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Interview with Metamorphica Cosplay (Living with limitations)

This week we chat to Metamorphica Cosplay who as well as being a long term cosplayer, having cosplayed for 20 years, we talk about her health limitation which can hinder but talk about her she rises above it.

What got you into cosplay?

I’ve always had a love of costume and sewing (I have a degree in fashion design) and it was a Halloween fancy dress party at university that started it all as I decided to make a costume of a character id fallen in love with – Catwoman from Batman Returns. Shortly after that I attended my first convention and found a world where dressing up as your favourite character could be done at any time of the year!

How do you explain cosplay to friends/family member who don’t know this hobby?

If a friend says they are a fan of a particular sport, I’ll say, you know how you buy the replica kit of your favourite player and wear it to matches to support that team and player and represent your love for that sport? That’s similar to cosplay. We wear the outfits of characters we love to show our passion for that particular subject.  Some go further and research how the costume was made so they can recreate it themselves. To them, that shows their love and respect for the design of the character, not just that character itself.

Otherwise, I just say, it’s a creative way of expressing love for a film or game or comic or whatever the subject source. You get to pretend to be your favourite character for a few hours and socialise with like-minded fans.  I always say don’t knock it, till you’ve tried it!

How long have you been cosplaying for?

Showing my age here, but my first costume above was made in 1997………so that would be over 20 years! I remember a time before worbla, eva foam, and cheap lace front wigs 😀

Can you remember your first cosplay and what it was like to be in it?

My first proper cosplay was the Catwoman cosplay, I wore to a HUGE hotel convention in 1998. I entered the masquerade competition and came first in the movies category.  Remember going on stage and being blinded by the lights (as it was a proper stage above the audience) It was only after that i was told one of the guest actors had got out of his chair and bowed down on his knees to me (luckily it coincided with me saying ‘ Meow’ into the mic 😀 )
The whole evening I wore it, I was asked for photos and strangers would chat to me about the costume and their love for the character and film. I felt amazing wearing it and it got me hooked.

What has been your favourite cosplay and why?

Oh, this is a hard one as I’ve had so many favourites over the years for so many different reasons.  Callisto (from Xena Warrior Princess) for being my first major build and getting photographed with the actress who played her, Liara T’Soni for getting me into special effects makeup and meeting so many wonderful fellow Mass Effect fans as well as the actor/performers Mark Meer and Rana McAnear.  Maleficent for the fun of wearing a character little children want pics with..also scare them hahaha, Morrigan for the challenge of her ball gown costume and feeling so regal and Flemeth for my first major armour costume and feeling of bad-assness!

I believe you have a medical condition. Explain to us what it is and how it affects you in your daily life?

I do, in fact, I have a few. The main ones I have are Fibromyalgia and Hypothyroidism. Without going into much detail as I could be here all day, they are very similar in symptoms. Basically, they involve chronic pain, fatigue, anxiety and it causes depression and stress can be very detrimental. People don’t think of ‘stress’ as being bad but it’s all hormones and chemicals in the body and mess those around, it messes everything badly.  The latter condition is quite serious as I have to take hormone replacement medication and not taking it could kill me.
It affects every day of my life. I don’t actually remember a time where I wasn’t in some sort of pain, somewhere. It also sets off other issues related to them like migraines, tension headaches, ibs, skin sensitivity, eye issues, allergies, etc. Just look up symptoms of hypothyroidism and the list is huge.

With pain levels, after a while, the body and mind become adjusted to that level and you just carry on at a level of pain that would probably floor a healthy person. So when you see me in complaining I’m in pain, it’s bad.  

You have to plan your day ahead as you only have a limited amount of energy to work with and doing too much can have a knock on effect to the next day and so forth. Cold weather can set off a ‘flare’ (a sudden increase of symptoms) so I have to be very careful in cold and wet weather.

I had to quit working due to it, I even had my own costume making business but sadly the depression and stress took to much of a toll on me and I had to stop.

Luckily I have a very supportive partner who helps me cope with everyday life.

How does this affect you to cosplay?

It’s affected how much I can do in my hobby. I used to be able to knock 4 or 5 costumes out a year, I’m lucky I can manage 1 or 2. Due to not being able to work, I have to budget carefully what I can do and it’s another reason costumes I make might take longer to do as I slowly buy the materials needed. I also have to look at a costume and work out if I can physically manage wearing it. For example. Maleficent. I know I couldn’t wear any of her winged costumes as it would cause too many issues with my shoulders having a harness on, even a very light one (I’ve done a winged costume a long time ago, so know the issues involved). My body shape has also changed a lot due to medication and the hypothyroidism, the latter controlling metabolism itself. So I’ve gained weight because of both of them. I know anyone can cosplay anything, but I choose to cosplay what I feel confident and comfortable in. So skimpy costumes are also off the table for me now.  
As mentioned above cold weather can affect me so I have to be very careful at conventions and shoots when it’s cold as that can trigger a flare which means I may not be able to then do the next day of an event.  Warm costumes are a must!
At events, I often run off adrenaline and endorphins (because cosplay gives me both of those)  and crash hard after the event is over. What people see at events isn’t me in everyday life.

We talked about how this affects you but how do you not let it affect you?

I don’t let it stop me enjoying myself or doing the hobby i love, i just have learnt how to manage my health whilst at events and whilst in costume.

Cosplay for me is a form of therapy both physical and mental. I get out and am active, I socialise with friends and meet new people, the endorphins I make whilst out in costume keeps me going.
As for making cosplay costumes, I don’t rush them now, if one gets made in time for an event – brilliant! If it doesn’t I don’t stress about it anymore. I make sure I have the comfiest shoes possible for the character as there will be a lot of standing, though I make sure I have access to somewhere to sit if need be. I take plenty of immunes boosting supplements before an event and so far I’ve not come down with ‘con crud’ since. I always take painkillers, ice pads, and heat pads with me to events so I can soothe any issues after a day in costume and my partner is very helpful in looking after me too.

Money is no object, which cosplay and location you love to shoot at?

I’ve been very fortunate to live in a country (Wales) with loads of castles, so the location wasn’t an issue when it came to fantasy cosplays. But I would have LOVED to have shot in the London Westminster station, Canary Wharf or the O2 Dome, with my Liara costume as they are SO futuristic and would have made the most amazing backdrops. Now though as that costume is sadly retired. I think when I get my Maleficent christening gown done, to be shot inside a castle main hall, fully decked out with candlelight like Hever or Warwick castle would be amazing.

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