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.
Given what has happened 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.
One of those is Laney Feni.
Laney has been cosplaying for about six years now. She tells Reel 360 that she has always been nerdy (is there anything hotter than a beautiful geek?).
Laney works with a charity called Hope for Henry Foundation, which has reinvented how hospitals care for seriously ill children and their families through innovative programs that entertain, reduce stress and empower children to be active participants in their own care.
“We dress up like superheroes and try to make kids smile who have long stays in the hospital. Fitness plays a strong role in my life as does my passion for cosplay,” she tells Reel 360.
Laney told us about her cosplay beginnings, “I used to dress up a lot as a kid, and I’m not talking princesses or barbies. I loved Phantom of the Opera so I would wear the cape and mask while shopping with my mom.”
Laney adds that her “dressing up” only grew stronger as she got older and became a professional vampire at a theme park. She loves DC comics, loud screamy metal music, leather jackets, red lipstick, and my dog, Tula.
How did you discover cosplaying?
My cousin, Jason Evans, who cosplays as superman was like, “you look alot like supergirl we need to go to a con together.” So we did and I’ve been hooked since.
What was your first cosplay?
Black Canary, the standard “I want to cosplay but don’t know how to make things so I’ll use whatever is in my closet” cosplay. I just so happen to be blonde and have a lot of black clothes in my closet. I also have always REALLY LOVED Dinah Lance.
What are your next 3 cosplay plans?
A new Supergirl (obviously).. and two different types of Wonder Woman/ Wonder girl.
Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?
I’ve been in a couple but never won. They always make me really nervous so I don’t do it often. I have definitely judged more contests than I have been in them.
Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
I hate wearing wigs. I’ve somehow got away with gluing most things so definitely not sewing. I would say worbla/foam armor making is my favorite part about cosplay. Getting to mold it to your own body and paint it however you want is so fun.
What’s the obsession with Supergirl?
HAH! It is quite the obsession isn’t it? I actually think I like the bat family more than supes family, but let’s not tell anyone that.. I really just relate most to Supergirl. I think out of all the superheroes, I look most like her.
She has great hair, is a little angsty, has an older annoying cousin, has a love story, is kind of sassy, enjoys learning, and also knows how to take care of herself. She probably also listens to pop punk.
What’s your Kryptonite?
Cheese! I’m seriously lactose intolerant, but I love it so so much.
Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
Both. At location shoots you can look your best without being all sweaty from walking around the con all day. The background and lighting will always be better at a location shoot and you can take your time to get the perfect shot.
Con shoots are always more stressful, but you can leave the halls and find a spot that might have a cool backdrop. At cons I get to shoot with photographers I don’t normally get to see so it’s cool to get another lens perspective.
Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Usually of the strong, blonde, independent woman type :). I’ve also done a lot of gender bends, as long as they are blonde. I mostly read DC comics, with a few marvel here and there, so most of my cosplays are DC.
Do you have any favorite cosplayers?
MaidofMight, Sharonrosecosplay, cutiepiesensei, dynamitewebber, soo many more.
What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
I feel like Aquaman because I learned how to do worbla (material) for the first time on that costume. Figuring out how to cut out each individual triangle out of foam to make it look just like his and then keeping them in place under the worbla… woof.
I took myself to the ER after trying to make my first weapon (my trident) when the expanding foam got in my lungs from dremeling indoors. Also, my dark/evil Supergirl wings were the BIGGEST pain.
What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Don’t be afraid to try things out, trial and error is how you make the best art. Don’t wait until the day before a con to finish (easier said than done..). Take your time, patience is key.
A lot of times I want to rush and I will free hand something and then I have to go back and redo it because it looks like crap. Use rulers, SHARP Xacto knives, cement barge, and a heat gun. Give plenty of time to let things dry!
What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?
Probably Supergirl because the kids love Supergirl and kids are the best part about cosplay.
What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
Definitely involves a “cosplay is not consent” type of a situation. To keep it PG let’s just say a group of guys put their hands in places they shouldn’t have. It totally ruined the entire convention for me. I went home and stayed away from cons for a while.
What’s your funniest cosplay story?
One time I cosplayed as the bat who laughs and I waited in line to get my comics signed by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Everyone was told not to take photos and put their phones away. When I got to Scott he said, “oh you’re the girl I follow on instagram!” and pulled his phone out and we all took a selfie together 🙂
If there is a replacement for Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, the Reel 360 team of geeks definitely votes for Laney Feni.