Broadbeach will be transformed into the ultimate world of fantasy and play from April 17-19 with QPoW on Broadbeach featuring special free movie in the park on throughout the weekend and the Supanova Cosplay Parade in conjunction with the Gold Coast Film Festival and Supanova Pop Culture Expo. In the lead up, Natalie O’Driscoll caught up with Gold Coast Cosplay model Isobel Murray – aka The Artful Dodger, to have a chat about all things Cosplay and her plans for the festival.
For the uninitiated, what is Cosplay?
The official definition is “costume role play” it’s the art of dressing up as a character from a tv show, movie, game, comic book or any pop culture thing. Cosplay is like escapism for me, because real life is actually pretty boring and when you put on a different costume you kind of become a different person.
Have you ever done any acting?
I’ve acted in a couple of plays and things but nothing serious, I’ve never been on tv or anything. Cosplay is a lot like acting though, because you don’t feel like you anymore, you feel like you’re out of the comic book and it’s an amazing feeling. Especially when you dress up as Disney character, and the kids come up to you at conventions, it’s so magical because they really think that you are the character.
Have you always loved dressing up?
Oh yeah. I’ve been big into Lord of the Rings an the Tolkien universe since I was 8, and when the movies came out I immediately got the one ring and got my mum to made me a cloak thing and there are all these really horrible pictures of me trying to be Frodo when I was about ten.
Do you make everything yourself?
I try to as much as possible because while I have nothing against people who buy their own costumes but I really like to learn new skills. Since doing Cosplay I’ve learnt how to sew, I’m just learning to work with leather which is really hard, I can make sewn armour and prop weapons out of wood, it’s an amazing skill set to have. Makeup skills are in there as well, it plays a big part. If I can’t make something myself then I will commission it, but I try to make stuff as much as I can. The only time I don’t do my own makeup is for fashion shoots. I’ve been modelling for a year and I’ve been paid about three times, and I’d love to ditch my regular job and do cosplay full time.
So it is possible to make a living from it?
Yes! I know quite a few who have actually. One of the bigger ones is Eve Beauregard, she’s quite well known, and I met her a couple of years ago and have shot with her for Living Dead clothing brand, and she’s very cool and is pretty much paid to go overseas and go to conventions and make her own costumes. She’s in Sydney. There are heaps of people, especially in the states, where Cosplay is really big. Jessica Nigri is a really well known Cosplay model.
A lot of women’s Cosplay seems to be tied up with the whole fantasy female figure thing…
Oh that’s definitely a part of it. Not for me – I’m not very well endowed! (Laughs). For me I don’t put it all out there I like to focus on how well the costume made – sometimes it can detract from that.
Have you travelled with this hobby?
I was supposed to go to New York last year but it fell through, so for now I’m just travelling interstate. I go to conventions in Sydney and Melbourne. I don’t have the money right now to go overseas so I’m kind of waiting for a big break. My lifelong dream is to go to San Diego Comic Con. That would be unbelievable because there are tens of thousands of people who go to these things and it’s a whole other level. These people spend months and months creating their costumes.
And how long do you spend making your costumes?
It really depends. Recently I did a casual funny one with one of my girlfriends from [film] The Road to El Dorado. We were doing girl versions of the two main characters – big hoop skirts and corsets and really simple stuff to make, and sometimes those are the most fun ones as you don’t take it too seriously. Some can take three or four months to complete and some of them are really expensive, like ones that use leather, and I can’t just go and buy it all at once. I think the longest I ever spent was four months, and that was on Athena Borderlands (pictured). I’d never worked with foam before and it was quite complicated.
Tell me about the people who participate in Cosplay.
Most of the friends I have at the moment I met early last year. You do get a lot of different people in the Cosplay world, for instance the people who are really into anime tend to make the most elaborate costumes and they all kind of stick together. I hang out with gaming and movie Cosplay people, no one takes anything too seriously and it’s always a lot of fun. Most of the time at conventions we spend outside shooting with photographers!
Tell me about Supanova, have you been to it before?
Supanova is the main convention that I go to, it’s actually the first one I went to in 2011. The atmosphere is a lot different to some of the other conventions out there, it’s very well organised, and the people are fantastic. Some of my good friends are volunteers, it’s an awesome bunch of people.
Who is your favourite character that you’ve already done?
Selene from Underworld. I never got to shoot with that one properly but I would love to do it one more time and give it a real go. I just love badass ladies with weapons. I generally choose chicks that have weapons.
Who would you like to do in the future?
Artemisia from the second 300 movie (Rise of an Empire). I love her because she has jewelled swords, and an amazing leather breast plate with spikes up the back like a dinosaur. I love her fierceness and… well… her bloodlust I guess! (laughs). I’m about halfway through and I’ve done the breastplate and I’ve finished the weapons which frankly I’m bloody happy with because they’re made from wood which I’ve never tried before, and I’m really happy with how they came out.
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Supanova runs 17 – 19 April at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and fans from all genres will unite for the Supanova Cosplay Parade on Sunday 19 April through Broadbeach. The parade starts at Pratten Park at 9.00am and winds its way through the Broadbeach Mall and Surf Parade before ending at the Convention Centre at 10.00am. Get all the details at broadbeachgc.com.