August Cosplay Spotlight

To Hell(Girl) and Back...

We're spotlighting talent in the cosplay community! 

Every month, The Variant showcases different cosplayers who display talent, creativity, and a positive voice for the cosplay community!

Hey, everyone!

My name is Mel, otherwise known as Aerobyn Cosplay or Aero.

I like to think of myself as the goofy weirdo of the group. I’m the kind of person that makes sure everyone is enjoying themselves – in and out of the con space. For me, the most important part of cosplay is the enjoyment. Quality is important but that doesn’t mean anything if you’re not having fun.

I started cosplaying in 2007. My little shy self finally had the courage to join a club in high school. I sat in the corner during the first meeting of the Japanese Culture Club and I heard members showing progress on their outfits for the next convention. It was eye-opening! I always wanted to celebrate beloved characters and I quickly attached myself to this hobby and haven’t let go since.

One of my first cosplays was Demyx from Kingdom Hearts II for Animazement. I built a [very heavy] sitar made from wood, styrofoam, and whatever I had access to in our shed out back. The wig was a really gross costume mullet and my friend purchased an Organization XIII coat for me for my birthday.

It was ridiculous derpy, but I had the best time ever!!

I’ve grown so much over the 11 years I’ve been cosplaying and continue to grow. In the past couple of years, I’ve challenged myself with builds that I didn’t think I could ever do, each having new techniques that I had zero experience in. I’ve created outfits from comics, video games, anime, and even an original D&D character.

Another hobby I enjoy is Live Action Role Play. In LARP you not only create a character, you become the character. Melding their mindset and becoming the character is important. I try to bring this aspect into my cosplay as well so for me, deciding which character to build next is important. Most of the characters I choose are either ones that I have a personal connection to or ones that have aspects of a personality that I want to work on. Lately, I’ve been doing characters who have courage and confidence so that I can live in those shoes and ‘practice’ those skills for my real self. Not only is LARP and cosplay a good creative outlet but it can also be a fantastic way to improve yourself.

For all you amazing cosplayers out there, keep building and keep bringing characters to life. When you get stressed about a build, remember to have fun and believe in yourself!

“Believe in the me that believes in you!” - every Kamina cosplayer ever



​This month's Spotlight was pretty amazing! Not only did we bring in some new photography blood to The Variant, we got to shoot at two AMAZING locations!

So first we would like to welcome the outstanding work of Jon V Photography to our team!! Jon shot Mel's "Alexstrasza" from World of Warcraft on location at Gimghoul Castle and around UNC Campus both in Chapel Hill, NC. 


Our fearless photography director, the insanely talented Tomisina Lynn

shot "HellGirl" at the historic Carolina Theater in Durham, NC.

HUGE shout-out and THANKS to the Carolina Theater for letting us have free reign to shoot pretty much wherever we wanted and were super-cool about it!!! 

Also an IMMENSE thank you to Johnie​ 5 for his outstanding work helping direct the Hellgirl shoot!!!!! 

...why are you still reading this?? GO CHECK OUT THE PICS!!!!

Meet the cosplayer!

Aerobyn Cosplay

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Photos by

Jon V Photography


Tomisina Lynn Portrait Photography

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A League of Magic, Unforgiven.