Cosplay Cafe is back for the summer! Today, we have Kayley Marie Cosplay and she’s fantastic guys. I’m glad I was able to sit down and chat with her today. So go ahead and get to know Kayley Marie Cosplay and I’ll see you at the bottom.
1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things you were into as a child/teenager?
Growing up, I was your stereotypical art student. I drew and painted all the time and hung out in the art room at school whenever I had a chance. I had the best group of friends you could ask for, we were the oddballs of the school and we didn’t care. I guess I really never grew out of it. As a child/teenager I loved to draw, read (fiction/adventure), and play video games, mostly Nintendo. I wasn’t into sports and I really didn’t do a whole lot of extra curricular activities.
2. Did those things influence who you’re today?
Oh absolutely! My love of art led me to pursue a degree in Art, more specifically Art Education. Through college I was able to hone my skills and become a better artist, but through that I still felt like I was not good enough to continue. After college I stopped drawing and painting. That was until I met my friend Sharon Rose, she introduced me to cosplay and Baltimore Comic con. I joined her group who were putting together a DC Suicide Group and started building my first few cosplays.
During this time I decided to build what I call my first real cosplay, my genderbent Thor. I began building the helmet and have not looked back from cosplay since. Cosplay was another world and I loved it. Cosplay made me want to create again. I started building, painting, and sketching again. That version of Thor is still my pride and joy today, even though I had to retire it.
Today I am an art teacher in a school of 700 students and I love my job! It’s funny because I started cosplaying about a year or two before I started my job. Cosplay actually helped me get my job, my portfolio contained photographs of my props. So you could say that my love of art and geekery helped me get to where I am today.
3. How was Awesome-Con for you this year?
Awesome-Con this year was, well a whirlwind. I absolutely love Awesome con, it’s one of my favorite cons outside of Baltimore Comic con and Katsucon. This year it was definitely much busier and more crowded than previous years, regardless I had a blast. I was able to see many of my friends, run into some of the best fans I could ask for and pick of some great merchandise from the vendor. I scored the best pair of handmade Koromon (Digimon) earrings. If you have not been to Awesome con I highly recommend it!
4. Has cosplay helped you grow as a person?
Cosplay has helped me so much as a person. Like I said before it helped me get through my rut of not creating. Not only that but it has helped me become more creative than I could ever image. For example, I now try to find the most innovative way to make a prop. My favorite thing I have made is my Wolverine belt buckle, it is made from eva foam and an airborne tube I cut in half. Four years ago I probably would not have been able to figure that out. Cosplay has made me look at things in a new light.
In addition, I have found that I am becoming more out going than I have ever been. I attribute this to cosplay as well. Growing up I was the quiet one who would rather stay at home then go out. Now I find myself talking to new people and traveling hours to cons. It is amazing how far I have come as a person and artist.
5. Do you have a favorite Marvel cosplay you’ve made?
I do! Both of my Thor’s will always hold a special place in my heart. I love being Thor. Thor has always been one of my favorite characters; beyond the god of thunder’s ferociousness is a character that is loyal but dedicated to his family and the safety of the nine realms. This is what I admire about him—regardless of the situation, Thor does what is right, even if it may cause him great personal harm. A great example of this, and one of my favorite versions of Thor, is J. Michael Straczynski’s “Thor.” Thor is outcast from Asgard, and yet he returns to help defend his people even under the threat of execution. I see Thor as strong, confident, and a symbol of all things good. Thor doesn’t wake up and be worthy, Thor has to earn it.
When I cosplay Thor I feel powerful, strong, and I see the hope and joy in adults and children alike, especially in the kiddos. Tiny avengers actually bombarded me once; they were so excited to find Thor! To the kids, it does not matter that Thor is girl, or that compared to everyone else she is tiny but mighty, all that matters is that this is a character they recognize and love. When the kids see you, you are that character. It does my heart good that as cosplays we can bring these character to life and resonate with so many others.
6. Off topic question, favorite food?
My favorite food is Mexican food, I literally could eat it every day.
7. What is one thing you love about the cosplay community?
I love how welcoming the cosplay community is and how innovative and creative cosplayers are when building their cosplays! Interacting with cosplayers at cons is one of my favorite things to do, I love being able to swap tips and tricks with others.
8. Second off topic question, are you enjoying the current All-New All-Different Wolverine series? I’ve been loving Laura and Gabby’s adventures so far.
I will admit that I am a little behind in the series but I have read quiet and bit and I love the new series. I was a little hesitant to see what direction they were going to go with but I have highly enjoyed it so far. I love how they have made her just a ferocious as Logan but she also has a compassionate side.
9. What is one thing you feel the cosplay community needs to work on?
I have been very fortunate in my experiences in that I have not had to worry about this as much as others but I have seen it happen. I would say the elitism that some experience from others. Some think that if you don’t make your cosplay completely from scratch then you are not worthy enough or that they are better than you. If you have the skills to make your cosplay from scratch that is wonderful! But, that is not what cosplay is all about. Whether you commission your cosplay, make your cosplay, assemble your cosplay, we are ALL nerds in costumes. I am no better than anyone else.
10. Can you hint at any cosplays you’re working on?
I am currently working on a three new cosplays this summer. I will say that my strengths lie in prop and armor making. I do sew, however I am not the most skilled in that area. Which is why my new cosplays will help me push the boundaries of my abilities in sewing. With every cosplay I try to learn a new skill, the secret is that I never feel like I know what I am doing and learn with each new cosplay. How will you get better if you don’t try?
Anyway, the cosplays I will be working on this summer are Raiden from Mortal Kombat, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, and a genderbent Link from Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds. Some of my fans know that I have been working on Link for years but have been slacking quite a bit on it. I promise I’ll get it done one day.
11. What conventions can people find you at this year?
You can find me at these cons for sure: Garden State Comicfest (7/8), Galactic Con- Columbia Comic Con (7/22), Four State Retro Pop and Comic con (9/9-9/10), Baltimore Comic con (9/22-9/24). I am positive that there will be more cons in between, but I have not decided on them as of yet. Keep an eye on my social media pages for con announcements.
12. Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
My fans are everything to me. With you all, I would not be where I am now. Never in a million years did I think I would have so many of you that support my work. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Next con you see me at please stop me and say hello! I would love to meet all of you.
Be sure to follow Kayley Marie Cosplay, her social media links are above. Coming to the cafe next week, you’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, I’m still XBen3000 and I’m out!