We’ve been introducing you to a ton of great cosplayers lately, and I am so excited for you to meet our latest cosplayer: Chad Evett. Not only does Chad do some fantastic cosplay, he also works on films, does commissions, and is a huge source of support to newer cosplayers.
What got you into cosplay?
Harry Potter. Easily. I saw videos and clips on the news of all the people who were dressing up and going to the book releases, and I just wanted that life! I first dressed as Harry in the 6th grade; my glasses were cardboard and I wore a cape and customized a house broom to be my Nimbus 2000. For the next 3 years, I was Harry for Halloween, and my costume slowly got more elaborate. The only drawback was that I lived 90 miles from all of the big Potter events, so I missed all of the midnight book release parties. It wasn’t until I was older and could drive that I was able to go the midnight releases for the films. For the last movie, I worked with my dear friend Audrey (Hey, Girl!) to make costumes for our entire friend circle. It was amazing. My dad nearly broke his neck as Hagrid in 8 inch platforms! In 7th grade, I made a wand in wood shop and I still have it. Its survived 16 years and was in my suitcase when I moved to LA.
You offer a ton of support to other cosplayers. Did you have a “cosplay mentor” or a cosplay support system when you were starting out in cosplay and costume design?
Oddly enough, I didn’t at first (with the exception of my parents). My mother is an award-winning quilter, and my dad has the brain of an engineer. Anything I was trying to achieve, they knew how to do. As I grew older, I tried to internalize all of their advice and their offerings in order to make my props and costumes work. Now, I will say, that I owe my current circle of friends entirely to cosplay. In particular: The Mad Hatter. That costume, and the journey of creating it, opened the door to an entire group of people, most of which live in or near LA. It was through them that I figured out my life path, and we’ve mentored each other as we’ve grown as stitchers and designers. I moved to LA all because of the amazing friends I’ve made. So while I started off on my own, through pages like the RPF and other sites, I was able to build my cosplay tribe around me.
What is the best thing you’ve gotten to experience as a cosplayer?
I’ve met Tim Burton, I made shoes for Whoopi Goldberg, and actually ended up on ”The View”, but that’s not the best thing that’s happened. My favourite cosplay moment is something so simple: I was dressed as the Hatter at Denver comic con, standing in line, and a blue and white blur, about three feet tall, came shooting out of the crowd and latched itself onto my leg. I looked down, and it was a little girl dressed as Alice, who saw her old friend, the Hatter, and ran over to give him a hug. Her mom was mortified, she came running over saying “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” but I didn’t listen, I knelt down and said, in my best Johnny Depp Impression, “Alice! You’ve shrunk! I’ve missed you so much, have you seen the White Rabbit?” I had a whole conversation with her, and her mom snapped pictures. I held her hand and walked her back to her family, hugged them both and went on with my day. It was such an amazing moment, not only because of the magic that that little girl had in her eyes, but also because, let’s face it, Hatter isn’t attractive. The white face and colored rings under his eyes are ghastly, and this little girl saw a person, not a freak. It was amazing.
I have also made all of my closest friends through cosplay. My current Roommate, Breanna and I bonded over our mutual love of costumes, and now we’re working on like 4 paired costumes together. Never be afraid to walk up to someone and say hi. Everyone is just a friend you haven’t met yet!
What is the best piece of advice you could give new cosplayers?
Make mistakes! Get Messy! And most importantly: don’t give two shits about what other people think! Who cares if you used fabric you painted instead of something you had printed? Nobody! Everything can always be remade as you learn and grow. My least favorite thing is when someone dressed as their favourite character sees someone in a “better” costume and get disheartened. Don’t. Go make friends! Ask them how they did what they did, and if they are a true cosplayer, they’ll engage and you can collaborate and share a nerdy moment of magic.
It can be quite intimidating to cosplay for the first time, especially if you’re creating the cosplay from scratch. What are some areas that new cosplayers can focus on strengthening before they worry about the entire package?
Don’t be afraid of the entire package, learn to look at the overview and break the look down. Build it in pieces and take your time. You don’t always have to go big, and if you’re teaching yourself to sew, go get some sheets from a thrift store and make mock-ups. Go on YouTube and look for sewing tips and techniques. The internet is awash with sewing info, so use it!
What’s the worst cosplay advice you’ve ever heard?
I was told I was too fat to cosplay the Hatter. I did it anyway. Just because you don’t look like an actor doesn’t mean you can’t be their character. There are no physical limitations when it comes to cosplay. If you focus on having fun and learning, that’s all that matters.
All images are from Chad Evett’s personal collection, and have been used with permission.
Image credit: Captain Hook and Peter Pan Cosplay/Paul Arellano Photography, Young Harry Potter Cosplay/Chad’s mom, Older Harry Potter Cosplay/Paul Arellano Photography, Mad Hatter Cosplay/Paul Arellano Photograpy, Jack the Jester and Angel Cosplay/Paul Arellano Photography, Willy Wonka Cosplay/Paul Arellano Photography