This is my interview with the amazingly talented and kind hearted cosplayer; Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay. Hope you enjoy.
Eugene Alejandro: What inspired/influenced you to want to be a cosplayer?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Since childhood I’ve always been a nerd. I’ve always loved anything to do with comics, action, and horror movies thanks to my father. My mother also had a big role in my cosplay inspiration by having me enter beauty pageants at a young age and allowing me to do theater programs. Both of which involve performing. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school that I discovered the term cosplay and began my journey.
Eugene Alejandro: How and why did Harley Quinn become your favorite fictional character?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Now this is a complicated question. Harley Quinn has been such a special character to me for many years now. Even though I’m a cosplayer which is sometimes an extraverted activity I would consider myself a shy person at heart. While watching B: TAS and being introduced to Harley Quinn I was instantly drawn to this adorable and bubbly extravert. I wished I could be more confident like her and not afraid to share my thoughts and emotions. Even though she’s playful, and a bit ditzy, I personally think it’s all an act as you can tell from her various representations that she’s clever. (Especially when you think about how many times she’s almost had the one up on Batman.) A bit unbalanced, but definitely intelligent.
Throughout my high school and early college years I was very unfortunate to pick the wrong guy to date due to my lack of confidence and anxiety. I’ve been a victim of verbal and mental abuse in the past and it’s something I still haven’t gotten over. Harley’s relationship with the Joker is a mixed bag that I know all too well … which thankfully I have developed enough confidence in myself now to not to be caught in another relationship where I am treated in this manner. I feel a deep connection to the character just based on so many reasons. The need to feel appreciated and heard is one of those definitely. You might ask, “ if you don’t condone abuse or co-dependent behavior how can you support a Joker and Harley relationship?” In short, I am a big fan of both characters together and separately. Their relationship is a fictional one in which abuse does not actually occur. Finally without Joker, Harley Quinn wouldn’t exist as she was created just to be a sidekick/ moll for his character that Bruce Timm and Paul Dini didn’t expect to gain this much popularity. Abuse is serious don’t get me wrong, but there’s a fine line between reality and fiction.
Eugene Alejandro: The online crowdfunding platform Patreon has become really popular for cosplayers to use as a way for them to make money? What are your thoughts on it?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: I think Patreon is a great tool for many cosplayers that can’t otherwise afford to finish a lot of their projects. I know without the kindness of those who follow and support my work I wouldn’t be able to get a large majority of my cosplays completed. For example, even costumes that appear simple are up there in cost. She-Hulk, which still isn’t complete, has costed me around over $100 so far. The wig was $35, the body paint I believe was around the same, the material was around $31 or more, and the shoes were $20. I’m currently trying to find pantyhose to match my makeup.
I personally don’t use Patreon just because at this moment in time I don’t have the ability to offer rewards for donations of $1-$20 Patreon also takes a fee out of each payment and for having a store as does storenvy and etsy. I’m a full-time student and therefore I need slightly larger funds to get materials, such as prints and photoshoots, to then offer rewards in return as well. This is why I normally offer exclusive rewards starting at $25 and up. (Sadly, I have to worry about the costs that come with being a student before spending my own money on things like very expensive textbooks instead of materials, wigs, and lenses. haha. ) Currently I accept PayPal donations, sponsorships, and commissions. I ask those interested contact me directly on either my Facebook or DeviantArt! ❤
Eugene Alejandro: Besides being a cosplayer, do you also have any interest in being a super model for companies such as Victoria Secret, and Sports Illustrated?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Oh how flattering! ^-^ I don’t believe that I’m physically fit or pretty enough to be a super model personally, but if it magically happened that would be nice. I am a fan of Ashley Graham though! She’s just gorgeous and has a figure that’s actually representative of someone who is fit that doesn’t look sickly.
Eugene Alejandro: Are there any other cosplayers you would want to collaborate with one day?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Definitely! I would say there’s a million, haha! I’m a big fan of the following: Mariedoll, Phaluere Cosplay, Sunset Dragon Cosplay, Elizabeth Rage, Ashlynne Dae, Destiny Nickelsen, Momo Kumuri, Faye Lynn Cosplay, LeeAnna Vamp, Abby Darkstar, Meg Murrderher, Nadyasonika, Twinzik Cosplay, Ju Tsukino, Queen Riot and Mostflogged are a few that come to mind! There’s many more though!
Eugene Alejandro: Are you more of a DC Comics fan, or are you more of a Marvel Comics fan?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Both have amazing characters, but I would have to say more of my favorite characters are on the DC side. I’m a sucker for a gritty comic and a sad backstory and DC is full of them, haha. Ironically I do subscribe to more Marvel titles at the moment though!
Eugene Alejandro: If ever given the chance by any comics publisher, would you like to provide cosplay photos for them to publish as Cosplay Variant Covers?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Yes definitely! ^-^ ❤
Eugene Alejandro: What are your top 10 favorite movies?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Oh wow now this I definitely can’t do! xD I am literally the world’s most indecisive person when it comes to favorites, but I would say most things directed by Tim Burton or if it relates to comics or horror in some way it’s up there in favorites. I like a lot of Quentin Tarantino too, haha.
Eugene Alejandro: What are your top 10 favorite Anime?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: I’ll try to narrow it down xD:
-One Punch Man
– Karin: Chibi Vampire
-Welcome to the NHK
-Gurren Lagann / TTGL
If I could include more I would add: Fruits Basket, Kill la Kill, Kamisama Kiss, and SoniAni: Super Sonico The Animation
Eugene Alejandro: What are your favorite top 10 favorite comics?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: Due to sheer number of comics I enjoy I’m going to narrow it down to titles I collect currently, haha. Harley Quinn (and any relating title), DC Bombshells, A-Force, Silk, Spider-Gwen, Scooby-Doo Apocalypse, Gwenpool, X-Men ’92 2016, and Spider-Man/ Deadpool. I’ve recently ordered a lot of the DC Rebirth titles that are just now starting to get a few issues as well.
Eugene Alejandro: Just out of curiosity. Where do you stand on the controversies the cosplay industry has been facing (body shaming, race shaming, people criticizing cosplayers who use Patreon, gender shaming, and even age shaming)?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: I think anyone should be able to cosplay whatever character they want regardless of looks. I don’t naturally look like half the characters I cosplay so I use wigs, lenses, and makeup in almost every cosplay I do. I’m only 5’4 and 129 pounds compared to half of the animated or comic characters I portray that are noted as being 5’7 or taller and around 110 pounds. You have to keep in mind you’ll never look exactly like a character no matter how hard you try as there’s always going to be some feature you can’t recreate such as a certain facial structure, proportions, or fabrics. On the gender and age shaming I’ve seen plenty of amazing cosplays of characters regardless of age or gender. I’ve seen plenty of amazing female characters cosplayed by men that I don’t think I could even pull off as well.
When it comes to race shaming I’ve heard some negative things, but with my experience cosplaying Silk no one has ever brought up that I’m not from the same racial background or said I’ve offended them somehow. On that note, I have been considering cosplaying one of my favorite Disney characters, Pocahontas, but I’m a little apprehensive because I would want to be tan to accurately portray her. At the same time I’ve seen some pretty harsh comments on other cosplayer’s photos for making themselves darker for certain characters. Personally, I am very pale so it would appear very odd for the character. My heritage is a mix of many ethnic backgrounds including: a small percentage of Native American, Irish, Scottish, German, Polish, etc. (I’m made up of contradictions.) I’m very proud to have a small percentage of Native American in my bloodline and for this reason I have always loved Pocahontas. I can recall pretending I was her when I was younger and hiking up hills where I lived, haha.
As a little girl I always admired the beauty and courage of the Disney characters like Kida, Mulan, Meg and Pocahontas.Not only because they were extremely beautiful, but because they had such strong personalities. (As I’ve said I was painfully shy when I was younger so I looked up to characters that were bold.)
I also studied Egyptology for a while when I was a child because I was obsessed with Cleopatra and went through a phase where I would do my eye makeup as hers is portrayed, haha. xD
I don’t agree that people should do “blackface” for any cosplay, but at the same time when it comes to portraying a character accurately I can see if the person loves the character and wants to portray them accurately how it could become a sensitive situation. When it comes to tanning it’s a mixed bag because plenty of Caucasian people get spray tans often in general for day to day life if they’re not a fan of being pale and other races participate in skin bleaching for the opposite reason. All in all it’s a sensitive area.
For those who accept donations I don’t see anything wrong with it. If someone is wanting to help sponsor a cosplayer it’s on the same field with commissioning an artist for a work of art. IF this is something someone wants to spend their money on then both parties benefit.
Eugene Alejandro: Where and how can people buy your cosplay prints if they are interested?
Harleythesirenxoxo Cosplay: If anyone is interested in purchasing a print, or set of prints, or digital sets I currently only sell them directly! I find it much cheaper on my end to print them and then have them ready to sign to send to all my lovely followers rather than paying a fee to use platforms such as Patreon or storenvy.
In addition to selling prints I also accept donations/ sponsorships to support my work and commissioned cosplays (I will cosplay as a character you suggest, within reason, in exchange for materials I need to make the costume a reality)! For both I offer rewards such as making a post directly tagging sponsors, free prints of the cosplay sponsored (amount depending on how much donated), digital sets, etc.!
You can currently find me on Facebook, Deviantart, and YouTube (which I am working on getting some videos ready for). If you see an account on twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram with my name these are not run by me and are fake accounts. I am currently working on getting Instagram though, but I will share it on my Facebook probably on November when I get it up and running.
That was our interview. We hope you enjoyed it.