Hannah Lydia and Weathered King: Cosplay Interview

Hannah Lydia and Weathered King: Cosplay Interview

0 comments 📅06 December 2018, 16:31

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Lab Coat Mercy and Weathered King cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness. Photos by Papercube.

“It was a Help For Heroes event,” explains Hannah Lydia Cosplay on how she and Joey Indiana Peter Green (Weathered King Cosplay) first met back in 2013. “Joey was also there. I’d known of him and taken pictures of him at Comic Con. We had quite a lot of mutual friends, but we’d never interacted. We were introduced at the event through a friend and that was it really.”

“We got introduced by the Doctor,” adds Joey. “A friend of ours, Carl, who cosplays David Tennant. He’s been used as David Tennant’s body double in an advert, which is just brilliant.” Since then, both Joey and Hannah have got engaged.

For Hannah, her first convention was MCM London back in 2005. She returned the following year cosplaying Kagome from InuYasha. “I started seeing other people getting a bit more obsessive with their cosplays,” said Hannah. “Then I realised, ‘This is what separates fancy dress and cosplay.’”

“I always had an interest in it,” said Joey on dressing up, admitting that at the time he was not aware of the term cosplay. He also added, “I didn’t think there were other people like me.”

As a duo, they have cosplayed Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files, Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rick O’Connell and Evelyn Carnahan from The Mummy, and Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite.

Our interview was conducted on the Sunday of MCM London Comic Con, October 2018, with Joey cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood, and Hannah cosplaying Lab Coat Mercy from Overwatch. During that weekend Joey also cosplayed a Cyberman from Doctor Who, while Hannah cosplayed Little Sister from BioShock. Both took part in photoshoots with photographer Papercube.

The interview itself would often spiral onto other topics, with our conversation covering cosplaying as a duo, authenticity, learning from each other and unfinished cosplays. During the time spent with them over the weekend, Hannah and Joey were both pleasant and talkative. What also came across was just how deeply connected they are with their fandoms.

Who are you cosplaying at MCM London this weekend?
Hannah: So yesterday I was Little Sister from BioShock, and Lab Coat Mercy from Overwatch today.
Joey: It’s a Doctor Who weekend for me. Yesterday I was my own interpretation of a Cyberman, in between 1986 and 1988. I was 1987, which never happened. Today I’m Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood, which was a part of Doctor Who, then had its own spin-off series.

How did you get into cosplaying?
Joey: Me and a friend of mine, we took fancy dress way too seriously and had no idea that there were other people doing this kind of thing. I went to County Hall as a Ghostbuster for an event that someone asked me to go to and there were a load of other Ghostbusters there. I made friends with them and… this was 2012. We didn’t even know then as a group that cosplay existed. We just all thought we took it a little bit too seriously.

You were already dressing up and into fancy dress. What started that love?
Joey: I always wanted to be an actor and never actually doing it, never really growing up out of dressing up. I think the origin was the fascination of being able to bring an exhibition to people that they would never normally see. So when we were Ghostbusters, we would be out on the street in London and people would come and look at me with the backpack and they’re fascinated by it. You’ve brought an exhibition to them.
Hannah: When I was 15 I first discovered MCM existed. This would have been 2005… I think it was advertised in Neo Magazine. I was supposed to come with my friends from school and it all just fell apart last minute. They weren’t going to go and we were too young to go alone unless a chaperone took us. So my dad had a week of me pleading. Late on the Saturday night he finally agreed to take me and my brother on the Sunday. I didn’t know about cosplay but knew that people came in costume. I didn’t have a costume. I had like an old white school shirt which I added bits on. To me it was like wearing a fandom T-shirt, like a mishmash between the two. I hand-stitched furiously in my bedroom this T-shirt of my favourite anime character at the time, which was Kagome from InuYasha. My parents refused to let me dress up.
They were like, “No, no, no. You won’t embarrass us, we won’t let you do it.”
I ran into the toilet, put it on and came out anyway.
They were like, “Right, on your own then.” (Laughs)
I came back the next year and my mum had actually bought me the full proper outfit on eBay, for like £30. That was my very first cosplay… and it was awful (laughs). It was so cheap. But I was happy. Because I didn’t really know what cosplay was, I just wanted to be her. Then the next year, I thought, “Ooh, I didn’t look quite enough like her that year, I’ll make it better.” Then that’s when it started. [There were] details that I just didn’t care about until I started getting more into it and I was like, “I don’t look like her. Why don’t I look like her?” And then piecing it together. I stopped going for a while and then I came back with my friend at the time and we were cosplaying from Beetlejuice. That’s what got me back into it. That’s when my Facebook page started (laughs).

Weathered King cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness. Photo by Papercube.

Weathered King cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness. Photo by Papercube.

You’ve since been cosplaying together as a duo. How do you two decide which cosplays you’ll do together as a duo?
Hannah: (Laughs)
Joey: It’s funny actually. Indiana Jones and Marion…
Hannah: …was our first couples cosplay.
Joey: Obviously you liked Marion. But I look back and I think… I don’t know… you were probably doing it just to…
Hannah: I did it for you (laughs)!
Joey: Yeah. Because it was early, you probably insanely thought I’d leave if Indy didn’t have his girlfriend.
Hannah: NO I DIDN’T!
Joey: Then it’s a series of…
Hannah: It’s a series of, “I want to do this.”
And he’s like, “No”
And I’m like, “Well, I did this for you.” (Laughs)
Joey: Crowbarring me into it.
Hannah: Yeah, it is a bit.
Joey: Booker [from BioShock Infinite] was interesting because I didn’t want to do it. I don’t play computer games, I don’t have the patience to play them myself. I love watching Hannah play computer games, because they’re like a film. She could be walking there and I could be looking at all the backgrounds, catching the things that you might miss when you play. So that was where Booker and Elizabeth came from. That was the first computer game cosplay I’d ever done. Then I noticed that it was set in 1912 and I thought, “Oh that’s cool…”
Hannah: It wasn’t just that though, because he loves everything to do with the police and authority, like anyone who’s in a position that can help. I just remember saying to him (cheery), “It’s set in 1912. He’s a private detective.”
Joey: I saw someone else that had done Booker. His name’s Fox Lidstone and he was the only one to have, up until that point, proper herringbone twill to the actual waistcoat which was correct for the period, what they used to make clothes out of. I thought, “Okay, I want to go down the whole 1912 route.” So that was fun. I realised that the amount of hell Booker goes through, if this was real, if this was Hollywood, he’d be absolutely trashed. So that was the fun of making the outfit completely trashed. Because he’s got shields, there’s a sense of immortality there as well, so I think he’d look awful at the end of it. He would be cut, bruised, clothes tattered… and that’s why…
Hannah: You do it weathered.
Joey: You do what I did. He looks like he’s gone through a brick wall.
Hannah: It’s just because I’ll get a new fandom and I’ll fight so hard for a character and I’ll want to do it so desperately. Sometimes I’m happy doing it on my own, but if they have a matching counterpart… (turns to Joey), I’ll beg you… and beg you (laughs).
Joey: At the moment, she’s begging me… and she’s winning, to do Handsome Jack from Borderlands. What I like about that character is… I saw him, watched him and thought, “Oh, he reminds me of John Barrowman.” And they actually did base him on Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood. It’s so obvious, you can see it in the way he acts.
Hannah: Sometimes we don’t always partner up. Sometimes we’ll do what we want. Or sometimes I’ll do something and then Joey will say, “Oh, I’ll follow you later, I’ll do the counterpart to that.” And it won’t happen. Like when I did Faith [from The Wolf Among Us], you said you were going to do Bigby. I don’t know if that’s going to happen now.
Joey: I think the only one where we both went “Yes” straight away was The X-Files, Mulder and Scully. That was fun. We want to bring those back.
Hannah: And with The Mummy.
Joey: Oh yeah.
Hannah: For years he’s been having to put up with people saying he looks like Brendan Fraser and that he should do [the cosplay]. I love The Mummy films, I love Rachel Weisz and I always wanted to be Evy. So when I said I wanted to do it, Joey was like, “Ohhhh…”

But that got a huge reaction when you did do it.
: It’s great fun, I love it now.
Hannah: The reason he [initially didn’t do it] was because he sees The Mummy as a rip off of Indiana Jones, and Indiana Jones is like a baby for him. We do love The Mummy films now.
Joey: I like the era and there were always bits of Rick O’Connell that I liked. He’s fun and he has a hell of a lot of weapons which is great.

Now that you are together, do you ever work on each other’s cosplays?
Joey: We do. At the minute, Handsome Jack and Rhys [from Borderlands] are being completely hand-painted by Hannah. I’m making myself feel less guilty by buying bits. Because in the past I’ve been weathering the stuff, but the first joint effort was Little Sister.
Hannah: I wanted to not leave it to Joey all the time. My Elizabeth’s, he weathered them all. I just felt like I should be learning. So with Little Sister, I was like, “No, I want to actively do this one.” And we did.
Joey: It was a great joint effort.

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Little Sister. Photo by Papercube.

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Little Sister. Photo by Papercube.

Do you feel that you are both learning from each other?
Hannah: Yeah.
Joey: Definitely, yeah. Because it comes under costumes and props, particularly with props, there’s no set way of doing things. I studied props and costumes at university and I didn’t like set work, because set work is what it says, it has to be a certain way. But when it’s a prop, there’s no real set way of doing it. If you need to make a fake gun – you can make it out of rubber, plastic, anything, as long as it works.
Hannah: I mean, I am mostly making Rhys and Handsome Jack, but you are helping me make Rhys’ arm.
Joey: Yes.
Hannah: I was originally making that out of foam and Worbla. Then you came along and was like, “No, let’s make this out of plastic.” And you’ve been in the shed, making it out of plastic.
Joey: Because plastic will look more solid, it’s more angular, and once it’s painted it will look like a robot arm.
Hannah: Yeah, we do help each other and I do more make-up.
Joey: She loves doing my eyebrows for Booker (laughs), making them dark.
Hannah: Sometimes I do them too much, and you’ll do the cuts on me and things like that.

How often does it happen for you when you’re watching a film or playing a game, only to find yourself so interested in a certain character that you lose sight of the story because all you can think about is how to cosplay that character?
Joey: It’s more you really, isn’t it?
Hannah: It’s very me. It doesn’t really happen for you.
Joey: No, I’ve got my stubborn past ones (laughs).
Hannah: Sometimes I get so into the idea, like, “Yes, I’m definitely cosplaying them.” Then the idea peters out quite quickly. When we went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story, every time Qi’ra moved, I wasn’t even listening to what she was saying. I was looking at this outfit. I just wanted it. We came back from the cinema and I was pulling all these pictures together to do it, then the idea just petered out within a week. We haven’t rewatched it since. Maybe if we did, it would change. For me, the more important cosplays are the ones where I fall in love with it as a whole and I’ll have a favourite character.
Joey: With me, it happens in a different way. I was in a secondhand store in Covent Garden and I saw a coat. I thought, “That looks like Reese’s coat from The Terminator.” I quickly looked online and said, “It bloody is!” Because I always liked The Terminator films, I bought it and then that started the whole Reese outfit, just from that coat. When I used to make costumes, I used to do them from the head down. But sometimes they can just start from something you can find.
Hannah: It’s better being that way, because I have so many half-finished costumes.
Joey: There’s probably about a hundred.
Hannah: There’s quite a lot. I still think, “I will finish those. I will do them.” My oldest work in progress is probably Merrill from Dragon Age II. I bought all the fabric, I had the wig and then I just thought, “Oh my God, it’s a lot of leather work.” I just started buying stuff before I realised how much work it was going to be and how many new skills it would take. And the fabric was so expensive. I got everything ready and I was saving up to get more fabric. Then it just petered out and other stuff came along.

Would you say you’ve spent more on unfinished cosplays than finished cosplays?
Hannah: No. If I’ve put a lot of money into it I tend to finish it. I don’t think I have many works in progress that I’ve put a lot of money into. I’ve got Merrill. I’ve got Christine from Phantom of the Opera, because that’s one of our ones we both want to do. I’ve got another version of Elizabeth I’m supposed to be doing (laughs).
Joey: She wants to do all the Elizabeth’s.
Hannah: My goal is to have every single Elizabeth outfit, even the ones that you never see done. I want to do one that’s never been done. Well, I haven’t seen it done before because it’s literally just one stained glass window at one point in the game. I’ve got the fabric, I’ve just not made it.

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Elizabeth. Photo by Papercube.

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Elizabeth. Photo by Papercube.

Hannah, you’ve originally mentioned how you actually did not want to cosplay Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite.
Hannah: Yes (bursts out laughing).
Joey: Oh, brilliant!
Hannah: My God, you found that! (Laughs) I remember it. I was like, “No, she’s overdone.” (Still laughing).

You said, “I’m not a huge fan of BioShock…”
Hannah: Nooooo!

You said, “I haven’t played any of the games. I only want to cosplay characters that mean a lot to me.”
Hannah: Yeah. This is fair enough, I remember saying this.

You did eventually cosplay Elizabeth. So what made you change your mind?
: So, funny story. At that point when I said I didn’t like BioShock, all I knew was from the demo. I found it quite clunky and I wasn’t really enjoying it. I’d never played BioShock Infinite and I saw everyone was cosplaying from it. Quite a lot of my friends had done Elizabeth and I liked my friends interpretations. People were suggesting things to me and I was like, “You don’t understand, I don’t just [cosplay characters] from suggestions. I do things that mean something to me.”

What happened was my Xbox 360 broke. It stopped reading discs and I went out to buy a new one. I needed a game to go with it and when I was in GAME they had BioShock Infinite sat there on the shelf looking at me. I thought, “Oh, I’ll see what all the fuss is about. Everyone says I should do Elizabeth.” Then I got BioShock and BioShock 2. I actually sat down and finished BioShock and was like, “Oh, I gave this a bad rap from the demo. I do actually enjoy this.” And I preferred BioShock 2 to the first one. So I was slowly getting more into it. But I wouldn’t say they were my fandom, even though I’ve cosplayed Little Sister. Then I played Infinite and it just knocked it out of the park. I just fell in love with Infinite and I fell in love with Elizabeth and Booker.

Someone later asked you why you chose Elizabeth and you said, “I feel like I literally am her half the time.”
Hannah: (Laughs) Yes. I no longer judge things until I experience them now. It was me saying I only cosplay my fandoms and then it became my fandom (laughs). To be fair, my loves are Infinite and Burial at Sea. It’s funny reliving that post. Because when someone asks me why I started cosplaying Elizabeth, I always say, “I didn’t even want to do her in the beginning.” I never forgot that, because I just found that was the funniest part of it.

Joey, you described weathering a “very long process” that it is essentially “trial and error until you get what you want.” How did you get into incorporating a weathered look into your cosplays?
Joey: Painting things to look old and mucky started for me in my college days when I used to be in theatre. We were doing Sweeney Todd and the set was really grotty, so all the props had to look grotty. It was a case of just blending paint over things. The biggest thing I’d ever actually weathered was in fact the Stormtrooper. I always loved the Sand Troopers in Star Wars. When they’re sent down to the desert they’re absolutely caked in sand and I always liked the look of that over the normal, clean-ish Stormtrooper. My Endor Patrol Trooper, the helmet, I wanted to make it look like it had been in the woods for years. Darth Vader’s not around, so there’s no point in cleaning your armour, that kind of thing. It was four hours of putting the mud paint on, taking it off, putting it back on, until you think, “Oh, that looks alright.” So it is trial and error. Sometimes you approach something and you just have to keep taking the layers off and going, “Ugh, a little bit more on. Oh, that looks good.”

You do discover things by chance sometimes. You can get a really nice blobby paint effect (imitates painting) if you get a muddy mixture of paint, literally a blob, let it dry for about two minutes then rub it away, the outside will dry faster than the inside. So you get these nice kind of streaks and sometimes they look like burn marks. Sometimes I’ll write down how I may have weathered something, because I don’t want to forget it.

The Cybermen are very organic. There’s a very fibrous thing going on, they’re not just plain steel. It’s been up in the loft for three years and I had the helmet wrapped in a jumper. The chin, which was covered in clear varnish to make it look a bit like glass, the jumper had stuck to it. As I peeled it away, there was this very fine texture now running through it, which looks great. So sometimes it could be trial and error like that.

Not something you wanted to do? Just an accidental occurrence?
Joey: Yeah. Sometimes it’s having an artistic approach, but then sometimes it’s just a case of stepping back and just letting it go naturally. You see, weathering is natural. You have a tendency to make it look artistic, but sometimes you’ve got to step back and go (slaps own wrist), “No, that little blob there looks fine.” Because that’s what would happen in real life.

Weathered King cosplaying a Cyberman. Photo by Photocube.

Weathered King cosplaying a Cyberman. Photo by Photocube.

One thing that came across to me is not just the level of detail you provide in the costumes, but also the detail in the characters you portray. Someone once commented on social media how the gun you were pictured with in a photo where you’re cosplaying Booker from BioShock Infinite was wrong.
Joey: I remember this!

You justified it by saying, “I wanted to add some realism to the character with the picking up of fallen arms in combat,” and that “nothing is ever overlooked…”
Joey: Exactly, yeah!

With that context, how important is authenticity to you?
Joey: I think it’s got to be there, but I love the idea that when you see this character now, you’re seeing them as they are now. So for today, cosplaying Captain Jack Harkness, I used to carry the proper firearm. Now rules are different. I’ve got a rubber gun. I haven’t had the time to get the right rubber gun, but the gun I’m carrying today is a World War II American service pistol. So it’s not out of the realms of possibility that in Torchwood, and being captain Jack Harkness, his affiliation to World War II [means] he’s got a World War II American pistol as opposed to the World War II British one he usually carries.
Hannah: You tend to like being the characters in an alternate universe, like a continued story equivalent of them. So, if they came back, this is how they would look.
Joey: Yeah.
Hannah: But if you choose that route, you pick for example Booker, whose soles are leather and they’re worn, rather than having rubber soles.
Joey: It’s 1912, so for me, it’s got to be leather. For Booker, I got these lovely vintage spats because in the original artwork he’s wearing spats. Of course, they were beautiful, 1920-odd… wrecked within an hour. Holes in them, rust, burn marks. Same as the top collar… beautiful, been kept for years. Now it’s trashed. It’s got blood on it, it’s got sweat, it’s got grime, it’s got burn marks in it from using the Sky-Hook… the sparks. So I love the Hollywood approach of getting something lovely and you just got to trash it. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t do it with lesser things. You just got to get the real thing and trash it. That’s how I feel.
Hannah: Detail for you is really important.

Some people would argue, “I just want to have fun with that cosplay,” rather than striving for that level of detail.
Joey: That’s fine. But this is my fun. My fun is to get it exactly in that period as much as I can. Like Booker with a different handgun. In the game, he picks up so many different weapons, but he has to have them on him somewhere. Also, there’s the time travel element with a lot of the guns, where they come from. So the particular gun I was holding, it’s called a LeMat Revolver and it was used by the officers in the American Civil War. It’s real and it’s from the 1860s.
Hannah: I mean, Elizabeth opens tears to pull guns through for Booker.
Joey: Yeah. As long as he’s not carrying a laser gun and it fits in that universe, then that’s fine.
Hannah: You have his Mauser. So it’s not a case of he didn’t have the right gun. He just wanted to try something different.
Joey: The gun was holstered. In actual fact, the gun I was using was stuffed in my trousers.
Hannah: You like him being armed to the teeth, because he is! He could have two guns at any one time.
Joey: Exactly. And we have to have this explanation to the game, with Booker… (imitates shooting with multiple weapons). Where are those guns? They’ve got to be on him somewhere. As long as you’ve got everything, the add-ons and the extras, as long as it fits in that universe. Just push it outside the box a little bit. Because those characters come from a world where they can have more than just one thing. I mean, major film characters change their weapons and their outfits from film to film. Indiana Jones, Boba Fett, the Stormtroopers – they have big changes or subtle changes, because they’re in a real universe where they can just think, “You know what, this gun doesn’t work anymore. This gun’s better. I’m going to use this.” It’s all about what you find fun. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else!

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Lab Coat Mercy. Photo by Papercube.

Hannah Lydia cosplaying Lab Coat Mercy. Photo by Papercube.

Hannah, you’ve described working on the cosplay of Mercy from Overwatch as one “that’s going to take me somewhat out of my comfort zone and put me to the test.”
Hannah: Yeah, which is why she’s not finished yet! That’s why it’s a casual version today (laughs).

Yeah, I understand that you haven’t done the cosplay yet. However, do you feel that cosplaying has helped bring you more out of your comfort zone?
Hannah: Yeah, it’s been a challenge, because when I first started I was buying costumes off eBay. Then I graduated to Lydia from Beetlejuice, which was ‘normal’ clothes. I didn’t even think about making it, I just thought, “Well, I could source the individual pieces and all I need to worry about is the wig and the makeup.” Then there was a lot of learning how to source stuff. To be screen accurate, it’s not easy. I got used to researching, having patience, delving all over the internet. Then my make-up, I learnt how to do that.

I still am learning a lot, like my sewing skills. All my stuff may look good from the outside, but under the hood it’s falling apart and I have to cover it up. When I did corset Elizabeth, because I crammed to get it done, I was sewing so much in a week that I suddenly became an expert. But I’ve [since] forgotten it all and if I had to do it now… I can barely remember how to put the string through my sewing machine. Sewing is not something that comes naturally to me. If I need to call on it for a costume, I will do it, I will cram and I will get it done, even if I have to redo it about three times. I’m really happy with my Elizabeth bolero, because I handmade that and I still think (excited), “I can’t sew for anything, but I made that!”

Rhys has started taking me out of my comfort zone. It’s been like a natural little progression. I’m thinking I still want to do Witch Mercy and Mercy. It’s armour or leather work or crafting the wings, it’ll be so completely new for me. So I’ve been taking baby steps with Rhys, because I’ve been working with foam for the first time. And I’m learning through Joey how we’re making the arm together. So with Rhys at the moment, we have a mannequin, he’s been on there and he’s been spread out. I’ve gotten used to having this project on the go and it’s been nice. So by the time I get to Mercy, I think I’ll be ready.

Joey: I think the main thing that’s out of my comfort zone is if I have to copy a prop exact… because I always like to go my own way a little bit. Even my Booker gun – it follows the same contours and mechanical principles of his gun, but it’s a slightly different manufacture. In the real world, things get manufactured differently, so there’s always variations on everything in this world. If someone said, “Right, you’ve got to copy this prop exact,” that’s when I would feel uncomfortable. Because I’d want to stray a little bit, to bring a little bit of something else in from that universe.

I thought you’d say you want to bring a bit of your own individual personality. But for you, you’re thinking about the character and what they would bring to it?
: Yes, so it would be something in that world that they could get, but it wouldn’t always look the same.
Hannah: But you like bringing the Hollywood element to things, which is why getting you to do Handsome Jack was so difficult, because you said, “Well, if I do it I want a real mask, I want to get a latex mask made. I don’t want to cel-shade it.”
Joey: I know, it’s got to be cel-shaded.
Hannah: It’s expected of Borderlands cosplay. You have to cel-shade it! It doesn’t look the same if you don’t.
Joey: No, exactly. I agree. Instead of 100% cel-shading all the different textures on his outfit, I wish they could be made out of those textures and you could almost then suggest the cel-shading was a fashion at the time. Obviously [it looks that way] because it’s a cartoon-
Hannah: Cartoon!? Graphics!
Joey: It’s a comic style graphic. You can imagine if you brought it into the real world and it was Hollywood, you can almost say that all the cel-shading was makeup at the time. So that was the fashion, to shade parts of your face.
Hannah: You just like the practical real world Hollywood element. You like everything having a reason for existing and being there. Because you interpret the source material, the concept art, loads of things. Like Booker is a mishmash of the model, the figure, the concept art.
Joey: One of the biggest things I noticed on the cover art of BioShock Infinite – Booker’s outfit is absolutely tatty. But if you look at the NECA figure, if you look at his outfit, it’s full of holes, rips and tears.

Weathered King cosplaying Indiana Jones. Photo by Papercube.

Weathered King cosplaying Indiana Jones. Photo by Papercube.

Finally, what part of cosplaying do you enjoy the most?
Hannah: Photoshoots. Getting the photos back and just thinking, “Oh, I look like them!” (Laughs)
Joey: Yes, the photoshoots and I like travelling to-and-fro in public transport, which is great fun. I love the spectacle. I love that you can make a person’s day as well. Sometimes it’s great to have something that is from a particular fandom. Like yesterday, I went up to walk past a TARDIS and there was a massive group of Doctor Who fans.
Hannah: Oh yeah, interacting with the fans who are into it too.
Joey: It was great! And sometimes the fun of a cosplay. When you take something personal that you like, like John McClane. It doesn’t matter if nobody recognises me. Because it’s what you want to do.
Hannah: Obviously all of the characters I cosplay mean something to me, I like them or I like what they’re from. There are ones that hold a special place in my heart, like Lydia, like Elizabeth and I suppose Rhys would be that for me as well. It’s that element of when I’m wearing them… I am them. We took Booker and Elizabeth to Paris and I cried. I wasn’t even dressed as Elizabeth at the time when we got to the Eiffel Tower and I just burst into tears.
Joey: Ken Levine’s fault!
Hannah: (Laughs and hits Joey in jest)
Joey: It is!
Hannah: I could just walk around as Elizabeth, start doing her voice, start dancing like her and I just get lost in this fantasy that I am her. I know that’s probably not healthy (laughs), but it makes me happy.
Joey: It is healthy! Whatever makes you happy is healthy… unless it’s drugs.
Hannah: (Laughs) Shush! Cosplay isn’t the end of it. When the character means so much to you, they kind of bleed into your normal life.

To the point where it’s transcended outside of conventions and photoshoots?
: Oh yeah. Like with Elizabeth, she’s in my normal life as well. I’m obsessed with bird motifs because of the bird and the cage. And my mum will go, “Oh my God Hannah, not another Swallow print T-shirt.” (Laughs)

Actually, I’ve even noticed it with Joey, where he’ll say, “I’m wearing that coat to work.”
Joey: Yeah. What I’ve noticed about all Indiana Jones fans is that like me, they will all wear stubble their whole life, wear the fedora and probably have the leather jacket in a really hot country (laughs). So it’s all the same traits. It means something to me. Also, I do wear a lot of hats in my life as well, particularly from Indiana Jones. It started from there. I think if you’re doing a character and it means something to you, then it must have got something from you in the first place anyway.
Hannah: Yeah, you had to see a little bit of you in them to relate to them so much. So what do I get out of it? I like looking like them, I like being them and when I get the photos back and, “Oh yes, I see it myself! I am them!” It’s so satisfying. Obviously it’s nice when you get compliments and get told, “Oh, you look like them.” But there’s loads of people that are doing this cosplay too. We all bring something new to the table, we all do something a little bit different and that’s great. But for me… I just love getting to be them. I love Faith, but Faith doesn’t mean to me what Elizabeth means to me and what Lydia means to me. So you have the ones you like to wear and then you have the one that just takes over your life (laughs) and you just want to wear them all the time. Yesterday, I took off Little Sister before we’d even left MCM. Just, “I need to get out of this.” Elizabeth, I don’t want to it take off. I can’t bear it. I hate taking it off. I just think (imitates crying), “I want to look like this every day!”
Joey: That’s like Indiana Jones for me. I come here and I’m covered in soot, dirt and cuts. Then I get home and look in the mirror and think, “I want to keep this on!” Why can’t we have fake cuts as a part of fashion? Because it looks great!

Thank you to Hannah and Joey for taking the time out for the interview. You can follow them on Facebook (Hannah Lydia Cosplay and Weathered King Cosplay) and Instagram.

Thank you also to Papercube for arrangement and photos. You can check out his work on his Instagram and Facebook pages.

Interview by Shalimar Sahota.

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