For today's cosplay interview, I decided to go with a blast from the past. With the help of the always beautiful Harley Quinn, we were able to salvage her interview that we first did together when I first started this blog. So, let us enjoy the one and only Harley Quinn,
1.What is your name and where are you from?
I'm known online as Princess Bee or Clowny Princess but my name is Elise and I'm from Australia.
2.How did you discover cosplay?
Just from being online the concept seeped in. Although I was aware that many folks dressed as their favourite characters, the whole culture of cosplay I wasn't familiar with until I rejoined the HQ fandom after a hiatus and began poking around on deviantART as I began to pursue the VERY long-held dream of dressing up as HQ.
I mean, I'd wanted a HQ costume for years and years but the term 'cosplay' was new to me, as was all the associated community. I mainly conceptualised it as crazy Sailor Moon fans who'd been reported to Fandom Wank and hardcore Star Trek and Star Wars fans and maybe some others from other big fandoms.
I got very excited when I began to realise just how big a scene cosplay was and how committed people were because I saw in that commitment my own passion for Harley and yet another means to express it! After I attended my first geek con here in Oz and saw all the folks there in costume, I was totally 100% hooked. And just from 'socialising' online in cosplay commuities I became aware of how extensively and diversely people cosplayed and I fell in love with the whole wonderfully self-indulgent, creative, playful nature of it.
3.What is it about Harley Quinn that makes you love her so?
This is actually really difficult for me to define absolutely. I can speak about it in various ways but never feel like I do it justice – and certainly not in a concise way! ;)
There has always been something about her that resonated with me very deeply. Maybe there is even a little destiny in it – the first time I ever saw her was when I was channel surfing and it was the look of her that made me stop, her voice that made me sit down to watch and her playful wickedness that hooked me.
We have a lot of similar character traits and interests and aspects to our personality – a friend's boyfriend once remarked to her that I sometimes am “more Harley than Harley” - even in terms of being “little big girls” and needing a certain dynamic in our relationships.
Being a hopeless romantic with a very passionate and devoted streak, Harley's love story with the Joker is also a big connection point for me. Its twisted hopelessness touches me on a very deep level and I think it's often misunderstood. I try to raise a bit more awareness of it at www.jokerxharley.com
But I also love Harley's determination, free-spiritedness and ultimately, her faith in herself. She gets knocked down but she always gets up again. She is often underestimated and taken for granted, to devastating effect on those foolish enough to do so. There's a lot going on under the blue eyes but she's canny enough to pretend there isn't, and work that to her advantage. She has a huge heart and a well-intentioned nature but also has a genuinely cruel and selfish side.
I guess, to put it in a nutshell, what I love about Harley so much is her humanity, and how that humanity reflects my own manifestation of it so much.
4.Have you ever cosplayed anyone else?
Haha, always I get this question! No, no I haven't.
There are a LOT of other characters I would love to cosplay as, either because I identify with them or just love their costumes, but none for the same reasons I cosplay as Harley and why I'm so devoted to cosplaying Harley. For me, cosplaying another character would be about achieving as perfect as possible a recreation of that character and to do that I have to be willing to put in the hard yaks, the money, the time, the effort – and no character inspires me to that level of devotion like Harley does.
THAT said – I AM doing movieverse Watchment Silk Spectre I this coming weekend at a con – Sally Jupiter was actually the first character to occur to me to cosplay after Harley. I get her and the costume is gorgeous. It came about sort of unexpectedly - a friend of mine makes the most exquisite reproduction of the costume I've yet seen so I asked to borrow hers. She said she could just make me one pretty quickly and quoted an amazing price so I took her up on it.
And I have got a few other idle plans. If I do end up cosplaying the list of characters I am interested in, it will happen slowly over many years. I will only be doing Sally for a few hours on a Friday night as it is – I am very committed to HQ cosplay and very much devoted to my association as an individual to my HQ cosplay – I don't want any other cosplay I may do to interfere with that.
5.How does it feel to be recognized when you are out and about?
Do you mean when I am in HQ cosplay? As myself or as Harley?
Well, to have people come up and get excited to see 'Harley Quinn' is really amazing and rewarding and gives me an incredible warm, delighted feeling, especially to engage with people in character and see them smile and enjoy it. I feel like I've succeeded in what I set out to do which is provide a fantasy-illusion for others – and for myself! That fantasy of 'being' Harley.
When people come up to me when I'm in cosplay and recognise me as 'me', Elise? That's kinda surreal to be honest, but very awesome and so far everyone has been super nice! XD
6.I know you read Batman comics, but do you have any other favorite titles?
I refer to myself as a 'limited capacity geek'. It is something I am a little embarrassed of, that my geekiness is quite limited in focus to primarily just the world of Batman.
The truth is I don't have much time for more than one fandom and I invest a lotta energy in this fandom! XD Also, because of my obsessive-compulsive streak, I have a few pedantic issues with hopping into a fandom free-floating. I actually began comics reading with X-Men, but I found that the knowledge of all these hundreds of stories that had already happened, all this continuity I knew nothing about, just drove me a little batty. Knowing I could probably never have them all was too much!
My love for HQ and the Joker was enough to overcome this compulsive streak, but it has to be sated in other ways – for example, I can reconcile not having every single issue of Batman EVER, SO LONG AS I have every issue the Joker & Harley have been in ever. It's a manageable goal and mostly satisfies my completionist side. Also, because they've had shorter runs, I limit my 'must have every issue ever' fixation to the animated Batman titles.
I also do collect the Secret Six – it was nice and easy because it only began last year which means I have them all from issue one, mwauhahahaha, ahhhh beautiful continuity! ♥
I have also enjoyed the Ninja Turtles comics, X-Men, Hellboy and some other stuff I really don't read with any regularity. I'm sure there are bunches of comics I'd love if I got stuck into them – I've always been intrigued by Dawn.
7.What are your plans for the future?
Cosplay wise or just generally?
Cosplay wise I wish to continue improving my Harley Quinn cosplay and continue to be the best Harley Quinn I can be... to do this I continue my physical training and costume development and just trying to come up with new and exciting things to do in terms of telling stories and such. I want to continue to build my profile as a HQ cosplayer and hopefully continue to bring her alive in a way that others enjoy and can engage with. Continue to go to cons, travel more overseas and such. I would love to make my work in all things HQ professional someday somehow, but I'm not sure what shape that could take... though I have a few ideas! :)
As for more general plans, well... I've got a few big dreams and working to make them happen. If I started going into it, it woould take all day! XD
8.How often do you come to the states to cosplay?
Uh, never! San Diego Comic Con this year (2010) will be my first ever time! I wish I could come over a whole lot more as I also just generally love the States. Unfortunately, it is a huge expense so it takes a lot of planning and preparation. One day, when I'm independently wealthy (having made my fortune somehow through Harley Quinn, lol...)... ;)
9.Where do you like to show off your costumes the most?
In contexts where the folks around me will appreciate them. Those who recognise the character and are excited by cosplay – so, my fellow geeks! :D You get the most meaningful interactions with other people who are into the same things you are and who love the character as well. So, mainly cons and other geek-related events! ^_^
Harley's costume is so striking I find it gets a really positive response pretty much everywhere, people get really excited and intrigued by it, but those who know the character are always way, way more enthusiastic and there's a greater sense of connection. I ♥ geeks!!
10.What are your other passions besides cosplay, Harley, and Mr. J?
I love performing – at the moment I am primarily performing as a burlesque artist and stripper, but I am working on building a Marilyn Monroe impersonation act as well as looking to pursue a general career in acting. In addition to this, I harbour a desire to work in the circus one day (relatively soon...) and to this end I am training in clowning, sideshow stunts and trapeze artistry.
I'm pretty politically-minded too, on a radical social justice level. I'm a champion of almost evey underdog you can imagine! ;)
I have a deep love of vintage fashion and try to dress vintage every day. My favourite period is the 30s – early 60s. I can get pretty emotional over beautiful clothes and shoes. XD
And apart from that, spending great quality time with my friends and family, going to events and shows that are exciting, interesting, stimulating and unique, travelling whenever I can (never often enough!) dancing and just generally having fun, being a good and kind person and living each day to the full with a mind both in the now and towards the future!
That site is a portal to my cosplay, my website devoted to JokerxHarley, my Joker-focused blog and the website I am perhaps best known for, Harley's Haven, which has been running for close to fourteen years. It also includes links to my facebook, twitter, deviantART, fanfiction and the like. :)