Saturday, 20 October 2018

From Leia With Love

I started a project with my friend and fellow writer Holly called 'From Leia, With Love'. Myself and my husband want to pay forward the kindness and generosity we were shown in the days following our tragic loss and do what we can to help others in the same awful situation. We set up the project the day after Leia's funeral. I want to share with you all what the project aims to do. 

One part of the project is to support families by providing angel gowns, clothing and blankets for still born babies at all gestation. Clothing for babies so small cannot be purchased in shops, they are handmade. These are usually Christening style gowns made from wedding dresses, knitted hats and boots, memory envelopes, wraps and blankets. We are hoping to make packs in different sizes to include these items ranging from very small to full term babies. These packs are to be given to hospitals and be made available to order. These will help the parents and babies who are going through this awful situation. We never realised how many we would need and how helpful they would be. Its not something you ever think of at all until you there in the thick of it. 

Another part of the project is to offer keepsakes to help make memories with your baby. In the hospital we were offered a memory box which contained many items that helped us during this time. We also want to offer keep sake items similar to what we were offered to help others in the way these helped us. Making memories with your baby is so important as its your only opportunity to do so. 

We have other areas of the project in discussion which we want to develop. We want to be able to offer support and general advice and information for families going through this pain. 

We are in the beginnings of the project and already have over 200 likes on our Facebook page, 14 dresses donated in our possession and many more promised dresses on the way. We have secured sewing space locally for sew socials to take place. We have Facebook groups for knitters and sewers to get involved in making the items and plans in place to push the project and our ambition for the project forward.

This project is close to all our hearts and is all in Leia's memory. I will post updates of the progression with this project. If you wish to donate a dress to be used please send a message to the Facebook page or email us at

Written by: Skye Fawkes Cosplay - Editor Daily Cosplaynet 
                 Jolly Holly Cosplay - Writer Daily Cosplaynet

2018 - The Best and the Worst

I wanted to update you on my year so far. Its been a whirlwind of a year. At the start of the year my partners grandmother passed away. Shortly after I found out that I was pregnant so that threw all plans for the year up in the air. I had a rough pregnancy suffering all the usual side effects at full power and I had SPD in my left hip and lower back badly like I did in my last pregnancy. After a very rough few months I started to feel a bit better and at very short notice myself and my partner decided to plan a holiday to Canada and we decided we would get married whilst we were out there. I had two weeks to plans a wedding and a holiday of a lifetime all rolled into one. We went to Canada with out son Leif and got married! We had a private helicopter take us to the top of a mountain in BC and there on a snowy mountain top we got married. We then spent two weeks travelling around BC exploring Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Pitt Meadows, and Vancouver Island. It really was the trip of a lifetime and a real adventure to do with a toddler and whilst pregnant. A few weeks after getting home we had a wedding party with family and friends in attendance. It was a very busy time whilst heavily pregnant hence the activity on the site had been slow.

In September I was in my third trimester and at a routine scan some problems were flagged but I was given the all clear to go home with an action plan in place to keep me monitored. The following day I hadn't felt any movement which concerned me but most movement was at night so I waited and overnight I also felt nothing. I went to hospital the next morning to be checked and found out my baby had died. A few days later I had to go back into hospital to give birth. On the 8th September I gave birth to my daughter Leia Violet at 29 weeks and 5 days into my pregnancy. Shortly after Leia went for a post mortem to try to figure out what happened for us all to be in this situation. Since then I have had to physically and emotionally process what's happened as well as arrange her funeral. Her funeral took place on the 5th October. Since then we have tried to rebuild as a family and move forward as positively as we can do.

If someone told me that 2018 would be a year of loosing family members, getting married, being pregnant and going through most of my pregnancy only to loose my baby girl and give birth to a stillborn baby I wouldn't believe them at all. Between these huge life events normal life has carried on. My son has started nursery, he had special educational needs and has been progressing well, my parents got divorced and my mother moved abroad and remarried and much more. This has been the best and worst year of my life rolled into one. Its been a non stop roller-coaster of event after event, some good, some the most devastating possible and everything in-between.

I am now trying my hardest to refocus and do the best for myself and my family. This will no doubt explain why the website has had to take a back seat for some of this year. However after all the heartache myself an Holly are back to share our cosplay passion, attend conventions, interview cosplayers and geeky businesses and share our stories with you once again.

Amongst all the madness this year I have attended Walker Stalker, Wales Comic Con, Alton Comic Con and Reading Comic Con with more planned for the rest of the year. I have also attended a Harry Potter event at Waterstones and another event is in the diary for next month. We have interviews in the pipeline and cosplay posts to share with you all.

Thank you all for your patience so far. Please bear with us whilst we get back on our feet.

Leanna – Editor Daily Cosplaynet

Friday, 2 March 2018

Convention Round Up 2017 with Jolly Holly Cosplay & Skye Fawkes Cosplay

To kick off the Daily Cosplaynet here is a convention round up of how we found last year’s comic cons from a cosplay point of view.

MCM London May 2017

JH: May MCM saw one of the hottest weekends so far in the year. This made it a real struggle to be in full cosplay. It was also just a week or so after the terrorist attic in Manchester which meant that security was heightened, bag checks were in effect, sniffer dogs were on patrol, and the entrances and exits to the Excel centre were limited.

Anyone who knows the building knows its sheer size, getting from the east to the west side on an empty day will only take a few minutes but during a convention like MCM with the size of the crowds and costumes it can take sometimes 20-30 minutes. During this convention, because of the security measures, to exit and then renter the building meant walking the entire length of the building outside in the scorching heat. This was not fun.

Security and MCM staff of course had the best intentions for all attendees but it was a very frustrating weekend.

SF: May always feels like the biggest MCM of the year and usually hot, especially in costume.
One of the issues many cosplayers had with MCM London Comic Con May 2017 was that there was a new entrance and exit route which meant if you left the building you could only re-enter by walking the entire length of the building using the opposite entrance. Many cosplayers are in and out the building for various meets, photoshoots, toilet breaks, food breaks, trips around the convention halls, fresh air etc. This really did have a big impact on your time and energy having to walk all the way around the river each time. A lot of cosplayers are wearing armour, carrying props, wearing difficult to wear/uncomfortable costumes and shoes which can be tricky enough to manage a full day in but to have to factor in lots of extra walking outside really did make things tricky for people and actually put people off coming back again to the October convention. Luckily the folks at MCM saw sense and changed the access to the building and this really did help the whole experience this time around. In May security was very tight and bag checks were very vigilant. I had no issue with this personally as its reassuring that they are looking after the wellbeing of everyone there. The bigger issue was the rudeness of staff and general attitude towards paying customers. This time I personally found the security to be nicer however I didn’t have a single bag check over the 2 days I attended.

MCM London October 2017

JH: October brought the exact opposite of May's experience. Security was so relaxed and entrances and exits were plentiful. I also found the security staff themselves to be much friendlier and welcoming, much more aware of the con itself and what was going on. The halls felt more spread out and there was less crowding, the concourse on the other hand was rammed from the Friday. With more and more tickets being sold we are seeing much bigger queues for food, cash points, and toilets. Is MCM London becoming over crowded?

This con had a really relaxed and laid back feel which many people have noticed and commented on. I certainly felt so in comparison to May. October always feels quieter and usually hasn’t got as many top level guests and panels and this was true of this convention. We had good luck with the weather and were able to spend time outside for photos etc.

MCM Birmingham

JH: Birmingham is my favourite of the MCM cons. It's a much more friendly atmosphere (maybe that's just a northern thing). The con itself is much more relaxed, it's not as crowded, there's less rushing and the halls have much more space. From March to November there was a change of location within NEC, whether this was well published on the MCM pages or not I don't know, I certainly didn't see, but it caused a lot of confusion for those planning or attending meet ups. With the cell service in the building suffering under the crowds, many were struggling to update social media to alert people of changes to location.

JH: Personally I didn't like the relocation. I much prefer when the con is in hall 5, halls 15-19 were very elongated and it made the event feel fuller, the concourse outside the halls was also very full, giving me London flash backs. For me November didn't have as much of the charm that Birmingham MCM always gives me.

SF: This was my first time attending Birmingham MCM. I hadn’t previously experienced the halls being in the other location so I didn’t really find it an issue. I stayed in a hotel nearby with JH and friends and attended both days. The Saturday was busier however still much quieter and easier to manoeuvre around than the London MCM. Sunday was quieter and the con seemed to wrap up earlier in terms of people. The stalls were of course still going right until the end but I found people thinned out by mid-afternoon. I loved it, much more than MCM London in fact. I found the halls a good size to work around with plenty of stalls and the same events such as cosplay contest, talks, panels etc as London however not on such a huge scale. This for me meant I could walk around quicker, easier and spend more time cosplaying and socialising than walking laps of the building and queuing for food and facilities, The car park is on site with shuttle buses to and from. Overall this is now my favourite MCM to attend!


JH: Yet again Reading provided a fantastic smaller local convention. With more and more small cons popping up the competition is growing yet Reading seemed to pull a decent crowd for its second year. I noticed a wider variety of stalls this year offering a wonderful range of products, form old school comics to home-made crafts. There were large/different names on the billing this year too. It was refreshing not to see the likes of Andrew Lee Potts and Hannah Spirit occupying a slot both days. The cosplay zone was superbly run once again by the team at JustBecos, the entries this year had risen the level of skill in creating and performing. The Rivermead Leisure complex hosts the event well with plenty of amenities.

SF: This was my second year attending Reading Comic Con at Rivermead Leisure Centre. I have really enjoyed both times and feel there was improvement in 2017. The staff at Rivermead are always fantastic. The con had larger props and scenery around this time including the hospital doors from The Walking Dead first ever episode which I loved to see, I found new stalls from the previous visit. I personally wasn’t as impressed with the guest line up this time in comparison the` first Reading Comic Con but then last time I did have


JH: Guildford comic con was a disappointment. It was extremely quiet with very few numbers coming through the doors. The market place looked empty even at peek time which was a disappointment as there were some fantastic stalls and artists in attendance. From talking to some visitors and stall holders many were saying the con was not well enough advertised and there was a distinct lack of signage on the day directing people where to go on arrival at the Guildford Spectrum leisure centre. The saving grace for Guildford con was the cosplay zone, run spectacularly by the team at JustBecos. I had been invited to attend as a guest this year and give a talk on performance in cosplay. Throughout the day the talks were well attended and the cosplay masquerade gave cosplayer of all levels and abilities the chance to step forward and show they're hard work and talent.

SF: This is one con I didn’t attend as I was in Dublin for Leaky Con but it was one I enjoyed previously.

Leaky Con – Dublin

JH: A Leaky Con regular of 5 years however was unable to attend last year

SF: This was my first Leaky Con and first convention outside of the country. Leaky Con is an American Harry Potter fan convention and due to them coming across the pond the convention was smaller than it usually would be as they have more traders etc stateside. The venue was the Citywest Hotel outside of Dublin which was a very good location and set up for it. It was a fantastic convention. It is different to any other convention I have ever experienced. The friends you make and experience connects people like a family who all share this passion for the Harry Potter universe. Cosplay wise so many people walked around in casual cosplay or as Harry Potter Students and there was some fantastic character cosplays around. I entered the cosplay contest as Narcissa Malfoy which was a great experience coming in the top 10. There was panels all day every day of the convention as well as the stalls, special guests and talks, and  the Saturday night evening ball. I would go every year if it was held in Europe for sure and I have made some fantastic friends from this. Highly recommened!


JH: It's great to now have so many local cons to go to and Alton Comic Con offered the local residents a treat in the form of scores of cosplayers in a range of costumes ranging from Doctor Strange to Princess Belle. Yes, the venue is small; Alton Assembly Rooms only allowed space for a limited number of stalls, a change of location would do this con wonders, after 10 minutes inside you had seen all that was on offer.

SF: Alton Comic Con for me is a great way to spend an afternoon. It is a small con but it’s well put together. It’s run by ‘Go Geek’ who runs other cons in the local Hampshire area. There isn’t much floor space which means only a handful of guests and not many stalls. The convention itself only takes a short while to walk around but Alton for me is always about hanging outside with the other cosplayers. There is a small green right outside with a few spots great for photos. There is always some outside props and cosplayers getting attention from the public passing by. There is a cosplay contest which in 2017 I was a judge for which I enjoyed.

Port Solent

JH: If you had been asked to guess how many people would have attended this event you would have been way off. An estimated 5000 people converged on Port Solent for the first free comic con there. It was way above capacity and made for a very uncomfortable day. It was impossible to move anywhere due to the crowds, you couldn't see signage directing you to the stalls or special guests, it was a tremendously hot day with shade hard to come by. With only one way in and out of Port Solent the roads were grid locked and it took me over 3 hours to make a 25 minute journey, add on a packed car park with people abandoning cars wherever they could and it just made things more difficult for everyone in attendance. With another event organised for 2018 it will certainly be interesting to see if any lessons have been learnt.

SF: Port Solent was a great day and gave a very different feel. It was a free comic con which as we all know is rare to find. The convention wasn’t your typical set up of halls indoors. The whole thing was outside with props, stalls and guest all around the board walk and outside areas. It was a very hot day. I cosplayed as Rey from Star Wars and even in that I was roasting hot. So many people attending it became impossible to move around and getting from place to place was a struggle for being stopped for photos by the amount of people and the general traffic of the people attending. Because of the traffic of people I missed the cosplay competition. There was great reaction to the cosplayers and it was lovely to have such a nice location out in the sun to cosplay in for a change. Like all new cons there were the teething issues JH mentioned about parking being an issue which I think was down to more people attending than expected. Some lack of signage and general mapping of what was where was needed as it’s so different to having a hall with map you did need to know where to go so you don’t miss things like I did, The reactions totally made the day, the people and the waterfront were the highlights for me for sure.

This year we both have any conventions and events planned to share our experiences in more detail. Stay tuned.

Written by: Skye Fawkes and Jolly Holly Cosplay

All photos provided by Skye Fawkes and Jolly Holly Cosplay

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Welcome to the Daily Cosplaynet

The end of an era is here. Today I saw goodbye to Appleton Pinup Girl and hello to the Daily Cosplaynet. March 2018 is the start of my new website which is a geek hub for cosplay, conventions, and all things nerdy.

I owe a lot to Appleton Pinup Girl so here is some background about the journey and what’s to come.

December 2012 Appleton Pinup Girl was created. This blog was a glamourous hub dedicated to all things vintage including burlesque, cabaret, performer interviews,fashion and much more. 

I am a huge fan of burlesque and wanted to share this passion. I have shared a whole host of interviews with top international burlesque stars such as Immodesty Blaize, Catherine D'Lish and Perle Noire to name but a few. The interviews have proved to be a big hit, even being shared on Facebook by the legendary Dita Von Teese and top model Bernie Dexter.
I have managed to interview some great people in this area including Cameron Silver, vintage fashion expert. He is the owner of Decades store in Hollywood and the man behind many A-List Hollywood celebrity red carpet looks. Lydia Rose Bright celebrity fashion designer, owner of Bella Sorella store and TOWIE star. Laura Byrnes, designer, professional photographer and owner of Pinup Girl Clothing. Betty Hobcraft from Betty Blues Loungerie. She is the designer and director of UK produced luxury lounge wear company. Not to mention some fabulous pin up models including Cherry Dollface and Romanie Smith. 

I really wanted my blog to be versatile. I have many things I enjoy and want to share with the world. Over the years my interests have changed. Life situations have an impact and hobbies and interests evolve. As much as I still love all the things from before I have always been a geek at heart and made the decision to start focusing more on my other interests, my fandoms, attending conventions and exploring the wonderful world of cosplay. This passion took over and I well and truly caught the cosplay bug. 

For me cosplay is similar in many ways to burlesque. Cosplay literally means "costume play". Dressing up and pretending to be fictional characters (usually sci-fi, comic book, popular culture, or anime characters). In burlesque the performers wear costumes, take on a persona and perform, much like cosplay.

Cosplays are made for many reasons. They are a creative and fun hobby. It can be very challenging to recreate a 2 dimensional art form into 3D. Many cosplays don't seem physically possible to create yet somehow they are. Cosplayers like to show appreciation and honor their favourite characters by coplaying them. There is a huge sense of pride when you bring a costume together using a variety of skills. Typical 'fancy dress' costumes just don't cut it and aren't the same. Cosplay takes some serious skills in all areas. It is something you can enjoy at all levels. 

There are so many reasons why cosplays are worn. One key area is self expression. Often the character that is chosen to be cosplayed mirrors the person wearing the cosplay. They are someone they admire for whatever reason. The persons personality may well be like the character and they feel a connection because of this.  This isn't always the case of course. Many people cosplay characters completely opposite to themselves to gain a whole new persona. They get an opportunity to look, feel and act totally different. Another reason is to show support and/or interest in a particular film/TV show/comic/anime/manga/videogame etc.  The biggest reason of all is to have fun! To make friends and get into the spirit of the event. 

So here we are, March 2018 Appleton Pinup Girl has come to an end and the launch of the Daily Cosplaynet has commenced. 

I would like to thank everyone who has been interviewed, featured, involved or read the posts of Appleton Pinup Girl. Thanks for all the support and your continued support with the new site.

Welcome to the new site! The Daily Cosplaynet is the cosplay world's alternative voice bringing our famous interviews, tutorials, reviews, convention and event coverage and more. 

I hope that you enjoy the site, reviews, tutorials, interviews, convention coverage and everything else it has to offer. I have a huge passion for my blog; it gives me many sleepless nights but so much enjoyment.

Written by: Editor Skye Fawkes

Monday, 10 July 2017

Interview with King of the North Cosplay

I came across Chris (King of the North Cosplay) on social media. Chris is a UK based cosplayer, gamer, fitness enthusiast, traveller and film fan. Chris has cosplayed a large number of characters and even trains to get in shape to look the part he’s cosplaying. He has chosen his characters based on suggestions, characters he loves, characters he would love to be and has put great effort to make them come to life. Chris enjoys showcasing his characters with photoshoots and attending conventions around the country.

I have personally found Chris to be a genuinely lovely person, super friendly and helpful. His costumes are incredible so make sure you go check out his Facebook Page and Instagram to see more of his great work.

I have never interviewed a male cosplayer before so this a first for the website! Check out my interview with Chris, King of the North Cosplay below!

When did you start cosplaying?
Casey Jones (Comic)
Sonesh Joshi Photography

I started Cosplaying around three and a half years ago now.

How did you get into cosplay?

Two of my friends went to London Film & Comic Con yearly and took their son/nephew with them. One year they asked me if I wanted to come so I went along. I loved the Convention and all of the amazing Cosplays I saw and they suggested I give it a try and encouraged me to Cosplay Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, played by Tom Hardy.

Which characters have you cosplayed? 

Bane from Dark Knight Rises and the Comic, Two Versions of Chris Redfield from the Resident Evil series, Two versions of Ken and Charlie Nash from Street Fighter, Deathstroke from Arrow, Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Axel from Streets of Rage, Alex Shepard from Silent Hill, Vegeta from Dragon Ball, Abraham Ford from Walking Dead, Frank Castle from Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2, General Zod form Man of Steel and Spartacus from Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Do you have a favourite costume? 

I think probably my Chris Redfield (Resident Evil 5 version) People seem to really like it and it was a really good cosplay for me in regards to learning allot of crafting and allot about sourcing Military gear.

The Next Spartacus
A.J Charlton Photography
Do you act in costume or purely look like the character? 

I try to. With Bane I tried to copy his mannerisms and movements from the movie

Do you make/buy/commission your costumes? 

All three. It totally depends on the time frame I have and if I have the skill to do something or the time to learn the skill.

What skills have you learnt cosplaying?

My favourite skill is weathering costumes, it’s a process I really enjoy.

Where do you tend to shop for cosplay costumes and accessories? 

Ebay and a few Chinese and Korean Airsoft websites.

Do you have any costume tips/tricks to share? 

When you look at a costume, try and breakdown the costume into its individual parts. When I first started I looked at costumes far too much as a whole, over time I was taught to break things down to its basics and I found it helped allot, especially on bigger projects.

Who is your favourite comic book character? 
General Zod
Matt Eleven Photography
Batman, Wolverine or Gambit.

What are your personal fandoms?

Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Supernatural, Vikings.

Those who follow your Instagram will know you’re very much into your fitness and even train specifically for a certain character. Can you tell us about your cosplay fitness journey?

I Had been training a few years before my first convention, which is a big reason why my friends suggested I cosplay Bane from Dark Knight Rises, which had come out earlier in the year. But I decided that I really wanted to look as close physically to the character as I could. So I looked at the characters physique and decided how best to train so I would look closer to the character and which body parts in particular to really focus on.

What particular characters have you trained to resemble?

In particular Bane, Chris Redfield, Charlie Nash and Spartacus, they were the hardest changes.

Tell us about your current nutrition and exercise regime and are you doing this for a particular character?

Charlie Nash
I’ve recently been to a nutritionist for the first time to change up my diet and to a P.T that specialises in training athletes for martial arts. So my training is very different at the moment, twice a day cardio, one session fasted and for weights a combination of compound, functional, explosive exercises as well as very high rep sets for muscular endurance.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own fitness journey?

Never be afraid to ask for advice and help. There is always someone out there with more knowledge and experience and you find most are more than willing to help you.

Have you done any charity work as a cosplayer? 

No yet, but I’d like to.

As a dab hand at attending conventions and events do you have any advice/do and don’ts to share? 

Just to be respectful. Don’t touch someone’s costume without asking if its ok, same with photos. It’s just polite and most of the time unless a cosplayer is eating or having an issue with their costume they will happily let you take a photo.

How do you feel about character adaptations of a costume rather than making a carbon copy of what’s in print/film etc?
I admire the creativity. In the end of the day Cosplay how you want to, in a way that makes you happy.

What is the best and worst piece of cosplay advice you’ve received?
Valentin Offner - Photographe

Best: Probably about breaking down costume plans into the bare basics, it’s made life so easier and now I just see costumes as parts.
Worst: Honestly I haven’t really had any bad advice.

What has been one of the coolest things to come from cosplaying?

The opportunity to work at Conventions in Paris and with Capcom who’s games I have loved since childhood right up to present day.

What other cosplayers do you admire? 

Maul Cosplay, Kingtide Cosplay, Leobane Cosplay, Leon Chiro Cosplay Art, Weathered King Cosplay, Giulietta Zawadski, Santatory, Danica Rockwood, Lisa Lou Who, Aurora Cosplay, Hannah Lydia Cosplay, Masubi, Alias Cosplay Far too many to mention.

Do you have any advice for people looking to do cosplay photoshoots? 

Find a Photographer and people to work with that make you comfortable and have fun with it.

For people wanting to get into cosplay, what advice would you give them?

Choose a character you have a passion for an just enjoy yourself.

Abraham Ford
Alucard Photography
What are your future cosplay plans?

Erm Nathan Drake, Joel from the Last of Us, Letho of Gulet and Damien De La Tour from The Witcher, Night wing and Achilles

Which conventions/events do you have planned to attend this year? 

Manchester MCM, Fanatic Expo, Birmingham MCM, EGX and Wales Comic Con so far.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

Movies, Spiderman: Homecoming, Thor Ragnarock, Justice League. Games: The Last of Us Part 2, Assassins Creed: Origins and God of War. I have some travels planned to visit friends too, so I can’t wait for that.

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast with Nuna Cosplay, Lily on the Moon and Pandora Clemy Creations as The Bimbettes
Valentin Offner - Photographe

I would like to thank Chris for his time doing this interview.  To keep up to date with the King of the North check out his Facebook and Instagram pages.

Stay tuned as more interviews, event reviews and some exciting announcements are coming soon!


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Interview with UK Cosplayer Aimee Swift

Photo by James Bissett Photography 
For my next cosplayer interview I would like to introduce you to cosplayer Aimee Swift. I found Aimee online and absolutely love her work. Aimee has made a name for herself with her stunning cosplays including the new Wonder Woman cosplay. Aimee focuses on cosplay and fitness which she shares on her social media accounts. Aimee is also a member of Geek-Ta-Scale cosplay group.

I have found Aimee to be extremely friendly, open and helpful. She has given me personally help and advice and is very genuine. She is very passionate about cosplay and the fandoms that interest her and very creative with how she portrays her favourite characters.  She has brilliant costumes, trains her body for cosplay, sings… this girl can!!
Check out my interview with Aimee below!

Photography by Phoenix Libra Cosplay Photography

When did you start cosplaying?
I started cosplaying just over a year ago; last month was actually a mini anniversary. So not long in the grand scheme of things! Manchester Film and Comic Con was my first.
Photography by Cosplay Photography Pad
How did you get into cosplay?
I'd always been interested in it; I think I had a cosplay wish list before I even did. I had no friends that would really want to go to a comic con so I never had an excuse until my friend who is a writer got a press pass to one and suggested I go with her as she knew I'd always wanted to go to one. So I went, made my first cosplay and loved it.
How long have you been cosplaying for?
Just over a year :)
Which characters have you cosplayed? 
My first cosplay was Ciri from the Witcher, from that came also Yennefer from the same game, Posion Ivy, Black Canary, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Ms. Marvel, Ariel, Elsa, Gamora (body paint is so much fun!), Susan Storm, Emma Frost, Elena from unchartered and Willow Scott from Indianna Jones. *phew* and still more planned!
Do you have a favourite costume? 
It would be between Ciri and Wonder Woman for me. Both are incredible, strong characters and visually stunning. Ciri has been the one I've dedicated the most time too and I will probably always wear and improve her but the reaction I'm getting from children lately with the film out is melting my heart, so Wonder Woman just has the edge now. 
Do you act in costume or purely look like the character? 

Photography by Cosplay Photography Pad
I think certain characters require more of an act than others. Certainly the child friendly superheroes and princesses, I will try and walk and talk like them and act as they would with children as I love making them believe. I do love seeing people act in character, seeing Harley Quinns act crazy is awesome to watch and my favourite has had to of been a Silent Bob cosplayer who never spoke. Subtle yet so cool!
Do you make/buy/commission your costumes? 
I mostly make my costumes or buy an item of clothing and alter it. I've learnt more over time, so I'm making more and more. But the commissions I see people make are so incredible and seeing someone live that character bought, made or not really makes it for me. I do have to thank my incredible friends of Geek-Ta-Scale for all the help, as without them and all of us helping one another, our costumes wouldn't be the standard they are now.

What skills have you learnt cosplaying?
Sewing (Barely), I've learnt a lot about foam and woodworking for swords and props. Tape mannequins and of course praying while gluing. I want to improve my painting skills still which I hope to do with my new version of Wonder Woman I'm currently making.

Where do you tend to shop for cosplay costumes and accessories? 
Online, my amazon prime has paid for itself at this point. Craft foam is fairly cheap and so is glue. For fabrics, Abakhan is fortunately close to my house.

Photography by Cosplay Photography Pad 
Do you have any costume tips/tricks to share? 
Foam work or sewing, find a cheap mannequin or make one of yourself with tape and newspaper. I've stabbed myself so many times with needles attaching things while on me! That and get a good TV show or music soundtrack for the background.
Who is your favourite comic book character? 
Oddly, not someone I cosplay! It's Spiderman all the way for me. I've got high hopes for the new film (fingers crossed anyway) and all around just a great character with great villains. Of course Wonder Woman is a close second.
What are your personal fandoms? 

Photo provided by Aimee Swift
I say I'm a fan of comic book characters definitely but fandoms for me are more in the internet. I love animations and things like anime abridged versions of things. I love so many things that it would be hard to categorize myself into just a few. 

Body positivity is a very hot topic in cosplay at the moment. There seems to be pressure to be a certain shape/weight/look to pull off certain characters. There can be a lot of negativity in terms of trolling within groups based on people’s appearance. How have you found the cosplay community personally?
Personally, I have received negative comments from the public, mainly on internet forums but then again who hasn't? Trolls on the internet are awful people but they exist in every hobby and sadly cosplay is something that is very image focused because you're trying to look a certain way. I've been told all sorts, it's what happens when you go on a public forum, it doesn't make it right but it should be expected sadly. However I see more people defending the cosplayers usually which is always incredible to see. At the end of the day, no one is going to have the body of a comic book character and if we start claiming hierarchy on that, we turn our silly and fun, challenging at times hobby into elitism. It's how you take the criticism, we can acknowledge feedback but bullying is obvious. Ignore and accept you love that character and that's all that should matter.
Those who follow your Instagram will know you’re very much into your fitness. Do you work on your fitness for cosplay at all?
I say both are a happy coincidence. I work out and I cosplay and I tend to keep a constant level, but most of my characters and strong warrior types so I do eat extra clean and workout more in a week leading up to a convention while praying it makes up for the junk I eat at the weekend of a con!
Photography by I Shoot Shows UK
Tell us about your current nutrition and exercise regime and are you doing this for a particular character?
I used to be overweight so I've always struggled with diets until I found something that worked for me. I lift weights (which a while ago I never thought I would do but I love it!) some explosive and weighted cardio but you couldn’t tempt me onto a running machine! Also martial arts and dancing is great fun. My nutrition is that I'm a version of paleo, that is eating natural non processed foods and no grain (bread, rice and pasta is a no go for me.) This works great for me and I invite people to give it a go if they're up for it. It gives me great energy, I get wonderful portions of food and it's taught me a lot about cooking.

Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own fitness journey?

Photography by Tom Farral Photography
I say keep an open mind about weight lifting for the women out there, don't be scared! For diet, balance is key. Respect it should be a lifestyle choice and simply crash diets will not work in the long run. Make swaps, drink more water, try a side of cooked oven roasted vegetables instead of chips and don't completely restrict yourself. Don't think you need to have salads for every meal. My standard day is scrambled eggs for breakfast with bacon, sausages or chicken for lunch and any meat and vegetables for dinner. Have an ice cream at the beach every now and then, have a portion of chips at a con. You need willpower and let's face it, if you're doing cosplay and making costumes, you have incredible will power not to rage quit! For the exercise also I'm actually thinking of making a Wonder Woman workout video soon, have a bit of fun but at the same time give advice for anyone looking to start. I'll be doing that from my family run self-help and health focused business, the "Tao of Us." Website will be up shortly and links from my Instagram.

Have you done any charity work as a cosplayer?
Photography by Kosupics 
I have, my group Geek-Ta-Scale have done a few charity events promoting but our favourite so far has to of been going to Alder Hay Children's hospital at Christmas a few times to sing and just talk to these incredible children. We have a school summer fete coming up as well as Manchester hospital visit and a few conventions to sing and perform. 
Our incredible friends often join us for these, all incredible cosplayers and wonderful people:
Hope Mennim: Chemical Reaction Cosplay
Berry Layne Thomas: So she became a hero
James Knowles
Nikki March

How do you feel about character adaptations of a costume rather than making a carbon copy of what’s in print/film etc?

I love the creativity that goes into them, steampunk versions of things, crossplays, armoured Disney; different takes on things are amazing. I have a few ideas but none I have a clue of how I would bring it to reality!

What is the best and worst piece of cosplay advice you’ve received?

Best: Stay out of drama. There is a lot in cosplay and you can often find it comes to you and you have to make the decision to avoid it. It may feel like it will help you be included but it's never worth it.
Worst: Show more skin. Many of my cosplays already do as they are the character designs. I 100% respect the women who have the confidence to wear less for a cosplay or do a different version of a character but I don't think we should be under the assumption that we have to. We should all cosplay what we feel comfortable with and not do things we're uncomfortable with for ourselves. At the same time, no hating other cosplayers who do. 

Photography by Cosplay Photography Pad  
As a dab hand at attending conventions and events do you have any advice/do and don’ts to share?

Go with friends to a con, it makes a convention for me. The people you go with, cosplaying in a group always tends to go down amazingly too. I love shoots at conventions! The photographers are amazing but remember, don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with. Most photographers are really polite and if you don't feel comfortable going to a quiet area of the con alone with them, you are within your right to say no politely. Bring your own camera of phone; you'll kick yourself for not getting a group selfie. A spare change of shoes! If you can find a way to carry belongings on your own, that is great but I respect a lot of costumes don't allow for pockets so a lot of people sew them inside the costume or just get a small clutch style bag they can easily hide. 

What has been one of the coolest things to come from cosplaying?
My friends, without a shadow of a doubt and the confidence I have received from it. I struggled for photos at my first convention but I've really come into my own since and I've learnt so many new skills from it. 
What other cosplayers do you admire?

Photo provided by Aimee Swift at Cineworld

My wonderful friends I cosplay with for charity. They act in character and they make people believe. Some people on Instagram also, though so many to mention. It's just wonderful seeing a cosplayers with thousands of followers still reply to comments, still react and still be a part of the community. Cosplay groups like Justice League of England, Squad UK. Again, so many people! And of course the other members of Geek-Ta-Scale. I couldn't do any of what I do without you!
Do you have any advice for people looking to do cosplay photoshoots? 
Have an idea of what you want, have a location in mind, have makeup and hair trials for yourself and practice poses. Pack makeup, wipes, I have a box filled with everything you could need! Always know a photographer and look at their work, discuss ideas with them and never be pressured into poses or things you don't want. That is your absolute prerogative. The wait for the picture sis so excited and remember when you get them, credit the photographers and keep a great relationship.
What do you like to do when you’re not cosplaying?
I'm very into my music, I sing and play a few instruments which is self-learnt on YouTube so I say teaching yourself a new skill is incredible so give it a try! Leather working, non-cosplay related craft. Working out, martial arts, writing, cooking, baking, video games and movies and I love hanging out with my dog even when he is a wrecking handful!

Photo provided by Aimee Swift
For people wanting to get into cosplay, what advice would you give them?
Prepare to part with a lot of money! But also pick any costume you love, dress up and go for it! Everyone evolves differently in cosplay and it's always exciting to see how. Be your own cosplayer and enjoy, anything goes!
What are your future cosplay plans?
I'm remaking Wonder Woman from scratch and hoping to have that done for the next convention, I would love a Spidey suit though not sure which. Maybe another Disney one, I'm tempted to do a full armour build next too but would want to do an original design. I'm also thinking Cersei Lannister from game of thrones, Antiope from Wonder Woman and Supergirl. Though as we all know with cosplay, this list could change at any moment!

Which conventions/events do you have planned to attend this year?

The biggest one is LFCC next month! Very excited for that one, a few charity events also coming up and Chester Comic Con in September where I'll put my singing to the test as Ariel as I did at Trafford Park Comic Con. I may be at MCM London in October or if not, Birmingham in November. 
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

The cons of course, the charity events coming up and seeing what else happens. I have no shoots lined up right now, but I hopefully will soon with some amazing photographers in mind. Hope to see you guys at a con coming soon.
Photography by I Shoot Shows UK 
I would like to thank Aimee with her time for this interview. Stay tuned for many more interviews coming soon!