The first thing that springs to mind when I think of Isley Cosplay is the range of emotions she manages to evoke. From the joy she brings playing ukulele in a Spidey suit (don’t ask me… it works!) to the sheer horror when she sneaks up on you as Pennywise to the outright awe of her Dock Ock, she always manages to get a reaction. Add that to the fact that she is one of the nicest people on the planet and you get a cosplayer I always look forward to running in to at cons.
What initially got you interested in cosplay?
My mother is a costume designer so I grew up around the theater and constantly found myself in costumes. Once I went to my first convention I was hooked and started making costumes myself and really taking in the cosplay culture.
What was your first convention cosplay experience like?
My first official convention I went to was A-Kon, when I was in high school. I’m not into anime that much but I liked seeing all the interesting costumes. While in college I went to the oldest and largest student run convention in the nation, AggieCon. With that convention I really got hooked. Not only did I get to spend time with friends but I got to partake in the panels, contests, and games that they were running. I dressed up as Poison Ivy, which I had done a couple times before for Halloween, but at a convention it got a completely different reaction. People actually interacted with me as if I was the character. After that I wanted to make all of my favorite characters ‘come to life’.
What aspect of cosplay do you most enjoy?
There are a couple things I love about cosplay; The people I meet, and the skills I learn. Over the past few years I have grown into the local cosplay community and they are some of the best people I have ever met. I get excited when a local con is coming up, not only to see my friends, but to see what amazing things they have created. This community helps to make dreams into a reality. If you aren’t sure on how to build a specific costume, there is always someone who can give you some suggestions and help you out. I’ve picked up many skills and tools that I not only use in the cosplay world but in other aspects of my life.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a cosplayer?
The biggest challenges I face with cosplay is probably going about how to make the idea in my head work in the real world. A lot of it is trial and error and after a while I just want to give up and start all over. I am the harshest critic of my work, but usually once its complete I am happy with the outcome. My cosplays are constantly evolving and changing. They are never quite fully “finished”. I also have at least 4 projects going on at once and am a full time procrastinator.
What has been your favorite encounter with another fan while cosplaying?
I love interacting with kids, it’s amazing to see their faces light up. When walking at conventions I’ll always hear kids faintly say my character’s name, with that I’ll turn around and make sure to interact with them as the character. It usually puts a big smile on their face and when I see them again later at the con we will have a connection and they’ll usually run up and say hi or smile and wave.
What are your favorite characters to cosplay and why?
I have a few characters I love to cosplay. My first would be Poison Ivy. Given that I am a botanist by trade I was always drawn to her and with that I tend to try and make as many variations as I can. Right now I am up to about 17. I think the fan favorite would be my Pennywise. I love to be creepy and scare people. Not only that but a lot of people don’t recognize me with that makeup so I can have a full conversation with someone and then later on they’ll message me saying they didn’t know it was me! Another one of my favorites is my custom Sith character from Star Wars, Mistress Hedera. It’s nice to be able to create a character for yourself and fine tune it how you see fit. Plus, lightsabers.
What character(s) have you never cosplayed, but would like to do so in the future?
Right now I am working on Lilith and Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2. I am also working on my sewing skills by making Madame Satan’s dress from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and hopefully some prosthetic work to go along with that. My ultimate cosplay would be Infinite Crisis Poison Ivy, but that’s going to take a lot of skills and I want her to be perfect.
Where can you be found online?