The Cosplayer Feature: Heroic Ares [14]

The Cosplayer Feature is a series of interviews done by HappyCosplayer featuring cosplayers from around the world who would like to share their story. One cosplayer is featured every other day both here on my blog and on my Facebook pages: HappyCosplayer, JustCosplay, CosplayingCommunity

“May you be inspired by them!” -HappyCosplayer

Featured cosplayer: Heroic Ares!

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Credit: Greg Rice Photos

Cosplay Page: Link | Country: USA | Gender: Male|

Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?

Ares: I began cosplaying in 2010, my first convention was in Mexico called, ‘Tsunami’, at first I went in to look around, I was ‘casually’ dressed, and I saw all these cosplayers and all these people, and I don’t know what it was, if it was the idea of being someone else or bringing fantasy to life, but the second I left, I ran to the closest mall, and I went a quick shopping spree.

I threw together a cosplay, oddly enough, I wanted to cross dress my first-time cosplaying! I cosplayed, Misa Misa Amane, my first time. Death Note was extremely popular at the time, and it was the only thing I could do that was as extravagant.

Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Ares: My first-time cosplaying was very scary, a lot of people mistook me for a girl which was my intention, but I was also very uncomfortable. I had a lot of people constantly taking pictures of me, I could barely walk ten feet without someone stopping me for photos. I honestly loved the fact that so many people were taking an interest in me, but I was also uncomfortable because most of those people wanted to hug me, or touch me, and I was like, “I want you guys to understand I’m a boy!” and that didn’t freak them out or lead them away.

At one point, they had to call con-security to follow me around. I felt like a Prince of Cosplay, a bunch of Death Note cosplayers were in love with me, they asked me to join them for a group Cosplay, I was the lead role, I had a Light Yagami, we actually won first place, we got a bunch of free merchandise. Honestly, with this kind of first experience, I fell in love with cosplay, and ever since then that’s my goal. I want to get these reactions, certainly, I avoid cross-dressing in public now, but I felt like I belonged. I remember how amazing it was.

Happy: Do you consider yourself more of a prop maker or seamstress?

Ares: I’m definitely more of a seamstress, I’ve built all of my props, or I’ve had very limited parts 3D printed or made. I am actually currently working on a Genos build, I made myself my own 3D maneuvering gear for Eren, I made my gun for Eridan Ampora, I sewed a lot of my cosplays, it’s very rare that I ever commission a cosplay for any of the characters of my choosing. In fact, I’m actually currently working on a new cross-dress cosplay which is for D.Va since I main her, and I’m almost done with the costume part of it, now it’s just the giant mecha, which I need so much help in, I am not that prop savvy as I’d like to be.

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Photo Credit: Gary Willey

Happy: Is their anyone who really inspires you and why?

Ares: Knitemaya, Alissa, December, Christine, there’s just so many cosplayers I know that make me feel like I need to always give my 100%. 

The reason they inspire me, it’s because I’ve seen their work, I’ve seen what they’re made of, especially December, they have made every little thing in their cosplay, they always start from scratch, they have so much experience in their work, they cross-dress like I do, in all honesty, just being able to see someone start from zero and build up, leaves me shocked.

I honestly love the work they put into their cosplays and every time I see their work, my heart is just a wreck.

Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying? 
Ares: Yes, I have, like I said I always give 100%, but I take that 100% a bit too seriously. All my cosplays follow exact details to the brim. All my cosplays must look exactly like the character, it’s my one huge thing. I had. pieces 3D printed for my Link sword, to include the hieroglyphs, the emblems, I then decorated my Master Sword just like the Hylian Historia Book.

I had the size specifications to fit exactly like Link. I did not want a store-bought sword, they did not have the actual master sword sized or detail. When I went out with my Midna Cosplayer, we were cosplaying the famous Twilight Princess couple, a group of normies came up to me and started picking on my sword, I spent days on this sword. The started saying it was too big, it was ugly, that their foam sword that was falling apart was better than my cosplay sword.

I was so angry, honestly, you don’t do that do anyone at all!! I was boiling, my friend also got so upset and I was just like, I didn’t even know how to respond without coming off as a bad person. I just kind of stood there and let it happen, I knew in the end my sword was a living replica, so I didn’t want to comment on it!

I’ve also experienced sexual harassment, I’ve had people come up to me and try to molest me, of course my reaction at that point is very assertive and aggressive, I don’t tolerate sexual harassment of me or anyone else. I don’t allow it. This one guy tried taking pictures of my belly button and touching my stomach, I told him to get away from me. There’s a lot of creepy people in conventions, and honestly speaking. My number one rule is to always stand your ground, I do not allow it to happen to anyone, and I don’t intend to let it happen to me.

Happy: Are there things you have learned through this hobby that you never would have guessed to have learned before you started cosplaying? If so what are these new skill traits?

Ares: Yes, sewing, serging, there’s so many kinds of glue out there, acrylic paint is a sometimes game, spray paint can be fancy, you can spray rubber onto things. There’s more than one kind of fabric, there’s ways to sew different kinds of fabric, there’s specific fabrics for cosplays and textures, honestly. I had zero experience when I made my own cosplays, in all honesty, to this day, I’m still learning and researching new things. I went from an inexperienced sewer, to someone who can now break down how to sew different clothing, how to get the designs, I learned how to craft, apparently, I didn’t learn any of the names for these skills. Prop making, 3D designing is something I now have engraved in my head!

Happy: A lot of people get overwhelmed or ‘brunt out’ over time with this hobby called cosplaying. Have you ever felt that way, or do you feel like you ever would? What would you say to those that maybe feeling burnt out now?
Ares: I wouldn’t say burnt out as in I’m fatigued from cosplaying and I don’t want to do it for a while. I take hiatuses from cosplaying, because I need to work on new material, and learn how to create said material. I do at some point after 10 hours of working on my cosplays, get up and say, I need to go outside or, I need to sleep. That’s about it, I’m always getting passionate about cosplay, I’m always thinking of cool new things, or exciting things to make.

When it comes to other people being burnt out, in which I have witnessed a few of my friends just let it go, I always tell them, “Take your break, but don’t give up.” I know it can be frustrating, sometimes you can build your whole wing set and it’s looking great, but the second you put it on, you find out that the back brace can’t hold the wings up for you or conventions get boring and you’re not into it anymore.

Just take a break, come back to it, this is an amazing experience to just pass up. It might not be for everyone, because maybe you don’t get tingly sensations in your heart when a con is nearby or maybe you just don’t want to go through all the work, but I always use say ‘break’, because I honestly can’t give it up. Maybe I’ll skip a con, but I won’t stop cosplaying in them.

Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Ares: Simple question, I’ve been writing paragraphs, but almost everything! There’s just nothing bad within cosplaying itself. You gain a love experience, skills, understanding, awards, aahhhh, what is there to dislike about any of it at all? I love it, I really love it, and I love putting all my work and hours and efforts into these cosplays and being able to wear them, and the pictures, meeting people, the attention. I’m a little bit embarrassed by how much I love cosplaying.

Happy: What is it about cosplaying you dislike?

Ares: The amount of work! I think everyone can agree, sometimes you want to get it done that very second and turn around to have this amazing cosplay! Ah! My Red Robin V 1.0 took me FIVE months!!! It was going crazy, I just wanted to wear it, and now I can’t stop wearing it because I love it so much. I’ll even cry just thinking about it. I can just scream it to the whole world, it’s frustrating to wait, but it’s so worth it, but I hate it. I think anyone can agree that the long wait is horrible.

I also do hate the negativity that comes with cosplaying, I have been called so many names for cosplaying girls or feminine males, or the sexual harassment behind it. I’ve had people come up to me at conventions, and just straight up tell me, “I jerked off to your XXXX cosplay” and I can feel my eyes sinking to the back of my skull or people mocking/picking on my cosplay. If you didn’t do the work, you don’t get to talk! Negativity and waiting, is something I can live without.

Also, there’s a lot of drama in the cosplay community, I’m very happy to know I’m not a part of that drama. I’m actually like, climbing trees and watching from a distance…

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Photo Credit: Greg Rice Photos

Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?  

Ares: I cosplay mainly for me, and because it gives me a sense of security. It makes me really happy to look in the mirror and be able to tell myself, “Hey Link, you lookin’ mighty cute today” or just the reaction in other people’s faces.

In Mizucon, I won an award for my Red Robin V 1.0, and just the reaction that I had on stage from everyone when I spread my wings, was just like all their faces were illuminated. They also cheered when my bo-staff compacted, they were amazed by the work I did and that feeling was something I never wanted to forget.

I loved it, I’m guilty for loving it. The fans make it all the worthwhile, and feeling like I belong in my skin for once, it’s just the biggest sensation in my heart.

Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intentionally for cosplay?

Ares: Yes, yes, yes, yes, I have scars to prove it and I have the x-ray scans to prove it. I’ve gone from burning my thigh with a heat gun, to ripping off crazy glue from the tips of my fingers, to burning myself with hot glue, to dislocating my spine from training, I work out excessively in MMA, at home, and at the gym to achieve a better body for my cosplays.

I actually am in medical leave from work and from school because I threw my back during intensive training to get that dorito body, haha. Please be careful when cosplaying; I’ve also starved myself during con days, so I wouldn’t use the bathroom in my full body suit, or I wouldn’t have a gut.

Don’t do this, don’t be like me, this is stuff I’m consequently paying for and it’s horrible. I’m not very proud of it, it’s extremely dangerous, please be careful when working out or please don’t starve yourself at conventions. You’re beautiful no matter what!!

Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?      

Ares: The cosplay community has its ups and downs, I feel like the cosplay community is extremely welcoming but I am at times extremely absent when it comes to that. I’ve seen people stare me down at large conventions, I still remember at Megacon when I was wearing my Red Robin V 1.0 for the first time, I was jabbed at per se.

There was another Red Robin cosplayer, he didn’t have wings that would expand, he’d glare at me, people were telling me this, a friend of his came up to me, to compliment my wings and she wanted to know how mines worked for his sake. The guy under no circumstances wanted to talk to me, he seemed very angry, I of course explained my wings, because I don’t mind guiding others, or advancing but not everyone is going to be friendly.

There is competition, there is judgement, I don’t like being a part of that. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. I don’t like fighting people, I don’t like any of that. I’m here to help, I’m here to cosplay, I’m not here to fight.

Happy: What are some of your favorite cosplays you have worn?

Ares: All of my Robin cosplays, to be honest, I’m madly obsessed with DC star Tim Drake, I cosplay him, I broke my dying her rule for him, I live to be him. I make all of his Robin designs, I’ve spent a good three grand on making costumes under his name. I do anything Tim Drake related, I bleed Tim Drake, any Tim Drake related cosplay I have is my favorite. I love being Robin, I love being Red Robin, I love it, I just do. I should be barred against my will!! But I’m obsessed, they’re my favorites, I love wearing them!

Happy: Do you have a dream cosplay you would love to do someday?

Ares: Yes, I have so many dream cosplays, but currently I am working on my biggest eight-year dream cosplay. I don’t want to share it just yet, it’s a very big surprise, from one of my favorite game series. Ah!! I don’t mind talking about the Red Robin V 2.0 or the Red Robin Originals that are also my side dream cosplays that I’ve been working on, but the dream cosplay I’ve been working on and planning for eight years, is finally coming to, I will say this much, I will have a Sword, a sling shot, a whip, a bow and arrow, and it’s not Legend of Zelda related!

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Photo Credit: Gary Willey

Happy: What was an amazing experience you had in cosplay that you will never forget?

Ares: Getting my name called for an award I didn’t think I’d win? I was doing this competition for fun as Lon’Qu, and I went on stage, did my little thing, and returned to my little group, where we were all talking and giggling, and my friend kept saying I would win something and I was just laughing and saying it was impossible, there was so many great cosplayers, it was a Judge’s award, but it still meant a lot to me. I was super happy when I was called up, and it was amazing to have my baby work be recognized!

Happy: Has cosplaying presented you with challenges? If so what sort of challenges? Were they hard to overcome? Are you still working on overcoming them?

Ares: Yes, it’s mainly “how do I stay gray for 24 hours” or “how do I build this or that”, and yes I’m still working on overcoming them, the challenges are mainly how to do certain things, and of course with a lot of forum hunting, researching, and communicating some of them have been resolved. Some challenges, are going to take forever to take down. It’s just some certain things complicate life, I wish I knew more skills, so I could understand how to make things work.

Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Ares: I personally love going to Supercon, but it’s slowly becoming too money-based, and less cosplay-friendly. So I have been losing interest in going recently, I had hoped Megacon would’ve been my favorite, but so many upsetting things happened, like the owner sold out, and the like.. So, It’s sadly not my favorite either. I’m hoping when I start going to more out-of-state conventions, I’ll be able to enjoy them more.

Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Ares: Well, my friend keeps begging me to go to Katsucon, which she’s even offered me a place to stay. I really want to go to a convention where the artist Marcus To is going, but it’s very hard to go after him, since he rarely comes to the states, I’d have to go to an out-of-country convention, and I’d in that case it becomes more complicated.

Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying?

Ares: I want to become a famous cosplayer and I want to be cool and I want to do cool cosplay with cool people and start making cosplay videos, and cosplay related things! That’s all I ever want to do and I feel like I ask for too much when I say that!

I want to be a professional cosplayer, I want to win big awards and be able to put them on a shelf, I’ve rarely won awards in my life and winning these awards tell me that I’m definitely doing something right and it’s just so much cosplay related stuff.

You can find Heroic Ares at the following links! Please leave some love for them via a like/follow and so on and help continue to make the cosplaying community better by encouraging and inspiring others!

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