ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Complete interview with Comic Con cosplayer Lauren Searl

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From March 13 to 15, the second Indiana Comic Con will take place at the Indiana Convention Center. Senior Lauren Searl has cosplayed (dressing up as a character) at past conventions, and plans to do so again this year.

Why did you go with the Raven costume?

My darling friend and cosplay partner Rachel Glait and I have loved the Teen Titans for years and watch the cartoon and play the video game together, so when the idea came, it just fit. I originally wanted to do Starfire, another character, but let another person in our ragtag group claim dibs (ironically enough, she never ended up making the costume), so I settled on Raven. But now, she’s become my favorite character and easily my most popular costume, so everything worked out pretty well.
How did you make the costume? 
Because this was one of my first few cosplays and the most complicated thing I’d done up to that point, it’s a lot of bought pieces blended together. I’ve made modifications of everything and styled the wig myself. I made the belt and brooches and blended the face paint color from scratch as well.
What was the most difficult part of the costume?
I hate the belt and brooches. I really do. They love to give me grief at every convention I wear them to. The first time I made them, I made each gem piece from polymer clay with gloss coating molded inside shower rings, of all things. I attached them both to the chain around my waist or onto my cloak and wrists by attaching them to button pin backs, like the kind used on political campaign buttons. I try different modifications every time I wear them, but I still haven’t found anything that really keeps them holding out for the whole day without detaching. There’s also the difficulty of making myself get up early to paint myself gray.
Why do you cosplay? What makes it worth it?
Cosplaying at a convention is some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Putting the time into designing and crafting your own costume (or in my case, in a group) is really satisfying. Wearing cosplay just adds a whole new layer to attending a convention. It’s both a way to show off craftsmanship and to meet people in a community of people just as dorky as you are. And there’s the added bonus of competitions and being stopped in the hallway for pictures, which is a nice ego boost, truth be told. But at the end of the day, after we collapse on a couch and take off bulky props, I’ve made new memories with my friends—and that’s the best part of it all.
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