HOMETOWN: Baltimore, MD
RESIDENCE: Baltimore, MD
SCHOOL: Graduated with BA in Theatre from University of Maryland and AA in Early Childhood Development
HOBBIES: Biking, dancing, singing, horseback riding, cooking, rockwall climbing, camping
ZODIAC SIGN: Cancer
CF. How did you get into cosplay, who did you portray first, and why?
My first cosplay was Xena Warrior Princess. That was back in 2012. It was a costume I had made myself with my very limited sewing abilities. I had always wanted to go to a Xena convention because I had loved the show since I was a kid. I finally got up the money/courage to fly across the country and go to my first Xena con by myself in 2012. I wore my Xena costume and nobody knew who I was supposed to be. Haha. But I met some really awesome people that encouraged me to keep cosplaying Xena.
It was really surreal because I got confused for Lucy Lawless (the actress that played Xena) a couple of times. It never occurred to me that I would/could look anything like her. After seeing photos of her and I side by side I will admit that we do look similar, but not enough to be confused for each other. Yet it happens. I think with the hair and the costume on, plus us looking a bit similar, people just get excited and see what they want to see.
I have to be careful how I refer to myself looking like Lucy. For every 20 people I get telling me I look like her, I will get 1 angry hate mail telling me I look nothing like her and that I’m delusional. I know the hate mail comes with the territory. If you are in the public eye in any capacity, you are going to receive hate mail. But it’s still really annoying to get. I know that I am not actually Xena and I never claimed that we were “twinsies”. I just simply state the fact that every time I dress as Xena I always get at least one person, usually several, that stop me and ask if I am actually Lucy.
Oops. I got a bit distracted from the original question didn’t I? I started seriously cosplaying Xena when I went on the Toddscostumes.com website. I had heard that his costumes were the best you can get. So I went on the website just to check it out. His Xena costume was/is amazing. I messaged him asking a few questions about it. I included a link to my acting/modeling page so that he would know my body type to better answer my questions. He messaged me back and told me how much I looked like Lucy. He then asked me if he made me the costume if I would come be his Xena at conventions. The obvious answer was YES!!! So he made me this amazing costume complete with battle dress, armor, boots, and weapons. It is an epic costume. Lucy Lawless has seen me several times in the costume. The first time she saw me in it she told me I was messing with her head and she asked me if my costume was hers. That’s how awesome Todd’s work is. I’ve been cosplaying Xena ever since.
CF. What’s the best part of cosplay?
The best part of cosplay is meeting other cosplayers and the fans. I love meeting new people.
CF. If you could be any super hero or villain who would you be and why?
I’d be Xena. She is so badass. PLUS she spends most of her time hanging around with scantily clad ladies. I could think of worse ways to spend my days.
CF. If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?
There are a lot of people that I would like to meet, but I have no idea what I would say. Let’s go with Adolf Hitler so I could walk up to him and punch him dead in the face.
CF. What’s your favorite sci-fi movie and what captivates about the plot?
WHAT? You expect me to pick a favorite? How? I can’t! There are so many awesome sci-fi movies. Alright alright I’ll try. Let’s go with the original 3 Star Wars movies. Action, adventure, comedy, slave leia…what more could you want?
CF. What’s the craziest thing a fan sent you or requested?
I sometimes post pictures of my son and I together on my fan page. People comment on how cute he is and compliment me on him. I’m completely fine with that. I agree he is super cute. But I’ve had a few people cross the line and say things like “I’d like to be his other mother” and “Sometimes I pretend he is mine”. No no. That is crossing the line.
CF. What sidekick would you hire to be your personal assistant and why?
Ok, I know she is not by any means a sidekick, but can I have Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie verison) as my personal assistant? She is kickass, badass, will certainly get the job done, AND look really hot doing it. I really don’t see a downside to this.
CF. What character intimidates the heck out of you, why, and when will you attempt take the challenge to portray them?
The cosplay that intimidates me that I really want to do is Maleficent, the Angelina Jolie version. I know acting wise I could pull it off. But that costume is intimidating. I’d probably have to make it myself because I sure don’t have the money to pay someone to make it for me. But I’d want it screen accurate just like my Xena costume. That includes the contacts and the prosthetic cheek bones. But I’d really like to do it, so we shall see what I come up with.
CF. Do you know a lot about the series you cosplay?
Oh yeah. I wouldn’t cosplay something I knew nothing about. I feel like that would be cheating the character and the experience. I’m not a hardcore method actor, but when I am playing a character I am that character. So when I have the Xena outfit on, I try to act and behave like she would. For example, some people really loved the show Xena. The show changed their lives and it means a lot to them. I’ve met some of these people at conventions and when some of them see me they start to cry. For them this is the first time in their lives that they’ve gotten to see Xena in person. Now, for the most part, they know I’m not actually Xena and they know I’m not Lucy Lawless. But for them, me standing there looking like her is the closest they are ever going to get to meeting their hero and it is overwhelming for them. I’ve held many people while they cried and told me their stories. I’ve heard stories of how Xena helped people have the strength to make it through rehab. I’ve heard stories of how Xena helped inspire people to get out of abusive relationships. I never knew just how many people Xena touched until I started cosplaying her. I would never want to cheat that experience. Plus some people like to quiz you on your character. So you’d better be ready with the answers.
CF. What’s your favorite comic con to attend and what makes it so special?
I don’t know if I have a favorite. They all have their pros and cons. NYCC the last two years has been really cool because I got to meet some of my celebrity crushes. But Baltimore is also a favorite just because it’s close and doesn’t require many travel shenanigans.
CF. What comic con’s are definitely attending this year?
I just got back from New York Comic Con. The year is almost over. I will be hitting up Faeriecon in November. I’ll be dressed…wait for it….as a faerie. Haha. But next year I plan on hitting Wondercon, maybe San Diego CC, maybe Dragon con, Baltimore CC, and NYCC. I will maybe attend some others. I’m up for suggestions.
CF. What’s one thing you wish fans wouldn’t do?
Put me in a headlock. Some people get really excited to see Xena wandering around. So when they go to get their picture with me, some people put their arm around my shoulders, but then they also decide to try and give me a one armed hug. So they tighten their arm, effectively and usually accidentally putting me in a headlock. Some people I’m not entirely sure they aren’t trying to take my head home with them.
CF. Who was your favorite character to portray and what rocked about it?
Xena has always been and will always be my favorite. Xena was/is awesome. She changed lives and inspired countless people to be strong.
CF. How do you keep cosplay fun?
Oh I always have fun. Anyone that knows me knows that I never get bored. I’m always smiling and being goofy. So for me life is fun and cosplay is just another facet of that fun. But really, it’s hard not to have fun running around in costume.
CF. Where can new fans go to follow you?
The main place to follow me is by “liking” my facebook page. This is where I post all of my Xena, cosplay, and acting updates: www.facebook.com/JessicaLCrouse85
Youtube: Modernxena http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRoJQVYbeRjhGMSA5FSJicg
Costume: www.toddscostumes.com you can also find him on facebook
CF. Other than this interview, what’s the craziest thing you agreed to do?
Ha! I get talked into all manner of ridiculous things. I think my most recent crazy thing was a friend was going to Vietnam and Thailand for vacation. She invited me to come along and I went. That was such a crazy adventure! Now that I’m back it almost feels like a dream.
CF. In your opinion what’s the meaning of life?
Happiness. Have as much and spread as much happiness as you can.
Special thanks to Blue Adept Photography, CosPortraits photographers and Project Manager Rollla Grand.