Hearing about cosplay from Costume SuperCenter is one thing, but the folks here wanted to give the visitors to our blog a better look into the costuming community.

That’s why we’ve decided to start Cosplay Convo – Exclusive interviews with models from our team of cosplayers, talking about their experiences in cosplay, their future plans and why they continue to work with CSC. This week, we sat down with Linz Stanley, who, in honor of Halloween, cosplayed and did incredible makeup for one of everybody’s favorite villians – The Joker.

Linz

Costume SuperCenter: What was the first convention or cosplay event you ever attended? Did anything specific happen at that convention that made you say “Wow. I want to keep doing this.”?

Linz Stanley: My first convention was Blizzcon in 2008. It was right after I first began playing World of Warcraft and saw that there was a convention based around all things Blizzard. I knew I had to get tickets to go and make a costume. I decided to dress up as a “Blood Elf Priestess” from the Burning Crusade expansion and entered my first costume contest. I even filmed a video doing the Blood Elf dance by a fountain after the Con.

linz1So many wonderful things happened that year: I met so many amazing cosplay friends who inspired me to cosplay and instantly became my friends “in real life.” I even met my best friend at Blizzcon that year and we later became roommates! I was interviewed by different media stations about cosplay, I ended up on Yahoo! Entertainment’s page as a headliner, and I met people from my Guild that I raided with. Blizzcon is always fun because I absolutely love the culture and how “down-to-earth” the community is. I knew the moment I walked into Blizzcon the first time in costume that this was something I definitely wanted to be a part of.

I was so nervous going to this convention for the first time in costume because you often wonder if the community is going to accept you and understand your costume – almost like the first act in a play. When the first person tells you “you’re my favorite character” or “I play you in the game!” you know all of your hard work and dedication has paid off and now it’s time to have fun.

CSC: So, Blood Elf Priestess was your first cosplay? Was it something particular that inspired you to start dressing up in costume?

LS: My first cosplay at a convention was my Blood Elf Priestess at Blizzcon 2008, but I have been dressing up in costume ever since I was little. I performed in theatre and dance shows all my life, so dressing up was always second nature to me. I’m truly blessed because my parents always supported my hobby, and I am so grateful that they did. They have always respected my expression of “art” and it truly inspired me to keep getting better and better.

CSC: Obviously, a lot of American cosplayers are hesitant to work with costume retailers as opposed to creating their own outfits by hand. What were your thoughts when you were first contacted by CSC?

LS: When I was first contacted by CSC, I was excited. I did some research on the brand and the quality of the costumes and wanted to be a part of it. I am all for saving time when it comes to costumes as I work full-time and am going to school for my Masters Program. Like any cosplayer, I would like to put all of my time and energy into my craft and create everything I wear, but sometimes that’s just not realistic. I am definitely not opposed to purchasing a costume through a retailer and tailoring it to how I want it in terms of my hair, makeup, and accessories. It will be whatever I want it to be. That is the true beauty of cosplaying – customizing something to your aesthetics.

linz2CSC: For CSC, you decided to wear our “Funny Villain Lady” costume, which, as most people know, has shades of the Batman villain, The Joker within it. What made you pick that particular costume, and what was the feedback from your fans like? Did they enjoy it?

LS: To me, she was a mix of Heath Ledger’s The Dark Knight Joker and Jack Nicholson’s 1989 Joker. When I first saw this costume on the website, I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do with it. I loved the colors, how flattering the cut was, and the matching accessories.

My followers seemed to really enjoy it! They all know I love DC Comics and they loved how creepy, yet sexy, the costume was. I put together an impromptu shoot on a Saturday night in my kitchen and decided to play around as if I was in Bruce Wayne’s house waiting for him to come home. I was able to move around and bend in this costume without any issues, which is perfect for posing at cons or going to a Halloween party.

CSC: How do you keep yourself engaged with your fans and followers? What’s it like meeting them at conventions?

LS: I always try to have some sort of personal connection with my followers. I feel as if social media is such a strong tool to influence the community, and I always want my influence to be positive. I want my followers to have confidence in themselves and to follow their dreams – whatever it may be. The media has a way of depicting how we are “supposed to be” and what we are “supposed to do” to be accepted, and I feel as if its necessary to break that habit as much as possible.

I remember I used to get teased in school for being “different” or “being the square that dresses up”, and hey, I’m very okay with that because this square is now having all of my dreams come true because I finally started believing in myself. It’s sad to see so many of my talented friends suffer because someone told them they’re “too fat to cosplay” or that they are “nerds” or “geeks” that will never succeed. We should be encouraging each other to pursue our passions, not to eliminate them because someone doesn’t understand cosplay.

linz3To be honest, I never thought I would ever even have a “following” or would be able to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. I mainly did it because my parents always liked to put a “costumed” photo of me in the Christmas card every year as it was a tradition they started when I was a little girl. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I have met in person who followed my work who I am friends with today. It truly is an amazing feeling and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I feel as if the cosplay community really does a great job on being respectful towards other people and accept others who are into the same fandom that they are.

CSC: What are your future cosplay plans? Is there anything specific that your fans can look forward to?

LSI have so many cosplay ideas, so it’s hard to narrow down, but I definitely want to do something with wings. I don’t want to give it away, but I’m really looking forward to trying a new facet of cosplaying that I have yet to explore. I am very open to new suggestions for San Diego Comic Con next year.

CSC: Overall, how would you grade your collaboration with Costume SuperCenter? Hopefully, you enjoyed working with us as much as we enjoyed working with you!

LS: I loved this collaboration with Costume SuperCenter! Matt was extremely helpful, professional, and the costume arrived beautifully packaged. The quality of the costume is well-made and fits all of my curves (I’m 5’8″!) properly. I already have a few costumes saved in my shopping cart now for future events and parties. Thank you so much, Costume SuperCenter! I will definitely be using you more often.