cosplay. Helen was the Stepmother (Lady Tremaine), Carolyn the Fairy Godmother and I was Cinderella. All the costumes were made by me (with a little help from the others) and took a really long time but they looked so right when we all got together. What really makes our group cosplay stand out, however, is that the Cinderella dress was actually created as a three way transforming dress. It starts off with a version of the pink dress that the mice sew which is seen with Velcro. This means it can be ripped off to reveal a ripped form of the pink dress. This itself then transforms into the blue ballgown!
Carolyn: As part of the Cinderella cosplay I was the Fairy
Godmother. Hannah made the outfit, which is fantastic with perfect
colouring. I contributed a bit of hemming on the inner top that wouldn’t
be seen by the public (!) and made the wand. I’d originally wanted to
have a glitter pot in the wand but Hannah (rightly) pointed out we’d
leave a bit of a mess everywhere. So we discussed having a ribbon that
could shoot out and twirl - like a rhythmic gymnast. I came up with a
design based on a pen mechanism but it would have required the
wand to have an abnormally large diameter so ended up going with
simply wrapping the ribbon around the wand. We re-used the wig that
Helen wore when we were the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty two
Helen: I was the wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine. Hannah made the
fantastic dress, which I’m told caused her more trouble than the
double-transforming Cinderella dress because she embroidered the
cuffs and neck ruffle by hand. There are some absolutely fabulous
details on the dress, she did an incredible job. My contribution was styling the
wig, which took almost three hours and nearly had me tearing my actual hair out! But it was so fun to be the villain for the day.
Why did you pick that cosplay?/ How do you feel about that cosplay?
Hannah: Personally I have wanted to do a transforming cosplay like that for years. I watched the clip of the Broadway production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Tony’s and my sister and I rewatched the dress changing section over and over, fascinated. I just decided earlier on this year I was finally going to make it! I am SO happy with how everything turned out, better than I could have imagined!
Carolyn: Hannah had talked about the Cinderella dress for a few years and decided to give it a go this year. We hadn’t come up with any bright ideas for a group cosplay this year, so, seeing as Hannah was already on with her Cinderella dress, we expanded on it. Our friend Jenna, who had joined our group for our Regency Star Trek cosplay last year, already had a different cosplay planned with a friend this year, so we thought Fairy Godmother and Lady Tremaine would be the best accompaniment. I’m fairly small so it made sense for me to be Fairy Godmother. Hannah did such a wonderful job with it, I really enjoyed wearing it and feel it suited me quite well!
Helen: This cosplay was definitely Hannah’s baby. She was really keen to do Cinderella and we were happy to be her back up for it - we knew her dress was going to be something special, so it was just really exciting to be a part of it.
What is your favourite thing about cosplay?
Hannah: my favourite thing about cosplay is that it’s so creative and keeps me learning new skills and pushing myself. I also love meeting people and seeing how excited they get over what we’ve done.
Carolyn: Meeting other people who recognise us.
Helen: It’s always a special feeling when someone gets excited by your costume, it makes all the hours of work worth it!
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses?
Hannah: Strengths: as a group I would say it’s thinking outside the box, trying something completely different, and pushing ourselves. Weaknesses: Hannah - zips. I hate zips. I use them in everything but I just don’t get them. My mission in life is to master the zip!
Helen: I think we’re good at coming up with interesting, out-of-the-box ideas, cosplays that make people do a double-look and go “what!?” We also try to put a lot of thought into our masquerade performances. In terms of weaknesses, we can sometimes set ourselves pretty big challenges that can leave us scrambling at the last minute.
What do you do when you are not cosplaying?
Hannah: I go through phases! I might read, play some video games, design some shoes (I like designing/painting shoes for people), draw... I also do am dram so will be rehearsing for musicals/choreographing/learning music!
Carolyn: Watching sports (especially Sheffield United), films and TV, tap dancing, travelling.
Helen: I love reading and writing, and trying to keep up with as much TV and film as possible.
What’s the hardest thing you have faced when making a cosplay?
Hannah: Wondering if the thing we have planned is actually possible. Our earliest cosplays were all constructional and we had NO idea how to make a Kart or a barrel! Likewise with Cinderella, can I actually find a way to make this dress transform the way I want?!
Helen: We've done some construction in the past which has been very challenging, because there's no pattern to follow and we needed to work it out as we went. And then once it was made, there was always the question of how to wear it!
What would you say is an essential skill to have as a cosplayer?
Hannah: Resilience! It doesn’t always go the way you want the first or even second/third times - Lady Tremaine turned into Project Unpick and I had to try out transforming four different ways before I found the right one (and let me tell you, wearing ten layers during a beat wave is not fun!)- but if you keep going it’ll be worth it in the end!
Helen: I think you need to be able to adapt, because costumes often don't cooperate. I also think that confidence is a big part of it - you just need to own your look and remember that the little things that might bother you about your costume will almost never be noticed by other people.
What’s your favourite material to work with?
Hannah: Confession - I’m not good with fabrics, despite being a sewer. I tend to look at colours and then feel, rather than at what they actually are (tight budget also plays some part in that!). I have developed a liking for georgette recently though.
What’s your dream cosplay and what’s keeping you from doing it?
Hannah: Honestly I kind of think that the
transforming Cinderella dress was my dream
cosplay. I guess I need to be like Rapunzel
and find a new dream!
Helen: I would love to do the final
ball dress from Anastasia, which is one of my
favourites. I've never made anything like that
though, so I think I have to work up to it!
Are there any cosplayers you really admire
and would like to work with?
Hannah: There are so many I admire! I’m
only just learning when it comes to makeup, so people like Alyson Tabbitha and Starbit are amazing and I am in AWE of anyone that makes anything with foam. Cosplay goals! The things they can do! My main thing really is to get over my shyness and actually talk to cosplayers I follow when I see them at conventions. I find that really hard, even though they’re all lovely in real life!
Helen: I'm very much a hobby cosplayer and I don't really follow anyone in particular, but I absolutely love seeing the incredible creations at conventions I go to.
What is your main goal as a cosplayer?
Hannah: to keep pushing myself, keep making bigger/more skilled cosplays. Most importantly, though, to have fun with my friends!
Helen: To be as accurate as possible, and to have fun!
What are your future cosplay plans?
Hannah: Well we have to think of our entry for next years final! Personally I have a stylised version of Belle’s blue dress planned (using lace, which is a first) and want to make one of Danielle’s costumes from ‘Ever After’. I’m also contemplating making my first foray into foam but we’ll have to see how much real life gets in the way first!
Helen: I do really want to do the Anastasia idea, so I might have to get sewing! And like Hannah says, we need to figure out what to do for the final next year...
All images By James Armandary Photogragraphy