Photo by Giulietta Zawadzki
Photo by James Bissett Photography
Photo by Giulietta Zawadzki
March 28th, 2018
The first time I saw a cosplay by Giulietta Zawadzki, I had no idea who was behind the costume. When your costume is the Alien Queen from James Cameron’s Aliens, you can rest assured that people want to find out who the person behind the mask is. It turns out that Giulietta had done that build a few years back and continues to make huge epic cosplays still.
What I like about her work is that she puts so much work and effort into the builds. Wearing wigs and using makeup to complete the costume to a T, she’s a chameleon totally bringing your favourite characters from Pop Culture to life. She has raw determination and once she has a character in mind nothing will stop her from completing it all from scratch, and then blowing everyone’s minds when they see it.
Where are you from?
I’m from England even though my name might say otherwise. I have Polish and Italian blood.
How did you get started in cosplay?
It stems back to when I was about 8 and I wanted to dress up as Xena for a school fancy dress day. Xena was my hero growing up so to become her for a day was a dream come true! Then, fast forward to college/uni when fancy dress was my favourite thing to do and making the costumes was all part of the fun. It was my final year of uni (Fine Art) and I wasn’t getting on with my teachers; we often had massive disagreements on what ‘ART’ is. Apparently, mine fell under illustration so, as kind of a joke I used one of my costumes I had made for Halloween (my Diablo Demon Hunter costume) in with my work and to my surprise the teachers loved it and demanded more. So for my final piece I created my own characters and made their outfits for our degree show. At the time, a friend saw my work and told me all about a comic con they attend twice a year down in London and how everyone dressed up like this for fun. After I made my first official cosplay costume (Blood Moon Shen and Akali to match) I have never looked back and now I’m addicted to cosplay!
What was the first big cosplay that you did?
That would have to be my Daedric armour from Oblivion. It was my first ever full set of armour and took me 2 months to make. But I loved every minute of it and the feeling I got when I wore it to a con and had so much positive feedback just made my year! Being my favourite armour in any game [was great because] I put so much love and time into it and it really showed.
You have an artist background. How does that help with your cosplays?
Well, it definitely helps with the painting side of things and also having a creative mind does help in the actual creation of the cosplay. But I have seen some of the best cosplays come from people who have no art skills so it can be learnt!
I love your paintings as they are the perfect blend of beauty and macabre. What does your art say about you?
That I am secretly disturbed? Haha I’m joking! I have a very wild imagination which I feel fuels my vivid dreams/nightmares which, in turn, I use in my art. All my art projects at college and university were always about dreams/nightmares, surrealism and escapism. These topics I hold very dear to my heart. I am also a massive horror fan; anything to do with ghosts, demons, zombies, aliens etc. I’m all for it.
Do you make all of your own cosplays?
I do! People cosplay for many different reasons but the crafting part of cosplay is my reason. I fell out of love with art because of my teachers, which caused me to drop art after I graduated and pursue cosplay as my new form of wearable art. It’s only now I have rekindled my love for painting and have recently started drawing again.
What has been the most challenging cosplay you've done so far?
I would have to say my Alien Queen. I had 3 weeks to make it and it was my 2nd big build so I had no idea what I was doing. I said to myself, “If I start with the head and manage to do that then I can do the rest of it no problem.” Although now when I remake that costume I will spend as much time making it as I can to make it perfect.
What is your favourite con to attend? Which have you yet to attend that you really want to?
I do rather enjoy MCM Manchester; it’s now a local con for me. It is a dream to attend San Diego, Dragon con and New York comic con, so fingers crossed next year I can make at least one of those happen.
The Alien Queen cosplay is bar none my favourite cosplay you've done. What was the build process for that one? How challenging was it to walk around with it?
Like I said earlier I had to make the head first in case I made the rest of it then got to the head and couldn’t, and then end up with an unfinished cosplay that I would never return to. The head was a challenge as it’s not a common cosplay so I couldn’t just look up a tutorial, and instead I went in blind and just gave it my best shot. The cosplay itself is easy to walk in, and to most people’s surprise, I can see rather well in it and I do enjoy watching people’s reactions to the cosplay as I walk by (I have made many kids cry, unintentionally may I add!) But in crowded cons I have many a times nearly poked people’s eyes out with the spikes on my back so I do have to be careful.
Seeing how you cosplay, what's Halloween like for you? Do you get even more into it or are you exhausted at that point?
Halloween, back in the days before cosplay, was the only time it was publicly acceptable to wear a costume and people were less likely to judge you, so it was by far my favourite time of year (and of course, being a horror holiday I was always a fan)! But, after getting into cosplay and there being so many cons throughout the year, it’s like Halloween all the time for me now! I have also adopted the confidence to not care if others judge me, which is always a great thing! So now I don’t really go out for Halloween since I put so much time and money into my costumes I don’t want some drunken fool to spill beer all over me.
If you had a time machine and could go back in time, where would you go, and why? What would you do?
Honestly, if I had that golden opportunity I would go back to when my Granddad was alive. I never had a chance to meet him and after all the stories I have heard about how wonderful he was it makes me so sad that I never met him. This guy survived being shot 8 times by a machine gun back in the war as well as escaping a concentration camp and living off the land in Siberia, so in my eyes he’s a Hero!
How has cosplay evolved since you started?
Cosplay and comic cons certainly have grown since I started, but I was kind of late to the game and started at the age of 22 so I’ve only been around for 3 years.
What's your favourite aspect of cosplay?
100% picking a character you love so much, and making it from scratch. The sense of accomplishment you get after finishing a costume that’s taken you months to make is just the icing on the cosplay cake.
What's your most memorable moment from a con you cosplayed at?
I’ll never forget the time I was attending a smaller con in Sheffield and a woman walked past me and says ‘Omg, are you the girl who cosplays the Alien Queen?’ Bearing in mind I’m in my Daedric armour at the time, so I reply with ‘Yeah how did you know? I have my helmet on’. And she says ‘I recognize your shoes and hair’. I thought that was so funny and random but it was also really awesome that someone remembered/recognized my work.
Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies?
Well, eating is my favourite sport and I’m pretty good at it, so normally I would say both however I’ve never heard of Fudgee-O cookies but they sound AWESOME! So in this case I’m team Oreo.