Dressing up as comic book heroes and video game characters might sound like fun and games, but for Oak Flats resident Eve Beauregard it has become a way of life and a successful full-time job.
In the past two years, the striking 20-year-old has become a global cosplay star – which means she’s celebrated by comic fans and gamers the world over for her ability to embody their favourite characters.
A self-proclaimed nerd who was bullied at high school, Ms Beauregard – who uses a stage name to protect her privacy – became a professional cosplayer by accident when she started a Facebook page to share her love of dressing up.
Now she has more than 300,000 Facebook fans and 26,000 Twitter followers, not to mention legions of admirers on YouTube and at conventions across the globe.
‘‘It’s really surreal, because I grew up being a bit of a nerd and not having heaps of friends and being bullied in high school and now I get to support and encourage people that might be growing up in the same situation,’’ she said.
‘‘I love it because I get to send out the message that being different is cool.’’
Her unusual job involves lots of travel as she lends her star power to comic book conventions and gaming events around the world.
‘‘I just got back from Mexico, where I went to Comic Con in Mexico City and I got to meet fans, do signings and judge cosplay competitions and just talk about nerdy stuff,’’ she said.
‘‘Then in about five weeks I go to London for about a month.’’
She also sells carefully crafted prints of herself dressed in her striking handmade costumes to her online fans.
The costumes can take days of painstaking work, and involve skills like make-up artistry, sewing and sculpting props out of thermoplastics and other materials.
‘‘I make all my costumes from scratch, I studied fashion design so I pattern-make everything and sew it all myself,’’ she said.
Ms Beauregard will be in Wollongong to host this year’s Comic Gong cosplay competition, which is one of the most popular parts of the Illawarra comic convention to be held on May 17.
Registrations for two categories – under 12s, and 13 and over – are open until May 11, but organisers expect places to fill fast.