If you think the new stars of Syfy's Heroes of Cosplayare going to be your typical nerdy types, think again, said well-known cosplayer Chloe Dykstra, who is featured on the docu-series. Not only will the docu-series reframe how genre convention attendees are portrayed, you'll also get a whole new viewpoint of what cosplay is all about.
"When I was approached about the show, I was really nervous that they were going to portray us in that nerdy fashion,” said Dykstra. “But everybody's been so wonderful. The show is not Real Housewives of Cosplay County. It's about the drama that comes with being a cosplayer. It's about getting last-minute touch-ups done. Are you going to finish the prop? Is it going to work? It's just stuff like that. There's so much drama in it already. You don't need to make stuff up.”
Heroes of Cosplay, which premieres Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 10:30 p.m. ET., follows nine cosplayers from the experienced to the not-so-experienced as they travel around the country going to comic and genre conventions to cosplay and complete for glory and prizes in costume competitions.
"We're not your typical reality show stars. I think it was a different experience even for those people making the show, because we don't get mad at each other. We kind of are non-confrontational. There wasn't any shortage of drama, but I think it was a new experience for everyone involved. It was all weird. It was interesting,” she said.
"Everybody on the show is extremely talented. They all have wonderful hearts, and they're tenacious. They know what they want, and they're very passionate. I wish I had an ounce of the passion that goes into making the costumes that they do. I'm excited to have met these people. I think they're going to be around in my life for a long time,” she said.
Dykstra comes by her love of cosplay honestly. She's the daughter of Hollywood visual effects pioneer John Dykstra, whose credits include the original Star Wars and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She grew up on manga, N64 and sci-fi. Now an actress and model, she's appeared in films that include Spider-Man 2 and Drag Me to Hell, and she has a show on the Nerdist YouTube channel called Just Cos, about all things cosplay.
"I loved the idea of Comic-Con, and I always wanted to go, but I was always nervous about the trip. I was a nervous traveler. I was a bit agoraphobic. Eventually I finally made my way to a convention and I thought, I have to dress up. It's like going to a Christmas party wearing shorts and a T-shirt. You've got to dress up for it. So I threw together a really crappy costume. Like, really bad. But I got the reactions of people going, 'Yay, I know what that is. I love that!' It was love. I fell in love,” said Dykstra.
"I primarily like to dress up as really strong female characters. And there are a lot of those in videogames. I try to do a lot of that. Warrior women, Lara Croft, stuff like that. And then sometimes I like to make mashups, because it's almost like designing fashion. You can take something and then add an element to make it yours. That way you're not competing with other people. People aren't going like, 'Oh, she makes a better this.' I just recently dressed up as Creeper Fairy. No one's ever done that before. It's weird, but people loved it, you know?”
She admits superhero and army costumes are more her style than dressing up as a princess. “I'm absolutely more inspired by videogames. I always have been, since I was a kid. It was something very special. It was more escapism than movies. It was sort of a way to reset my brain at the end of a rough day. I had a rough time growing up, so it was a way to escape, basically, is what it was,” said Dykstra.
The cosplayer believes Heroes of Cosplay will be a “breath of fresh air” and a nice window into what it's actually like to be a cosplayer.
And, to that end, she believes everyone has the potential to be a cosplayer.
"If you go to conventions, you should totally just dress up. It's so easy to do, too, to start out. All you've got to do is look at a picture of somebody and then just wear shirts that match. You can just start off that simply. It's the easiest thing to do,” said Dykstra.
Check out the gallery below for some of her favorite costumes.