Conversations in Cosplay: Taisie Cosplay Talks X-Men, Zelda and The Perfect Materials For Your Disney Princess Gown
A person’s choice of cosplay can tell you a lot about the person beneath the costume. It can give you an idea of the kind of movies they watch and books they read and games they play. You can guess the sort of characters that inspire or intrigue them, the kind of aesthetics they’re drawn to – not to mention, their creative skills and style. When someone’s cosplay repertoire is as well crafted and as diverse as that of Laura, known to her followers as Taisie Cosplay, it’s safe to assume there’s someone really interesting beneath the twisted Cheshire grin.
We took some time to talk to Laura to find out more about what drives her creativity.
PC or Mac?
Oh always Mac, I have just got a new MacBook Pro for my birthday. I was using a PC and it always feels right.
What is your favourite cereal?
This is a hard one cause I many favourite cereals but at the moment it’s a toss up between Cheerios and banana Weetabix.
What is your favourite curse word?
Ha, I wouldn’t say I have a favourite curse word. I do say shit a lot but I do love using words like idiot and prat.
If you could pick a world from any video game, where would you live?
I would love to live in Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda series has always been a long favourite of mine and would think I would fit in very nicely in the castle grounds.
What fictional character from movies, comics, TV or video games have you secretly crushed on?
Oh I have had many a crush on movie and TV characters. I think my most recent had to be Tom Milson version of Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow.
What got you into cosplaying?
I got into it through a friend of mine, she messaged me asking if I wanted to come along to a comic con for a day, which happened to be MCM in London. She knew I was always a fan of costumes and comics and thought I would absolutely enjoy myself. I was so shy and didn’t really know how to pose but as the day went on I got more into it and by the end of the day I couldn’t wait until the next convention.
What was the first character you ever cosplayed?
I remember being told by my friend that she was going to cosplay Alice from American Mcgee’s Alice: Madness Returns and I immediately said that I was going to be the Cheshire Cat. I spend the next couple of weeks painting, with the help of my mum, a ribcage, bones and building a tail for the Cosplay. I felt so proud that I had managed to pull of this Cosplay and couldn’t wait to wear it.
How did it feel going out in cosplay for the first time?
I had to travel on the tube to the con for my first time in full costume so it did feel very strange as loads of people were looking at me. At the con I was mega shy and didn’t know what to do and very much relied on my friend showing me the ropes.
How does it compare to how you feel showing off new cosplays now?
I’m so much more confident now, cosplaying is like second nature to me now and I do research on the characters I cosplay so I feel confident on how to pose and act. I love showing off my new cosplays and feel proud when people say they are awesome.
What do you think of that first cosplay now?
I still love my first cosplay and have worn a couple more times. My skills, knowledge and techniques have grown so much since then so I feel that my choices as a cosplayer have improved greatly.
When did you realise you were first getting noticed as a cosplayer? How did it make you feel?
I remember being featured in a Sneaky Zebra cosplay music video and getting so excited that we made the cut. A friend of mine told me recently that I was the reason he started cosplaying which made me feel so honoured and humbled that he felt that way.
What makes a character jump out at you as something you have to cosplay?
I think it would be a number of things, I have to love that character I would never cosplay someone that I didn’t know or like. I don’t always go with characters that look like me but sometimes if they are like me personality wise I can’t help myself. I think I can see me cosplaying a lot of Disney characters in the future, I have always been a Disney child and really want to bring them to life.
What’s your most memorable con experience?
I remember at LFCC two girls came up to me asking for a photo, what makes it memorable is that they incorporated their hijab into their cosplays. I thought it was so clever and it didn’t stop them from cosplay their favourite characters.
What’s your favourite character to cosplay?
I love cosplaying Snow White, I love the reaction of children who come up to me. For them I am that character and the idea that I’m making their dreams come true by meeting them is the sweetest thing.
If you actually had to live as one of the characters you’d cosplayed, which one would it be?
I would probably like to live like Jubliee, she doesn’t have the greatest of powers but she is sassy and strong willed. She also have a huge family of mutants that support her and who wouldn’t want to live in that school.
What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done?
I would have to say that it would be a toss up between my Chun Li and Kitana. They may seem to look like easy cosplays but I had to adapt a patterns, work with puffed sleeves and materials that I had never encountered before. I had YouTube and Google a lot because I was so new to making things from scratch.
Have you ever given up on a cosplay idea because it was too difficult?
Oh yes I signed up to be part of a black lantern group as Hawk Girl. I started making the helmet but had to give up as it was incredibly hard for me in the time limit to get it finished. I was get so stressed out with I decided that I would just give up the idea. Lucky for me the group was cancelled so I wasn’t letting anyone down.
Some of your cosplays are incredibly detailed. Do you find that the more intricate pieces are more rewarding when they’re finished?
Yes, definitely the more work goes that goes into the costume, the more proud I am of finishing it. I’m finding now that I feel more confident in my skills that I can try harder things.
What is the most effort you’ve put into creating a single small detail?
On one of my newest cosplays Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, I did a version where half my dress was pink and half was blue and I have to overlock all the edges on to the dress. I would say it took a good week of solid 4/5 hours work to get it finished.
You often plan multiple cosplays for the duration of a weekend long con. How far in advance do you have to plan ahead for that?
Depending on what cosplays I’m doing. If it’s a new cosplay then I would plan at least a year in advance so I have enough time to make them. My friend and I have already planned for next year’s conventions but sometimes things change and I have had to use old cosplays with only weeks to spare.
Where do you keep all your cosplays once you’ve worn them? What do you do with the bulkier accessories?
I keep my cosplays in boxes under my bed and under my sewing table. My dresses I have hung up behind my door in my sewing room. I don’t really have any bulky cosplays or props but I have a cupboard that has all my accessories including swords, prop guns and shoes.
Are you working on anything new now?
I have loads of things planned like Roger Rabbit with a fur head and Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame but I’m not working on anything at the moment but I’m researching fabric for Belle’s ball gown and I’m hoping to start work on skull kid from Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask very soon which will be my biggest and most detailed cosplay I have ever done.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love working with fabric. Cottons, brocade, silks. Anything that can give a lovely finish to my costumes. I also love Worbla to work with and have used it many times in the past.
Do you like to find professional arts supplies or do you prefer to work with household items?
It’s a bit of a mixture, sometimes I would search out for professional things that I know will work well but sometimes good old PVA glue and kitchen roll works wonders. I have used this method many times on many costumes.
What is the most unusual or unexpected thing you’ve used as part of a cosplay?
I used florist foam for my Chun Li’s wrist spikes but they didn’t last very long. I have also used florist wire and foam board for my Tink wings but had to give up because I ran out of time.
Are there any characters you’re looking forward to cosplaying in the future?
I can’t wait to cosplay Belle, she has been my favourite Disney princess since I was little. I just hope I can do her justice. I’m also looking forward to cosplaying Sarah from Hocus Pocus with a group in the future.
Who are your favourite cosplayers working right now?
I follow a lot of Yaya’s work, I love her detail and different takes on characters. I also love Kamui Cosplay, I wish I could be as crafty with Worbla as she is. I’m so impressed with a lot of my fellow cosplayer friends, their work is incredible and attention to detail is everything.
What’s your favourite thing about the cosplaying community?
I love how friendly people and supportive they can be. I often ask question about what fabrics to use it or what’s the best techniques and I will always get helpful responses.
How do you think the cosplaying community could be improved?
I hate people who body shame, I have experienced this in past and it’s a horrible thing to have to go through. I would love the community to be able to accept the idea that people can cosplay whoever they want no matter what size they are and not have to worry what other people think of them.
Outside of cosplaying, what do you like to do with your time?
I love singing and I regularly go to karaoke nights with friends. I also have to keep my hands busy, I have a bad case of what I call restless hands and always have to have some sort of project on the go at the moment I’m working on an Alice in Wonderland cross stitch.
Do you think you’ll still be cosplaying in ten years’ time? Do you have any goals, in cosplaying terms or otherwise?
I would hope I will be still cosplaying in 10 years, it’s my favourite hobby and I hope to continue. My biggest goal is to make cosplay involving full amour. I’ve never been confident enough to even think about starting anything that detailed and also I really hope to start commissioning work soon.
Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers?
Don’t be scared to cosplay, do characters that you love. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t. It’s a great community to be a part of, the conventions are a great way to meet new people who are into the same things as you. Most of all have fun, enjoy yourself and be proud of your character whether you made it or bought it.
Special thanks to Laura for taking the time to talk to us. If you want to keep up with her work, you can follow her on Facebook.