I am please to share with you the first of the Heroes Behind the Mask series for 2016! Since I am also writing for Cosplayer Among Us Magazine this will only be a monthly release.
I am very excited to introduce you to Erika! She teamed up with the amazing and kind hearted owner of the Penalty Box in Salt Lake City to raise money for a cause near and dear to her own heart! They were very successful! Keep reading to find out just how successful her event was! Not only has she found time to raise money for a great cause but this cosplayer also works with Salt Lake Comic Con in additional to her other life obligations! She was kind enough to talk about all these busy things in her life!-Mala
Name: Erika Earl
What got you into CAUSEplaying?
The people that I get to Causeplay with
What keeps you CAUSEplaying?
The events get better each time and it’s fun to see the progress.
What was your first CAUSEplay event?
It was a Make A Wish Dreamnight at the Hogle Zoo
What is your favorite costume to wear while CAUSEplaying, and Why? It depends, if it’s for children definitely my fairy.
Most memorable CAUSEplay moment(s) : All of the Causeplayers on the Carousel at the zoo together.
What is your favorite cause to support and what have you done for them? I personally fund raise for the National MS Society because I have MS and it is a cause that means a lot to me.
The silliest/strangest thing you have done for a cause?
I can’t really think of anything I consider silly. Everything is fun if you look at it the right way.
Who inspires you in life or cosplay?
All of the cosplayers I know inspire me in cosplay. In life I’m inspired by anyone who has the courage to be their true self.
Advice for CAUSEplaying: Don’t be afraid to beg.
What CAUSEplay events do you have coming up?
Nothing until next year that I know of but you never know what will happen.
You recently had a CAUSEplay event what is your event called? We change the name every year but it relates to MS and Cosplay
Why did you choose MS for this event?
I was diagnosed with MS over 12 years but because I don’t look sick it’s really hard to spread awareness. All of the money raised went to the national MS society
Why did you choose to host this at the Penalty Box and how do you think this choice influenced your events success?
Bill Rowe is a good friend and Neff Michael’s fund raising enthusiasm is inspirational. There are no two people I would rather work with more for this event. (Note from Mala, Neff was previously interviewed for his own CAUSEPlay efforts so please check out that interview as well!)
Please tell us the process to making this event happen.
This year was a little easier because it wasn’t the first time around. After getting in touch with Bill and Neff and getting the okay to have the event at the penalty box I rounded up raffle donations, I had help from friends and Geek Hangout Utah on that. Salt Lake Comic Con created the flyer that I both posted and passed out and from there it was pretty easy.
What would you say was unique about your event ?
We try to incorporate as much orange for MS as possible. This year we had orange mardi gras beads and orange glow sticks. Most of the pictures had some form of orange.
How much did you raise for MS in total?
We raised $1701.00 in two nights.
Do you see yourself doing something like this again?
I do, next year we will be back.
If someone is interested in creating an event like yours what advice do you have?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to get told no and keep going.
You mentioned that you also volunteer for Salt Lake Comic Con, tell us what you do for them? What is it like?
I am the Director of volunteers for Salt Lake Comic Con, It is the most amazing job I have ever had. I thrive on chaos and love the event so much.
How important are volunteers for conventions from your perspective? The volunteers are incredibly important for the event. With such a large group of volunteers you would probably be surprised at haw hard each one of them works.
Salt Lake Comic Con seems to have a heavy focus on cosplay, how do you think that has shaped the Utah cosplay community?
It has made everyone feel welcome and as if they have a place in the event.
Do you prefer to be called a cosplayer or costumer? Cosplayer
What was your first costume/cosplay? A Zombie
What is your dream cosplay?
There are a lot of them but a Mandalorian is pretty high on the list
How do you feel you have influenced the cosplay community?
I hope I’ve convinced new people to join the community.
What is your day job (a.k.a. how I pay for my expensive hobby)?
I’m an executive secretary at a cancer hospital and I am the director of volunteers for Salt Lake Comic Con
If you could have any job what would it be and why?
I like the jobs I have [Symbol]
Tell us something random about yourself: I have more pets than any one person should probably have and I love them all.
Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars
Marvel or DC: DC
Favorite Comic Series: Batman
Favorite Comic Character: The Joker
Least favorite comic character and why? Superman, he just annoys me
Favorite Book: Coraline or the Graveyard Book
Favorite Video Game: Plants versus Zombies (any of them)
Favorite Convention: Salt Lake Comic Con
Facebook: Erika’s adventures in Cosplay