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What excites me as a cosplayer is other cosplayers being creative and coming with the most outstanding cosplays. I regularly leave comments on their photos and share those pictures on social media. Another cosplayer that I had an opportunity to interview recently was Eric Lenhardt. He may be in his 40s, but don't take his appearance and creative side for granted. I see his cosplays on a regular basis on Facebook and Instagram. He has the best ideas and is willing to cosplay as pretty much anybody. So sit back and enjoy this interview.
How did you first get into cosplay and how did it change your life?
My first time doing cosplay of any kind was at the Phoenix Comicon in 2013 when my nephew and his wife lived there. I really just wore a pair of jeans with a Superman t-shirt and a cape, with my plastic molded Superman wig. When I saw everyone dressed up as different characters that I loved, I decided to get into it hardcore.
How long have you been doing cosplay and what do people think about you doing it?
I've been doing cosplay for 5 years now. I wish I had started earlier in life. It's so much fun to dress up as your favorite characters and hang out with people who do the same thing. My mom keeps telling me I have enough cosplay costumes! I try and tell her that there's no such thing as too many cosplay costumes. My friends and family seem to love seeing my many different looks I come up with, and most of them from the thrift store.
I've noticed that you go to thrift stores to purchase stuff for your cosplays. How long have you been doing that and how enjoyable is that experience?
For me, thrift stores are the best place to find things that will bring your cosplay together, or to even start searching for a single piece that can easily be the catalyst to making an awesome cosplay come together. If you are on a tight budget, thrift stores are your very best friend! And I actually started doing that around the 2nd year of doing this.
If you were to choose the top 5 best cosplays you have done so far, who would you have on your list?
Superman, Black Canary, Wolverine, Zatanna, Poison Ivy, but I love all of them.
I want to say I applaud you for being bold enough to cosplay as anyone. How are you able to become so confident in your cosplays that most people wouldn't have in themselves?
Sometimes, you just have to get out of your comfort zone! I never in a million years thought I would ever wear anything skin tight like a morphsuit! But once I put it on, it felt amazing! If you never try something, then you will never know how much fun it will be. And now, I'm wearing fishnets, short shorts, and all that kind of stuff to bring a character to life.
There's pages on Facebook featuring cosplayers in their thirties, forties, and so forth. What advice would you give to someone in your age group that's interested in doing cosplay?
I would tell someone my age that there's no time like the present to try cosplay! Like before, I said I wish I would have started sooner than I did, because now I feel like I missed out on several years of cosplay time and I'm trying to catch up.
I'm curious about this, but do you have any cosplays you would like to do in the future?
Hawkman, Firestorm, Emma Frost, Aquaman for starters.
Just like Eric said, there's no such thing as being too old to cosplay. It has no expiration date or age limit. I may be in my 30s, but I long to cosplay for many, many years to come. Eric has been an inspiration for me, and probably you, to cosplay and letting your imagination go wild. He's on Instagram @erics_cosplay_closet. Go and check out his amazing cosplays.