The Cosplayer Feature is a series of interviews done by HappyCosplayer featuring cosplayers from around the world who would like to share their story. Cosplayers are featured both here on my blog and on my Facebook pages: HappyCosplayer, JustCosplay.
“May you be inspired by them!” -HappyCosplayer
Featured cosplayer: Vegan Spider-Man!
Cosplay Page: Link | Country: USA | Gender: Male
Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?
Cristobal Hernandez: So I’ve always dressed up in costume yearly for Halloween. Something about it just always stuck with me and honestly I just found it so much fun to be my favorite characters.
If you don’t count halloweens though my first legit time cosplaying was Wondercon of 2016! I had a store bought Captain America cosplay as well as a 10th Doctor I put together for halloween the year before. I remember seeing a group of spider-man cosplayers who I became good friends with and was just blown away by the quality of the costumes.
I swear they looked like the movies and comics come to life. It was thanks to the spider-verse I started to “officially” cosplay because I seriously wanted to put my own spidey suit together.
Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Cristobal Hernandez: It’s just a ton of fun. I would say even overwhelming, but in such a good way. I had my store bought Captain America cosplay and I remember the trailer for Civil War had just come out so I added a note to my shield saying “keep away from spiders” and let me tell you.. I did not expect a tiny piece of paper added to my shield to be such a big hit haha!
I was stopped left and right for photos, people wanting to hold my shield and take pictures with it, it was just so fun. It really warmed my heart because I felt no one would be interested in a cosplayer wearing a store bought costume and the excitement and compliments I got were just too kind.
Happy: Would you consider yourself more of a seamstress or a builder?
Cristobal Hernandez: I have not sewn any of my costumes. I’ve added Kung Fu shoes to my spidey suits which I feel is more of a “building” aspect and I’m planning on starting to make webpacks as well as various props.
I really want to learn how to use EVA foam as well to start building some crazy armored cosplays so if you were to ask me which of the two I see my self becoming it’s most likely a builder. Maybe one day I’ll take a crack at sewing a spidey suit but for now I just feel my direction as a cosplayer leaning more towards builder.
Happy: Anyone who really inspires you?
Cristobal Hernandez: Honestly one of my biggest inspirations for cosplay right now is Hendoart. When she suits up as Spider-Gwen and Mayday Parker she seriously has some of the coolest poses ever. The way she can balance on the tiniest of places seriously gives the illusion that she really is a spider-woman!
My buddy Snowyspidey is also a huge inspiration for me cause he loaned me a spider-suit at one point in time and has constantly helped me improve my poses. He seriously has some crazy and dynamic poses that it makes me want to step my game up. As a spider-man cosplayer that’s huge for me: male or female if you got some sick poses I will be studying you haha!
Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying?
Cristobal Hernandez: I’ve never experienced it my self luckily but I’ve heard of way to many female friends being bullied and harassed at cons. From inappropriate poses, touching, as well as photographs taken without permission, it seriously can be frustrating to see and hear about all of this.
I will say the con community sticks together and I’ve seen security kick people out and even heard of a photographer being banned from a bunch of SoCal cons recently. I think it’s great to see serious action taken but I also think we need to find a way to prevent it all together because Cosplay is not consent and this is a safe space for us to be able to express our selves without fear of being harassed or bullied.
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?
Cristobal Hernandez: Learning how to install shoes into bodysuits, crafting webpacks, and simple things such as touching up shoes or soles that maybe falling off a costume and properly learning how to cut eye holes.
I’m planning on starting to work on costumes involving eva foam so that will be another skill I see adding to my list. I used to like building legos a lot as a kid so I’m not surprised I’m going towards the direction of building armor and props hah!
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?
Cristobal Hernandez: I do videos for my YouTube page as a cosplayer and I have to say it can get a little overwhelming. From having to stop video to pose for photos, then having to run around filming while having a mask on can get intense. Then once a con is done I have to go home and edit the videos as well.
I can say between showing up to the cons, shooting with photographers, hanging out with my friends, filming and then editing it does get overwhelming but to avoid burnout I allow my self breaks. Sometimes that means skipping out on a photoshoot to catch up on editing or to hang out with a friend.
Sometimes it means suiting up and strictly cosplaying without vlogging or filming. Other times it means skipping a con altogether and catching up on some sleep. Cosplay is an art and art does take work. The thing is you have to work at a pace that allows you to continue to enjoy it. If you feel good doing a con every week and shooting a ton then keep going! If you feel your self starting to lose interest then allow your self a break to step back and recharge.
Even with things that you love there will be some hard patches and difficult times. It’s okay to slow down for a bit so you can come back better and stronger!
Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Cristobal Hernandez: Can I say everything?! hahaha! For me it’s bringing the character to life. Spider-Man has been a character I’ve read since I was a kid. I’ve watched so many of the cartoons, read a ton of comics and watched all the movies. When I show up to cons I don’t just like to make sure my suit is on point, I like to make sure my acting is there too.
To so many of the con attendees (especially the kids!) I am in fact spider-man. I like to say silly jokes, dish out horrible puns, get into my crawls and squats and even try and do a bit of a “peter parker” voice to bring that added level. This is truly what I really enjoy the most about cosplaying. When you really bring the character to life it shows in the photographs as well as the interactions with the con goers!
Happy: What is it about cosplaying you dislike?
Cristobal Hernandez: It’s hard but if I gotta be honest some of the technical aspects can be draining. Everything in life has its ups and downs and cosplaying, while fun, does have some of its downs. Installing Kung Fu shoes can be such a hassle and is a very detailed process. With time it gets better but it still takes a bit of effort. Also as a spider-man the posing can sometimes be tough.
From having awareness of the space around you and your body, to having to sink in low into these lunges and squats that sometimes make your knees hurt, it takes a lot. There are some poses I get frustrated with and feel like I just don’t give my all, but much like any sort of physical activity with practice you get better at it and it gets a bit easier. Even with these complaints I honestly love cosplay a ton that it’s easy to get over these minor dislikes.
Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?
Cristobal Hernandez: Because it’s fun and because it brings smiles to the faces of those around you. Honestly it’s that simple for me. No matter how crazy of a week I might have or how tired I can be the minute I suit up I feel alive again knowing I’m about to have a ton of fun and bring a lot of joy to others.
To see all the smiles, hear all the laughs, and hand out all the high fives just keeps me coming back. Bringing joy to others in life is truly its own special reward.
Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intentionally for cosplay?
Cristobal Hernandez: Honestly the kung fu shoes in one of my suits were installed a little awkwardly so when I wear them my feet get insanely sore. I’ve also climbed some really sketchy ledges for the sake of dope spider-man shots that could have ended.. well.. let’s just say bad haha! also: awkward poses. I’ve turned my self into a pretzel and made my knees ache for the sake of looking really dynamic for a shot lol!
Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?
Cristobal Hernandez: I feel like it’s a split between being very welcoming and also having a lot of egos. The people I’ve met have been nothing but kind to me and have helped me grow so much in my short journey so far as a cosplayer. They answer a ton of questions, have helped me improve my cosplay and poses, and lots of them I’ve shot (videos and photos) have been patent and kind and always stoked to have there photo/video taken.
Like with any community though there are always a few bad apples. I’ve met cosplayers who laugh and snicker at peoples costumes because they are store bought or not high quality. I’ve met high level cosplayers who ignored my request for a photo or video because I wasn’t a well known person who could help them gain a ton of followers. I will say the few bad apples don’t ruin the community as a whole though because it’s filled with quality cosplayers.
Happy: What are some of your favorite cosplays you have worn?
Cristobal Hernandez: Oh man it’s hard to decide but I think my top three at the moment are my Captain Deadpool Cosplay which was my old store bought Cap suit which I touched up with a sharpie and used my Deadpool mask with. My second would have to be my deadpool in a bathrobe cosplay. Third goes to my new Ultimate Symbiote Suit because as much as I love the red and blue people lose it when they see a purple symbiote spider-man haha!
Happy: Do you have a dream cosplay you would love to do someday?
Cristobal Hernandez: I have a few but the two biggest on my mind at the moment are a comic book deadpool with full props (guns, katanas, belts, holsters, etc.) and Kid Nova from the new Champions comic series. I’ve also wanted to do an armored Nightwing when I start going after DC Cosplays.
Happy: What was an amazing experience you had in cosplay that you will never forget?
Cristobal Hernandez: Honestly Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con 2016 as a whole was a memorable experience. It was my first time cosplaying as Spider-Man and I had a ton of people swarm me to take photos. I ended up going to an insane marvel meet up where me and my friends helped carry a cosplayers hulkbuster armor across the street.. where we even had to hold up traffic just to get it across lol!
I also went to my first con after party which was a TON of fun and I was part of a massive spider-verse mob that involved a push-up contest, a reenactment of neegans kills in The Walking Dead, and a Take On Me/Marlon Webbs run across the main hall. Seriously that con has a lot of great memories for me.
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?
Cristobal Hernandez: I think the biggest challenge has been learning to be patent with my self. I’ve only really been cosplaying “fulltime” since October of 2016. A lot of my friends have been doing this for 2-5 years now and I just see the quality of the cosplays and the insane poses they nail and sometimes I beat my self up.
I constantly have to remind my self I just started my journey as a cosplayer and for where I’m at I’m making great progress. Eventually with time and effort I can easily get on that level and surpass it. Rome wasn’t build in a day!
Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Cristobal Hernandez: So as much as I said I had a ton of great memories of Stan Lees Los Angeles Comic Con my favorite convention of last year had to be NERDBOT Con. It was the first year ever, it was only $13 bucks to get in and it was LOADED with people and things to do! They had a ton of vendors, they had live music, karaoke, a cosplay contest, and a nerf shooting range…
Plus they had a TON of big cosplayers including D. Piddy, Hip Hop Trooper, Mediocrewallofchina, and Loki Hates You. I mad a lot of great friends that day and shot some really sick videos too! Honestly the bigger cons can learn a lot from this one cause for a first year (and only one day) con they managed to really deliver. I’m looking forward to the second one this year!
Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Cristobal Hernandez: Honestly it’s a tie between San Diego and New York City Comic Con. I keep hearing such amazing things about them and every year I see the photos and how massive the crowd is.. Even if I only go for once it would be amazing because it just seems like one of those things as a cosplayer you have to experience.
My two biggest set backs are 1) I never get online in time to buy SDCC badges and 2) I have to work on my budget to make it out to New York for that one haha!
I honestly feel SDCC happening this year or next and I can’t wait for it cause I know it’s gonna be one of those big time experiences.
Happy: Does any one in your family cosplay? How about close friends? Did you get anyone to cosplay because you were doing it?
Cristobal Hernandez: At the moment I have no family who cosplays and my close friends who do cosplay are the ones who get me into it haha! I’ve got a few friends who have told me they are interested in cosplaying after seeing me and I even had a buddy recently come to me for advice on how to build a Ben Riley/ Scarlet Spider suit!
Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying?
Cristobal Hernandez: My future goals with cosplay at the moment are to just keep building new suits, continuing to attend cons, and continuing to build up my fans and following. I really just feel that the more I do it the more I’ll get better. Plus I have a YouTube channel that I shoot a lot of videos for as Vegan Spider-Man so through cosplaying I can continue to grow and build my YouTube channel and following as well.
My own personal goals outside of cosplay are to continue to grow as a filmmaker by improving the quality of my videos. I also train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and am a blue belt, I want to keep up at the art cause it helps me get in great shape and I plan to teach jiu-jitsu to others as well. I’m also going to obtain my Yoga Certification to teach Yoga. With all of these things I manage to keep my self busy and motivated!
You can find Vegan Spider-Man 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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