Interview with a cosplayer: Lucy Axford

It’s well known that I am into ‘nerdy culture’, however there is one area that I don’t have any experience with, and that is the world of cosplay. Despite not having much knowledge, I know many friends who are involved with cosplay, and I must admit that it deeply fascinates me. I think those who are involved are incredibly creative, and just recently I had the privilege to interview the wonderfully talented Lucy Axford, a 20 year old student at Robert Gordon University who has introduced me to her world of cosplay and what it means to her. Check out the interview below;

13119935_997321866981508_3985143904132470021_o   18624_821512851229078_631617525232283765_n(Left: Lucy as Raven from Teen Titans.  Right: Lucy as Agent Carter. Photo Credit, Lucy Axford)

Hi there. So, to start off with could you tell us a little bit about your cosplay experience? 

Well I have only got into cosplay recently. When I was younger I obviously looked at a lot of cosplays online and thought it looked really cool, and basically, in 2014 I went to my first Comic-Con which was Edinburgh Comic – Con and I didn’t really have a lot of money, so I decided to put together a fairly simple cosplay which was Agent Carter. I went and I just got some stuff together from a charity shop. It had a pretty good reception and obviously, there was a lot of people with very complex cosplays, but I was like I don’t really have the time for that. So, I would like to do more complex cosplays in the future.

And you just answered my next two questions. It was going to be about what got you into the world of cosplay? 

Yeah, it was like fandom and admiring people that have done it well online.

Is there any particular fandom that you would say you were into? Or are you into quite a mix of genre’s? 

I would say I am a mix of a lot of different fandoms. I really like comic books like Marvel, DC and I also like cartoons, like Doctor Who. I like a lot of different things really. Just kind of a mixture. I would say that my main things that I like to cosplay usually are comic book characters.

So, you said that your first one was Agent Carter, did you do that by yourself or did you buy the outfit?

No, I did it myself. I basically just got clothes that looked similar, not exactly, but it was similar to how she looked in the TV show. It was pretty D.I.Y.

Overall could you tell me a little bit about your Comic-Con experience? 

It was really good, in general. Obviously, I went with friends and my boyfriend, I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. I spent a lot of money because there was a lot of really nice stuff there. I met a few other cosplayers, some who would approach me, especially when I had my second cosplay which was more of a children’s cartoon character. It was Cipher, and I had some kids approaching me and being like, “Oh you’re like that character!” and I was like, “Really, I didn’t know I had portrayed it that well”, but apparently they recognized it, which felt pretty good.

My most recent cosplay was Raven from “Teen Titans”, so basically I did get quite a lot of comic book nerds coming up to me and noticing. Also, I did have a few kids as well. Yeah, obviously, it was just really good and I went up to other people whose cosplays I really liked, and I went up to them and as like; “Yo, I really like your cosplay. Would you like a picture”. So, yeah it was pretty good.

I really enjoy it, because it’s like everyone kind of has a mutual interest. So, you can easily communicate with people because you’re like “I’m into that, and you’re into that; Let’s talk!”.

Out of all the characters you’ve cosplayed, which one would you say you’ve had the most positive experience with? Or has there one been one that you have preferred more?

It’s hard to say. I’d say I have had pretty good experience with all the characters I’ve cosplayed. The one I probably enjoyed the most was my Bill Cipher cosplay because I wasn’t expecting people to recognise it, but when people did recognise it I was really happy, because it was like my least obvious cosplay. I like to think with my Agent Carter and my Raven one, that I looked quite a lot like my characters, but with that one it was basically a triangle. So, it was just really good when I got quite positive reception from it. So I would say that one is the most positive experience, and also it was my second cosplay that I went to, and the first one at Aberdeen Granite City, so it was pretty exciting.

What do you think it is about Comic-Con and Cosplays, comic book culture in general, that attracts such a wide audience? Or a specific market?

I think that with a lot of people, nerd culture is becoming a lot more popular in our days than it used to be, especially because of the internet and people are being a bit more accepting of what other people are into. I also think that it attracts people, because it’s kind of like… you know it used to be that dressing up was just for kids but now it’s adults get to dress up as their favourite characters, and I think that it’s also a very creative outlet. I mean some people spend hours, days on their cosplays and they are absolutely amazing. I’d say it’s just people are really passionate about something and they want to show that.

Do you think it’s starting to attract a more diverse range of people, or do you think it’s still strictly the ‘nerdy’ crew?

I’d say it’s definitely getting more diverse. You often see kids cosplaying and older people cosplaying, which is always quite nice. Though I’d say some people still perceive it as kind of ‘nerdy’, but I do think that is kind of changing, it’s becoming a bit more mainstream. Yeah, I think it’s quite a wide appeal thing. A lot of people do like it.

I’m not going to lie I wish I could do it. I have seen some people’s costumes and they are just amazing

Oh definitely. Like I don’t think I am nowhere near the standard of a lot of people, but I just do it for fun basically, because I don’t try and compare myself too much to the professional cosplayers because they are getting paid to do it, you know? I am just doing it for free. You know, I don’t have the resources or the photographers that they have. I just want to dress up for fun.

So, is it just for fun for you? Do you think maybe, if you ever could, would you take it more professionally?

Maybe. I don’t know. If I got that opportunity, I might take it a bit more professionally. Obviously, it would be a pretty good job. It would be more exciting than working in office, but I don’t know because it’s kind of like art, it’s a very competitive field. There are a lot of people trying to do it professionally and there are a lot of people that are, quite frankly, scary good at it and I think sometimes people can feel discouraged to do it because they look at the professionals and they’re just like, “I can’t do that”. Which is a shame, because I think if you’re into it, you should do it.

With Comic-Con and Cosplay do you think there is a sense of community there? Or as you are saying, is it a bit competitive as well?

I’d say there is a sense of community, though there is certainly a kind of competitiveness to it. Like, how accurate your cosplay is. A lot of the people who do tend to get famous online, not slandering them or anything, but they are pretty good looking. So, I think that can sometimes make people feel like, “Oh well, I don’t look like a supermodel, so I shouldn’t cosplay”, but I don’t think that should be the case. I think that we should look more at people who have put in a lot of effort in, rather than just the people who look pretty!

Are there any other characters that you would like to cosplay in the future?

God, there’s quite a lot. I would to cosplay more comic book villains. I would definitely like to. I mean there are a lot of characters, but I also feel like some of them are overdone. For example, Like Harley Quinn, everyone loves Harley Quinn.

She was so overdone this Halloween. I was like, nope I am going away.

You know, I want to do something a little bit more individual. Like, I am also interested in doing, because a lot of my favourite characters happen to be male, I am interested in doing gender bend cosplays. For example, gender bend joker, which is quite common, Slade from Teen Titans. Stuff like that. That would take a lot of work. So, yeah there are a lot of characters that I would love to cosplay, it’s just that a lot of them are pretty difficult because they are suits and are technical. You have a lot to put together, basically.

So, you’re saying that you would kind of like to gender bend a little bit. Do you think that is quite easy to do in cosplay?

Yes and no. It really depends on the character. Like, I’d say it can be quite easy to do. Obviously, if you’re a girl there is no reason you can’t make your cosplay just like cosplay. The cool thing about cosplay, is that you can cosplay whoever you want, really. If you’re a guy, you can be like “I want to cosplay a female”. If you’re a girl you can be like, “I want to cosplay a male character”. It’s cool, people are often really receptive to it.

Last question. In your own opinion, do you feel that the world of cosplay, and maybe ‘nerdy’ comic book culture has become more female orientated, or do you feel it’s always been more female orientated?

I don’t know. I think that I would say women have always been into nerdy stuff, women were into Star Trek and Doctor Who back in the day. I would say that because of the internet it has made it easier for people to connect, and be like, “I am a woman and I am into Batman, comics, or videogames. I think that, ideally it shouldn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl, you should just be into what you are into. There shouldn’t be any judgement, but obviously, that is not always the way the internet is. The internet can be quite judgemental, but I think that yeah people can just like what they like, really. Kind of a generic answer.

Well that is everything, thank you so much! I really appreciate it

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