There are many talented models and performers who bring their love & enthusiasm to dressing up as their favorite characters. Comic Book Critic will occasionally showcase a performer who embodies this spirit of cosplaying.
Whether it’s creating the costume from scratch, altering the appearance of an existing one, or just getting into character, these performers spend a lot of time and effort on their craft. As much as we all enjoy seeing our favorite fictional characters represented in real life, let’s not forget the behind-the-scenes work that goes into that portrayal.
One thing is for certain though, their love of cosplaying shines through in their work.
The Comic Book Critic Featured Cosplayer Interview is:
Holly Brooke From California
Holly Brooke has been busy creating costumes and attending conventions for over the last six years. Pulling from her interests in many different genres, she’s created costumes ranging from Sailor Moon & Morrigan Aensland to Lady Ghost Rider & Harley Quinn.
Holly has a degree in Biology and is currently attending veterinary school, but she still manages to find the time to share her love of cosplay with her many fans. We were able to catch up with her and find out a little more about Holly Brooke.
When did you begin cosplaying and what gave you the desire to keep doing it?
My mother had been making me Halloween costumes since I was 2 weeks old, I spent most of my summers at my grandmother’s house sewing, and my father had exposed me to a lot of superheroes as a kid. It was sort of the perfect recipe for a cosplayer. I found myself making costumes and playing dress up as regularly as possible, and then I attended my first convention in 2009 (in costume even!), and have been sinking deeper and deeper into the cosplay world ever since. I continue to do it because it lets me escape the demands of real life!
Do you create all the costumes you wear?
I certainly did not make all of my own things when I first started dressing up. In high school and the years shortly after, a lot of the costumes I wore for Halloween and other events were more “closet cosplays”, or heavily aided by my mother’s amazing seamstress skills. For the past few years I have been making all of my own costumes. My friend Keith of Keroga Forge, that I’ve known since forever, is amazing at prop building and showers me in amazing props too!
What are some of your favorite comics?
I’m definitely a DC person. I enjoy the feel and characters of DC more, and I find their villains and female characters more interesting. I have been an avid batman fan for as long as I can remember.
Do you play a lot of video games and which take up most of your time?
I used to play a lot more, but now with demands of vet school I don’t get to play as much as I’d like to. In general I enjoy fighting games and puzzle games. I’m not very good at first person shooters, unless I’m in an arcade…then I’m kind of the shit! Right now I have been playing the Metroid Prime Trilogy.
Did you consider yourself a nerd or geek while growing up, and do you do so now?
Like a lot of kids from my generation I grew up on BTAS, STAS, Toonami and other generally nerdy things. I never really thought anything of it, and didn’t classify myself as a nerd or geek. In middle school I was very academic, played violin, and was a member of rocket club. This was the time in my life when I realized I was nerdy, and I was picked on a lot. In high school I did my best to not be classified as a nerd. Although I ditched rocket club, I sewed most of my clothes and had a lot of superhero themed outfits and a Batman backpack.
So what do your non-cosplay friends think of your cosplaying?
It’s definitely weird to have people you know in real life comment on your cosplay. When someone from school or work comments on my costuming I generally get pretty embarrassed. Fortunately most people are really supportive!
What’s your biggest motivation to keep creating new costumes?
My biggest motivation is probably just seeing all the great work other cosplayers are doing. It makes me want to improve and create bigger and better costumes!
How do you find the time to create your costumes, go to school, work, and do all the other things you enjoy?
This is one of the biggest challenges of cosplay, the other being the finances. I try not to put a due date on a costume so that I can continue to enjoy making them without getting stressed about finding the time to complete it.
Do you have any favorite Cons that you attend?
Some of my favorite conventions are Wondercon, Wizard World Sacramento, Big Wow Comic Fest, and Sac Anime. I’m really looking forward to attending a new con in my hometown of Fresno called ZappCon.
What’s one of your most memorable moments while in costume?
One of the most embarrassing and memorable moments I had while in costume was when I was wearing Harley Quinn to SDCC. I had been doing this crazy hammer pose all day and eventually I ripped the seam across my butt! Good thing I was sitting in a line the rest of the day anyhow!
Have you ever had any bad experiences with people while cosplaying?
Of course, there are always people that don’t understand why I choose to cosplay. I try not to dwell on it though.
What do you feel about those who claim some women ‘over-sexualize’ their cosplaying?
I have nothing against it. Cosplay is about expressing yourself and being as creative as you want to be. I would never say anything negative about how anyone chooses to express themselves.
Do you have other cosplayers that you admire?
What do you feel about how cosplaying is quickly becoming much more mainstream?
It’s nice not to have to explain what cosplaying is to people! But in all honesty, it’s a hobby. If other people enjoy the same hobby as me it really doesn’t affect how I’m enjoying it. Now there are just more people to dress up with, and more great costumes!
What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
Do your research before you start buying supplies and constructing! Save yourself the money and heartache. Google is your friend!
Do you currently have any works in progress?
I have half made versions of Batgirl and Jill valentine in my kitchen as we speak!
I admire the fact that you work with wildlife and further conservation efforts, what do you see yourself doing in a decade or more along those lines?
I am currently in veterinary school, and have worked with places like Project Survival’s Cat Haven, and Elephant Nature Park. My real goals in life lie with helping animals, and although it’s not always clear how I can aid, I figure I will just have to be prepared to take opportunities that come my way in the future. I hope to help research the territories and resource utilization by big cats in the wild when I finish up with veterinary school.
What does the future hold for you?
In 2.5 more years I will be a doctor of veterinary medicine, and likely devote most of my time to my career. So in the meantime I will be making as many cool costumes as I can squeeze in and afford!
Thank you Holly and we wish you the best on your career and hobby!
Holly Brooke Links
Samus Paralyzer, Harley Quinn mallet, and Stocking sword by Keroga Forge
Morrigan Aensland shot at Haunted Fresno
Share your thoughts about Holly Brooke and her work in our comments section below!
– The Comic Book Critic