Scifipulse was recently fortunate enough to catch up with actor and popular Cosplayer Time Lady K. Cosplay who chatted with Dominic Walsh about her many guises in the world of Cosplay.
SFP: What is your stance on the screen accurate cosplay vs screen adequate cosplay debate?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: My stance is: do whatever you want however you want to do it or are able to do it. Some cosplayers really enjoy the hunt and the satisfaction they get from finding that rare, hard-to-find item, fabric, or trim, even down to the buttons. They’re collectors as much as they are cosplayers. If your ambition is to cosplay a character by wearing the exact clothing they wore on screen, that’s awesome! But do it for you. Don’t do it because you feel pressured by others.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not a good cosplayer or not being true to the character if you don’t go that route. What about animated characters and video game characters? None of what they wear exists in real life. There are no fabrics or shoes or accessories you can track down. You’re recreating a 2D character’s look in 3D. You could match colors, but that’s about it.
To me, “screen accurate” means both what was actually used in the production and putting together pieces that look like what was seen on screen. And not adhering to either of those definitions doesn’t make your cosplay any less valid. There are so many ways to approach cosplay! I love seeing original or alternate takes on a character’s look. Mashups, genderbends, and crossplays are really fun, too. Remember why you’re cosplaying. Are you doing it for you, or for other people? It’s supposed to be fun, a creative outlet, and a way of expressing your love for your fandoms. I personally own a handful of screen accurate items, and it was exciting to get ahold of them, but not having them didn’t stop me from doing the cosplay. Before I had those items, I just found something else that was close or modified something. I generally aim to get as close as I can to what I see onscreen, but I also have to keep a budget in mind.
Cosplay can be an expensive hobby. I learn something new with each cosplay I put together, and there’s a real sense of accomplishment in that and in building pieces myself. It really depends on what you want out of cosplay. Some are really into the craft of building a cosplay – cosplay as a craft, as an art form – some are into collecting screen accurate pieces; some want to compete in contests; some want to just hang out with their friends in costume, be it store-bought, thrifted, commissioned, or made from scratch, and all of those reasons are valid and can overlap.
SFP: Do you think there is a problem in the cosplay community with female cosplayers receiving unwanted male attention? If so what can be done about it?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: Thankfully, I haven’t personally experienced too many issues, but I know people and have seen stories from people who have, so a problem does indeed exist. Cosplay is not consent. That goes for all cosplayers, however they identify. A form-fitting or revealing costume is not an invitation. Strangers shouldn’t just put their arm around you or grab or touch you or your cosplay in any way unless you give them permission, and they should always ask for a photo and not just assume that you’re fine with it.
No one is obligated to respond to comments online or to take pictures in person. If someone harasses or bullies you online, block and report them. When attending a convention or other cosplay event, go with a friend you trust, a group, or significant other. Don’t be alone if you can help it. Bring a portable charger and keep your phone charged. Know how to identify security personnel and inform them if someone behaves toward you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe or if you see it happening to someone else. A lot of work, time, and money go into cosplay, as well as heart and passion. Both the cosplayer and their work deserve respect.
SFP: What would you say to someone who wants to try cosplaying but is not confident in doing so?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: I was nervous at first, too. I’m an actor and am used to performing in front of people, but I was nervous that people would think I was being silly – an adult playing dress-up – and that no one would get who I was cosplaying. But that first time someone recognizes your character and is excited about it, that is a truly great feeling. If you want to try cosplay, think first about stories and characters that you’re drawn to and who you might want to cosplay. The field is wide open. Do research – find reference photos, screenshots, anything that will help you as you assemble your outfit.
Determine what you think you want to make if anything, and what you will need to buy. Decide whether you need any props. Have a budget. Gather your materials from fabric stores, craft stores, thrift stores, eBay, Etsy, etc. There will be a lot of trial and error. Don’t sweat it. Start small. You don’t have to build a full set of armor the first time out – unless you want to! Be patient. You will make mistakes. That’s okay. Expect it. Learn from it. If you get frustrated, take a break.
Anything can be learned. It just takes practice and the right tools. There are loads of YouTube videos that can get you started and a great cosplay community ready to help you out. Check out cosplay groups on Facebook. You won’t know how all aspects of a cosplay work (or don’t work) till you spend a day wearing it. The number one rule is to have fun, but also stay aware and be safe. Remember: cosplay is for all. Anyone and everyone is welcome.
SFP: Was there any particular character who made you want to be a cosplayer? And if so, who were they, and why?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: River Song from Doctor Who got me started, though initially, I was only planning a Halloween costume, but eventually it became more than that. Part of why I chose River was because I already owned some pieces that I thought would work for her, but just I really loved her story, the way her story and the Doctor’s intertwined, and the way Alex Kingston performed the character. For a long time, I couldn’t imagine cosplaying any other character, not only because River has an extensive number of outfits, but because I just didn’t see myself as “fitting” another character.
But River Song is such a strong character – intelligent, witty, brave, adventurous, with such stylish flair – and cosplaying her gave me the confidence boost to start branching out to other characters I love and even start thinking outside the box with how I could represent those characters. Cosplay has given me a creative outlet I was missing, and it’s made me feel better about my body. I’m always learning new things and improving skills. It challenges me to be creative while staying budget-conscious. I love showing off the finished product, getting to meet others in my fandoms, meeting other cosplayers and learning from and supporting them.
Coming from a theatre background, cosplay is like another form of theatre for me, and I really love meeting people in character and getting the chance to “play” characters I care about whose stories I enjoy. Costuming has always been one of my favorite aspects of theatre and movies. Costumes tell a story – they tell you a lot about a character and who they are.
SFP: As a fan of both Star Wars and Doctor Who, what are your thoughts on the division in these fandoms over Rey and the 13th Doctor?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: I’m aware of it, but I’d rather not let that negativity ruin my enjoyment of those fandoms or of cosplay, so I stay away from engaging in those conflicts. I don’t do Twitter. Let people like what they like. You don’t have to like the same things as someone else, but it’s not your place to rain on their parade. You can disagree with the direction your fandom takes. Of course, you can! Part of fandom is loving it in all its foibles, but there will always be someone who feels differently than you, and they aren’t wrong for finding joy in something that you may not.
Fans are passionate about their fandoms, but being vicious and personally attacking or shaming someone on social media – what does that achieve? I just don’t get it. That behavior isn’t necessarily true of fandoms at large, but there are small but loud groups within some fandoms who seem to thrive on vitriol and are never happy with anything new, which is a shame.
As far as cosplay goes, being unfamiliar with or not fond of a character doesn’t mean you can’t still appreciate the work and love the cosplayer put into their outfit and be happy for them that they’re excited about it. Cosplay and fandom should be about the joy in finding kindred spirits. With fandoms like Star Wars and Doctor Who, which both have long histories and continue to expand, there are always going to be new fans discovering them, especially kids, and for those new fans, there’s always a jumping-on point.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is the first introduction to that universe for a lot of new fans, just as the Thirteenth Doctor, the first female Doctor, is many fans’ first Doctor. She and Rey appeal to so many new, young fans, particularly young girls, and it’s disheartening that there are those who would try to stamp out the enthusiasm they inspire. Long-time fans should welcome new ones, not alienate or antagonize them. Gatekeeping is lame, folks. Don’t do it.
SFP: What is your dream cosplay?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: So many! Princess Mombi from Return to Oz, Sarah’s ballgown from Labyrinth, Mina Harker’s red gown from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to name a few. There’s a beautiful film called The Fall, and I’d love to attempt to recreate several of those costumes, which were created by Eiko Ishioka, the same designer for Dracula. I’m excited to have almost everything I need for one of them! I’ve also been hunting for fabric for over two years for a Victorian outfit that River Song wears in one episode of Doctor Who.
SFP: And finally, are there any cosplayers that you admire or are inspired by?
Time Lady K. Cosplay: Jedimanda, Mpoppins Cosplay, Lunar Rose Costuming, Allison Tabbitha, Nina London, Stephanie Wallenfelsz, Knightmage, Ugoandcosplay, and Brazen Monkey are just a few! I’m constantly wowed by the ingenuity and creativity of new and experienced cosplayers alike. I’m excited when I learn a cosplayer used plastic bottle caps for buttons on their Buzz Lightyear cosplay. I mean, what a brilliant idea!
The cosplayers I follow inspire me with their love for their characters, their sewing skills, their makeup skills, what they can do with wigs or foam, or how they make props or armor, etc. There’s just so much talent out there! It’s also inspiring to see cosplayers giving back to their community through cosplay. The smile on a kid’s face when they meet their hero is a truly special thing.
Scifipulse would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Time Lady K. Cosplay for so kindly answering our questions.
- You can follow Time Lady K. Cosplay on her Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/TimeLadyKCosplay