(Originally Published October 2, 2019)
For the first time, All Cool Things™ thought it might be fun to feature a character cosplayer as an Up and Coming Cosplayer. While we respect cosplayers for their ability to be different characters and bring the unreal to life, character cosplayers are a little bit of a contradiction. Character cosplayers play one character, but very well.
Where great cosplayers are chameleons that change into many different personas, with enough prep time, character cosplayers are more like superheroes with secret identities. Where character cosplayers are not as versitile in their cosplays, we expect them to be more of an experience. We expect the character that they portray that much more.
I think we all get how you came up with your cosplay name. I know that many cosplayers go through at least one other name before settling one. Did you have any other names before “Arkhamesque Cosplay?”
Yes, I was also considering “Arkham’s Angel” but A, I thought it was a bit generic and boring, and B, I felt it was a little TOO Harley specific, as ironic as that is. I wanted a name that both referenced Harley Quinn but could also apply to any other cosplays I might eventually want to do, so I chose “Arkhamesque”, as in reminiscent of Arkham.
Why did you decide to become a Harley Quinn character cosplayer? For the record, do you cosplay as anyone else? About how many other cosplays besides variations on Harley Quinn have you done? How many variations of Harley Quinn have you done?
Harley Quinn is very very dear to my heart. No other character sparks the same passion in me. Perhaps it’s because she was my first interaction with “nerd culture,” but I honestly think it goes deeper than that. All I know is that when I saw her character for the first time (I was 14 years old playing Arkham Asylum), it was like immediate infatuation. I had never cosplayed before, but my extreme passion for her led me to doing my first cosplay, a cosplay I still wear to this day.
I do cosplay a whopping ONE other cosplay, Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw, but, if we’re being honest, isn’t she just…Harley-adjacent? (I have some generic Halloween costumes, but I don’t count those.)
How many Harley variations have I done? Oh boy uhh…*looks at Facebook albums because I have no idea* Oh jeeze, I honestly haven’t been counting but it looks like 12 at the moment. That’s way more than I thought I’d done. That’s not counting Harley-themed outfits; just full actual costumes. That’s the great thing about Harley, though. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of new Harley costumes to wear!
You are the second cosplayer that I have encountered that has decided to become a character cosplayer for Harley Quinn, even though I have a feeling that that was a very common thing at one time. How many other cosplayers do you know that have chosen that same path? How many have you personally met? Are there any that stick out as especially good?
I personally have never met anyone who cosplays predominately Harley variations, or if I have, I didn’t notice. I generally just see one or two pictures of a cosplayer, so it’s not often I see their other cosplays unless I look into it. Doll Face Cosplay on Instagram is an amazing Harley cosplayer, as well as Sammy Jo.
On that same note, I don’t think there is another Harley Quinn character cosplayer that has tried to claim it like you have. Would you mind telling our readers to what lengths you have gone to be “The Harley Quinn Cosplayer?”
I am definitely not the best Harley cosplayer out there. I don’t even think I’m in the top 50, but passion wise, I gotta be close to the top of that list. Not to sound like a freak (I’m gonna sound like a freak regardless, but), It’s so much more than just a costume to me. Calling Harley a “lifestyle” might be a bit much, but she does certainly occupy a lot of space in my life.
I am a natural brunette, but I have bleached my hair blonde to look more like her even when I’m out of an elaborate cosplay. I know that sounds bonkers, but it just made me feel more confident in my life.
I actually have taken adult gymnastics classes to try to imitate Harley to an even higher level. The closest class was 45 minutes away, but again I wanted to better play her character. Also, I thought it would make me, as a Harley cosplayer, more interesting, and I’d stand out more. I’ve fallen out of the gymnastics routine, but I do plan to go back.
To a less impressive degree, I also own a few Harley internet domains such as harleyquinn.org, harleenquinzel.org, and harleyquinn.co. Each one leads to one of my social medias. I honestly can’t believe no one owned those!
Are there any characters that you have a strong urge to try? Do you ever think that you might want to stop being a Harley Quinn character cosplayer and expand to others? ‘Or do you think you might end up something like Real Life Peter Griffin, Robert Franzese, and be known for one cosplay, but also have maybe one or two others that you also specialize in?
I think I’m much more likely to fall into the latter category. I think Harley will always be my main muse, but there are some other characters I have my eyes on. When I was in high school, I did a very amateur version of Stocking from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. I’ve been thinking about cosplaying either Panty or Stocking again, but for real this time, in one of their sexier costumes now that I’m an adult. ‘But I can’t foresee a situation in which Harley isn’t my main cosplay. I don’t think I’ll ever be KNOWN for cosplaying her, but cosplaying her just brings me so much joy regardless.
I have a feeling that you do most of what you do by yourself. Most cosplayers have a lot of help getting started. They even have crews that they work and collaborate with. Do you pretty much cosplay solo, or do you have a person or crew that helps you? Was there a person in particular that helped encourage you, or got you into cosplay?
I do a lot of stuff by myself, but I do have an amazing crew called “My Grandparents!” They are my support team, and no matter what I aspire to do, they’re always on board! (Maybe a little TOO on board. Like, maybe someone should question me about some of these life choices! LMAO) Before I met my boyfriend, my grandfather shot the majority of my cosplay pictures, even when the rest of my family didn’t really approve. My grandmother is a natural creative soul and is amazing with innovative ideas. Any time I don’t know how to make something, she always has an idea I would have never thought of. She single-handedly figured out how to turn my hair into huge cones for my Dark Prince Charming cosplay. I went to my grandparents once day and said, “I need to make a huge mallet” and my grandfather instantly started directing me to what tools and materials I’d need to buy. He accompanied me to Home Depot to help pick out equipment. He instructed me on how to use a rotary tool to carve “wood” grain. Any time I have a cosplay I can’t figure out how to pull off, I hit them up for ideas. My grandmother once said comically, “Never did I think I’d be spending my late 60’s building a giant mallet, or taping my granddaughter’s boobs together, but that’s where I am!”
My boyfriend is also really really supportive of my cosplay. He’s the one who takes most of my pictures now. He really has a photographic eye, and is very helpful in telling me how to correct/adjust my pose to make the picture better, but more importantly, any time I ask for his help, he always has my back. Whether it’s dragging him to 5 Goodwills looking for the right item, or him learning how to use a curling iron so he could do my hair for me (Hair that won me a Bad Dragon dildo once but THAT’S another story.), I know I could ask him ANYTHING and he’d do it for me. (He wouldn’t right out admit that, but he would lmao!)
My high school friends really encouraged me to take the first steps towards cosplaying and going to my first convention. They were all really into that scene, and I thank them for introducing me to it and teaching me all about it!
What is “Geek Fuel,” and what is your relationship to it?
Geek Fuel is a monthly nerd merch subscription box who once sponsored me. They were a great support to me, even going so far as to offer my followers special deals and items. I no longer work with them, for I felt I couldn’t adequately represent their items, as my interests are very DC Comics-centric. Meaning, when they’d have items from Star Wars or Lord of The Rings, I couldn’t really relate to them
What does your family think about your cosplaying? Do they understand? Are they supportive and proud, or just kind of accepting?
As aforementioned, my grandparents are fully supportive, even when they don’t understand why I do what I do. They see it makes me happy, and that’s enough for them. They have even gone to conventions with me to better understand my interests. (They had a BLAST at Florida Supercon!)
My mother is a little more skeptical and wary. This may sound like I’m joking, but sometimes she says she fears for my mental health! LOL She worries that I might actually think I’m Harley Quinn, or something like that, but honestly, can you really blame her? Everything I’ve said here probably sounds NUTS, but I promise you, I am still Madison under this clown paint!
My cosplays can get a little (okay…a LOT) risqué sometimes, which doesn’t THRILL my mother, but she seems to take it in a “Oh well…what are ya gonna do?” kinda way. My grandmother also kinda feels this way, but understands that I’m a young adult and having fun. I think she puts on a front that she’s going “tsk tsk” but part of her is yelling “You go girl!”
Harley Quinn has her hyenas as her “babies.” Do you have any “babies” that you take care of? ‘Any pets?
We don’t have accommodations for hyenas, unfortunately, but we do have a pomeranian/poodle mix named Toby! He is a spoiled brat but he gets away with it because he’s too cute. He’s a weird dog sometimes. He’ll pick sweets over meat always. His favorites are cotton candy and jelly beans (we only give him a very very small amount though obviously.) He also wont drink water without ice, and needs to be tucked into bed. Even I don’t get that kinda treatment!
This is a trick question, right? I wouldn’t really call either of them a “healthy” relationship, but I’d say Ivy is MUCH less abusive than Joker. Don’t get me wrong, I like a little bit of Harley/Joker sometimes. I do love their “ride or die” attitude, but I feel like Ivy gives Harley the love and attention she deserves. No hate to whatever you ship! ‘Just my opinion.
How much are you about that “Con Life?” What are your favourite conventions you go to? What is the farthest that you have traveled to go to a con?
I love going to cons! I love the atmosphere. It’s honestly like there are no normal social barriers, and everyone is your friend. It feels like you could ask any random stranger for help, and they’d help you. You could yell, “HEY WHO WANTS TO PLAY A BOARD GAME!” in the middle of the convention center and BAM, meet your 10 new friends! There’s so much love and support going around. It’s nice to take a little break from the real world for a weekend. Also, I LOVE hotels. Honestly, you could just put me up in a hotel with no events, and I’d love it. I’ve never been to a con outside of my state (Florida), so no more than 2 or 3 hours. My absolute favorite con is Holiday Matsuri, in Orlando. I love that the con is in the hotel, so I don’t have to trek through the Florida sun in high heels, and the hotel itself is BALLER. It’s beautiful, has a mini grocery store in it, and the pool is like 5 pools. Also, it’s Christmas themed! It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and get some gifts.
Are there any cosplay or con goals right now? Are there any cosplayers that you want to meet, or are glad you did?
I’d LOVE to go to SDCC one day. They have a huge Harley cosplayer meetup there, I believe. I’ve never really met any big-name cosplayers, but hopefully ‘one day!
Anything to else to say to the “Puddins” out there?
Find your passion in life and follow it! You don’t have to be the best. You don’t even have to be GOOD. Just do you. Do happy, and as Harley says, “Be good to yourself! ‘Cause everyone else in the world is probably out to get you!” ��
So…what do you think..? No…wait…Let us know after the pictorial. We really want to know if we should have more character cosplayers like Arkhamesque Cosplay, but hold your judgement until you see the pictorial we put together.
Keep your eyes peeled for this Friday for the pictorial!