Editor’s Note: Reel 360 has always been dedicated to and inspired by creators. From filmmakers to advertising creatives to writers to musicians to producers to editors and more, we celebrate great work. Period. Now we have entered the world of cosplay.
Given what has happened last year (and even this year) with the pandemic, so much artistic work has gone unnoticed or shelved. One expression we have always admired and now decided to celebrate is the art form of Cosplay. You see them at all of the Comic-Cons and Wizard Worlds and even Times Square and Hollyweird Boulevard. From Supergirl to Optimus Prime. Artists who embody the characters we have come to love. And the really good Cosplayers rival studio system costume designers.
No that’s not Emilia Clarke’s Khaleesi you see walking down the streets of Arizona. It’s cosplayer and creator Brooke Le. She tells Reel 360 that her love for comics, the world of DC (Yeah girl!), the Mother of Dragons, designing, and drawing all collided when she jumped into cosplay!
There’s also this slight obsession with Game of Thrones.
Her love for the craft of cosplay clearly translates from her imagination to reality which is why we are featuring her this week.
“My love for building armor and props has emerged at the forefront of my projects, as well as my love for designing my own characters or versions of established characters!”
Brooke says she finds confidence, empowerment and joy through her cosplay and hopes others can see them as well and gain a little something for themselves.
We had a chance to sit down with the Mother of Dragons and find out more.
How did you discover cosplaying?
I have followed cosplayers on social media since high school, and always admired the creativity, craft and skill required to bring beloved characters to life with such intricacy, but I was VERY intimidated to start myself-there’s so much to learn.
But after watching Game of Thrones, I felt such a connection to Daenerys’ character within the first few episodes I knew she was the perfect one to start with; plus, making her Dothraki outfit was far less intimidating than starting with a full armor build.
Why do you cosplay?
I cosplay because it brings me joy and empowerment- it’s a creative outlet for me in which I get to tell the stories of characters I love through my work, as well as tell little pieces of my own story in every project I do. Cosplay is limitless in a way- it’s led into me returning to my other artistic love of drawing and designing characters- and now I get to bring my own concepts to life too!
What was your first cosplay costume?
The first costume I ever made was Daenerys’ season 1 Dothraki look! My first true armor build was the New 52 version of Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl.
If someone told you they hated your cosplay, how would you react?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if I’m not someone’s cup of tea so be it! However, I think it’s important to remember that creating in any sense is very personal, and there’s a person behind every account and cosplay.
Unless someone is explicitly asking for feedback or constructive criticism, I suggest not making any negative comments. Cosplay is a form of self-expression and a way to have fun after all!
Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Artemis of Bana-Mighdall is my favorite-I don’t know if she qualifies as a hero, but she’s an all around badass. An Amazon with a axe of the gods larger than her? What’s not to love? She’s a little rough around the edges with a hidden gentle heart, and she’s unapologetic about who she is. And I love that!
My other favorite who’s been my favorite for YEARS is Black Canary- she’s a true hero and fighter, and I love her attitude and resolve. These are two characters who you’ll see a lot in my work, over and over again!
Do you prefer to work alone or with others?
It depends! I love collaborating with other people on concepts and team ups, but in terms of the actual hands on work I prefer to do that without another cook in the kitchen so to speak.
Do you prefer sewing, armor making or wig working?
Absolutely armor making, hands down! Sewing is something I really would like to improve upon, but I just don’t enjoy it very much. Wig work lands somewhere in the middle of the two!
Give us a Cosplay pet peeve?
Gatekeeping in the community- there’s a lot of toxicity and competition between cosplayers, especially over popular characters. I think we need to step away from the idea of a character being someone’s character, and be excited when we find someone who loves a character as much as we do! It can make it hard for people to join the community over fear of being bashed for their cosplay, especially when first starting out.
Not everyone has the same circumstances or access to supplies/time/money to put into their projects as others, but that doesn’t make their cosplay any less valid. If you buy your cosplays, you’re valid. If you thrift, still valid. If you closet cosplay? Hell yeah, you’re valid. We’re all fans expressing our love for characters who’ve made an impact on us- I think we need to remember that!
What’s with the Khaleesi obsession?
Haha! As I mentioned above, Daenerys is the character who pushed me to finally jump into cosplay after years of watching from the sidelines. While I may not live in Westeros or have dragons (my tattoos are the closest I’ll get!), I related to Dany’s journey deeply- her struggle and fight to believe in herself, especially with what she’s been through, drew me in. My moniker is a homage to those parallels to my own life and empowerment, as well as a nod to her being my first cosplay!
Have you ever met Emilia Clarke?
No, I wish!
How did you feel about Game of Thrones ending?
I am one of the few who falls somewhere in the middle. To me, it felt rushed, and obviously the ending was emotionally taxing for all the watchers, but especially the Dany fans. I understood the commentary they wanted to make with the close of season 8, but it didn’t quite land for me. Like many other Daenerys fans and cosplayers, I wish we’d gotten a happier ending for our queen, but that isn’t exactly GoT’s style.
We love your Green Lantern? Give us your dream cast, besides yourself, for the Green Lantern series on HBO Max
Wow thank you!!! If I got to be GL Dinah Lance, I’m going to go with…
Hal Jordan- Antony Starr; love him on The Boys and would love to see him in a more heroic role of James Marsden has a great look for Hal!
John Stewart- John Boyega- I would love to see him in the world of DC!!
Jessica Cruz- Zelina Vega; her Jessica Cruz cosplay blew my mind!
Arisia Rrab- Julianne Hough; she just fits Arisia’s look so perfectly.
Tell us about your first ‘Con
My first con as a cosplayer was actually November 2019! It was a blast- since I had just jumped into the community and it was a local con I didn’t meet up with anyone but my bf and I had a fantastic time walking around and enjoying the experience.
I was dressed as Mia Smoak from CW’s Arrow accidentally-I was going for a casual Artemis Crock look from Young Justice, but ended up running into a Green Arrow and we got a couple fun pics. I dug through comic bins for a long while, and came home with a few from Teen Titans.
Horror Cosplay Story
I don’t really think I have one, other than pieces breaking mid shoot or sweating off my adhesive for my masks in the Arizona heat, haha! Luckily my partner is incredibly helpful, and he was able to help me hide the broken pieces mid shoot.
Funniest Cosplay Story
Honestly I think my funniest one so far is probably during a shoot with one of my friends, @rebirth_into_an_antihero (photographer courtex.studios), where we had come up with a Red Hood/Ravager storyline, but most of the photos involved us looking serious and we just couldn’t hold it together. We did end up getting all the shots, but there’s a few of fantastic bloopers of us losing it. I’ve included one in the attached photos.
What are your three Top 3 crafting tips?
1. You are going to mess up and that is not only ok, it’s expected. I have thrown so many pieces away that just didn’t work out. If possible, always get a little more supplies than you think you’ll need so if you do mess up you already have what you need to start over!
2. YouTube has an INCREDIBLY vast amount of tutorials- chances are if you’re wondering how to do something, you’ll find some guides/answers there. I always try to watch a few tutorials before trying something new!
3. Don’t let imperfection stop you from enjoying the process. No matter how perfect something looks on social media, I promise you there are flaws, because we’re only human- so many of my projects have things I wish didn’t turn out the way they did or duct tape on the inside to keep pieces of the costumes stable-on movie sets they have multiple people in charge of ONE aspect of a costume; multiple teams all work together (make up, wig styling, SFX, costume designers, concept artists, etc.) to create what you see on screen.
You’re one person, and you’re doing ALL of those jobs- you may also be doing the job of photographer and editor! Remember that!
Follow Brooke by her Cosplay name TattedKhaleesi here.