Toronto cosplayer Kelly Boaz (AKA Face of Boaz) shares her passion for geek culture through cosplay.
Face of Boaz Rocking her Hippolyta, Photo by Mike Brown
J: What got you into cosplay, and how long have you been doing it?
KB: Technically, my first cosplay was at Fan Expo 2016. My friends Tess and Lea dressed me up as Cersei Lannister, even though I knew nothing about the show. I didn’t really get into it until 2018, when I did my first full build.
J: Why do you cosplay, and what has kept you doing it for so long?
KB: Well, I used to be an actor. I loved putting on costumes and pretending to be someone else for a while. The actual business of acting wasn’t good for my mental health, but I never lost the love of playing dress up. Cosplay has been a great way for me to get out my creative energy without putting myself through the business of show.
J: How many Costumes do you have, and what is your fav cosplay and why?
KB: I think I probably have around 20 costumes at this point. Eowyn is definitely my favorite. She was the first build I did, and I always feel like a badass in it. And there’s something about her that really resonates with young girls. I’ve never been hugged so much in a cosplay – not even while dressed as a fairy – as I am when I’m in my Eowyn armor. I think there’s just something about a strong woman that appeals to kids.
J: What is your dream cosplay or a cosplay on your bucket list?
KB: Oh wow, there are SO many! There’s a very specific gown I want to make, inspired by the interior of the 13th Doctor’s TARDIS. I need to improve my skills a bit before I tackle that one.
Face of Boaz rocking her Dragon Cosplay from Shrek, Photo taken by OOC Photograpghy
J: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a female Cosplayer?
KB: I’ve been fairly lucky – I haven’t had too many inappropriate comments or messages, or experienced too much hate. But I’m a white, cisgender, only slightly curvy woman, so I have a lot of privileges that other women in the community don’t. Most of my challenges are internal – dealing with my own insecurities and fears.
J: What are some words of encouragement you would give to someone who is just starting out or thinking about cosplaying?
KB: Do cosplays that make you happy. Don’t worry if they’re good, or popular, or easily recognizable. If it stops being about the things you love, it stops being fun. Oh, and do your wig research. They can be an investment, so check out quality as much as you can before you buy.
J: Do you have any accomplishments or cosplay projects you’re particularly proud of?
KB: Again, I think it’s Eowyn. I had zero knowledge about working with foam, and hadn’t sewn anything in a decade when I made her tunic. Of course, I have a million ideas about how I want to rebuild it and make it better, but that’s part of the fun of the process. I’m also really proud of the Gandalf cosplay I built for my dad. It’s not perfect, by any stretch, but he loves it, and that’s all that matters to me.
Eowyn Cosplay, Photo taken by Mike Brown
J: What is your favorite con and what con is your dream con that you hope to one day attend if you haven’t already?
KB: I really love Fan Days, because it’s the last con of the Toronto season, everyone’s festive, and it’s only one day, so I don’t get as tired. My dream con is probably Gallifrey One – it’s an all Doctor Who convention, and I get serious FOMO every time it happens.
J: We all have inspirations or people we look up to, who (cosplayers artists etc) if any are your inspirations and why?
KB: I look up to so many cosplayers for so many different reasons. There are people with incredible build skills, people who are great at makeup, people who specialize in tracking down screen-accurate costumes, and people who go out of their way to really embody a character. Most of all, though, I’m impressed by cosplayers who go out of their way to make others feel welcome in the community, and try to make it a more inclusive place for everyone.
J: Are there any celebrities you are dying to meet and why?
KB: David Tennant and Miranda Otto. David, because I simply adore him and, by all accounts, he’s the nicest man on the planet. Miranda, because I cosplay more of her characters than anyone else, and there’s just something magical about what she brings to a role.
Face of Boaz reenacting a scene at Fan Expo Canada with Karl Urban
J: What is your fav material or medium and why?
KB: I’m still learning so much about just about everything cosplay related. My favorite thing to play with, though, is makeup. I have no discernible technique, but I love the process of trying to turn my face into someone else’s.
J: What is your fav genre of cosplay and why?
KB: I’m a sci-fi/fantasy gal all the way. It’s what I love to watch, so I get really excited when I see it done well. I also love nostalgia cosplays.
J: What is your favourite comic book or series and why?
KB: Doctor Who (which is both a comic book AND a series) is my absolute favorite. I watched when I was a kid, but it wasn’t til it was rebooted that I really became obsessed. There’s something about the Doctor’s journey, overcoming something terrible in their past, that I really identified with, and the sheer volume of content isn’t too shabby, either.
Eowyn Cosplay, Photo taken by Pigeon Pen Photography
J: What are your thoughts on paid and non-paid photo shoots. Do you prefer on location shoots or in studio?
KB: I’ve done both paid and non-paid photo shoots, and have photos I love from both. I think photographers absolutely deserve to be paid for their work, but I’m also always grateful when someone wants to shoot with me for free. As for location versus studio, I prefer location. It plays to the hammy actor in me, and makes me feel more in-character.
J: What are your thoughts about the drama that surrounds the community? Do you think it’s always been that way or is there more drama now with geek culture becoming so mainstream?
KB: I think nerd culture has a way of attracting people who are outsiders and, in many ways, people who have been victimized. When you get a lot of traumatized people together in a room, that trauma is going to be expressed in some unloving ways. But, for the most part, nerds are some of the most welcoming, inclusive people I know. But again, I’m coming from a place of a lot of privilege. I know it’s a lot worse for people without those privileges.
J: So what is next for you? any projects, hopes or goals for the future?
KB: In terms of cosplay, I’ve got some great groups coming up for this year’s cons that I’m excited about. I just hope cosplay keeps being fun for me for a very long time.