I'm a HUGE Disney geek in every aspect, & I love Hercules, and have always loved the character of Hades, which is one of my favorite villains. He's so twisted yet smart and has SO much sass, so I knew he would be so fun to play in person and bring to life. I also like creating unique versions of characters that others have never seen. I like my cosplays to have an over-the-top Broadway or drag look & feel to them with lots of sparkles, sequins, big features, and glam; as if they just stepped out of one of Disney's electrical parades.

As with all my cosplays & my sister's cosplays (she's my super talented partner-in-fun, as I like to call her), our out of this world incredible & creative mom creates everything by hand. People always ask if they can commission something from her, but she spends all her time & energy just for her kids. We started this one with me first finding inspiration from Walt Disney World's "Unleash the Villains" show, which has a pretty glam Hades costume, and I wanted to take that even more over the top. We then go to different arts & crafts stores and fabric stores to simply get a feel of different materials, textures, trims, fabrics, accessories, and detailing that would further help inspire us. Certain fabric, like the main black sequined robe, can spark our imagination of what route to take more than anything! There's 3 layers to the costume. First one is a large black underskirt that gives me a wider shape, and at the very bottom of that is black & silver sparkly tool fabric twisted around the entire base to make it look like swirly smoke is underneath me. Second layer is the main shiny silver "shirt", which is actually my favorite part. It has so many intricate details along the neck line and sleeves. 3 different types of materials and hand stitched "Greek" detailing, and over 12 metal/pewter "skull & crossbones" stitched along the entire shirt. Finally is the black sequined greek robe with multiple layers to give it a full look and the very specific flowing look that Hades has. She intricately also sewed in the shimmery purple detailing on the front in between the layer "flaps" to make it look like the entire thing had a purple lining. We also hand painted & sprayed a Styrofoam skull with gem detailing for his "broach". The main piece was my "blue flame" wig, which I had custom made for me based on my design at a drag wig shop in Hollywood called Outfitters. The final piece was of course the makeup, which took 3 hours to put on every time we did Hades. Lots of layers and contouring and shading to give me a bony and striking look. I didn't want to do prosthetics this time so I could be as expressive as possible, so we gave him a look that I would call a cross between the Joker, a skeleton, & a drag queen. The entire costume took 3-4 months to finish.

To say that the response at the convention was overwhelming would be an understatement! I expected some attention as usual, but I literally could barely talk to my friends, go on my phone, or take my own pics! Stopped on the street and inside the different convention halls every second, with people gasping & lining up for pictures. Lines seemed to form out of nowhere! I was also of course in character the ENTIRE time has Hades, and was cracking jokes, being very sassy, giving some attitude, and not breaking character unless someone wanted to get my info! It was very humbling to have people gasp at me & look at me like a celebrity and so many people telling me that I "won". I had a very similar response when I went as Hades to Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland a previous week!

Cosplay is so fulfilling to be able to express yourself in such a fun and special way. It's a wild combination of performing, being crafty, being able to be geeky freely, & be social. I've always loved dressing up and going all out on Halloween my whole life, but when I discovered that it was also an entire community, I was over the moon. But in general...who doesn't love to play dress up?! I'm also an actor & pursuing a career in TV, theatre, & film, so cosplay feels like a natural extension sometimes. Very similar yet very different. And as with any hobby or passion, you should always be set on improving yourself. That's why I'm always planning on how to further improve my existing cosplays (like adding lights into my Hades wig for D23 Expo), and creating even bigger concepts for future cosplays! And to end it on a very cliche but personal note, my favorite aspect of cosplaying has been all the people: getting to share this new passion with my old friends, bonding & being creative with my mom & sister, meeting fellow geeks & congoers who love what I do, and most of all, the incredible lifelong friends I've made, like Joanna Bert & Jimmy Sherfy. I'm in it simply for the fun & genuine passion for performing! Cosplay is a valid form of art as much as anything else!

-- Allen Waiserman

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