What It Was Like Cosplaying A Controversial Character

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since Fan Expo Canada, but it somehow feels both like it was yesterday and a full year ago. Cons tend to have that effect, on me, at least. Waking up on the Sunday morning was like waking from a beautiful dream, because I knew that by 5 PM the convention would be over. It’s like leaving home. People (at least, most of them) don’t go to cons to hate, they go to geek out over what they love and meet other people who share their passion for film, television, comics, manga, whatever the case may be. It’s why the idea of spending an entire four days at Fan Expo this year had me shaking and nearly in tears with excitement.

I’ve been wanting to get into cosplay since before I knew what it was. I remember watching films when I was as young as 5 and wanting the costumes, wanting to be able to walk around like that in the real world. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut or dyed my hair because of my love for a character.


But cosplay can be quite pricey, and when I started, I wanted it to be on a high note. So I saved up and planned, and this year, for the first real time, I was able to go full out and cosplay. And boy, did I go full out. I decided to do three separate cosplays which, by the way, was a horrible move. While it was fun and I loved each costume, it made packing the biggest pain ever (thanks again to my friend’s boyfriend who saved me from my own suitcase). When you have to somehow pack 6 pairs of shoes with you, three separate costumes, regular clothes and then all of the makeup, hair products, and wigs?


But as I said, aside from packing them, I loved each of my costumes. There was my Lady Loki corset, thanks to the incredibly talented Apollonie, to my Season 3 Daenerys dress thanks to my insanely amazing grandmother. But my favourite was actually the one I decided to do last, and that was Suicide Squad’s version of Harley Quinn.

I’ve loved both the MCU and DCEU for many years now, but only really got into comic books just over a year ago. But picking up my first, I fell quickly in love, immersing myself with as many as I could get my hands on thanks to the generosity of family friends. There are so many comic cosplays I’d like to do, but I knew I should start off slow. After all, up until now I’ve never sewn, I’ve never made any props, I’m completely new to this world. And while I plan to tackle it eventually, there was no way I was starting off my cosplay endeavors with Harley’s classic jester suit. I just did not feel comfortable enough in my skills. Besides, I love Margot Robbie’s Harley! I think she embodies Harley beautifully, and I adore the costume. So, a month and a half before the con, I decided to go for it.

Photo by Kelsey Inkol

I have to be completely honest and say that I have never felt more confident than when wearing that cosplay. Maybe it was the makeup, or maybe the sequined booty shorts, maybe a magical combination of everything, but I felt so empowered and beautiful as Harley. She’s also a very…energetic character, to say the least. And as a shy and anxious person, she helps bring out a different side to me. I was so excited to be able to wear this cosplay for two days at the con, but I was also nervous. Harley Quinn is a controversial character, and Margot’s version is arguably the most of all. What if people hated it? I know you’re not supposed to care about what people think, but what if someone said something really horrible to me about it? What if this thing that I feel so amazing in gets me nothing but critiques and insults?

Photo by Kelsey Inkol

My worries and fears quickly disappeared. As I said earlier, people go to cons to celebrate what they love, not to slam what they hate. I was stopped countless times for selfies, for a photo with people’s son/daughter, or with the parents themselves. Whether it was a compliment on a specific part of my costume or people telling me that I looked just like Margot Robbie (cue the tears), I was hearing nothing but positivity. It was really an incredible feeling, and one that has continued thanks to social media. However, while I’ve been swarmed with joy to my face, I’ve heard and seen the hate, both firsthand and otherwise.

I can’t tell you how many times I saw someone roll their eyes and say to the person next to them, “Ugh, I’m so tired of seeing these Suicide Squad Harleys.” Or, “You just know they’ve never read the comics.” And I know I’m not the only one who has heard this or similar comments. One of my favourite cosplayers, one of the women who inspired me to get into cosplay, Heidi Mae  gets hate. Sometimes it’s because she didn’t make the entirety of her costume on her own, sometimes it’s just because people like to bring others down.

Or take this gorgeous girl who has sparked debate and an uproar over the internet after countless rude remarks about her size.

There are a few things that the cosplay world as a whole tend to agree on, and that is that your race, your height, your weight, and other physical traits should not stop you from cosplaying a character. Holly here slays just as much as Heidi does.

There’s a big difference between constructive criticism and just plain hate. I do read comics, but even if I didn’t, who cares? Does that all of a sudden take away my right to enjoy the film’s version of Harley Quinn? Nope. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, of course, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion! But there’s a nice way and a mean way to deal with everything. If you see someone cosplaying a character or version of the character you dislike, don’t hate on them for it. Recognize that it makes them happy, and that’s awesome. Instead of putting energy into hate, move on and go find something that makes you happy too.

Cosplay is about expressing love and passion, and I am so grateful to all of the support that I have received. I just wish that we could have it without the negative. But overall, my first time cosplaying was really an incredible experience, and one that I cannot wait to repeat. It’s something I really enjoy and I sense it’s going to become a big part of my life, so don’t be surprised if you see a little bit more of that around here!

If you want to see more cosplay pictures, be sure to follow me on my social media sites:

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As always, thanks for reading. Until next time, Puddins!

Sincerely, Fiction’s Mistress