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Every cosplayer, no matter how new or inexperienced, is at their core a creative person. A lot of imagination goes into taking a character off a screen or out of a comic book and recreating it in the real world, particularly if you have the skills to raft it to suit your own physical characteristics. The cosplayers that really stand out, though, are the ones that go above and beyond to make their costumes unique. The ones who mash together hugely different characters and themes to create a bizarrely familiar yet very distinct cosplay. The ones who find the least sexy thing in all of popular culture and find a way to confuse all the boners.

Helena Steele is one such cosplayer, and has been blowing minds with her original twists on awesome characters since she first made the move from modeling to cosplay. 

PC or Mac?

Mac, not by choice.

What is your favourite cereal?

That’s a good one. I really like Honeycombs.

What’s your favourite curse word?

Oh, god. I was actually gonna ask you how open you are to swearing in this because I cuss like a sailor. I’m really partial to cunt and fuck.

If you could pick a world from any video game, where would you live?

Hyrule.

Is that based on the new game? Or would that have been your answer before?

Breath of the Wild… I played it once and I cried pretty much the entire time. I actually grew up on Ocarina of Time.

What fictional character from movies, video games, TV or comic have you secretly crushed on?

I wouldn’t say any of my crushes are really secret, haha. Probably Sailor Neptune would be my top one.

What got you into cosplay?

Actually someone told me that I couldn’t do it and that I wouldn’t be good at it. And I always like to prove people wrong so I glued a bunch of leaves on a swimsuit and made a Poison Ivy costume. I’ve been doing it ever since.

So was that the first character you cosplayed?

Yeah, Autumn Poison Ivy. It was a really atrocious costume but I really enjoyed it.

You’ve done a few different versions of Poison Ivy now. What made you want to do all of them?

Mostly because I’m in love with her and want to be her, so I figured the first step was looking like her.

Are you looking forward to Ivy coming to the DC Cinematic Universe in Gotham City Sirens?

Oh, I’m dying. I’m so, so excited. I wish I knew how to get an agent so I could audition for that. I’m so excited.

If it couldn’t be you, who would you like to play her?

Evan Rachel Wood. She’d be incredible.

What key parts of Ivy’s story do you think they should focus on in the film?

This is kind of the obvious choice, but the relationship between Harley and Ivy. I really love that they have such a healthy relationship and that Ivy helps Harley so much dealing with the abuse from the Joker. All the different components of that. The LGBT representation and helping someone you love getting out of an abusive situation. Those things really, really are important to me, so I hope that they focus on them a lot.

What key parts of Ivy’s story do you think they should focus on in the film?

This is kind of the obvious choice, but the relationship between Harley and Ivy. I really love that they have such a healthy relationship and that Ivy helps Harley so much dealing with the abuse from the Joker. All the different components of that. The LGBT representation and helping someone you love getting out of an abusive situation. Those things really, really are important to me, so I hope that they focus on them a lot.

When did you first realize that you were getting noticed as cosplayer?

To be honest, I made a post a few days ago of a boudoir Psyduck. It’s got close to three million unique views right now. Before Psyduck happened I would probably say, when my Princess Peach went viral, that’s when I felt like I got noticed. But now, just the comparison, the way it’s been seen by so many people, it’s getting memed and shared everywhere that I feel like I’m getting noticed now.

Why Psyduck?

So, I made this Psyduck head like year one of cosplay. I did a sexy Psyduck with this yellow polka dot bikini. It was just a joke. Then my friends invited me to a convention recently. I’d picked out one costume but hadn’t decided what I wanted to do for the other day. I didn’t really want to put on make-up so I figured I’d do Psyduck. My friend, Eye of a Panda, is a photographer so I said “Can we go in a bedroom and do a sexy Psyduck?” He was like, “Are you serious?” And I was like “Dead ass, let’s do it.”

We were at these rooms down by the main lobby and there are these big windows so everyone can see into the hotel rooms. So we had a guy bouncing at the door to make sure people weren’t peeping. It was a whole show. It was pretty great.

 

What made you want to do an erotic Psyduck?

I really like making people laugh. Humour is really important to me. If I can do that by being really sexy at the same time, I’d love to. You know Maslow’s Triangle of Needs, which has self-actualisation at the top as the pinnacle, as the most you can become as a human. Sexy and funny is my top of the triangle.

Do you have any other Pokémon cosplays in the works, erotic or otherwise?

Always. I love Pokémon so much.

I really love to design costumes so I’m working on Eeveelutions right now. I know it’s really overdone but I don’t care so I’m doing it anyway.

What are you doing to make them unique?

Basically I want to do clothing styles that aren’t often seen in cosplay. Something that’s really futuristic or high fashion. I started as a model and then I got into cosplay, so I really want to bring those two worlds together.

How do you plan on doing that?

Mostly through costume design and presentation on the con floor. Hallway shots are usually really quick, but I do like to set them up a little bit to be sure that I’m getting a good image of the garment.

So is that where you’d like your modelling career to go, in a more cosplay direction?

Um, yeah. I mean I’m open to anything but that would definitely be a unique combination of my interests.

In terms of costume design, you’ve done some really unique things, like your punk Sailor Neptune and some non-human characters. What is it about those characters that make you want to give them an original costume?

I love things that are nostalgic to me. I grew up with Sailor Moon and Pokémon and Digimon. I like picking my favourite characters from when I was growing up and going off of that. Every once in a while, if there’s a mainstream character I really enjoyed I’ll do that – like Holiday Jinx from League of Legends. But I really like picking characters that mean a lot to me even if they’re not very popular.

What is your favourite character to cosplay?

I really liked cosplaying Killer Bunny Rona. Walking around in a big furry bunny head – don’t make the furry joke, by the way, I get it all the time but I’m not a furry – that was really fun. The character does this move – I don’t what they call it, I call it the ‘bunny butt’ – where she goes up to another character and ram her ass so far into them that they go flying. I loved going to cons and doing that to people, that was so fun for me.

How did people react to that?

Haha, it depends on if I know them or not. I mean, the people that are my friends I do that to, they’re pretty used to be shoving my ass in their general direction so I don’t get much of a reaction any more. But people I don’t know usually kinda giggle. Obviously I like to get some form of consent before doing that to someone but I also do like surprising people.

If you had to live as one of the characters you cosplayed, which one would it be?

Probably Jolteon. I would love to live in the Pokémon world.

As a Pokémon, not a trainer?

You know, I’d rather be a trainer, but I could also settle for being a Pokémon. I’d be cool with that.

What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever made?

Rona. That was a combination of a lot of materials that I was not familiar with. I was really like because my best friend, Birdi Cosplay, helped me a lot making the horns and the eyes and we really combined our crafting skills together to help each in areas that we fell in short in. She made the horns and I helped with fur and patterning. So that was a cluster. It was like three months of work.

Are you working on anything new now?

Currently, I was accepted into a fast track coding course which I like twenty weeks long. So my current focus is as a student. Since the course isn’t that long, I’m taking this con season off just so I can focus on coding. And then once I get back into it, I’ve got a lot of big plans.

What will you do with your coding skills?

I’m basically learning just everything right now. My goal in the future is that I want to work with law enforcement and work catching paedophiles online. I also kind of know the guy who created the sex offender registry in the state of Minnesota and he did all the coding for it and that’s something I’d really, really like to do at some point in my life. I just want to help people and keep the internet a safe place for children.

Does your aims with your coding tie into the volunteer work you already do?

Yes, I really hope to do volunteer work with that too. My friend is working on setting up an animal sanctuary in Montana. She asked me if I would help code a website for her once I actually knew how to do that. So that’s my first big volunteer adventure with coding. After that I want to keep doing work with non-profits.

What kind of non-profits do you work with?

At the moment I’m taking a little bit of a break. I’m going to be moving to Florida in September, which is across the country from where I am now. I’ve already connected with a photographer down there who works with some LGBT groups. So once I move down there I’ll be getting back into it and probably trying to work with some of those.

What made you want to volunteer in the first place?

You know that saying ‘be the person that you needed when you were twelve’. Well, that was it. I had a pretty rough childhood and I want to help others in that kind of situation.

Who are your favourite cosplayers working right now?

Felicia Dark. I’ve known her probably since I was sixteen, I’m twenty-six now. She has been my greatest inspiration. She’s a sewing genius, she’s so talented, she’s such a kind human and so fun and sassy. I really, really look up to her. I know it’s lame to mention my best friend again, but Birdi Cosplay. She is so smart and so talented. She works so quickly and it’s really amazing to watch her work because she really loves it. I just really look up to her.

What is your favourite thing about the cosplay community?

I made some of my best friends in it. It’s very passionate people. You have to be very passionate to be into cosplay. Even when you disagree with people, I really admire their passion all the same.

How do you think the cosplay community could be improved?

I think there’s a lot of rampant misogyny. I think there is a rape culture within the cosplay community that I really wish we could get rid of. I don’t know how we could even start doing that. Even at the last convention I was at, which was C2E2, I caught four guys taking pictures of girl’ asses without permission, and it’s not the first time anything like that has happened. One of the things I noticed that was people were surprised that I said anything to them and told them that, you know, “you need to delete that picture in front of me, if I see you doing that again I’m gonna whup your ass.” People being surprised by my attitude kinda freaks me out because I feel like that should be the normal reaction to when you see sexism and sexual harassment. I really hope that the community moves forward that way and is able to start calling it out when they see it in person rather than just online.

 There’s a growing movement based on the ‘Cosplay Is Not Consent’ project. Do you feel like that’s making a difference?

A little bit. I mean, one of the guys that I caught was standing right in front of the cosplay is not consent sign. I think that it makes harassers more aware of being public with it, but I’m not sure it deters the problem.

Do you think there’s anything that could help the problem? Or do you think it’s an attitude that needs to be fixed more broadly within society?

That’s a very big thing to bite off. I think that making a scene is the best way you can deal with it because when you make a scene it lets someone know that you’re not just gonna let them do whatever they want. The sad thing is that doing that puts you in harm’s way. One of the men I called out was very upset and he ended up making fake profiles about me on Instagram. It was actually really funny – I’ll tell you this because it’s funny – he posted a picture of me in a neck brace. I was in a car accident earlier this year and I posted a picture of me in one. So he posted this picture and he said “I went to the hospital for sucking too much dick”. I actually laughed so hard I cried when I saw that because that was hilarious. That was a good burn. But I can see how most people would see what happened to me and say, “I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to open up that can of worms”. But the thing is, even though it’s uncomfortable, you have to do it. You have to do the right thing even though it sucks.

Do you feel like at the moment the blame is put on cosplayers who wear revealing outfits rather than the people who harass them for it?

Absolutely. If you wear a revealing cosplay people will brand you a whore or a slut or say you need attention and it’s obnoxious. You kind of learn to deal with it, but it’s sad that you have to. And it’s so funny because when people say these things about the sexy cosplayers, it tells them to stop doing that. You’d think that the reverse psychology would be to tell them to do it more, but I don’t know. It’s just silly to me.

Outside of cosplay what do you like to do with your time?

I really love animals. I love going to the humane society and walking dogs or playing with cats, stuff like that. I love my family, I have eight nieces and nephews, I spend a lot of time visiting brothers and sisters. I’m a pretty chill person, I don’t do a whole lot.

Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers?

Yeah. Don’t read your comments. Don’t worry too much about what people have to say about you. I feel like that’s really clichéd but it’s true. Just do what you like, don’t get hung up on negative people. If someone’s being negative to you, leave them alone, move on. There can be a lot of drama in the community and you’re best to stay clear of that.

 

Special thanks to Helena for taking the time to speak to us!

If you want to keep up with her new work, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and DeviantArt, and support her on Patreon.

Category: Cosplay, Featured, Interviews

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