As artist and dreamers, we love to see the creativity and passion the Court of the Dead inspires in fans, or “mourners” everywhere. To see Courtly characters celebrated in the mortal realm is an incredibly high honor.
When we saw Emilie of Scarlett Costuming do her own stunning take on Cleopsis from the Court of the Dead line, we were thrilled and chilled by how the Eater of the Dead seemed to truly rise from the Underworld! We had the opportunity to interview her and find out just how Emilie came to devote her talent to the Faction of Flesh…
Where are you based out of?
I live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
How did you get started doing cosplay/costuming/SFX?
I started in 2014 when a friend invited me to a convention. I really wanted to make a costume since I’d heard about cons and cosplay and for that event I made my first cosplay; a faun character from Dungeons and Dragons. I’m a huge D&D nerd so naturally that was my first choice.
What inspired you to take on this project?
When I saw the Court of the Dead characters, I was immediately drawn to the wonderful character designs. I wanted something that could challenge me in terms of techniques that I had never used before, and the Court of the Dead characters was perfect for that. I knew I was going to compete in two big competitions during the summer, so I chose someone impressive; Cleopsis.
What about Cleopsis were you personally drawn to?
Well, I’m doing my Master’s Thesis on ancient DNA from lower Egypt just before the reign of the Pharaohs, so naturally, I was drawn to Cleopsis. I have always been very interested in the ancient Egyptian kingdoms and when I saw Cleopsis, I was sure I was going to make her. I love the horror genre and SFX and she combines all the best things.
What was the development process like for fabricating the costume? How long did it take? Did you collaborate with anyone?
There was a lot of planning, to be sure! I’d never made anything as big in resin as the crown, and I’d never casted in silicone or made facial prosthetics. I’d never made anything like this before, so I had to do a lot of research. I started out by making the most difficult parts first, like the crown and the skin and face. Once I had that down, I was sure I could actually complete the costume. It has been a steep learning curve, but it has been so much fun to learn new techniques!
The costume itself took around 9 months to make. I only had afternoons/evenings and weekends to work on it, so it dragged out a bit. I made everything by myself, from prosthetics to electronics. Even the smoke machine for the collar!
How did if feel to embody the character?
I felt pretty powerful wearing the costume. I made an act for the competition I entered, and that is my favorite moment. I love to portray characters through acts and Cleopsis is just such a dark and dangerous character. I loved trying to portray that!
(See an interactive 3D representation of Emilie in her cosplay below!)
You recently entered your Cleopsis in a cosplay competition, how was that experience?
It was amazing! I qualified for the Dreamhack World Cosplay Championship finale (a competition for Dreamhack competition winners from all over the world) and I never dreamed I would actually win something. But I placed 2nd and I am very happy and honoured.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome with this project?
I’d say the facial prosthetics and the crown. I had to make a lifecast of my face to make sure that the prosthetics would fit. I also had to sculpt the crown on the lifecast to make sure I got the right proportions and the right fit. It wasn’t easy to cast the crown in resin either! I had to make a huge mother mold to make sure the thing didn’t get warped during casting. For a newbie in SFX and casting, that was a pretty big obstacle. But I have learned so much from this, so I know what to do next time!
How have you grown, and what have you learned after doing this project?
As mentioned, I have learned so much! Aside from all the techniques and materials I have work with, I have also learned that time management is a very important thing and that most things take longer than you’d think, especially sculpting. I have also learned that my boyfriend does not want to kiss me while I’m dressed as Cleopsis.
Do you plan on showing Cleopsis off again in the future?
Yes! I will be representing Denmark at the Nordic Cosplay Championships in late July. It will be broadcasted on live national TV and I am very excited about that!
Where can people follow you and find your work online?
I post all my work at my Facebook page, Scarlett Costuming.