ByTj Smith, writer at Creators.co

Cosplay Confidential is a series I am putting together in which I will be interviewing some very interesting and talented cosplayers from all different walks of life. For my first interview I will be featuring the amazing Fantasy's Heart Cosplay, she is an Arizona based cosplayer and a member of the Merry Band of Misfits and the N7 Dissidents cosplay groups (who if you haven't seen yet you need to look them up, their Dragon Age and Mass Effect cosplays are amazing.). But without further ado here is my interview with Fantasy's Heart.

Champion Hawke photo credit: Dennis Larson
Champion Hawke photo credit: Dennis Larson

What inspired you to become a cosplayer?

I always loved doing costumes for Halloween, so when I first attended a tiny local anime con and saw everyone dressed as these great characters in awesome cosplays I knew that I wanted to be part of that. Everyone was so nice, and it was really a community feeling. I wanted to be part of that community. Also, playing Mass Effect, I instantly realized that I wanted to make armor!

What was your first official cosplay and what was a major lesson you learned from it?

Ah, first official cosplay made was Shepard (Mass Effect). But I didn't know what foam was, nor plastic, and the whole thing was made of vinyl over cemented felt.... It was really, really, really bad. But the first thing I wore to a con was Hawke's Guardian of Enasalin (Dragon Age 2). It was all cheap vinyl gleaned from an old thrift store coat. A major lesson learned? Old, used vinyl is not a sturdy material and is no good for armor! Hahah.

You are truly amazing at constructing your armor sets and costumes, how long did it take to get as proficient as you are now?

I started cosplaying in 2012, and it’s all been trial and error since then! I’m still learning all the time.

I assumed there was a lot of trial and error involved, what kept you from giving up and taking an easier way out as in just buy costumes or having them commissioned?

Well, I make a lot of armor rather than clothing, and armor really needs to be custom made in order to fit properly. Besides, I’ve always loved crafting so I fell in love with building cosplays! It’s such an amazing feeling seeing a set of armor come together from nothing. It really is art!

Do you construct your own weapons as well?

Most of the time, yes. Cutting wood pieces for blades is my one downfall since I don’t own a saw, so I tend to get help with the raw shapes. But I love making weapons and props, so I make them myself whenever I can!

Which costume had the highest level of difficulty for you to construct, and how long did it take to complete?

Thus far? Warden Cousland from Dragon Age: Origins. She took 6-7 months of constant work to build. Every bit of her “metal” armor is made from plastic, including every individual scale. She was also the first cosplay I had to learn leatherworking for, since all of the leather armor is real.

Warden Cousland photo credit: SeyeCo Images
Warden Cousland photo credit: SeyeCo Images

You are always taking some beautiful pictures in different settings and attending various conventions and events, does it ever start to feel more like a job for you rather than a hobby?

I refuse to make cosplay into a job. I only attend cons that won’t be high stress, and photo shoots are honestly always a lot of fun. I only every cosplay with my amazing friends, so every time I go through the effort of getting into costume and make up, it’s to spend time with some of the most important people in my life. Besides that, our favorite photographer is a super talented friend and he makes every single photo shoot an absolute blasé, despite whatever conditions we might be faced with.

Would you consider it a hobby or something else?

I think I’d have to say hobby. Admittedly a hobby that takes up most of my free time and spending money, but a hobby nonetheless. If it stops being fun, then you’ve lost the entire point of doing it.

So I first encountered you at Saboten Con in Glendale Arizona in the fall of 2014, and you and your group the Merry band of Misfits blew me away with your Dragon Age: Origins group. Everyone of you looked like you stepped right out of the game, but I’m curious to know how is it that you guys came together?

Amonymous Cosplay (Our Origins Leliana) and I met 11 or so years back and I’ve been coordinating cosplays with her almost since I first picked up the hobby. Our Duncan and Morrigan are local friends who I met through work several years back, while DragonMasque Cosplay (Anders) I met at my very first con. The Keeper Thief (Alistair and Zevran) we all met at the masquerade at Saboten Con the year before. There are a few other members of the Merry Band and of the N7 Dissidents that we met at Saboten Con as well. Sorry, that answer is technical and sounds so bland! We come from all over the place. The fact that we all met and are able to uplift and inspire eachother through each project, and get together now and then then to pull our cosplays into these wonderful groups is just amazing, honestly. I really count myself as blessed to know them all.

What does the future hold for you in the world of cosplay?

…..More Bioware cosplays. Yes, I am a serious Bioware fangirl. Hawke still has at least one outfit in the future, and I have no less than three that I want to do for Commander Shepard after I finish her Hahne Kedar set. I also want to do Rogue from X-men and the Arisen from Dragons Dogma.

Any sage advice for some novice cosplayers or someone looking to get into it?

Have fun!! That is the absolute most important thing. And never give up. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most cosplayers are really awesome and love to help others!

Shepard photo. Photo credit Eye35 mm
Shepard photo. Photo credit Eye35 mm

As you can see from the photos and hopefully read from the interview Fantasy's Heart is very serious and passionate about her craft, she has an amazing group of people around her and she doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. I for one have never cosplayed but have a deep affinity and appreciation for the art form, and with people like Fantasy's Heart and her friends setting the example for people like me I have high hopes that one day I will step out and bring my own interpretation of some of the characters I love.

I hope you enjoyed this look into the world of Fantasy's Heart Cosplay, stay tuned for more on some of my personal favorite cosplayers in the near future.

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