Would you believe me if I told you I got to talk with the nerdiest, prettiest, kindest COSPLAYER THAT YOU MUST KNOW? Well it’s Leah Rose, the Tucson native model and cosplay extrodanaire. She is truly a formidable presence to have at any con. Every time I see her, I’m welcomed with hugs and derp faces. She’s not shy and will talk to you about anything nerdy for just about forever. Not only is she a close con friend of mine, but also a kick ass lady to boot. Come on, BEAUTIFUL COSPLAY LADY!
She’s been a model for Aspen Comics, Billy Tucci, Big Dog Ink, Knightingail and other big artists. This Zelda lover divulged some of her deeper passions, like doing charity work and what it entails. She’s kicking butts and taking names in Hawaii with her cat.
What got you into costuming?
I pretty much had been costuming since I was a little kid. I remember wandering around and wanting to dress up as Meryl from Pokemon before it was translated to English as well as Sailor Moon (Sailor Jupiter). My grandma and mom were super supportive and helped me with anything that I wanted to do. It’s in my blood I guess.
What was your first costume?
Other than Pokemon’s Meryl and Sailor moon, I would be Arumi Asahina from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. That was the first one I wore to a proper convention, however, before I went to my first convention, which was Anime Expo in 2005, I dressed up at the anime clubs in high school. I still consider her the first cosplay I’ve ever worn, though.
What inspired you the most as a costumer?
Looking at other people’s creations, I look up to people with insane craftsmanship. It’s a testament that they care about what they are working on. I’m also inspired from source material. I’m not going to cosplay something I don’t absolutely love; you’re going to want to do your favorite things justice.
What is your favorite memory from costuming?
I have two, the very first was Tucson comic con that ever happened. There was a man that had severe autism who was absolutely convinced that I was real-life Rougue. The interaction with him was great, like being a princess from Disneyland. I felt like I impacted his day, which made me really really happy. The second was my sisters in spirit and hanging out with the cast of Suckerpunch, more specifically Billy Tucci and Travis Miller, who are two absolutely amazing artist. It was a good feeling and It was a great family memory that we all have since one of our sister’s passed away from cancer.
Of all the costumes you’ve done, what is your favorite?
It is so hard to choose a favorite costume. Each one has it’s own memories attached to them. I think that Rogue will always have to be my absolute favorite, but if I had to pick a Rouge it be the 90’s costume with the huge hair because of what it means to me. I absolutely adore Shi, from Billy Tucci’s comic book, because of all the memories attached to it with friends. I adore being Queen/Princess Zelda from Legend of Zelda. My favorite video game to tie in with anything is Zelda. Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, Link’s Awakening…and…I dunno..all of them!
Any awesome projects you are working on?
Right now I’m working on two specific projects. Project Rogue which I am bound and determined to cosplay every Rogue that has ever appeared, with some liberties taken. If she has two costumes that are similar with one belt and two belts; I’ll go with the one belt and call it a day. I’m also doing something as Project Daenerys, you know how people get sassy when it comes to cosplay? Like, ’Euuuhh you didn’t make it all yourself; you’re not a real cosplayer.’ Well I think it’s CRAP and it makes people feel bad. So I’m wearing every costume as she appears in Game of Thrones but I’m making absolutely zero of it. So I can support those commissioners; support them with my money and get rid of that stigma, you know?
Any cons in the future?
My future cons are Tucson Comic Con, first weekend of November, my hometown con. I gotta go to that! Phoenix Comic Con is going to happen for sure, I mean, Me and Laura Lunardi are going to be doing Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle together. Other than that, I am booking! If anyone would like to see me anywhere, email the convention and let them know I’m a badass and that you wanna see me because…I wanna see you, too!
And a bad ass she is. Not all costumers do charity work, but Leah kicks ass and has the good heart too.
I know that you do a lot of charity work. Care to talk about it?
My charity work is kinda all over. I do a ton of stuff. I mentioned my late sister earlier, her charity with Tracy’s Tooth Fairy, which raises money for people that can’t afford to see a good dentist. A lot of people don’t realize that chemo/radiation wreck your teeth. Medical insurance won’t cover it because it’s dental work. But dental insurance won’t cover it because it’s a medical side affect. When she passed away, we all bound together and took this charity and It’s never going away. Besides that, I go to hospital visits, basically anything I can do. I do a lot of Disney princess costuming, too, so it all ties together.
What is your favorite character from LOZ?
A tie between Zelda, Sheik and Sheikah tribe, and the fairies; Navi and Tatl and Tael because you couldn’t do it without them. I got Navi tattooed on my neck because she always has my back, get it?
Why do you like Zelda specifically so much?
When I was growing up, the Nintendo 64 was the first system I bought with my own money and Ocarina of Time was the first game I bought and I was able to play by myself as my own experience. She is such a powerful character I want to emulate, she’s gorgeous and she holds the Triforce of Wisdom.
How do you identify with Rogue?
I think everybody, at least every girl, can identify with Rogue by not wanting to hurt someone. When I grew up there was no brown haired, green eyed Barbie dolls, so all I had was Sailor Jupiter and Rogue.
If you had to pick one video game to live in for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It depends, am I an OC, like myself? Or am I just one of the characters that are already present. If I could live in Hyrule and be Queen Zelda, as it were. I would do that hands down. If I’d have to go as a random character whatever , I would probably want to be in Skyrim but I want toilets (indoor plumbing is great). Or I’d be from Shadow of Colossus, which is my favorite not-Zelda video game of all time. It’s gorgeous and pristine and nothing would really attack you. Just don’t stab the Colossus with a butter knife and you’ll be fine.