Hannah Éva is a cosplay pro, based in the bustling metroplex that is northern Iowa. I spoke with her at a rather inconvenient time Sunday, just after Comic Con opened up, just before one of my signature blur-selfies.
We begin with her Target run the night before.
Éva: I didn’t get too many stares, which was great … but it was kind of funny being in costume at Target.
FH: Why’d you do that?
Éva: I forgot to pack normal clothes! I wasn’t thinking. I packed pajamas, because that’s what I wore up here, but I forgot normal clothes.
FH: So you’re just out walking around in Target wearing a battle princess outfit?
Éva: It’s not uncommon for me to wear random things. When I still lived with my parents, I would walk out of my room wearing a giant French fry costume. Nobody would even look up.
FH: What was the first costume you made yourself?
Éva: It was my Elsa costume. My sisters and I wanted to go to Starbucks dressed as characters from Disney, so I made the Elsa costume in one night using hot glue. It looked absolutely terrible. I kept updating it for about a year, and I won a costume contest with it.
FH: That was an idea you just had, “Let’s go to Starbucks dressed as Disney characters?”
Éva: I have a strange family.
Now, about this suit (which won the Minneapolis costume contest):
Éva: I put so much hard work into my own, and I know how hard it is for me to and how long it takes. I see someone’s, and I just think it’s so amazing, and I’m just like ‘How do you have a normal job AND do that at the same time?’ I stay up every night working on mine. It’s ridiculous.
FH: What’s the most intense costume you have?
Éva: The Ariel costume is probably the most intense so far. I am, however, making a Maleficent costume. It has so much leather to it, and smoke tricks that are going to come out of my arms. I got these smoke machine things you use to test drafts, and you take it apart and add different buttons. They’re going to go on my arm beneath my sleeves.
FH: For a starter just getting into this, what’s the easiest way to make a good costume?
Éva: Go to thrift stores and garage sales. It’s really cheap to refurbish other things, especially if you’re not good at sewing. That’s what I started off doing.
FH: Tell me about your first-ever event.
Éva: In 2014 I went here to Minneapolis Wizard World. I found out a week before, because it was my birthday present, [so] I only had a week to prepare my costume. I went as Daenerys Targaryen, and I was so ashamed of how horrible it looked … but people were super open and accepting. After that I was like, ‘I want to do this so much more!’
FH: What do you do when you’re not doing this?
Éva: I make costumes for other people. It’s entirely like Costume World for me, and I watch a lot of Netflix and stuff.
FH: What’s in north Iowa these days?
Éva: It’s so boring. It’s horrible.
FH: You ever win big at the Diamond Jo?
Éva: I have not gone. I’ve only been to a casino once in my life, when I was in college. I took the money my roommates owed me for Internet and I went to the casino. I ended up winning stuff, but I feel like I’m gonna get a gambling addiction so I pace myself.
FH: What’d you play?
Éva: Blackjack, I think. I had never played it before, so …
FH: Do you hit on 16, or do you hold on 16?
Éva: I don’t even remember. I’ll probably never play it again.
FH: What about if we were playing right now?
Éva: If I wasn’t playing for money, I’m a risk-taker, but if I had to play for money, I’m not so much of a risk-taker, and I don’t even really remember how to play. It was only once that I ever played, and I was like ‘I can’t do it again, I’m getting so addicted to this.’
FH: If you had to say you’re addicted to one thing right now, what would it be?
Éva: Sequins. I am always, constantly, using sequins. It’s ridiculous. I take tweezers, and I hand-place thousands —
FH: Are you serious?!
Éva: For this costume, I have sequins on it but I didn’t have enough time to put all the sequins that I wanted. For my Elsa costume, I have over 5,000 hand-placed sequins on it —
FH: Good god! And that’s all you, with tweezers?
Éva: — and I put on Netflix while I do it. It has to be perfect; otherwise, I freak out.
FH: How do you wind down after these events?
Éva: I take naps. I’m a huge introvert, so this is totally draining for me. I have a baby bunny at home, so I cuddle with him for a while, and then (brief pause) he pees on me, and then I have to put him back in his cage.
A man brings coffee, two coffees actually, one of them in a glass big enough for her to swim in just about
Éva: I love coffee.
FH: How many per day?
Éva: Three? I love it so much. I’ve been drinking it since I was 12. I was in a hair salon one day, and they had a coffee thing there. I go, “I’ll try it,” and I have black coffee with just a little bit of sugar … and, as a 12-year-old that sounds really disgusting, but for some reason I liked it.
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