Underneath the Cosplay – Aleta Pardalis

Steampunk Baroness - Cosplay
Photo by Brian Humphrey

I met Ms. Pardalis at New York Comic Con this past year.  (She was our Cosplay of the Day for the first day of the con.)  Right away I was blown away by her Baroness costume from G.I. Joe.   It wasn’t your everyday Comic Con costume.   It was the work of a dedicated craftsman.  I think it was the first picture I took that day.  Sadly, I am not a professional photographer, I failed capture just how amazing her costume was.

Name:

Aleta Pardalis

Hometown:

Miami, FL

Social Media

Website: www.AletaPardalis.com

I also didn’t get to long to talk to her.   (I never like to pester someone nice enough to stop and pose for a photo for too long.) But I was so impressed, I got in touch with her again to see if she would be interested in being featured here at Underneath the Cosplay.

“Well, I don’t call myself a cosplayer, it’s fine if other people use that term but I am a costumer. What I do is design and create costumes and props. I do not pretend to be the character unless there is a very specific reason to do so”, she told me. “Cosplay is dressing up and pretending to be a character. Costuming is about being creative and bringing a vision to life.”  Ms. Pardalis’ creative vision certainly can’t be denied.  Her highly stylized renditions of some fairly famous characters have become quite well regarded in the steampunk  and costuming communities.  “I am known for my Steampunk Baroness in the GI Joe costuming community and my Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw certainly seems to get a lot of attention.”

Her version of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy founder definitely has received a lot of attention.  It earn her an award at this year’s Steampunk Chronicle Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Individual Costume.  Rowena Ravenclaw hands down has been to date the most difficult project Aleta has taken on. “It has ten yards of feather trim and the rhinestone steampunk Ravenclaw logo took around thirty hours to create. The 

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Rowena Ravenclaw, photo by PhotosNXS

light up wand took around another ten hours to create.” 

She began making costumes very early in life. “I started costuming for medieval fairs in 8th grade and even before that I’d designed a Gibson girl style dress.  My first genre related costume would have been Catra back in 5th grade, which was a Halloween costume at the same level as an average con costume now. My mother is a clothing designer. The first con I ever attended was back in 1995. It was a local one day comic book show. I wore a vampire outfit I had designed and won second place in their costume contest.”

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Photo by Brian Humphrey

Since then, Aleta has brought her unique vision to create original versions of a diverse list of characters.

Catra, Catwoman (four different versions), Umi, Shampoo, Lum, Dawn (five different versions), Dark Ivory, Sarah from Labyrinth, Nana, pinup Belle, Steampunk Black Widow, Steampunk Baroness (GI Joe), Steampunk Morgan Le Fey, Steampunk Poison Ivy, Steampunk Wonder Woman, Steampunk Death (Sandman), Steampunk monster hunter and Steampunk Rowena Ravenclaw. “I lean towards villains and very dominant women.” she informed me.

And as ambitious as Ravenclaw is, Aleta is not one to rest on her laurels. “My next costume is Steampunk Maleficent which will be even more difficult {than Rowena Ravenclaw}. My steampunk Maleficent design is one I’ve had for a few years now that I put off due to the time and cost.

With all the work that she must do to create such amazing costumes, and props. it’s hard to believe that she would have time for any hobbies, but you would be wrong if you thought that.

Poison Ivy
Rowena Ravenclaw, photo by PhotosNXS

I write, sing, act, model, draw, travel as much as possible, build computers (my own), read a lot and design clothingI primarily read sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk, technically I also read romance and young adult as well but it’s all sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk related,  and comics and manga.

If it’s on tv and genre related I probably watch it. I do still watch anime but I read the manga more at this point. Oh, and I love Korean dramas. I don’t really play video game anymore outside of a few android apps. I used to enjoy FPS games like Doom and Duke back in the day, I’ve played WoW and tried a number of others but I have too much else to do. I really enjoy table top RPGs but I don’t currently have a gaming group.”

It is probably a good thing that she doesn’t currently have a group.  She is quite busy,  This June she will be attending ConTemporal, in Raleigh, NC where she will be the costuming Guest of Honor.

Before letting this very talented and very busy designer go,  I wanted to know if she had a philosphy on cosplay and costuming that guides her. “I don’t know that I have a cosplay philosophy.” she told me.  “I believe

 in doing your own thing, striving to improve and challenge yourself and only competing with yourself. My favorite saying is by Ralph Waldo Emerson “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Wonder Woman, Photo by Elysiam Entertainment
Wonder Woman, Photo by Elysiam Entertainment
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