Community Focus - Claire Corcoran

May 19, 2023 - Hippy

Community Focus time? Community Focus time. This time, we’re diving back into the epic world of cosplay to chat with one creative Guardian that loves to put her best Eliksni foot forward. And other feet, obviously, but Eliksni... yeah, you’ll see what we’re talking about here in today’s blog post.

Meet Claire Corcoran, a cosplayer that shows just how cool it would be if Destiny 2 joined us in the real world while also inviting us to question our own sanity when asking us one very important question: why do I want to be an Eliksni so bad after seeing her in a full, completely realistic costume?!

Let’s dive in, shall we?

You are making my day by sharing more of your cosplay with us, thank you for joining the Community Focus family! Before we start, tell us a little more about yourself and how you got into Destiny and the wonder that is cosplay.

Thank you for reaching out, this is so flattering! Hi, I’m Claire! I guess the biggest thing about me is I’ve always been into art and fantasy and sought out ways to merge the two. By day, I’m an art teacher and by night I’m a gamer and cosplayer. Getting into cosplay was probably inevitable for me, but it took a long time. When I was a kid, I loved wearing costumes and playing pretend with my brothers and sister. We would make props, weapons, forts, and all that good stuff—really, we just liked to let that creativity run wild. In college I learned more about prop fabrication as a film student, and only after that did I jump into cosplay. It happened when I watched Transformers Prime and loved the character of Starscream so much that I decided to take the leap and build a costume. So yeah, my first cosplay was a giant robot. How hard could it be? (Narrator voice: it was very hard.)

Regarding the game itself, I got into Destiny through my brother. He was really into it and got me to play it, and now it’s something we do together a lot to stay connected. It’s been really nice since we live in completely different cities. He can tell when I’m sizing up a character to cosplay in the game because my Hunter will circle around a character (or even another Guardian) slowly while I get screenshots of their clothing from every angle. He’ll be like, “No! Down! Spray bottle attack! You’re already working on too many things!” But he got me into this game, and into Transformers now that I think about it, so this is all his fault. I’m blameless.

Real talk, I can’t even sew a button onto literally anything, so seeing the intricacy of some of your designs, especially your Eliksni, is mind-blowing. We’ve got to ask: What is your process like when crafting a new cosplay? Did it take you a while before you started feeling comfy with making your visions a reality?

Thank you! I couldn’t sew either before I got into cosplay, funny enough, but I had to learn in order to make what I wanted to make. I started with foam armor, and it was a while before I felt comfortable sewing. My favorite thing about cosplay is how I always learn new skills along the way. I choose characters based on how much I like them and how cool they look and then figure out how to make it happen. I don’t hold back just because something looks hard since figuring it out is half the fun.

For my process, I have a notebook of lists, notes, and sketches. I always sketch first, and also take pictures of myself and draw how I think the costume pieces will fit on my body. That was really important for the Eliksni anatomy. Then I make shopping lists, test materials, and do research. I have a whole cosplay research playlist on YouTube, and that’s how I learned to sew, among other skills. Along the way, I make all my patterns out of poster board and old sheets from thrift stores. I try everything on before committing to using more expensive materials.

I think I’m always on the edge between comfort and discomfort when it comes to my skill level, which is the sweet spot to be when you’re learning. In education we call it the “Zone of Proximal Development” and it means you’re challenged but not overwhelmed, and you’re building on what you’ve learned before.

Wow, so it's a lot more extensive than newcomers into the cosplay community might think. Do you have any advice for newbie cosplayers looking to make their own mark?

For newcomers I have three pieces of advice.

  1. Don’t be scared. If you mess up, that just means you learned something that didn’t work, and that gives you direction to try the next idea. You can always go back and improve old costumes. My original Starscream cosplay from eight years ago has been rebuilt a few times and only has a few original pieces left. He looks way better now.
  2. Reach out to cosplayers you like. Most of us are happy to answer questions and offer advice, and you can learn a lot. Follow cosplayers on social media because they post a lot of process videos and how-tos, and you can ask them questions.
  3. Make lists. I know it sounds boring but it’s the best way to make sure you plan for everything your cosplay will need. What are all the things you can see the character wearing? What do you think they’re made of? Do you have any of those items in your closet or are they available at a thrift store? What will you need to make yourself? Once you know all that, even a big project will feel more doable.

I'm sure you've noticed that we like to (playfully) poke jabs at our own class choices, and the rest of the Destiny community definitely jumps into the fun banter, as well. You're up! What's your go-to class and why? (Aggressively prays you say Titan even though you’ve clearly already stated Hunter.)

Hunter because of dodging, no regrets. I get so upset when I can’t dodge, you have no idea! Plus dodging reloads your melee and melee turns you invisible! What could be better? (Please don’t nerf Assassin’s Cowl, lol.) Now that Titans can have a dodge-like ability with Arc 3.0 I’ve actually started using my Titan a bit. But still, Hunters are my go-to.

You know what? Touché. Looking at your portfolio and how you interact with your community, you seem like an absolute blast to be around at conventions. What is your favorite memory from being in the cosplay community? What is one of your darker moments that you’d be willing to share?

I have two favorite memories. One is when I was cosplaying Starscream and some kids had bought some Transformers figures at the con. They came over and basically started playing with me as if I was a giant action figure—making their figures fight me, moving my arms and pretending to shoot my missiles, falling down when I dramatically slow motion punched them. It was so cute!

The other memory is people’s reactions to my Smallen. They usually see the whole picture of my Eliksni first, and then when they notice the babies, everyone loses their minds. I’ve seen grown men squeal from how cute they are. Smallen truly are a gift to the universe. That two-second shot of them in the Beyond Light trailer was everything I needed in life, and sealed the deal on what my next cosplay would be.

A darker moment (besides how physically uncomfortable some cosplays are) is when people can’t keep their opinions to themselves. It’s not very nice to tell a cosplayer that you hate their character, even if it’s like “I hate that character, but your costume is cool.” Cosplayers pour hundreds of dollars and hours into these characters—we obviously love them, and in some ways are living a fantasy of being them for a few hours. It’s kind of silly but we do take it personally. Also commenting on a cosplayer’s body (even if it’s positive) is not a compliment—it’s kind of creepy. Keep your compliments focused on the costume and craftsmanship, please.

With Lightfall out now, and The Final Shape on the horizon, we’re feeling amped about going down memory lane. That raises the question: What is your favorite thing about the universe of Guardians so far? It can be a clan moment, or a favorite cutscene; what spoke to you the most?

It’s really hard to pick! Becoming friends with some of the aliens was huge for me, and something I’d hoped for a long time. I love Misraaks and Caiatl and I love seeing their people around the Tower and H.E.L.M. Something I found really satisfying in the game were the missions in Shadowkeep where you could find lost items from Eris’s fireteam and bring back her true memories of them. Seeing the Nightmares around her decrease in number and seeing her look less tired was so rewarding. Lol, it was worth how grindy those missions were.

Speaking of "new," if you could add anything you wanted to the game—anything at all, big or small—what would it be?

I like how we can save loadouts with mods now, but I really wish we could save fashion loadouts. Having sets of ornaments and shaders we could just save and swap would be nice. And since we’re talking about fashion, maybe there could be a vendor where we could change our character’s appearance. Bungie did something to the textures and now my Exo’s cool star paint is barely visible, so I’d like to change the color and make it stand out again!

What about a dream subclass?

Since there’s one more Darkness subclass presumably out there, of course, I’ve been speculating. I think Blight might be neat (shoutout to Witherhoard, my beloved), but since Darkness is about the mind, Wish would be awesome. I have no idea how they would make Wish abilities for combat, but I think thematically and lore-wise it would be so cool.

Seriously, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us! Before we let you go, is there anyone you want to shout out here in your Community Focus? Also, where can people find you to support your work going forward?

Huge shoutout to my brother Tom, who got me into Destiny, and to the kids in the Cosplay Club at my school! Also shoutout to my Transformers cosplay family at ConsPlay Superior. I’m everywhere at Creature Feature Cosplay.

And that’s a wrap on our latest Community Focus! If you missed the last one with the incredible AllTimeBrianna, you should go check that out right now. But before you do that, make sure to show Claire some love and join me in manifesting her attempting to take a Caiatl cosplay on in the future. We can’t let these dreams be dreams, OK?

Before we let you go, y’all know the drill by now. Make sure you’re drinking that water, indulging in that self-care, and always leading with your kindest foot forward.

See you next time, friends.

“I should go,”

<3 Hippy

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