Meet gender-bending cosplay figure Chris Calfa

Chris Calfa @princesschriscosplay) has made a name for himself in the cosplay community with his unique gender-bending interpretations of iconic Disney Princesses, Heroines, and more. Based in New York City, his work has been seen in conventions such as New York Comic Con, BroadwayCon, FlameCon and other media such as the New York Times, Daily Mail, and a personal favorite of his, Vanity Fair, in which he got to speak to Victoria Beckham.

Chris also had the opportunity with The Pop Insider to host his own series “Princess Chris’ Tea Party” in which his favorite episode was filmed right before the pandemic at KatsuCon 2020 where he ran around dressed in one of his many male versions of Cinderella (where he actually lost his shoe during filming). 

If you scroll through his instagram, you are sure to find a wide variety of looks that include special effects makeup to full blown outfits that match recognizably perfect to the disney character he’s portraying. You can also find videos of Chris doing a look from start to finish, bringing us an inside look at the process in which he creates.

I find myself thoroughly entertained by his acting in some videos, and am amazed at his renditions of the characters that he does cosplay of. It’s definitely worth going to see his work, be sure to check it out!

I recently had the chance to interview Chris. Check it out below! 

Bryce Quartz: How did you first get into cosplay and how long have you been doing it?

Chris Calfa: My first convention was New York Comic Con 2012 I actually went to college for costume design so costuming was already part of what I knew and I figured it was a fun outlet to do costumes I wouldn’t be working on out in the real world. I did not get hardcore into cosplay however until 2015 when I started attending more cosplay focused events and meeting people in the community. 

BQ: What is one of your favorite looks that you have done before?

CC: Recently I had just done male versions of Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked. It was truly my passion project to have this happen. Wicked is a huge part of my life, it’s my favorite musical and it was one of my inspirations for getting into costuming. I got to do it with one of my best friends (@brooklynlink), and it was very special for me to get to work on it. Definitely the most challenging costumes I’ve made, but also the most rewarding.

BQ: How long does it usually take to get all the pieces together for a look? 

CC: Recently with my job and lack of being able to be at my sewing machine (which I keep at my parents) it’s difficult to really work on things, the Wicked costumes took me 6-7 months for both of them but those were also very detail oriented because I was actually trying to follow the designs of Susan Hilferty. 

It really depends on what you’re working on and what needs to be done to it. There are costumes I’ve made in a day like my male versions of Rapunzel and Emily the Corpse Bride, but then there are others like the Wicked costumes or my Cinderella costumes that I spend my time to make sure they look how I want them to. 

BQ: Is it cathartic for you to do cosplay?

CC: Definitely when I was younger it was because I wasn’t as hard on myself as a creator as I am now. I definitely miss the days of just buying thrifted blazers and painting them but I’m always trying to make myself a better maker. The trick is to give yourself enough time and to make sure that it’s something you’re actually going to love to make. If I don’t have confidence in myself to make it I will occasionally seek out someone to commission such as my male version of Belle’s Ballgown (made by Daisy McCarthy-Tucker @daisymccarthytucker) and my male version of Megara (made by Hillary Manning @shinylikethesun).

The convention experience is something that I love in it though because I get to see friends that I wouldn’t see out in the real world that often and I love being around people who share the same interests and hobbies as myself. 

BQ: Do you have any upcoming looks that you’re excited about?

CC: For cosplay I’m currently working on two that are ones that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. One that is coming up is my own design of Scarlet Witch that I’m very excited. I’m not sure how much I can say about the other one but it’s for my favorite convention, the D23 Expo for September 2022.

That’s pretty much all I have planned for myself this year because I’m planning on starting my own costuming business so that I can move forward with something I love doing and make it my living. 

BQ: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer those questions for us, Chris! 

Be sure to follow him on Instagram to keep up to date with what’s next!

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Bryce Quartz

Bryce Quartz is a queer, cubby rapper currently based in Brooklyn. In addition to contributing to Bear World, he is also a writer for Ryan Cassata’s music blog Rock The Pigeon. He has performed at bear events across the US and has worked with popular drag queens, including RPDR alum Brita Filter.