Cosplay & Drag: Harley and Ivy

My primordial stages into cosplay were more so based in the idea of “Buying it and making it work”. I used to live on and ebay for costume pieces and wigs. I would buy leotards, tights, wigs, accessories and would insist on buying anything and everything I needed online because I was so panic stricken about sewing costumes. With that said, I still managed to use a sewing machine to make chokers and bracelets and even “cosplay bags.”

New York Comic Con 2013
New York Comic Con 2015

Genderbending, or rule 63, is the art of taking an already existing character and changing the gender of said character to suit the gender you’re most comfortable as. You might be familiar with “Poison Oak” or “Charlie Quinn” or “Kyle Selina.” I never ascribed to such sociological norms. I insist that people call me by the appropriate characters name. This, along with being asked “how do you identify?”, allowed me to start using “they/them” pronouns. I was able to start referring to myself as genderfluid and then, finally, non/binary. I always enjoyed the idea of presenting both masculine and feminine, and playing with the genders of these already established female characters led me to do just that. My line was, “If Jessica Nigri could do it…why couldn’t Tom Catt?”

Photographed with Danielle Pierson

The props made for both of these characters forced me to utilize what I already had. There was no pattern I had on hand, just hope and faith in the Singer sewing machine my mother used from the 70’s and some old fabric. Sometimes, that is exactly how you embolden yourself to try to make new things. Lastly, one of the most important things I can say is that if you’re going to cosplay, cosplay as characters YOU love. Not characters you think will get you likes or accolades or “cosfame.” Cosplay for YOU. Cosplay as characters you appreciate and have a deep connection to. You’ll thank me later. Always remember:

“Never lose faith in yourself and if you have to…rely on spite.”

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