I'm Peekaboo! I'm a Canadian cosplayer, you can find me at conventions around southern Ontario and Quebec. When I'm not spending far too much time building costumes, I'm studying. I've just finished a degree and am starting a specialization program in my field this fall.
How and when did you start cosplaying?
I developed some health issues in 2013 and had to take time off from school. I needed something to keep my hands busy, Ottawa Comic Con was 4 months away, and I had a 1982 Pfaff at my disposal. My mum taught me the basics of choosing fabrics, using a sewing machine, and reading patterns. Everything else I've learned through friends in my local cosplay community and online! Facebook groups are also super helpful for troubleshooting.
Why do you cosplay?
I've always been a creative soul. Throughout my childhood I went through phases of wanting to be a hair stylist, graphic designer, makeup artist, painter, seamstress - and I get to be all of those things with cosplay.
While some people choose their costumes by their love of the characters, I choose by design. I pick a particularly challenging piece that I want to try and work around that - a pair of antlers, wings, a ballgown, a breastplate, etc. I enjoy creating original designs and characters more than replicating characters.
What's the most important part of cosplay for you?
The community. As much as I love the craftsmanship, there wouldn't be much point if I had no one to share it with. There are a few events local to me that I would like to get involved with, and I'm specifically designing a family-friendly character to volunteer at these events - she will still be a badass, powerful lady, but with pants.
Is cosplay a hobby you could see yourself doing in 10 years?
I would absolutely like to still be taking the time to create in the next decade, but I expect my focus may be more limited. I'm becoming more interested in making individual pieces than entire costumes.
Which costume took most effort to make?
Each one had its unique challenges. Glinda may still be the most labor intensive, because of the size and volume of fabric. Xerxes was the most emotionally draining, because it was next to impossible to source the materials and I had to compromise on every aspect of the design. My current project involves my first real corset, which is absolutely the most technically challenging.
They're all my children, I can't choose favourites. I do occasionally sell them though...
Where do you find inspiration?
I first fell in love with costume design with the Star Wars Prequels (I was 6), then Pan's Labyrinth. The costumes can make or break a movie for me, and I will watch something even if I know it's not very good just for the costumes.... cough The Huntsman cough.
A lot of my inspiration now comes from the burlesque community, particularly Catherine D'Lish, and artists and designers I've found on Instagram, like Carla Wyzgala and Elysian Fantasy Artistry. I'm very interested in corsetry and all of its technical challenges, and regularly stalk Royal Black Couture's Instagram.
What do you think about the new trend in the cosplay society where cosplayers (mostly female) depict a character in underwear, swimsuits or other revealing costumes that are not typical for said character?
I've dabbled in this trend a bit and really enjoyed it. I've been obsessed with burlesque dancers since my early teen years, partly because they express sexuality in a way that is different from mainstream media. Burlesque, from my perspective, has always done a better job of representing all sizes, shapes, colours, and genders than mainstream media, and highlighted their beauty and talents in a way that involves movement and personality - not just a still photoshopped image.
I have never fit the "cosplay" mold perfectly and have heard criticism of women who wear sexy or scantily clad costumes for not being "real" cosplayers. This debate seems to have gotten even more heated as cosplay has become profitable for some through print sales and subscription platforms. Our society devalues those who choose to appear nude or in a sexualized context. I believe you can be sexy, and intelligent, and kind, and responsible, and ethical, and all sorts of things that make up a wonderful person at the same time. I do not villainize sexiness, and I personally have no issue with lewd/nude cosplayers or their patreon accounts. I applaud them for making an income from something they enjoy.
I'm not comfortable producing lewd/nude content, due to both my own feelings about sharing my body and the risk to my career, and will stick to my borderline-boudoir stuff unless my feelings change.
My suggestion to those who do not like sexy costumes or the imbalanced popularity of those costumes is to consume and support the content that you do enjoy. If you would like to see greater popularity of a different kind of cosplay, show your support through liking, commenting on, and sharing that content online. Our online popularity is now dependent on algorithms driven by interaction, and you hold the power to choose who gets the most exposure.
I'm a terrible actress so the performance aspect has always been terrifying. I've never worried about being in character on the convention floor, but it's an expectation of costume contests. I put my headphones in and listen to my track on repeat in the greenroom to get into the mood, and shake like a leaf before I go on stage.
You’ve won many prizes, which one is the most memorable for you?
My first Best in Show certificate is framed in my workroom, but winning Best in Show with Jessica Harkonnen as Young Ursula and the Mermaid was the most memorable. Jessica has an entire blog post on the experience on her website.
Give us a short tutorial on how to make a corset.
I'm still learning, so I may not be the best source for information. I have learned a lot from Lucy's Corsetry on YouTube, Farthingales corset supplies, and Corsets by Caroline on Etsy.
The key features of a corset are the strength fabric and boning. The strength fabric can be used on its own, or a base layer to support a 'fashion fabric'. Coutil is ideal. Boning may be steel or plastic. Spiral steel is more flexible around curves than plastic. Straight steel should be used at the center back, where the corset is laced, and center front for tummy support if a busk is not used. A busk is steel with hooks to open and close the corset at the front. Fitting a corset is uniquely challenging because you're not simply fitting to the shape of your natural body. In order to reduce the circumference of your waist, your panels must curve in from your natural bustline to your desired waist measurement, and curve out to your natural hips. Doing this without wrinkles, pain, or an uneven gap in the back is not easy. I'm still at the stage where a professionally drafted pattern is the safest place to start, and I alter from there. You should always do a mock up (with the appropriate strength fabric and boning) when using a new pattern, before attempting your final piece.
A fashion corset is not intended for tightlacing to reduce the circumference of the waist, but has the same appearance of a corset. I've used the Cosplay McCalls Yaya Han pattern three times for my costumes. It uses four different layers of fabric, including interfacing, so it has enough structure in itself to avoid wrinkles and look cleanly finished, even if it's not perfectly fitted to my body. It was very forgiving with my mistakes and the instructions were very helpful in learning the how to handle so many different panels.
5 things you love and 5 you hate?
Love: glitter, Shameless, disco, autumn, red lipstick
Hate: chiffon, every DC movie from the last 5 years with the exception of Wonder Woman, mornings, traffic, the patriarchy
Send a short message to our readers.
Thank you so much for reading! If you'd like to see more of my work, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram @peekaboocosplay