For the Jones sisters Alyssa, Kyla, and Erin, cosplay is a family affair.
On today’s Talking Shop, I chat with these creative costuming sisters talk about their most memorable fan events, their favorite cosplays, and what it’s like to create costumes together.
Everyone, meet the Jones sisters!
Tell us a little about yourself.
Alyssa: A little bit about me, I grew up in northern VA and WV. Went to BYU-Idaho and met my husband there. We have 3 kids and currently reside in Lake Point, UT and are currently building a home in Stansbury Park, UT.
Kyla: Hi! My name is Kyla Cecil. I’m 29 years old. I’m married with 3 kids and a puppy and I’ve been cosplaying for about 5 years. I grew up in Virginia and West Virginia before meeting my husband and moving to Utah. I enjoy reading, watching Netflix, makeup, playing games, and thinking of new cosplays!
Erin: My name is Erin and I’m an avid cosplayer that has been cosplaying since 2013! I love to sew, sing, and dance! Not only am I a cosplayer, but I’m also in a K-Pop Dance Crew named BlackMoon KREW (@blackmoonkrew on IG).
How did you develop an interest in cosplay?
Alyssa: I’ve always been a nerd when it comes to pop culture and comic book inspired movies and tv shows. When I attended Salt Lake City’s first comic con in 2013 I was in awe of all the cosplays I saw around me. I immediately regretted not dressing up and knew that the next year I needed to cosplay something! I pulled out some Halloween costumes and loved taking pictures with people with similar themed cosplays. I was definitely bit by the cosplay bug.
Kyla: My younger sister Erin was actually the first one who told me about cosplay. I wasn’t very interested at first until I saw all the possibilities and new skills I could learn, plus the opportunities to bring my favorite characters to life, I was on board!
Erin: I initially developed an interest in cosplay when I first attended FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention in 2013 (then named Salt Lake Comic Con). It was the inaugural year of the convention and I attended with one of my sisters, Alyssa. I had never been exposed to an environment like that where people were literally walking around dressed as their favorite characters from movies, comic books, and the like. After attending the first two days of the con, I was so infatuated with the idea of dressing as a favorite character that on the third day, I scrounged together an outfit and went as Morticia Addams last minute.
What inspires your costumes?
Alyssa: What inspires my costumes is my intense love for these characters. Sometimes their fierceness, bravery, strength, or even just their fun and cute personality inspires me to embody them.
Kyla: I get inspiration for my costumes everywhere! Books, movies, tv shows, games. One of the great things about cosplay is there are almost no rules! You can cosplay whatever you feel like as long as you are not doing anything inappropriate or insensitive.
Erin: Literally anything! I’ve been inspired to make a cosplay after seeing a character I love wear something so amazing (even if it’s in a show and they’re wearing the outfit for 2 minutes of the show) that I couldn’t resist making it. I cosplay any character that I resonate strongly with. Part of the appeal of wanting to cosplay (at least for me), is the ability to become someone else and experience a different level of confidence that you may not have in your everyday life. It’s an outlet to express yourself in ways you may otherwise struggle with day-to-day.
Story behind the creation of one of your favorite costumes?
Alyssa: I would say Wonder Woman is my favorite cosplay of mine. When I first saw Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman in the Batman vs. Superman film I literally fell in love. She was beautiful, fierce, strong, and powerful. It was my first major build and I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into it. It took me a good few months to complete it and even then the boots were the worst to make and they ended up making my toenails bleed at comic con. I’m hoping to remake some parts of it and keep improving it because it’s the cosplay that makes me feel the most confident and amazing!
Kyla: My Mulan cosplay is probably my most favorite costume. I have always loved Mulan and her strength and determination to protect her family and to do what’s right. I’m terrible at sewing so I asked Erin and my mom for help. I shopped for all the materials with my sisters and went to my parents house thinking we could just whip it up in no time, like in 1 day. Well, I was very wrong! I helped as much I could but with my lack of sewing skills and the daunting task I gave myself, my mom ended up doing most of the sewing. She and I finished it in 3 days!! I am so amazed with my mom’s skill and the costume turned out beautifully!
Erin: One of my favorites is my cosplay of Anne Wheeler from The Greatest Showman. I absolutely fell in love with that movie the first time I watched it; the characters, the music, the story – OBSESSED! I even wanted to take aerial classes so I could experience being an acrobat, hahaha. I knew I had to cosplay Anne Wheeler! I had made a leotard before, but not one with so many details! Sewing the base of the leotard was fairly easy, but the details really had me going crazy there for a second. I hand sewed all the ruffles on and individually glued every single sequin on as well. It was soooooo tedious. Additionally, I had never styled such a unique wig before and had to research how to make the bangs stand up tall (hint: a lot of teasing and hairspray). All in all, it turned out well and I even got to wear the cosplay to my nephew’s Greatest Showman themed birthday party. So fun!
One of your favorite fan event experiences?
Alyssa: My favorite FanX experience is meeting Ian Somerhalder! I cried like a hormonal teenage girl when I saw him around the corner. He grabbed my shoulders and asked me what’s wrong?? I told him it’s because he’s so cute haha. He let me compose myself before we took the picture. I’m still twitterpated!
Kyla: Ahh there are so many experiences I have loved while going to our local fan event Salt Lake FanX. One thing I always look forward to is seeing the cosplays and creativity people have!
Erin: Oh my, there are SO many. I would say that meeting Elijah Wood was a big moment for me. I usually try to maintain my cool when meeting celebrities because they’re people too (granted, they are MUCH cooler people). We went through the photo op line and I was maintaining my cool until we walked out after getting our photo taken and it struck me that I had just met Frodo Baggins. The Lord of the Rings franchise has made such a huge impact in my life and I JUST MET FREAKING FRODO; I started crying so hard. It was such a cool moment. I have endless memories that I can recall from conventions, but we’ll be here forever if I list them all.
What is your favorite part about cosplaying with your sisters?
Alyssa: Going to FanX with my sisters is the best part about going in the first place and cosplaying with them makes it even better. Because we cosplay together we know exactly how each other’s feeling whether it be sore feet or exhaustion. We got each other’s backs when it comes to fixing our eyelashes, making sure our hair looks perfect, and checking to make sure things look aligned. We cheer each other up when an experience goes sour and pump each other on when we’re just not feeling it that day. We love to work on cosplays together knowing we can turn to each other if we have any questions. We just get each other.
Kyla: I love, love, love being able to cosplay and share my love of cosplay with my sisters! We keep each other motivated to finish costumes and we love to get together, eat junk food, chat and work on cosplays.
Erin: The fact that it’s something we can share together as a hobby is unique in itself. Not everyone has the opportunity to share a common hobby with their siblings and I’m really grateful for it. My sisters and I, despite appearing close now, had not always been this close. Leaning more into our “nerdiness” has only brought us closer and when we get the opportunity, we love to get together and have crafting/cosplay days where we focus on our projects together!
Tips for aspiring cosplayers?
Alyssa: My tips for aspiring cosplays would be to do as much research as you can on the character you want to cosplay. Youtube is your best friend. Give yourself plenty of time to work on your costumes to prevent the dreaded con crunch. And seriously HAVE FUN. No cosplay is worth losing your sanity!
Kyla: Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t cosplay! You don’t have to look like the character to cosplay them. Buying a costume is still cosplay!! Be creative! Cosplay doesn’t have to be expensive!
Erin: Don’t be afraid to reach out to other cosplayers for feedback or ideas! The cosplay community can be so wonderful in the fact that it is an expansive community. In general, most other cosplayers love to see others succeed; at least, that’s how I feel! I love collaborating with others and if someone else is making a cosplay that I’ve had the opportunity of making before, I will alway share tips and tricks that worked for me when making my own cosplay.
The character you can’t wait to create a costume for?
Alyssa: My sisters and I are planning on cosplaying Dracula’s wives from the movie, Van Helsing soon and once my family and I get settled in our new home and I set up my new cosplay room I hope to really start working on Wonder Woman’s 1984 film armor! Those wings are gonna be killer.
Kyla: I’ve had Xayah from the video game League of Legends on my list for a while! Also Rayla from the Netflix series “Dragon Prince.” I have so many cosplans but those are the ones I’m so excited to create! With my sisters we have a Van Helsing Dracula’s wives cosplay planned that we’ve been so excited and waiting to do!
Erin: SO MANY. I have a running list of cosplays I want to create that seems to be endless. Currently I am working on a few different projects: Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, Stella from Winx Club, Marishka from Van Helsing, and a version of Beetlejuice inspired by a Bishoujo Statue.
Where we can find you online?