What could make Monday better than the Doctor? Not much, especially when the cosplayer is this awesome!
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BEVERAGE?
“Drinking Chocolate” the way they make it at Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco and Mink Chocolate in Vancouver. My wife and I have become quite the snobby chocolate connoisseurs thanks to various tours we’ve taken while on vacation. In truth, we don’t know a lot, but we know what we like!
TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
I am a theater producer, director, writer, and performer. I started in theater over a decade ago and I’ve learned my craft basically by making mistakes and fixing them on the next go round. I really feel my time making Doctor Who fan videos and audios with my friends back in the 1980s laid the groundwork for my life in theater. I also work as an advocate in the childhood sexual abuse survivor community. I’m a survivor myself and I perform a solo show called “Ask A Sex Abuse Survivor” where I tell my story, while also fielding questions and comments from the audience. I’ve been doing that since 2014. Doctor Who actually plays a major part in that show, as I talk about the ways getting involved in fandom and attending conventions helped me to overcome social anxiety and make friends.
WHEN DID YOU START COSPLAYING?
I’ve been in Doctor Who Fandom since the 1970s and I started attending conventions in the 1980s. It was then that I began cosplaying the Third Doctor. Initially I picked the Third because our little group already had a 4th and 5th, but as time went on I found I had a real affinity for the character. His kindness, his warmth, his courage, his sense of ethics, and his need to undo injustice; all of these were qualities that I tried to reflect in my own life, and that I still wish to emulate. I stopped cosplaying in the latter part of the 80s, took a 30 year hiatus from fandom, and then came back a few years ago, wondering why I had ever left.
WHY DO YOU COSPLAY?
I cosplay because it’s fun, but also because I find it a very healing experience. As someone with PTSD and social anxiety, I find dressing up as my favorite character to be a great ice breaker. Even when I’m feeling too shy, stressed or insecure to initiate a conversation, people see my Cosplay and they initiate the conversation. They want to take photos, talk about the show, just generally chit chat. Before I know it, I’ve made another friend, despite my socially awkward self. I also feel stronger when I’m dressed as the Third Doctor. I stand up straighter — heck, I actually have to stand up straight, or my cape slips!
WHO ARE YOUR COSPLAY IDOLS?
I see every person who puts on Cosplay and goes out on the convention floor as my idol. It takes a lot of courage to express yourself that way, and whether you’re doing it in an intensely screen accurate portrayal of the character you’re playing, or whether you grab some old clothes out of your parents’ closet and do the best you can, I think you’re amazing.
WHAT TYPES OF COSPLAY DO YOU DO?
Right now I exclusively portray the Third Doctor, as played by Jon Pertwee in Classic Doctor Who. I do a few variations, i.e., different jackets, different shirts, that sort of thing. It’s always fun to switch up from a red to a blue jacket in the middle of the day and when people see you again, they say, “Weren’t you in red before?” “Um, I’m not sure what you mean–I’ve been in blue all weekend.”
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE COSPLAYS?
Well, the The Third Doctor of course. But somewhere in the distant past I did portray Illya Kuryakin from the original Man From U.N.C.L.E. and I’ve been thinking about bringing that one back. I’m also toying with the idea of the Penguin from Gotham. I love his hair and his overall style. But I’m not quite ready to approach that challenge yet.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO COSPLAY BUT PROBABLY NEVER WILL?
I don’t actually rule anything out. Who knows where Cosplay might take me…
DO YOU MAKE, BUY, OR SPECIAL ORDER YOUR COSPLAYS?
I always like to say I “assemble” my Cosplays. I don’t stitch anything, but I do bring various elements together from different sources to create an overall effect. My main Third Doctor Cosplay is comprised of: a discontinued Macy’s velvet jacket that I found on Amazon, boots from Zappos, velvet bowtie from Etsy, tux pants by Calvin Klein, ruffled shirt from Chenaski, Inverness Cape handmade by janissewcrazy on Ebay (she makes all kinds of amazing capes), and the pièce de résistance, a custom wig made by a drag queen friend of mine–his company is called Senor Wigs Makeup and Hair and he can be found on Facebook. Drag queens make the best wigs! I’ve also bought a number of Van Heusen Studio brand velvet jackets and added trim to them so they are more “Third Doctorish”.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT COSPLAY?
I love the joy I get seeing someone else’s amazing Cosplay. And I also love that Cosplay brings people together. I can be my geeky self around my fellow fans and Cosplayers and that is wonderful.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING FOR YOU ABOUT COSPLAY?
Sometimes searching for the right piece can take ages. Of course, while this can be difficult, I can’t pretend I don’t like the chase. And the moment you find the right bow tie or shirt or pair of boots–that’s a great feeling.
Who is your favorite character to cosplay?
The Third Doctor. But if I could manage to put it together, I’ll bet the Penguin would be right up there.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN OR VISIT ANY FANTASY WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
Traveling though time and space in the TARDIS with the Doctor for a little while would be fantastic. Back when I was a child and dealing with abuse, I often wished I would hear the sound of the TARDIS and see the Doctor asking me to join him. Fantasy and scifi were both very rich worlds I visited when my own reality was not all that great. Of course, now I have a loving spouse and a wonderful home, so if the Doctor ever arrived–well, we could both go with him!
Where do you get your inspiration for your cosplays?
My inspiration comes from the joyful, quirky wonder of the Doctor Who universe.
WHAT ARE YOUR “FANDOMS”?
Doctor Who, Gotham, Lord of the Rings, Blakes 7, The Mighty Boosh, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Danger Mouse. Those are just some of them.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH BEGINNING COSPLAYERS KNEW?
I wish beginning Cosplayers knew that it’s OK for your Cosplay not to be perfect. We all start at different levels and whatever you can do, you’re brilliant for having done it.
WHAT TIPS OR TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER COSPLAYERS?
Well, if they take my approach of “assembling” various pieces, I would say stay open to where your next Cosplay element might come from. And be patient. It took me months to put together my first Third Doctor Cosplay. Even after I started wearing it at cons, I was still adding pieces, refining, etc. And on a similar note, don’t wait forever for that perfect piece. Get out there with what you’ve got, then build on it as you can.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WISH NON-COSPLAYERS KNEW?
Adults who dress up at cons are not childish…but we do retain some of our childlike wonder and joy. In my case, I had a very dark, joyless childhood. So I’m using Cosplay to reclaim some of that fun that I missed out on as a kid.
WHAT COSPLAYS ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Currently I’m working on another Third Doctor variation, but that’s all I want to say about that. Don’t want to jinx it! Fingers crossed.
WHAT COSPLAYS DO YOU WANT TO DO IF MONEY AND TIME WERE NO OBJECT?
I would love to do an exact replica of the Third Doctor’s outfit from the story “The Three Doctors”.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR COSPLAYS?
I can be found on Instagram and Facebook @BeeCoolCosplay.
Please remember I do not own any of these pictures and the opinions in this survey belong to the interviewee.