9 March 2016

Last year, I spoke to three wonderful cosplayers about their adventure on the London Underground to promote "Lara Croft GO". The group were selected by Crystal Dynamics and Betty Brown PR to travel across the city as Lara on launch day, awarding commuters with iPad Minis. Instructions on how to win a tablet were included in copies of the Metro.

One of the cosplayers was Helen, also known as Lady Scion in the cosplaying community. She has beautiful recreations of Lara Croft's outfits from Tomb Raider (2013), Angel of Darkness and the classic titles which are not only stunning but have been carefully constructed with clear passion and dedication. Helen's hobbies also explore other sides of the Tomb Raider series. In her free time, she is also a blogger and runs a site dedicated to Tomb Raider, cosplay and games called Tangled Wires. The site highly recommended and a pleasure to read!

You can read the full London Underground article, HERE and check out the full interview with Helen below:

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m Helen and I am a cosplayer and Tomb Raider fan from the North West of England. I am a researcher and has worked in the video game industry as a social media assistant. I also have an Etsy store that I sell mostly Tomb Raider cosplay items, but to be honest if something works well on one of my cosplays I’ll offer it for sale to help out people who maybe can’t make it or doesn’t have the time. All the money from my store now goes back into costume supplies, however when I started in back in 2013, it was so helpful to get a little extra money in after university.

Photo by Darren Rowley Photography 

2. When did you get into Tomb Raider and cosplay?

For Tomb Raider, I broke my leg in 1997 when I was 8 years old. As I was off school for over a month, my neighbour offered to give me his Sega Saturn, as he was getting a Playstation, and said I could take any game I wanted. He passed the box over and I had a rummage and at the bottom was a box with a woman on it! She had brown hair like me so I instantly wanted it. I loaded the game and fell in love exploring this lady’s house for hours on end and the the eerie quietness of Vilcabamba. Then I came across the T Rex and didn’t sleep that night! From there Lara has been part of my life.

For cosplay, I found it hard to get a job after my masters degree in 2012 and took the decision to take some time out to be a carer for my mum. I found out about MCM London and didn’t realise we had conventions in the UK, I thought they were just American things like SDCC. I bought tickets for myself and my boyfriend as Christmas presents and I decided to make the reboot Lara costume as I had found myself coming back into gaming after a few years out. I really loved the costume and related to the reboot character of a Lara, just out of university and battling with the world. Making the costume gave me some escapism and something to accomplish during this time and helped me so much to keep positive. I wore it to MCM May 2013 and decided this is what I wanted to do as a hobby. It combined skills I learnt during my A-Levels, when I decided to take an academic route rather than studying costume design, with my love of gaming. I haven’t looked back yet!

3. How did you become involved in the Lara Croft Go event?

I attended the Tomb Raider meet up at Gamescom and Meagan came up to me to offer the role. I was took by surprise but of course I said yes. I grew up with the Tomb Raider models and wishing I could be like one of those. I know if hadn’t had done it, I would have had a very upset little me inside and I couldn’t let her down! I checked with work, and thankfully they were okay to let me do it, so I went ahead.

Photo from the Official Tomb Raider Blog.

4. Is this the first you’ve cosplayed as part of a promotional event?

Yes it is, it was a fantastic experience and I really love how companies are getting involved with cosplayers now. Cosplay has such a visual impact at events and on the street that can draw in consumers and at the end of the day, a cosplayer is simply a fan. Companies are making it easier too with outfit and prop guides such as the one one from Rise of the Tomb Raider and Guerrilla Game’s Horizon: Zero Dawn; having official measurements and colours is a dream! It means so much to have your work recognised by the creators and to be part of something.

5. How did you to prepare for the day ahead?

So that we all matched, we were provided with shorts and vest tops that matched the Lara Croft GO aesthetics. Myself, Laura, Rachel and Lisa just needed to provide a backpack, boots, holster and gloves. I made myself a backpack a couple of days before I travelled down to London with the help of Laura (Laura Eliza Cosplay) in the skill of modified bags as a lot of unfortunate things happened that week which meant I couldn’t spend as much time as I would have liked on the bag making it from scratch. I do sometimes get panic attacks and made sure my trip down was nice and calm as possible, just in case! Luckily all was okay! I stayed with some relatives for the weekend and that was it really apart from the night before I was sat finishing edges on my bag while using a Korean sheet face mask!

6. What was your impression of the event, how did the day go?

I think it was a fantastic event that really worked for what the game represented. Lara Croft GO harks back to the classic aesthetics and is all about experiencing Tomb Raider on the go. So by having a Lara on the tube travelling around London, it is a visual representation. All the iPads were snapped up pretty quickly, so it is nice to know that the advertisement in the Metro had an impact and that people were actively on the look out. Also we avoided a potential tube strike which was pure luck!

7. How many people came up to you during the event?

I think I had around 7 people approach me within 25 minutes, obviously only the first three won the iPads. Some of the people had a real nostalgia trip and were just as happy to get a picture with Lara Croft! Many of the passengers looked on and knew who I was cosplaying as even if they didn’t approach me to whisper the password ‘Lara Croft GO’.

8. As you were interacting with the public, did you feel safe throughout the event?

I had a minder with me at all times, as did all the other Laras. I knew if I felt panicky or uncomfortable then we could stop for a bit; but I felt very safe throughout and it was just like travelling to a convention in all honesty. I was made aware of all the safety procedures before I agreed to the event so I knew everything would be in hand and I wasn’t going to be left alone.

9. What kind of steps did the team make to ensure that everything went smoothly?

While we were getting ready in the morning we were briefed about what we were expected to do and who our minders were. There was also emails before the event checking that we were all okay costume wise and what would happen if the tube strike went ahead, so that we wouldn’t travel to London and find that plans had changed. Our minders also made sure we were okay while we were travelling around and kept an eye out just in case anyone decided to be a little creepy or was harassed. Thankfully, plan A worked out perfectly and we all had a great time and lots of laughs.

10. What cosplays are you working on now or planning?

At the moment I have just finished Lost Valley Lara, which is Anniversary Lara after a dinosaur attack! The next on my list is Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn and I am redoing my GLaDOS for competition next year. I’ll finally get around to doing a Rise cosplay next summer.

A huge thank you to Helen for the interview! 

You can follow her upcoming cosplay adventures on Twitter and Facebook.


Post a Comment