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CCM Interview: @TheLadyFriend1

Hello, everyone, and welcome to our CCM Interview Series!

Today, we have a fantastic guest with us, the incredibly talented Katie,

also known as @theladyfriend1 in the cosplay community.

theladyfriend1 avatar

Katie, it's a pleasure to have you here. Can you start by telling us a bit more about yourself and what initially drew you into the world of cosplay?

Like you said, I’m Katie. I cosplay online and that consists of modeling, crafting and creating content around how to cosplay. I was originally drawn into it when I was 17 because I was playing the Arkham City and Asylum games over and over. I was obsessed with the voice acting and the character models so I decided I wanted to be Harley Quinn but not just like a regular Halloween costume, I wanted it to be as accurate as I could get it and I wanted to pretend to be her, so I was doing some practicing with impressions to create the voice too. I even got a haircut to ensure my hair was right. That’s when I realized what cosplay is and oh that’s what I want to do, and it just snowballed from there.

Q. You're quite the content creator, with videos, tutorials, and even a book on cosplaying! Can you give us a sneak peek into what your book is about, and what motivated you to share your knowledge through these various mediums?

My current cosplay book which is free to download focuses on the how and why of incorporating PVC pipes into EVA foam cosplays. There’s just so many benefits between stability to the structure and breaking things down and I felt a video would have been way too long, so I wrote it all out into a quick guide eBook instead. I got motivated because I just love sharing what I know. I spend a lot of time learning new things all the time and I love being able to then share it. Granted you could also say I got motivated to by KamuiCosplay because if it weren’t for their tutorials I never would have learned to craft to begin with and I just loved seeing them share so much information and thus making cosplay such an inclusive space and it kind of inspired me to share my own tips and knowledge. The platforms I chose like books and YouTube come from being a passionate writer and honestly, I have always loved YouTube as a content platform.

theladyfriend1 spider gwen cosplay

Q. One of the things that sets you apart is your willingness to show the entire creative process, including the 'warts and all.' Could you share a memorable example of a cosplay project that had its fair share of challenges, and how you worked through them? What did you learn from that experience?

I think my best warts and all video is the one showing how I made my cosplay bow for Arsenal actually. I started making it with just EVA foam and Worbla and while I was filming testing out the built bow I realized it was floppy and wasn’t holding shape at all because I had to use such thin foam and the Worbla just wasn’t enough to truly hold it and I was like do I stop filming? and I ultimately kept rolling and stared at this bow like, how do I fix this so it’s stable. I suddenly got the idea and had to turn off the camera to run to the hardware store and get thick wire and I cannot remember the gauge size now. But I start rolling again with me carefully trying to peel apart this Worbla and the foam in hopes I can salvage it and I was able to actually. So, I ended up running the wire through the foam and covered the top of it with Worbla since the foam looked so messed up after peeling it and I needed to hide the sins of my mistakes. In the end though it all worked out, I troubleshooted the problem and fixed it and left it in the video and I felt it just helps to teach others seeing that. It lets them realize a mistake doesn’t mean get frustrated and start over. Just take a second to think of how you can possibly fix the problem. It also taught me though not to rule out any materials when crafting, everything is on the table not just foams and fabric.

Q. You mentioned having more projects in the pipeline for October. Can you give us a teaser of what fans can expect? Any exciting cosplay plans or new content on the horizon that you'd like to share?

There are more cosplays to start. I’m hoping to get my Amber Sweet cosplay close to done then and that’s been a big project. I also hope to have a new cosplay shown off for Halloween but that is still more of a secret as to who the character is. New content though should have a book released in October. I am in the post-production phases of a bigger book I am releasing about how to get started working with EVA foam and it’ll be another eBook I put on Ko-Fi and Amazon and then there should be a paperback version too. So that’ll be exciting since I think that is my third book total I have ever released and my second that will be on Amazon.

Q. Engaging with your audience is crucial in the online space. Can you share a memorable fan interaction or feedback that touched you or had a positive influence on your work?

A: I definitely remember, it was Fan Expo Chicago 2023. I was debuting two new cosplays and doing my first solo cosplay panel at that con and I was crazy anxious. One cosplay I debuted was Daisy Mae from Animal Crossing and this teenager was walking with her mom dressed as a character from Animal Crossing. And I could hear the mom telling her “Isn’t that girl also from Animal Crossing” and she was pointing at me and asked her teenager if she wanted to stop and get a picture with me. I remember the kid saying something along the lines of like, no because she thought my cosplay was way cooler, so I stopped dead in my tracks and approached them. I said, “hey can we get a picture, I love your cosplay.” The way she lit up after that honestly kind of made my day and I felt so at ease the rest of the convention after. It had a huge positive influence on me at the con because one, omg you think my cosplay is cool? But also, I got to make someone else feel good about their cosplay and that brought so much joy and motivated me to keep finding more ways to make people feel good in cosplay by continuing to make it inclusive and be uplifting.

Q. Your commitment to making cosplay inclusive is fantastic. Could you elaborate on some of the strategies and principles you employ to ensure inclusivity in cosplay?

One way is accessible and affordable resources. I document almost everything I make so I have a massive library of videos available. I create free eBooks as well as pretty affordable ones for purchase. That way no matter where you are in life you have the resources available to learn what you want for cosplay. I also just avoid gatekeeping myself on accident and well, fighting off gatekeepers. What I mean by accidentally gatekeeping myself is I avoid telling someone things like “you know what character you’d be great at cosplaying…” I never say that to anyone because I got told it a lot by an ex-boyfriend who would only recommend characters based on my skin tone. Now technically I’m Caucasian I just have a darker skin tone because I’m Italian. But it was so frustrating because he just kept putting me into this limited box. It was because of that; I don’t ever say that to cosplayers and instead ask “is there a character you really want to do?” Because I don’t want to impose or gatekeep. I also try to encourage people to cosplay anyone they want. Shape, size, age, skin tone and whatever else doesn’t limit who you can cosplay. I was told by the same ex of course that I can’t cosplay Daneyras Targaryan because of how I looked, and I told him “Watch me.” I am working on that cosplay actually and it will be happening. So, when someone says I’m too old for cosplay, or I don’t look right or even I don’t have the body for cosplay, the first thing I will be doing is telling them, no. Because I constantly want to tell people you can cosplay anyone and welcome them into the community.

Q. In the world of cosplay, there are often role models and sources of inspiration. Are there any cosplayers or creators who have particularly inspired your journey? Any specific cosplays or projects that left a lasting impact on you?

Gosh there’s a lot of those but I think the big two would be KamuiCosplay and ScarredMewtwo. KamuiCosplay inspired me to start crafting between sharing Svetlana’s first cosplays to show it’s ok to be a beginner. But also, just sharing all her wisdom got me so inspired and motivated to go do it too and I did and now I’m just in love. ScarredMewtwo though inspired me recently to consider finally competing. I do have plans for that in the works currently. He talks a lot about competing on his TikTok and one video he made was about, competing isn’t just to compete. He talked about how a competition date can help give you a deadline if you want to push yourself to finish a project, how you make so many friends competing but also the aspect of getting feedback from competing. And that just like, yeah, I want feedback, that is a great point. So now I’ve been making countless plans to compete because of him.

Q. As a cosplayer who both crafts and shops for cosplay materials, do you have any favorite crafting tips or shopping hacks that you'd like to share with our viewers, especially those new to cosplay?

Shopping tip, vet it out first. I shop from a variety of places like Amazon, MicCostumes and even Etsy but usually I pour quite a bit of time researching sellers and reviews before deciding on a purchase.

Crafting tips probably would be: Don’t limit your materials. I love finding stuff that isn’t just foam or fabric. I even did a panel on “Exploring Unique Mediums in Cosplay” because there is so much out there if you just look around. I sometimes will just walk around a hardware store or craft store with a piece in mind and wait for stuff to jump out at me.

Also, a bonus hack because it’s my favorite: PIT PADS. I bought these reusable pit pads to wear under my cosplays to keep the stink and stains away while at cons and it was the best $17, I ever spent. I am a sweaty person and cosplays get hot easily so, big ol’ recommend them under cosplays to avoid staining.

Q. Cosplay often involves becoming a character for a while. Is there a specific character you've cosplayed as that challenged you to step outside your comfort zone or adopt a different personality while in costume?

I think any cosplay where I show a lot of skin or midriff can get me out of my comfort zone. I technically am not a plus size cosplayer but my weight for me personally has fluctuated a lot. I am the heaviest and least fit I have ever been in my life, and it often becomes a challenge to do cosplays like my Jason Vorhees gender bend which has a cropped top. I just get really self-conscious; it was the same thing when I first started wearing Lycra suits. Usually, I hold out for that first compliment though on the cosplay to get me out of the self-conscious mind and let that carry me through the day.

Q. Your work involves sharing tips and tutorials with the cosplay community. Can you recall a specific tutorial or piece of advice you've provided that received an especially positive response or helped someone significantly in their cosplay journey?

My Daisy Mae video tutorials actually, I got a comment from someone about how they can finally make their own Daisy Mae cosplay thanks to the videos I had and that was so great. Someone else is going to be able to create the character now because I made resources available. How freaking cool is that!?

Q. Cosplay conventions and events are known for their vibrant and diverse communities. Can you share a memorable moment or interaction from a convention that left a lasting impression on you, whether it was heartwarming, funny, or simply unforgettable?

So, this one is funnier. It was C2E2 2022. I was there as Spider-Gwen and I often spend time with my brother or stepdad at C2E2 so I was walking with them. We passed a Spiderman cosplayer who was carrying a Halloween skeleton dressed up as Gwen Stacy… and I saw it and we locked eyes and I just dropped to the floor without even thinking. People were gathering around cracking up and taking pictures and telling me not to get up. So, I didn’t think I just did and that was really funny. There’s more to this story though. I had just gotten a new large back tattoo maybe like two days prior. So, when I hit the floor, I landed kind of hard on it and it HURT. So, everyone’s telling me not to move and I am just thinking to myself, “can’t move anyways it hurts so bad” and I could tell from my stepdad's face that he knew I hit the tattoo. So, he eventually got me back on my feet and I was fine the rest of the day, but it was just so awesome to have this random character moment with someone with no thought or planning for it.

theladyfriend1 spider gwen cosplay

Q. Looking ahead, do you have any long-term goals or dreams within the world of cosplay, such as collaborations, larger projects, or specific characters you aspire to bring to life in the future?

Long term goal is always the same one, and it is to make, in its entirety, a screen accurate cosplay of the Nightingale armor and bow from Skyrim. It’ll take a lot of time, technique, money and skill and thus it is a huge project that I want to one day make happen. It’s one of my favorite armor sets from the game and Skyrim is my all-time favorite.

Content goals would definitely be planning out some more books for sure. I also would really like to start doing more collaborations since I haven’t done any and there’s so many cosplayers, I have like… “friend crushes” on that would be a dream come true to cosplay with.

Q. Before we wrap up, Katie, please let our viewers know where they can follow you and stay updated on your upcoming projects, tutorials, and content. And do you have any final words of encouragement or advice for aspiring cosplayers or fellow creators in the community?

You can find me on any social media platform as TheLadyFriend1.

I mostly do content on YouTube under that alias. Or I do have a website where you can also find my books and content which is

Other advice would be just do it. Cosplay is fun and even if you’re not perfect at it, be a part of cosplay, do not let perfection stop you.

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