When it comes to the world of cosplay, it is so easy to get caught up in the sheer beauty of the costumes. Whether they be giant armor builds that take up entire hall ways or a hand sewn dress that took an incredible amount of time and skill in order to make, they are always a joy to see. Beyond the costume, many fall in love with cosplayers based upon their physical features and often support all of their content with both their attention and currency.
It is hard not to get caught up in it as cosplay is such a fascinating culture that blends the worlds of technology with fashion and modeling while being smothered in our favorite geeky fandoms! These men and women leave their peers in awe at their works by bringing beloved characters to life! However, there is an aspect of cosplay that is often overlooked and underappreciated.
While the greatest cosplayers walk the halls of major conventions looking badass and get surrounded by photographers all weekend, they are often times actually vulnerable and quite fragile. This is where the cosplay handler comes into play. A dear friend, significant other, or family member who shadows the cosplayer all weekend helping them survive both figuratively and literally! Being drowned in constant attention can take its toll and kinds words, pep talks, or even just a solid distraction can help lift the mental strain of costumers. On the other hand, ensuring that cosplayers are well fed, have enough water, get to their destinations on time, and even just use the bathroom is essential for handlers to assist with!
I love cosplay handlers because they have seen it all, have helped with it all, and yet are such unsung heroes. So I decided to take three close friends who are cosplayers and talk about their own cosplay handlers!
ElfyAubrie and Jory
The Geek Lyfe: Who is your cosplay handler?
Elfyaubrie: My hubby!
TGL: I heard today is actually a very special day, is this true?
Elfyaubrie: Yes! It is our 11 year anniversary. Well, I mean, I am a 500 year old vampire so 11 years isn’t really anything buuuuut…
TGL: That is incredible!
Elfyaubrie: Jory helps (me) with everything! Which is great because (I) can then wear bigger and better costumes. He takes care of all of the behind the scene things.
Jory: I can carry bags. I can help with water and snacks.
Elfyaubrie: He keeps us on track as well! On (my) own I dont watch when I am eating or drinking. He is like “No, drink water now. I got this, you take care of that.”
Jory: I have an alarm on my phone that says, ‘Feed the cosplayer.’
Elfyaubrie: He does!
TGL: What is one particular story or prime example where he has had your back?
Elfyaubrie: It is hard to think beyond the present. Like today, he was at an interview and even while he was away he kept reminding me to go and get food. He knew when it was going to be pulled away and knew that was the only real time I was going to be able to eat for a while. Or when we are on the convention floor he’ll direct us like, “Okay we can take pictures right now. Okay that is enough, we need to keep moving. Go! Go! Go!” At the time he might seem grumpy but (I) need to get to these places on time and he makes sure it happens! I very much appreciate him! <3
Instagram’s Game2Hype and his homie, Jared
TGL: So from my understanding, despite you being one of the greatest cosplayers in Arizona, even you need help at conventions. I have heard that you have a friend, some might say best friend, that helps you out and has introduced you to a number of anime series over the years.
Game2Hype: Yes! He is the best handler in the world and his name is Jared.
TGL: A lot of times, cosplay handlers are overlooked in the community. Would you agree that the convention would be a lot harder if it weren’t for the help of Jared?
Game2Hype: Absolutely! This man right here has pockets for days and I don’t have a single one! Not to mention he is always carrying something I need. I’ll be like, ‘Hey bro, I need some duct tape,” and he’ll respond “Yeah, Brotha! I got that and superglue for you too!” He has saved my life way too many times.
TGL: Could you give us a prime example of when he has had your back?
Game2Hype: I am going to give you the best example! On Thursday, I had these huge wings and I had a strap. But I had accidentally pulled on it too fast and too hard and it snapped! At that moment I was ready to just give up on the wings and throw it in the trash. But then Jared was like “I got this,” and he whipped out some zip ties, tape and those wings were perfect for the rest of the night. If I did not have him and his help, that would have failed and who knows what I would have done!
Amberskies and Dadskies
TGL: We’re here at Phoenix Comic Fest with one of our homies, Amberskies!
Amberskies: Hey guys!
TGL: Would you be able to introduce us to your cosplay handler that helps your survive these long and eventful convention weekends?
Amberskies: Sure! I would say my main cosplay handler is actually is my dad who we lovingly refer to as Dadskies! Basically, the cosplay handler fills the important role of keeping one’s bodily functions that are required to stay alive intact while we cosplayers are focused on being in character, taking photos and exploring the convention. However, it can get quickly overwhelming if you have an attention grabbing costume that is overall difficult to wear. So you need that person to follow you and help you out of those tricky situations. Not to mention making sure you drink and eat!
So my dad does that for me and has for years now. Particularly on days like today when I am dressed as Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy where my body movement is kind of limited. He makes up for those hindrances that I have in being a human being that I am not really focused on right now since I want to be an alien.
TGL: That is amazing! And what is one story of how he has helped you over the years when you needed him most?
Amberskies: Oh gosh! All of the time!
Dadskies: I would say it is honestly just the simple every day task that matter the most. For example, while she is in this costume, in so much makeup, she needs a straw in order to drink water. It is various tiny situations like that where she needs help the most.
Amberskies: Exactly, especially when you wake up so early to put on all of this. Throughout the day you need help with touch ups and oh! So in Nebula, I am wearing a bald cap and in real life I have like blonde waist-length hair, and that puts a lot of stress on a prosthetic adhesion. Sometimes on sweaty days or unlucky days my seams can just pop. Then my hair comes tumbling out, then the whole make up is ruined.
There have been many days where he has had to emergency glue me back together. Wipe the sweat. Repaint me. All while on the convention floor. Essentially we are doing the same quality work as entire make up teams do for giant productions but with a small back pack and limited supplies, time, and space.
TGL: He is your ride or die!
Amberskies: He really is!
Dadskies: I can also play blocker for her since in some costumes when she has solid lens, after a few hours it can take its toll. While we do appreciate photographers and fans wanting to stop her for photos, there has to be a limit. Just a dedicated time where she is off limits so she can recoup, run to the rest room, eat, drink. Whatever she needs!
We appreciate our homies taking the time to talk about the homies in their life that support them and their passions! You are loved and appreciated, handlers! This will be an ongoing series that we’ll do at various future conventions! Look at for our next article!