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How lucky am I that one of the most renowned cosplayers in the country lives in my own backyard?

Yeah, Leah Rose travels the country going to cons, but Oahu is her home base right now, so I’m lucky enough to be able to see her at every major geek event in town.  Thankfully this past weekend I got a chance to sit down with her at Kawaii Kon and talk about some of her ongoing projects.  Just like at all the other cons I’ve seen her at, her booth was busy pretty much every time that I passed, but she managed to squeeze in a few minutes between chatting with fans to give us the run down on what she’s been up to and what’s coming up next.

One of the things I saw that you do a lot of is body positivity and anti-bullying in the Cosplay community.  I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about what you do in that regard?

You don’t see it as often as you think you will, but when you do see it, it’s really bad.  There are so many other problems in the world and in the community and nerds don’t need to be tearing down other nerds.  A lot of what I do is trying to explain to people and lead by example and say ‘this is us expressing our love for these characters and these creations.’  What you look like, what size you are, and what color your skin is, or what’s hiding in your pants, has nothing to do with the things that you are a fan of. So it should have no reflection of how good your Cosplay is.  It’s a lot of leading by example and a lot of promoting those Cosplayers who don’t ‘fit the mold.’

LeahRose2You’re doing the Rogue project where you’re trying to do every iteration of Rogue. How far are on that and how much more do you have left to go?

I have actually a lot more than I have prints of.  It’s just very few people are as die hard as me so I’m not going to print out every single one. It’s more for myself.  I have about fourteen or fifteen down and about seven or eight to go.  I’m actually pretty close to the end.  It actually slowed down when the whole Daenerys thing took off.  I’m not counting the ones where it’s the same costume with like two different belts.  I’m not counting those.  I’m kind of in that home stretch.  It’s gettin’ real!  I don’t know how to feel about this right now!

How far you on the Daenerys project?

That one is actually coming along really really well.  I have seven of them down and we’ll see how many to go.  It depends on what they do with the show.  I have a couple of original ones in the works.  I’m actually working with Game of Thrones in an official capacity now, which is amazing. I had such a freak-out fangirl moment.  I’m working with them doing local promotions with a really amazing artist that works for the show – Mog Park – and we’re working on a couple of unique things together.  It’s all commission-based, so it really depends on how quickly everyone is able to get back to me and how quickly I’m able to save up the money to afford these costumes that I’m buying.  Normal Cosplay problems.

That’s amazing!  That’s really cool that you get to work on it in an official capacity.  About how many conventions do you attend a year on average?

Oh god. It really depends on the year. Later this year is going to slow down a bit and early next year is going to be a little bit slow, too, just because we’re going to be moving.  I’m probably at about eight a year.  It really depends.

LeahRose3It seems like there’s a lot more conventions locally here this year, too.  

There really are!  It’s crazy.  A bunch of people have been noticing that lately.  It used to be basically that Kawaii Kon was it, and a couple of the little fan events, which are freaking amazing, but they’re not a convention convention.  So now there’s Kawaii Kon, Honolulu Comic Con, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con, and Anime Matsuri. And Hawaii Con on a different island.  Now there’s going to be a gaming con on the Fourth of July weekend on the Big Island also.  It’s crazy. There’s just so much happening here. I love it, though.  The more the community can expand and the more people can get involved the happier I am.

What conventions do you have planned on the mainland?

For the rest of the year the only ones I have set in stone are Phoenix Comic Con, whatever’s coming up in Seattle once we get over there, San Diego Comic Con –

I’ll be there.

Oh really?  Oh my god, you have to come find me.

For sure.

So yeah, Phoenix, San Diego, possibly Tucson Comic Con in November.  I’m going to be doing Wizard World Chicago in August with the Game of Thrones guys.  Aside from that I’m pretty flexible, especially with the move coming up later in the year.

San Diego Comic Con and Honolulu Comic Con are back-to-back this year, too.  So basically you’re doing that and then coming right back home?  So am I.

Oh god, yeah, don’t remind me.  Like I’m basically going to have to make sure that none of my costumes overlap and my bags are packed and sitting by the door for each one so I can just pet my cat, grab my bag, and go.  I’m going to have so much laundry to do.  Oh my god.

LeahRose4Yeah, I feel you.  What costumes are you currently working on?

Right now I’m trying to focus on fixing what I have instead of going with the new stuff.  I need to downsize. I’m getting a little hoarder-esque.  It’s not cute. It’s really not cute.  But I’m working on a couple of different Rogue variations and I’m working on a couple of different Disney princesses.  Actually, I got contacted by Make A Wish Hawaii so I’m pretty much going to be their on call princess for wish granting.  I might have cried reading that email.

So yeah, I’m working on finishing all the Disney princesses I can possibly get, a couple more Rogue variations, and honestly I’m kind of winging it at this point.  I’ve got so much that I have pretty much all but ready and I just need to shoot or wear to an event.  I’m going to give myself a break on creating anything large, focus on fixing and the Daenerys stuff and not do anything too crazy.

Once this convention is done, what’s the next one on your calendar?

Oh my goodness. Actually, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con is coming up really soon. It’s in two months.  I believe Phoenix is just before.  I have about three weeks off.

A little break.

A little break.  Three or four weeks off, then I head to Phoenix and Amazing Hawaii.  And then San Diego and oh my god.

Summer is busy.  I’ll seek you out at San Diego Comic Con. Are you going to be walking around or will you have a booth?

It’s a toss up right now. I’m talking to two different companies.  I’m either going to be with the Hollywood Science Fiction Museum, which I love working with them. I’m such a huge Trekkie.  Or I’m going to be working with Japanime Games.  So one of the two.

I’ll find you.

You’ll find me.

Thanks for the chat, Leah Rose.  I’ll see you at Honolulu Comic Con and San Diego Comic-Con this summer.  And maybe we can commiserate with how exhausted we’ll be having two conventions back-to-back.  Good luck on your projects!

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.

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