Blood, Sweat, Cosplay and Georgia

It’s a rainy Monday in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith. Although it’s cold, I walk to Yogurberry, a frozen yoghurt shop to meet my interviewee. I spot Georgia Hinton, greet her and begin our interview.

How Georgia got into cosplay

Georgia grew up in Penrith and attended Jamison High School in South Penrith. This is where her love for cosplay began. In year 10, she started a list of websites that she could get her costumes from. For anyone who is unaware, cosplay is short for costume play or dress-up. “A couple of my friends and I would try and figure out much pocket money we’d have to save and for how long. Spoilers- it was like three years. Costumes aren’t cheap,” Georgia tells me as we slowly consume our yoghurt.

Georgia eventually forgot about this idea of cosplay until she finished school. Of course though after visiting a few pop culture conventions, Georgia thought hard about it and realised that it was something she could give a real crack. Joined by her school friend Amber Phillips, Georgia’s cosplaying days were officially in full swing. “We started making stuff and it evolved from there”.

Creating the characters- costumes

This brings our topic of conversations towards where the costumes and accessories come from. Georgia and Amber create a majority of it all themselves. Amber makes the costumes while Georgia creates the weapons, accessories and makeup with the exception of wigs. “That’s too extra. It’s way to much work to make a wig myself,” Georgia exclaims. Amber and Georgia will search the web and buy patterns for their costumes which Amber then sews.

Georgia will look at different ways to create weapons that cheap, easy to make and light to carry. “It’s really satisfying to take sheet foam that you use on a garage floor and put it all together to make crowns, breast plates and other strange bits of gear. And it keeps me busy”.

[caption id="attachment_490" align="alignnone" width="959"]Georgia Hinton Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy 7 by Mumie Photography Georgia as Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII. Photo: Mumie Photography[/caption]

There was one exception when Georgia and Amber decided to buy their costumes rather than make them. It was a rare case where the costume would cost a great deal more to make than buy.

Georgia cosplayed at Reno from Final Fantasy VII who wears a suit. They initially did buy a pattern for the suits required but realised that the cost of fabric and time to tailor it just wouldn’t be worth it.

“$40 later at Target we were good. Stuff like that (when it’s cheaper to buy) we will”. And although many cosplayers do commission people to make costumes and accessories for them, it works out cheaper to make it yourself. Georgia suggests looking online for easier and cheaper ways to create costumes.

Creating the characters- makeup

The girls also do all their own makeup, with Georgia especially enjoying creating the scars, prosthetics and special effects makeup.  It’s one of the reasons that sparked her interest in cosplay. “I spend way too much time on YouTube,” Georgia laughs before telling me about some of the makeup work she has created.

“I haven’t done anything too prosthetic heavy yet because it’s very labour intensive and complicated. If you do it wrong, you could cause serious bodily harm.”

One type of prosthetics that Georgia will often use when necessary is out of the kit silicone to create scars. One of her characters that she cosplayed, Zuko from The Last Airbender, has a large scar on his face so she put her prosthetic ability to work then. Although she’d love to learn, for now pre-made prosthetics are off the table as they require a lot of equipment such as vacuum machines and fruit dehydrators and are also quite time consuming.

Other make up consists of gluing fake facial hair on and covering and recreating her eyebrows . “I tend to cross-play a lot (wearing costumes of the opposite gender). I don’t know why but it always happens that way.” So by now Georgia is used to applying beards and side burns.

[caption id="attachment_491" align="alignnone" width="640"]Georgia Hinton Reno Final Fantasy VII Gany and Apoapsis Photography Georgia as Reno from Final Fantasy VII. Photo: Gany and Apoapsis Photography[/caption]


Throughout the course of the year, Georgia and Amber will visit lots of different conventions both nationally and internationally. Georgia says that her favourite to do is Comicon in Wollongong. It’s run by the council and Georgia thinks it’s the best one of the year. “It’s free which is nice because tickets are getting so expensive,” Georgia tells me. It is nearly $100 for a whole weekend at Supanova just for entry. Georgia has done Wollongong Comic Con three times.

She’ll then move on to Supanova Sydney in June and do all three days. Because her costumes are elaborate, Georgia will generally spend a convention taking dozens of photos with fans so on one of the Supanova days, she will dress a bit more casual but there’s more on that later.

After Sydney Supanova it’s SMASH- Sydney Manga and Anime Show which is held in July over 2 days. In September, Georgia will cosplay at Oz Comic Con in Sydney which is the major Sydney convention of the year.

Aside from New South Wales conventions, she tries to attend at least one interstate per year. “Usually it’s Brisbane Comic Con in November. That one is usually a good excuse to wear costumes that don’t have a lot on them because it’s quite hot.”

She looks to attending Gold Coast Supanova some time in the future now that she has finished studying Social Cultural Analysis at Western Sydney University.

For her 18th birthday, she and Amber attended the Melbourne Comic Con festival where Georgia went as Castiel from Supernatural, the first time she had ever properly cosplayed.

[caption id="attachment_493" align="alignnone" width="569"]Georgia Hinton The Witch Princess from Harvest Moon photo by Timothy Souter Photography Georgia as The Witch Princess from Harvest Moon. Photo: Tim Souter Photography[/caption]

New York Comic Con

Georgia has also been lucky enough to attend the New York Comic Con in 2017. Although she paid USD400 for Mark Hamill’s signature (Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise), she said it was totally worth it. “No regrets. I’ve got it framed”.

Being photographed all the time

With attending conventions and cosplaying comes many photographs from convention goers, something that took Georgia a little while to get used to. When Georgia went as Lady Loki and Amber as Lady Thor, they underestimated just how popular they would be.

“We were stopped outside the doors for a solid half hour. I shouldn’t complain because that’s what you want but we also wanted to experience the convention”.

This is why they now choose to dress down on one of the days so they can enjoy the convention. Although it can be frustrating at times, it can be rewarding because you are making someone’s day especially when it comes to young children. “I’ve had little kids dressed as Thor when I’ve been Loki (Thor’s villainous brother) and point their hammers at me. It’s so cute”.

Although she has never cosplayed as a Disney Princess, occasionally Georgia will be stopped for a photo by someone who mistakes her for one, which she is totally cool with. But having people tell her that she is their favourite Cosplay of the day is what makes all that money, time and effort worth it.

Georgia’s personal favourite from her extensive Cosplay wardrobe is her Thorin Oakenshield costume from The Hobbit. “I’m proud of the armour,” she tells me which she created herself. Although the crown is uncomfortable, it adds to the authenticity of the costume. She has a long wig on and chain mail, so the costume is quite heavy but looks superb.

[caption id="attachment_492" align="alignnone" width="640"]Georgia Hinton Thorin Oakenshield photo Mumie Photography Georgia as Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit. Photo: Mumie Photography[/caption]

For now Georgia continues to work on more Cosplay ideas, her latest being Margeary Tyrell from Game of Thrones.

“She’s going to be a lot of fun. I get to be a girl this time,” Georgia laughs.

As the convention circle in Australia begins shortly, remember that when it comes to Cosplay there are no right or wrong costumes. It’s how you interpret the character and wear the costume that matters. Of course having fun is also the main thing. And if Georgia didn’t enjoy cosplay, I doubt she would still be doing it.
Featured image is Georgia's original design of Gyrados from Pokemon. Photo: Johnny Marvel
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