In this inaugural edition of WAYW, we speak to Madison (known in the cosplay world as Aletheia) about a character whose strengths and quirks are very close to her heart.
Who are you wearing?
Lately, I’m wearing a whole lot of Luna Lovegood! All five of my Luna looks are my own designs (as opposed to “screen accurate”) influenced by fan art of Luna, my favorite parts of Luna’s personality, and my own personal style! That’s why my Luna wears a lot of overalls, beads, and mismatched socks!
How long did it take you to complete the costume(s) for this character?
The road to my latest Luna look, her Hogwarts uniform, started with my first Luna outfit which I started putting together June of last year. After that, I ordered, thrifted, borrowed and scrounged more and more elements to elaborate on the Luna I introduced with my original look. The pieces I’m most proud of are actually the hard-to-see details: the many potion props I made from antique bottles, each with a unique label, and the tiny dirigible plum earrings I made from scratch.
What do this character and her universe mean to you?
I think almost everyone in my generation feels a special bond with JK Rowling’s Wizarding World and Harry Potter. Stronger than a bond, really. If you’re like me, it’s more of an ownership. When I think of the biggest influences on my personality, I think of summers spent with my Grammy, my years in all-girls Catholic school, and my time at Hogwarts. As a kid, Harry Potter impressed upon me the meaning of bravery, justice, friendship, and sacrifice. As an adult (technically), it reminds me to retain my sense of wonder and belief in the impossible.
What is special about this character and why did you choose them?
I can’t express to you the surge of glee and confidence I felt when a little girl at the Wizarding World park in Orlando noticed me and pointed, shouting to her parents “That’s Luna!” My heart leapt! “That’s right! I am!” I wanted to shout back! Usually, someone recognizing me in cosplay is an accomplishment because of how hard I worked on the accuracy. But this was much different. It felt like she recognized my outside and my inside. Growing up, there were a lot of times that I felt misunderstood, alienated, and completely incapable of fitting in with others. But there was Luna, so incredibly and unapologetically odd. How did she do it? I found myself adopting bits of her: the unflinching honesty, the rare but biting sass, the artistic expression, and most of all, the confidence. I suppose that’s why it doesn’t feel weird for me to dress Luna in the way that I think she would dress. Luna made her mark on me, and now I make my mark on her.
What advice would you give to anyone who is new to cosplay or anybody that wants to start but doesn’t know how?
The best advice I can offer someone who wants to get into cosplay is to choose a character you really love and then put it together to the best of your ability with as much time as you need! I often fall into this trap of “Oh, I would love to cosplay this character, but when I have the right skillset/budget.” Fuck that! Your passion for that costume or that character is what motivates you to learn new skills and make it work! Cosplay is about you. If you’re not gonna make something you care about, don’t make anything at all.