Kira Rhian is a 32 year old single mom who has been attending conventions for 17 years now and also bring her son, Draco, to conventions as well. She is a woman of many fandoms ranging from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Borderlands to Disney, Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, Sailor Moon and Love Live.
How and when did you get into cosplay?
It started for me when I wanted to be Shock for Halloween in 1994 but was unable to find a costume so I altered a store bought witches outfit. Although I had attended a Star Trek convention in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama it was not until 1999 that I started attending conventions and cosplaying on a regular basis. While I was growing up being a geek and/or gamer was not the "cool" thing to do back then and the fact I was female made the teasing/bullying worse. Conventions was the first time I was around individuals who enjoyed the same things that I did and I loved bringing to life my favorite characters.
How did you come up with your cosplay name?
I played a lot of LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and table top in addition to writing so I would create a lot of different characters. Every name I create means something. In this case Kira mean dark lady and Rhian means magic maiden and it was my favorite character, based on myself, that I had created and used in both Vampire the Masquerade and Dungeons and Dragons.
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
Being a single mother I am quite busy. I work in the theme park industry at both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. Whenever I am not at work or taking care of my son, Draco I enjoy playing games of all sorts, attending theme parks, seeing movies, and writing. I hope to have a fantasy novel finished within the next year.
How do you choose your next cosplay?
Every cosplay that I do means something to me. Often times while reading a comic, playing a video game, or watching something I just connect with a character due to the fact there is a part of me that I see within the character. For me it is all about how I connect with the character even when I have friends who suggest a character for me.
Who is your cosplay idol/inspiration?
I really do not have a certain cosplay idol per say; however, there are a few that I admire quite a bit. I admire Ivy Doomkitty and Ani-Mia not only for their cosplay skills but for the message that they bring to the cosplay community.
What cosplay(s) are you working on right now?
I was working on my Pokemon Go avatar, 50s Harley Quinn, and Nozomi from Love Live; however, on August 8 my vehicle was not only broken in to but was stolen twice in a row. Thank goodness I was able to have my vehicle returned but the amount of damage is quite a bit and will cost money I really do not have so those projects have been placed on the back burner until I am able to sell enough money to make my vehicle drivable again.
What is your dream cosplay?
If money was not a factor I have a list of several cosplays I would love to do; however, there is one that stands out above the rest. Queen of Hearts from American McGee's Alice.
What is a random fun fact about you as a cosplayer or one of your cosplays?
When Draco, my son, was two weeks old I took him to Anime Festival Orlando 2015 where we cosplay as Bulma and Baby Trunks. We didn't stay long but so many of my friends were really happy to not only see me but to meet Draco for the first time.
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
One of my convention pet peeves are individuals paying attention to their surroundings. There has been many times either myself or a friend have been hit and I have had parts of my cosplay damaged all because someone was not paying attention to where they were going. Another one is asking permission for a photo. When I am already posing for a photo that is one thing but when I am just walking, taking care of my son who attends conventions with me, eating, or speaking to either a person or on the phone please just ask for a photo.
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
Back when I started tutorials on youtube did not exist, in fact I was using AOL dial up to access the internet. I have made many mistakes throughout the years. My advise is to not beat yourself up when a mistake is made for it is all about the learning process. Never be afraid to use left over or cheaper fabric to make a mock up first because it will save you money and headache in the long run.
Do you have anything else you want to say, or add to this interview?
When you cosplay and/or attend conventions just remember it is all about having fun and respecting each other. You get a chance to make new friends, spend time with friends you already have (some of my best friends I met at a convention), and embrace geeking out over your fandoms. I am also really looking forward to seeing my son grow up attending conventions.
Where can we find you on all things social?
Another great #FeatureFriday on the books! Go give this gal some love, and drop some positive things in the comments. Have a great weekend everyone!