Cosplay Tips & Tricks: Conjuring an Evil Queen


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With Regal Con in less than a week, I thought what would be a better way to get into the spirit than to feature an enchanting Evil Regal cosplayer. I came across Christal aka Red Van Ghoul‘s cosplay on the Evil Regals Facebook page. While there are several amazing Once Upon a Time cosplayers out there, Christal’s cosplay really just floored me. I reached out to Christal and found out she had a team behind her to create this masterpiece. So without further ado, Christal…


Ever since I started watching Once Upon A Time, I loved Regina’s character and the costume designs for her as the Evil Queen. That sparked a longtime desire to cosplay Regina, but with very little sewing skills, I did not know where to begin. I took to Facebook and soon enough, one of my friends and mentors pointed me in Erin’s direction. I believe I said, “I can’t sew to save my life.” The response was, “Erin can sew to save your life.”

I contacted Erin immediately! I looked at her profile and fell in love with her design style and knew she was the perfect designer for this specific cosplay. Despite being a little over two hours away from each other, she made the magic happen. Everything truly started coming together earlier this year and so we set a date to debut the cosplay at Emerald City Comicon, the convention that altered my life forever when I first attended back in 2013 with my father.

Erin was amazing. She aimed to be as detailed and close in accuracy to the original costume, and she made alterations to make sure I would be comfortable. It did not stop with the completion of the full dress. With it being quite the cosplay task, we decided together that it would be a creative collaboration. We invited our friend Dawn to work her hair sculpting magic and Mike Wilson of Nowhereman Photos to capture the completed cosplay with makeup done by myself. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to come together to make this cosplay dream come true.


When Christal came to me with the idea of doing a Regina cosplay, I was super excited about the project. This was my first official cosplay commission and its a really different experience than my normal design process. I was challenged in making the design as close to the production quality as possible. Finding the correct materials was on par with drafting the pattern. Luckily I was able to find some amazing elements while fabric shopping in Vancouver BC.

The fitting and pattern making took about a year and that was mainly because we live so far apart and I was working a full-time job and attending school. Christal was an amazingly encouraging client to work with which is what you want as a designer.

The costume itself consisted of a corselet, skirt, and bodice with detachable collar. I thought that the corselet and the collar was going to be difficult to figure out and make but once I started on them they quickly came together. The costume itself is a cotton Jacquard with ambiance rayon lining, polyester elements in the collar and the most amazing beaded fabric that was hand sewn on the collar, sleeves, and corselet.




Emerald City Comicon was the perfect place to debut the cosplay. My boyfriend actually cosplayed as Graham in his sheriff attire and joined in on the fun which was a great experience for the both of us. We were stopped so many times for photos and made connections with others who loved Once Upon A Time as well. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as “squeeing” together over a mutual interest, so that was an experience all itself. That’s what I love about conventions like ECCC!


There’s a group on Facebook for Evil Regals (mentioned earlier) to get together to share their love for Lana Parrilla and her character Regina Mills. I think I joined the group last year, but it was only this year I started engaging in posts with other Evil Regals. Just like many other characters and fandoms have done, Lana and the character of Regina Mills helped a countless amount of people get through hard times with the strength shown in the show and the actress’ positive outlook on life. Several days ago, I actually got to meet Lana Parrilla at the Calgary Expo and she was just as I imagined she would be in person. I kept composure during the signing, but once I walked away, I teared up. I posted about it in the group.

Here’s the post:

“It finally happened. I met Lana for the first time at Calgary Expo.

I was able to get away from the booth I was working at for her signing on Sunday. With me, I carried a bag of gifts for her. I called it a “treat yourself” goodie bag. It carried bath bombs, nail wraps, makeup for her and her makeup artist Troy Jensen (who I am a fan of), and a cute shirt from the company I work for. She had a huge smile on her face when she peeked into her gift bag, said I was so sweet, and told me she would be seeing Troy soon so she would happily pass along the makeup to him when she does. It was such an honor to meet her. I managed to keep my composure, but when I walked away I started to cry. Not because I met Lana. Don’t get me wrong. It was the best moment ever, but I was crying because Lana brought to life a character that I deeply connected with so it was overwhelming. Back in 2011, my boyfriend’s life was wrongfully taken by someone I knew. When I watched OUAT and Regina’s story began to unfold, it triggered all the pain I had to cope with. But I refused to stop watching. I refused to alter my life because of someone else’s wrongdoings. As the show progressed, Regina’s strength did as well. Her character helped me find the peace I needed and assured me that love would come to me again as long as I have a good heart.

Here I am now, more alive than ever and in love with someone incredibly dear to me. It’s almost unreal. I thought it was the end back then, but I learned my “Once upon a time…” is only beginning…

Thank you, Lana, for being so amazing.”

It sparked a thread of uplifting comments. It was at that moment I realized how strong and supportive fandoms can be. Rock on, Evil Regals! I’m so happy to be one of the familia.

Christal aka Red Van Ghoul


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Michelle L. Jensen
Blogger, fangirl, cosplayer, and most importantly, a nerd. She's also the creator of Nerd Out.
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