|Photographer @ardentcosplay aka Dominic Alexander Photography|
I’m back with another amazing cosplayer interview for you all, this time with the truly remarkable UK cosplayer - @Cjdiddums!
I got chatting to CJ through our Instagram page @Dailycosplaynet, after admiring one of her beautiful Harley Quinn cosplays and I was lucky enough that she agreed to take part in an interview with me. I was blown away with her page, scrolling through what seemed to be an endless number of amazing cosplays.
CJ is a qualified MUA and has made many of her cosplays and props herself. I love the variety of cosplays that she has created over the years, from the many versions of Harley Quinn to my favourite Final Fantasy girls and she’s made some beautiful Princesses too. CJ certainly has a lot of raw, creative talent and I’m thrilled that I get to share this interview with you all!
Below you will find some super helpful tips and tricks for creating your cosplays and also some sound advice about how to deal with unwanted attention at cons!
You will find CJ at the following 2022 cons: MDC, MCM, LFCC, Rapture and possibly Hyper Japan! Be sure to go and say hi and ask for a photo if you see her around!
When did you first discover your love of cosplay!?
I first cosplayed in 2015, I got a comic con ticket from my dad for my birthday as I wanted to go somewhere rather than have gifts, he asked if I would dress up, so I gave it a go and I guess I never looked back!
What’s your favourite thing about cosplaying?
Originally, I think it was the escapism, I could be whoever I wanted, and no one cared where I came from or what my everyday life was like, then I fell in love with the community and have made some incredible friends.
What are your favourite conventions to attend?
@MCMLondon was my first con and has been my favourite, obviously I’m waiting to see what the new American company does, they didn’t do too well in October 2021 so fingers crossed they bring it back how it used to be, @Megacon should be an interesting newcomer too.
Your Harley Quinn Cosplays are stunning! How many different versions of her do you have?
Thank you so much! Oh god ha-ha I have a fair few unfinished versions, but finished I would say 12
Margot Robbie is fantastic as Harley Quinn, but if you had to pick someone else to play her, who would it be?
To be honest I was quite late to the DC scene, I’ve always been a marvel girl so I’ve only ever seen Margot Robbie as my Harley and I don’t think I could pick anyone else at all!
Where would we most likely see you hanging out at a convention?
Outside at Excel, upstairs at Olympia and in the corridor at NEC or when I’m totally exhausted hanging out at the zombie blades stall at any event.
Do you have any favourite Binge worthy TV shows?
I’m more of a movie person and rewatch lord of the rings all the time, currently I’m rewatching the supernatural though, that is defo worth a binge watch!
Who’s been the most fun character to cosplay so far?
Enchantress really made me laugh as after years people finally didn’t recognise me, somehow whatever I wear people always know it’s me, but not as enchantress the first time, I waved at people and said hello and they had no idea who I was! Other than that, any of the squad Harley versions I have always cheer me up whatever’s going on when I wear them I really enjoy it, like I’m a whole new person.
What’s the most difficult costume or prop you’ve made from scratch?
I’m only professionally trained as a media makeup artist everything else I made up as I went along. Figuring out how to make my Anastasia ball gown almost sent me mad, like how do you work with so much fabric! And the tiara, 4720 individual gemstones I stuck on! Why do we do these things to ourselves?
My Yuna, my first ever cosplay, pleats! Who knew there are so many types?! Then let’s throw in the jewellery and metal work for enchantress, that was loooooong, but hey I now know how to make jewellery ha-ha
But my nemesis is sleeves, I just can’t handle them, never make me make any more ever again please
What’s the ultimate makeup hack that everyone should know?
Ah this is my zone, I’ve been a professionally qualified media makeup artist since 2012, and dabbled for many years before that, until covid makeup was my full-time job, I’ll tell you what I told probably 98% of my customers who came in with makeup problems, the problem probably starts with your skincare, exfoliate, and moisturise! It takes weeks for your skin to get used to a new routine, don’t fob it off in the first week if you don’t get the results you anticipated straight away or if you have a breakout (this is a good thing your skin is adapting). Also don’t match your foundation to your hand/arm it is such a different colour and texture to your face it’s pointless!
What are you trying to do? The answer will be different for each thing. There isn’t a one brand answer in my opinion, a lot of people like to pick a brand and go for every product they do, it’s not always going to be every product from that brand works for you every time. I mix all sorts of things, my concealers are always Benefit cosmetics, my eyeliner is urban decay, my primer is smashbox, a lot of my eye shadows are Jeffree Star and MUA (big price difference there) my face paints are Snazaroo or Kyolan (again big price difference there too) I’m always happy to recommend stuff if people drop me a message with what they are trying to achieve.
I really love your Tifa and Yuna cosplays! Have you or do you have any plans to cosplay other Final Fantasy characters and which FF game is your fave!?
Thank you!!! The first ever video game I played solo was final fantasy 9 so if I do anything new it will probably be something from that. I do plan to redo my Tifa as it needs a lot of work (still the original PS1 game version) and Aerith has been on the back burner for years, but honestly I don’t know if I suit her character or not, it’s something to think about.
Do you have a favourite cosplay photographer to work with?
That's mean, you can’t make me pick! Otis of @wherermyphotos is one of the first togs I shot with, and one of the first friends I made in the community, so I’ve defo got to shout out to him.
Then @michealeast and I crossed paths outside of con life years ago and now we go to cons together a lot and in the time I’ve known him his stuff has only got better and better. I could do a whole interview purely on the epic togs I’ve met over the past 7 years, they are truly amazing, head over to my page (I know shameless plug) and see all the tagged togs, I love them all!
You once shared a post about some unpleasant experiences at cons and on social media and you are a big advocate for “Cosplay is NOT Consent.” Do you have any advice about how to deal with unwanted attention?
As a female it’s something you deal with in and out of cosplay, it sucks, it shouldn’t happen, but it does at the end of the day it’s sad to admit but there is no stopping it. 100% cosplay is not consent is a big thing for me; my advice is to make friends in the community, know who you can trust and set your boundaries early on. Don’t be afraid to draw attention to a situation, if something’s happening and it shouldn’t be (to you or someone else) speak up, loud! Make sure everyone is aware, embarrass the sh*t out of them, point them out.
If it’s a situation you’ve been stopped for a photo and it’s started out being nice, then the situation turns and you feel uncomfortable, you owe them nothing just leave! You don’t have to justify why you feel that way just go to somewhere you feel safe, a group of people, a sales stall, an employee whoever, you are your main priority, people can suck big time, but on the flip side the cosplay community may have some bad eggs but holy crap it has some incredible people in it just waiting to meet you! I’m more than happy to meet you, come say hi!
Any more advice, especially for newbies wanting to start cosplaying?
DO IT! Doesn’t matter if you make, borrow, buy, commission, closet cosplay, thrift, edit, or just wear something that’s a nod to the character, you can cosplay! And I’m dam proud of you for starting as that’s the hardest bit!
Google is your friend, think you have enough reference photos, go find ten more, trust me you’ll need them. YouTube, library books, the community itself will help you if you ask
What are your future cosplay plans and what are you most looking forward to this year?
Honestly, I have no idea, with my health in 2019 taking a turn I did say I was going to take a break, but then the world took a two-year break with me, so I guess I didn’t miss much. I don’t really have any big plans, but I will be back at MDC, MCM, LFCC, Rapture and possibly Hyper Japan, so don’t worry there will be cosplays. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again, Megacon live reunited a lot of us but there are still some people I’m missing so I can’t wait to see all my old friends and make new ones!
Thanks to CJ for her time with this interview. Check her out on the socials below!
Thanks for reading! ❤️