Interview with Be the Spark Cosplay
Cosplay can be an artistic representation of original characters, as well as tv, movie or book characters. It can also be a positive and challenging way to express your love for a fandom that sparks creativity and joy. Be the Spark Cosplay is no exception.
We were thrilled to be able to get to know Be the Spark Cosplay, and hope that you enjoy her interview.
GeekPost: How long has cosplay been a passion for you?
BetheSpark: I think I’ve had the seeds of a cosplayer since I was a little kid. I remember how I loved to draw my favorite movie and video game characters, often dreaming up new costumes for them to wear. But at that time, living in a small town, I had no idea that people dressed up outside of Halloween!
GeekPost: What was the first cosplay you ever did?
BetheSpark: The first costume I made that I would consider “cosplay” actually began as a dress for Halloween 8 years ago. My daughter was 2 at the time, and wanted to dress up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I made her a cute, tiny ball gown – and then realized I wanted to have that dress too! So we walked around the neighborhood dressed as princesses together, and I was hooked on cosplay. There’s nothing more elating than a little girl thinking you might be a real princess! Shortly after that, a friend told me about the San Diego Comic Con, and I was thrilled to hear there was a huge group of people nearby interested in cosplay too. I wore my Belle gown to SDCC the next summer, and I’ve been dressing up every year since.
GeekPost: I know that asking this is almost like asking what your favorite song is, but do you have a favorite character cosplay or concept?
BetheSpark: Cinderella will always have a special place in my heart. That costume was definitely magical in the way it came together, like a spark of divine inspiration. I had been dreaming of making her gown for a few years, but I was never sure I had the skills to pull off a dress made of pure magic. But when I had the idea to give her a glass arm instead of glass slippers, it became a cosplay I had to make happen! When I started working on the dress, I honestly still didn’t have a clue how I would be able to create the glass arm. I happened to mention the project to a friend at church, and he connected me to his amazing artist friend, Gilbert Lozano, who surprised me with his enthusiasm to jump on the project. Gilbert was quite literally my fairy godfather with the beautiful “glass” prosthetic he made for me. When I tried on the full costume for the first time, I felt like a true princess. This version of Cinderella was the kind of character I had really longed to see when I was a kid. To be able to create that character myself was a life-changing moment.
I have to give second favorite to my most recent cosplay – The Sorceress from the tabletop game Cult of the Deep. B.A. Games contacted me last year asking if I would be interested in having my likeness become a character in their game, and of course I said yes! Being a game character is kind of the dream, right? I was even more excited to hear that they wanted to make my limb difference a key component of the character, by way of a magic, glowing prosthetic. This summer I was able to do some cos-ception at GenCon – cosplaying as myself! It was very cool to have a hand in the creation of a character, especially one as fierce and cunning as the Sorceress.
GeekPost: Your cosplays are all creative, inspiring and beautiful. What is one cosplay that you have always wanted to do, but haven’t yet had time or resources?
BetheSpark: I keep coming back to Belle in different forms, but I would love to do an alternate universe warrior version of her, with full gilded armor and a stained glass rose shield. I’m new to Worbla and haven’t used much EVA foam, so I feel like I have several new skills to learn first for that one!
GeekPost: Conventions are [coming] back. What is your favorite thing about conventions? What is your least favorite thing?
BetheSpark: My favorite thing about conventions is meeting other geeky people. I love that cosplay is a way to strike up a conversation with a stranger, because you automatically know you both love the same thing. And I’m always inspired to see what other cosplayers are working on. This year I was honored to be involved in more panels and contests, and being able to see how things work behind the scenes was incredible. The people who put together these conventions are often geeks who have been insanely dedicated to this stuff for many years and have a passion for spreading that love to others. That’s who I hope to be when I grow up!
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My least favorite thing about conventions is that I’m getting too old to stay up all night, haha! I can’t hang at cons like I would have done in my 20s, but I try to cram as much fun into them as my 38 year old body can manage.
GeekPost: Do you consider yourself a geek? What are some hobbies you enjoy when you’re not cosplaying?
BetheSpark: I am totally a geek. I love all things gaming, from video games to tabletop games. I’m a huge fantasy and sci-fi fan. And I even squeeze in some DnD sessions as often as I’m able. My main DnD character is a bard, of course – chaotic, mostly good, and probably a little too excited about getting a Fireball spell. I took martial arts for several years as well – that’s basically superhero training, right?
GeekPost: GeekPost strives to make room for all. Inclusivity is very important to you, as well. What does being inclusive mean for you personally?
BetheSpark: Inclusion and representation are so important to me. Growing up as a kid with a limb difference meant that I almost never saw characters who I could really relate to. I actually fell in love with Star Wars as a teen after reading the Young Jedi Knight series, where one of the main characters loses her arm in a lightsaber accident but is still the most kick-butt person on the team. That character, Tenel Ka, was the first character I had ever seen who had a disability but wasn’t portrayed in a negative way. The media is making very slow progress towards diversifying characters, but cosplay offers a unique opportunity to be ahead of the curve. Great cosplay is often equal parts you-becoming-the-character and the-character-becoming-you. Cosplay gives us a chance to show the myriad of ways that a single character could be played while still maintaining their core essence. All body types have the opportunity to start out on equal footing, which really gives cosplayers the chance to create the characters we want to see, even when Hollywood keeps going back to the same tropes.
GeekPost: What do you find more fun? Cosplaying as original characters or as popular anime, movie, or cartoon characters?
BetheSpark: Almost all of my cosplays end up being a twist on popular characters – familiar but with my own original take on their design. I’ve created princesses with a more historical bent, a steampunk version of Belle, Mortal “Prom”bat, and my own spin on Critical Role characters.
GeekPost: Do you have any advice for people who want to cosplay for the first time?
BetheSpark: Just do it! Some of my favorite cosplays I’ve seen have been “first” costumes, thrown together with a lot of creativity and hot glue. Every single time you create a cosplay, you will get a little better at some skill, and over time, you will be amazed to see how far your cosplays will go.
GeekPost: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
BetheSpark: For me, one of the best things about cosplay is that there are so many ways to get involved. From cons to photo shoots, from perfect screen adaptations to mashups, original designs, and everything in between. Cosplay is a unique hobby – it allows you to literally put a piece of yourself into your favorite universe, and to share that enthusiasm with people around the world. That’s a pretty cool way to spend your free time.