The next time you see Calista Fyfe, the 2018 Dallas International School graduate might be someone else.
Through cosplay (short for costume play), Fyfe has become Hela from the movie Thor: Ragnarok, Tracer from the video game Overwatch, and Joffrey Baratheon from the TV show Game of Thrones.
(ABOVE: Calista Fyfe makes her own costumes, including this one for Tracer from Overwatch. Dallas Fan Days is Oct. 19-21. Courtesy Capture the Moment)
“The costumes are extremely fun to make, sometimes infuriating, but I learn something new with each costume,” she said.
Gender doesn’t matter. Hero or villain? That doesn’t matter either. What is important with the costumes she can spend up to 40 hours making: the challenge, design inspiration, or emotions they evoke.
“Joffrey Baratheon was probably one of my favorite costumes, because of the reactions I get from people as he’s generally looked at as the most hated character of the series,” Fyfe said.
She grew up in Preston Hollow and is attending Sarah Lawrence College in New York this fall, but hopes to make it back home for Dallas Fan Days, the convention where her love of cosplay was born.
Fyfe was going through a difficult time in 2014 when she discovered Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13, one of her favorite TV shows, was coming to the area.
“My mom reluctantly agreed to drive me to go meet him, both of us knowing absolutely nothing about comic conventions,” she said.
Inside the Irving Convention Center, among the vendors, panel discussions, and celebrity photo signing areas, they encountered halls filled with superheroes, princesses, and other video game and movie characters, many posing for photo requests.
“The beautiful thing about Fan Expo Dallas and Dallas Fan Days is watching the cosplayers interact with our other guests,” Fan Expo vice president Andrew Moyes said. “While not everyone who visits our event is in costume, a great many spend hours and hours creating elaborate characters.”
Fyfe decided to become one of those, and soon learned to sew and craft while making new friends and gaining greater self-acceptance. “I was also always the nerd of my high school, so it felt amazing to have conventions in my life as they helped me branch out and learn to love what I loved despite it maybe not being the ‘popular’ thing to like,” she said.
Cosplay combined her love for performance and visual arts and gave her confidence that extended to trying out and making her school’s basketball team, though she hadn’t had much previous experience. She also will play basketball in college.
“When people look at cosplay from the outside, they often times only see the costumes, the conventions, but through my four-year journey, I’ve realized it’s all so much more important than that,” she said. “It’s about self-acceptance, community, and coming together to celebrate what you love.”