POSTED: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 1:15pm
NEW ORLEANS,LA (NBC33) — Paige Harris  has been an anime heroine, a fighter, and a superhero. Most of the time she's just Paige, but sometime she has fun being someone else. The costumes are not for Halloween. Harris is a cosplayer.
"Well the technical term is costume play. It's just the act of dressing up as something you feel really passionate about. [It’s] a passion that you share with other people. Just being that person for a day," Harris said.
She has been to pop culture conventions across the country decked out as different characters, and it’s all for fun.
“It was sort of surreal for me, because convention life is that fantasy life you wish you could live all the time,” Harris said. “[You are] surrounded by a bunch of people who totally get you and your nerdiness and geek out with you.”
There are so many comic book and video games characters to choose from it can be difficult trying to decide who to go as.
“To me it's really about the fandom. I like to choose a genre. It has to be something that's personal to me. I don't just choose anything off the shelf. If it's like anime that I love. It's my favorite character. It doesn't matter as long as I have a passion for it. I want to share it with people because that's a large part of what it is,” Harris said.
When Harris hits the floor of a convention like Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con all of a sudden Harris is a star. People stop all wanting to take a picture with the girl with the awesome outfit.
"It's fun after fun. Person after person,” Harris described. “Everybody loves it there is no hatred. "
Paige isn't alone. Pro cosplayer Ivy Doomkitty  was also dressed up at New Orleans Comic Con. Ivy Doomkitty said she's seen a boom in the number of people cosplaying.
"It's crazy. You see cosplay. You know I've been going to conventions for a few years several years and you see cosplayers,” Ivy Doomkitty, said. “It's literally been an explosion of cosplay the past two years. Just everyone is getting into it.”
It’s not always easy to get the look of your favorite characters just right.
"A lot of people don't understand the work that goes into it. It's work for fun, " Harris described.
Cosplay experts say in order to get a good cosplay costume you have to think outside the box and be prepared to use a lot of different creative materials to make the costume work.
"For me that just scores extra points when you use something that you would have never thought. I just like to see people with great showmanship," Ivy Doomkitty stated.
Here in Louisiana Harris said there aren’t a lot of chances to cosplay.
"So we are kind of like a cosplay desert,” Harris said. “You have to be willing to travel."
She travels to try out different cosplay looks.
"I'm already working on huge sets of armor. I want to be one of those huge cosplayers so I am aspiring,” She said.
Paige has cosplayed for several years, but she's determined to better develop her cosplay craft.
"I still consider myself to be a novice for sure, because there are so many techniques out there that I haven't been able to try just do to time and financial constraints,” Harris said. “I would still consider myself a novice for sure but just a frequent novice."
Paige had this advice for people who want to try cosplaying: just go for it and pick a character you love to talk about!