Just a few months after his first experiment with costuming, Claude Xavier met a professional cosplayer who blew him away. Yeraly, aka Paradox Cosplay, had eight years of experience under her utility belt. She was deeply immersed in the non-profit scene, cosplaying for charity events, and she knew how to work with innovative materials and market herself. In a sea of incredible reproductions, he had found the real thing.
Xavier and Yeraly are now married and living in San Antonio, Texas, a happy outcome which Xavier credits with boosting his cosplay output. "She's the creative one," he tells SYFY WIRE. "I find myself, at times, watching her more than [constructing cosplays myself], and I'm not complaining." Currently, the couple is at work on a challenging Black Manta cosplay, which they hope to have ready for the convention scene by June.
A cosplay influencer in his own right, Xavier spoke with SYFY WIRE about his burgeoning career, his favorite figures in geek media, and why he believes we'll all be okay as long as we all continue to honor classic animation.
What’s the cosplay scene like in San Antonio? Do you travel to conventions?
The cosplay scene in San Antonio is awesome! San Antonio is called Military City USA, and because of this, we are rich in diversity from all walks of life. This makes it perfect for diverse cons from anime to monster cons. I currently travel to cons statewide. My con goals are to travel nationally and internationally to meet my fellow social media cosplayers in person.
What do you do for a living and how is it different from cosplay and design?
Outside of cosplay, I work as a defense contractor in the field of cyber security. My job life is night-and-day from my cosplay life. If I could compare the two, we would be the Green Lanterns of the Cyber-Universe! Cosplay and design is different from my day job because I'm giving the ability to do it my way. I'm bound by rules and regulations at my job, but I'm limitless in my cosplay imagination.
Can you describe your first time seeing cosplay, and your first time trying it out? What were you?
My cosplay journey officially started in September 2018. I remember my dad taking me to Star Trek conventions in the '80s. I saw cosplay, but I didn't understand it until 2017.
My first cosplay was at Alamo City Comic Con, Halloween Edition, in October 2017. I was torn between being a vampire or a pirate, so I decided to be both! Vampirate was born that day, though I'm pretty sure I didn't invent it.
I remember that I was amazed at how many people wanted to take pictures with me. I didn't know how much fun I could have and how the people there made it enjoyable. A few months later I met the love of my life, Yeraly. She showed me how effective cosplay could be in non-profit and charity events. This is where I spend the most of my cosplay time.
What geek media were you into as a kid? Does any of it hold up for you today?
Saturday morning cartoons was my geek media! There was nothing more fulfilling than capping off long a week of school with cartoons. As long as there are channels and social outlets dedicated to the classics, it will always hold up.
If you had unlimited time and resources to put it together, what’s your dream cosplay?
My dream cosplay is Heimdall, the sole protector of the Bifrost bridge in Asgard. Once I complete it, in the words of Pepper Potts, "I can rest now."