This cosplayer has some wonderful insights and great stories. I really enjoyed the opportunity to interview her. I know you’ll enjoy it as well.
To whom do we have the pleasure of speaking?
Heidi Eagling / Angel H / Bess (in re enactment)
What is your favorite beverage?
I’m terrible at remembering to drink. I tend to get to 2 in the afternoon and wonder why I am so thirsty. I then remember I haven’t had a drink yet. When I’m at work I like tea. I’m a teacher and don’t really get time to stop and have a break so I am mostly known for getting a cup of tea and then ignoring it until it is cold. I can ignore a nice cup of tea brilliantly. At home it tends to be Diet Coke because that’s what is around. I tend to ignore that for long periods too.
When did you start cosplaying?
Before we cosplayed we were already historical re enactors, lots of different time periods but mainly Medieval and Tudor, so I had been making costume for around 15 years. About 5 years ago my best friend and co-mischief maker took her daughter to MCM in London. Jen came back amazed that the cons were for all ages and so diverse and that was the moment we sat and said ‘We can do this.’ Our first costumes were Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. We decided that being slightly older that we would go for prison outfits. I wasn’t prepared to wear a bikini or shorts. Weekends were spent sewing and shopping for props and a lot of tea was drunk too (mainly ignored on my part). It was just a me and her thing to start with, our families joined in much later. We had so much fun creating these costumes and it was a liberation to be able to make them exactly how we wanted with exactly what we wanted after years of re enactment. For re enactment the fabric and way it is patterned and how to make it has to authentic. A good friend wanted to be Mr J so we all built a costume for him and the duo became a trio. We got such a brilliant reaction to costumes it sealed our fate with cons and Crowley’s Angels were born.
Why did you start cosplaying?
As mentioned it was a ‘we can do this thing’ but the reason is a little deeper than that. As I grew up I didn’t fit the 70’s / 80’s (Yep I’m that old) girl norms. I worked on the car with my dad, spent most of my time in the woods or outside. From a young age I discovered comic books and geek culture. Tom Baker was my Doctor Who and I always had a massive love of Darth Vader. My parents queued for hours to get me into one of the first showings of Star Wars. I was so young but fell in love with it from that moment. When I was young I told my Mum that I was going to marry Darth Vader. 30 years on my husband stood on re enactment battlefields fighting in a full harness of black armour. My mum rolled up with laughter and said ‘There you go you did marry Darth Vader!’ I had friends as I grew up but most were not like me and did not like the things I liked. When Jen and I became friends I found a person who loved what I loved and a major part of that was comic books and cult film. Cosplay became the natural progression for us.
Who are your cosplay idols?
I am afraid I don’t have any cosplayer’s who I idolise or want to desperately meet but there have been loads that I have loved meeting. I am constantly amazed by the cosplay world and what the ‘professional’ cosplayers achieve. I have to admit I do follow Ryan Wells. His creature costumes are fabulous and I love seeing how he gets round difficulties that each characters creation gives him. I have been really impressed by Lexi Gilbert’s work. My son desperately wanted to meet her and I have to say her work on her Abe Sapien (I’m a massive Hellboy fan) and Davey Jones costumes was stunning. She was lovely when we met her and I wish her all the best for the future. I love costumes that take my breath away. I have met so many fantastic cosplayers and am always ready to go and congratulate those that have achieved a superb cosplay. I have a love of zombies and now have friends that work as zombies at ZED events. Their make up is amazing and I love getting tips and suggestions from them. Equally Jawless the Zombie or Ray Buck has fantastic vision for his undead characters. I love meeting up with him. We are lucky enough to cosplay at the Bloodstock Open Air Rock festival each year. The cosplay crew there blow my mind with their skills and ideas. Andy Marshall from Hellbender Studios makes amazing costumes and he has taught me so much through conversations and advice. He now specialises in Twisty the Clown from AHS. It is fantastic and I consider myself lucky to have his advice. He is the reason we are now all designing clown outfits.
What types of cosplay do you do?
I prefer to do comic book or film and TV. I have tried to watch anime but it just isn’t really my thing. My son loves it so I am inadvertently learning about it as we make his costumes. Resident Evil has been a love for as long as I can remember and I have a full ‘Hunk’ costume. I loved the fact that the men and women wore the same kit. I have a hate of anything that fully armours a man and then gives a female two bits of string and a hanky to wear. Its false and not what I wanted my daughter to feel was right. Saying that I love DC villains and Marvel heroes. I have created costume for DC Bombshell Batgirl, Poison Ivy and Firefly from ’Gotham’. I love this series and was made up when Firefly became female. I grew up with a deep love of 2000ad and especially Judge Dredd. I now have a 2012 Dredd Judges kit and I love it. The kit is personalised to me, as I am Judge Eagle. The Brit Cit Judges have a fantastic community and I love the opportunity to meet up. My daughter Freyja, Cadet Beanie, has a cadet uniform and my husband, Judge Yeti, has full kit too. My son was a cadet but has now taken the walk to the wastelands and has become a perp! At least there is an excuse to beat him. He plays along brilliantly. Just recently we have started to create original costumes with the clown costumes we have. Pumpkanuffin the Halloween Clown and Sandy Mann the Disturber of Dreams are soon to be joined
by Pennywise, Nathan Dallas and the Krampus Clown on order to make it a full team cosplay.
What are your favorite cosplays?
As I mentioned my Dredd Judge is one but my true love is Rocket Raccoon. I have read Rocket and Groot comics for years and was so excited for Guardians of the Galaxy and it did not disappoint. Rocket was fantastic and I left the cinema saying that he was my next cosplay. I researched what I could do as I wanted it to be more that just a facepaint and tail. I came across full suits and commissioned a head, feet hands and tail from a maker in the states. I was not able to make them at the time as I just would not have known where to start. I made the armour and clothing and Groot props. I commissioned a gun fro Darren at Purgeworx Props. It is fantastic and made to scale and is about 5ft 1”. Since the I have built the the bomb from GOTG2. I adore being Rocket. He gets such fantastic responsesfrom people at cons and I have done some charity events too. Rocket’s costume taught me alot and I now
make the fur parts for my costumes too. I have just completed an articulated head of the Mad March Hare so I can pair up with my daughter when she cosplays Alice from Alice the Madness Returns. Rocket is always going to be my true costume love.
What is something you want to cosplay but probably never will?
There are so many but in all honesty it would probably be an alien from the Aliens films. I adore them and one of my upper arms has an aliens sleeve tattoo but in a few costumes I need play to my strengths and I don’t think I could physically pull it off. However if there is an alien at a con I have to have a photo and a hug.
Do you make, buy, or special order your cosplays?
I used to order a lot more of my costumes but have now got into the point of if I can make it I will. I have learnt about sewing and soft costume making although most of that was for historical stuff years ago. I had never really sewn before that now I am happy to make full Elizabethan gowns. I researched, and through a lot of trial and error, I have learnt to make foam armour. I still have a lot to learn but have been pleased with the results so far. My son loves Destiny and so he has had two sets of armour made for him. We will be attempting Halo next. Due to Rocket I learnt how to work with fur to make full suits. I love doing this. Again I need to keep building the skills but for this I had to learn 3D sculpting, how to work with fur, airbrushing etc. Fortunately my tattooist is an airbrush artist and he gave me lessons. This is all ongoing but I can do it. Face painting is a major focus at the moment with different products and methods. I am pleased with what I can do but would like to do more in depth. Prop making just means that whatever I want to make means I probably have something new to learn.
What do you love about cosplay?
For me cosplay has become about the making. I love the opportunity to go to cons and see what is around and meet up with people like myself but I really love the opportunity to play. I work full time which as a teacher can mean I work 7.30 am till 10 or 11pm, if there’s marking to do but I still try to make time for me. Even as adults we need to have the chance to play. There is a quote from George Bernard Shaw, that goes something along the lines of ‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old: we grow old because we stop playing.’ My choice of playing is to go into my workshop and make. Through some events we have become part of different groups. Bloodstock Cosplayer and Brit Cit Judges and a number of other forums have opened up a world of new people and some wonderful friendships have been made. I very much value this. There are so many talented, creative people and there is so much to learn. You don’t ever have to stop learning. You just learn the things that are interesting to you.
What is the most difficult thing for you about cosplay?
Everybody has their own issues when it comes to cosplay. Sometimes I don’t feel physically confident enough to wear some of my costumes. They may be feeling a little too tight or such like and other times it is that I really don’t know how to adapt a costume to get over an issue. That’s the point I tend to walk away from it for a few days or weeks and it’s better when I try again. For me one of the key things is balancing time between my job and what I really want to be doing. There can be weeks on end where I can’t spare the time to make things but then other times where I can get that one hour a day just to myself. My whole family cosplay and up till now that means I have had to make kit for 4 people. Last year I had to create, change and repair 12 new costumes for one weekend. This year my children have started to want to make their own costumes and it has been great to see them take ownership of their kit.
Who is your favorite character to cosplay?
Definitely Rocket! He gets fantastic reactions, especially from children. I often have a Groot figure with me and it always makes me laugh that kids and men tend to walk up and want to meet Rocket but women always start their sentence with ‘Awwwww Groot he’s so lovely!’ It is a hard costume to wear. I tend to overheat easily but my husband is an excellent spotter, as my vision is exceptionally limited.
If you could live in or visit any fantasy world, where would you go?
Without question it would be The Discworld. Terry Pratchett’s death was a true loss as he has brought so much pleasure to millions. His view of the world and of people in general is incredibly accurate and the Discworld struck me as a wonderful place to live. I love the idea of living in towns and villages where witches and wizards are a part of everyday life. If I had my choice I would be Lady Sybil. I would breed dragons and love watching Sam’s exploits. I have brought my children up loving the Wee Free Men. There should be a point where we see the place that we are in as a little slice of heaven because if it is not how are we happy.
Where do you get your inspiration for your cosplays?
Usually from film or discussion with Jen, my partner in crime. We love doing paired costumes. It is so much fun. We often use Malificent and Grimhilde as pictures for our cosplay page. I have always loved Malificent and think she is much like me, got to say not a big selling point for me(with the evilness) but she is excellent. We have been to Disney a number of times and it is always her I seek out. We have now started planning these as a paired costume. There have been so many films that we have walked out of and then spent the next few days discussing if we think there is a potential cosplay. I should think I am like everyone else. If I get an idea I start to trawl the internet for ideas or methods of how to do it.
What are your “fandoms”?
Wow…It feels like there are too many to list but he we go; Alice in Wonderland – I have one arm and leg fully tattooed with Alice tattoos. This has lead to me also loving Alice the Madness Returns. I can’t wait for the next game to come out. Rocket Raccoon – anything related to him and Groot. I love GOTG but it is especially Rocket that has a place in my heart. Judge Dredd – I faithfully grew up reading 2000ad but it was Dredd that interested me the most. Walking Dead – I am a true devotee but got to admit struggled with series 8. I am trying to regain my passion for it. I met Greg Nicotero at Walker Stalker last year and he was a pleasure to meet. I got to talk to him about TWD but more so about the effects work he did on Nightmare on Elm Street. This is another major Fandom for me. I LOVE Freddy and was really happy to meet Robert Englund a couple of years ago. He is so much fun. I grew up with the 80’s and 90’s slasher films and have a place in my heart for the slasher characters. I was really pleased last year when I was able to get my husband dressed up as Jason, my son as Michael Myers and Me as Fem Freddie. Next Year I am planning for my Daughter to be Tiffany. She adores Chucky and stole my Chucky doll ages ago. I love Supernatural I was Team Dean for along time but as soon as Crowley came on the scene there was no debate. Ultimately I could go on about this one for ever….
What is something you wish beginning cosplayers knew?
Just ask. Whether it is on a forum, a cosplay contact or at a con if you want to know how it is done then go and ask. Most cosplayers are happy to share knowledge. If they don’t want to share just look for someone else who will. That’s how friendships and contacts are made. Also don’t be afraid to make mistakes and if you are anything like me don’t try it once and say you are rubbish at it. I have always been hard on myself when it comes to making things. I find it almost impossible to say that I am good at anything. I like making costume for my family as I can tend to say it looks good because they are wearing it. Because of this I tend to want everything to be perfect first time. Costume and cosplay does not work that way. You are always on a steep learning curve and you will make mistakes but that is ok. It’s how you learn. Make the costume, be pleased with what went well and with the bits that didn’t just try again. I love looking at how costumes evolve.
What tips/tricks do you have for other cosplayers?
1) I have made some massive errors when face painting. The most important thing I learnt was when you facepaint, use a brush for the base. This was a true revelation to me and when the face is painted setting powder and fixing spray means it will stay in place for the whole day. 2) Have a cosplay emergency kit – carry it in you case. This has stuff like safety pins, glue, needle and thread, a spare pot of black and white face paint and a brush, tape, hair pins etc. My kit also has headache tables and glucose tablets and isotonic tablets or drinks. I dehydrate if I wear Rocket or full Dredd armour so these are always handy. 3) If something seems wrong or you are not happy with a piece of kit as you are making it, walk away. When you go back to it the next day it often looks ok. 4) Cosplay in whatever makes you feel happy. Only value a person’s opinion if it makes you feel better about yourself or helps you to improve the kit in a way that you wish to.
What is something you wish non-cosplayers knew?
I wish non-cosplayers knew the pleasure of being at a con and finding others that share the same loves. Most hobbies allow this but cosplay allows escapism and we can all do with a little bit of that every now and then. It is easy for outsiders to label cosplayers as weird or geeks but in truth there is so much knowledge, creativity and excitement in cosplay and it is this what should be shared.
What cosplays are you working on?
I currently have 3 costumes on the way. My daughter is having a Day of the Dead clown for Bloodstock this coming year. This is nearly finished but the facepaint and effects are going to take a little working out. For myself I have finished a full, fur head for the Mad March Hare from Alice in Wonderland but now have a straightjacket, paws and feet to make for it next. And finally I am creating a Krampus based clown for my husband. This is a massive task as it is a full clown suit but then a Krampus coat to be worn over the top.
What cosplays do you want to do if money and time were no object?
That’s a tricky one as there are so many but if I had to choose one it would still be the alien. I would want to do it properly and to a very, very high quality.
A Little more about Heidi:
It’s not really a question but Cons and cosplay is a massive thing for my family. I love the fact that my teenage children still want to go out with me. I love watching what wonderfully confident people they are becoming because of it. We love spending time creating and wearing the costumes and I would say to any parent that watches their children getting into cosplay. If they are willing to let you join in. It is worth every minute. And to the teenagers and kids, if your parent shows interest in cosplay encourage them and be proud to let them join in. Jen’s daughter Rowan didn’t bat an eyelid when her Mum and Mum’s friend hijacked her cosplaying and now both families love a weekend away at a con together. Best thing ever.
Where can people find your cosplays:
We can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/CrowleysAngels or by email email@example.com
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.