How did you first get involved with Costumers with a Cause, and what has been your favorite or most memorable event so far and what made it memorable?
I saw CWC at a Christmas event right before the pandemic happened and joined with them a few months after.
Our members put on many faces in CWC. What is your favorite character you represent and what is it that you like about that character?
So far, it’s been Princess Daisy; normally, I’m a reclusive person who would prefer to blend into a wall. Princess Daisy, in contrast, tends to be a very bombastic lass. She can balance being a girly-girl with being a tomboy. She has enough flaws to work with, too! Flaws add flavor to a character.
Based on your experiences with us, how would you describe what we do to someone who knows absolutely nothing about us or who we are?
We’re a group of volunteers who help our local communities brighten up their day with colorful characters and the support to keep them going. All of our members receive background checks, and we maintain a family-friendly/pg-13 sense of decorum when we’re out. From hospital visits that need the utmost discretion to simple community events, we do a bit of everything. We are not, however, overdressed babysitters plucked straight from a convention; we’re very careful to vet people and events that match our vision.
What do you feel are your best assets, talents, and gifts, are? How did you acquire them?
This may sound bizarre, but I’m very grateful to be able to not only read but be somewhat knowledgeable in using a computer. My family instilled that in me when I was very young.
It’s expected that we’ll have an older generation who isn’t computer-literate—and in many cases, there are resources to help them–but I’m seeing a rising trend of younger generations not being able to read at grade level, and I think that’s quite troubling. I believe, however, we at CWC can do some part to help with this.
It seems that lately we are hearing about more and more children who are being bullied or have self-esteem issues, body issues, etc. If a child came to you with any one of the many issues you are aware of, what advice would you give them?
I needed to take a few days to think about it, as this was not a question I could answer without it being grim. It’s a very multi-faceted issue, as there’s other factors at play when it comes to bullying.
I was one of the children where every measure to help them with being bullied failed; going to authorities made it worse, and with policies in place that did more harm than good to ensure students don’t retaliate after prolonged bullying, to say that I was a very unhappy child was an understatement. I began to take on maladaptive ways to deal with the stress, and I didn’t begin to heal from it until late into my adulthood. Looking back and thinking on it, I endured and persisted to get where I am today—and that would be the best advice I think I could give them in that regard.
With body issues, that’s a different story. I suffer with a condition called acne inversa (or hidradentitis supprativa/HS) and had to deal with it as a kid. It makes me feel all kinds of gross, but I do what I can to manage on my own and I’ll find ways to joke about it. I’ve found horror to be helpful in coping with it—and sometimes kids love horror!
I’ve never felt as though I’ve needed someone to look like me or share certain traits for me to enjoy my hobbies. I’m worried that we’re starting to push that onto kids; if we want them to have empathy or sympathy for people who aren’t like them, we have to show as much, don’t we? You don’t need super powers to be a hero. An indomitable will, compassion, integrity—that’s what kids often admire. If you want something, you’ve got to be able to pursue it no matter what!
Cactuses grow in some harsh conditions, and in turn, they adapt: spines to defend themselves, holding water for years because they might not see rain in that much time. They have to, for their own sake. They take a long time to grow, but they’re important for their home. So too, they need to learn to defend themselves. They have to be patient. In the meantime, grow. It won’t be easy—I can’t say how difficult it is to learn and being able to act on that—but that’s what I can give. A few hobbies and a sense of humor won’t hurt, either. And sometimes, help comes where you least expect it.
Imagine: You are on a deserted island. There is absolutely no way off this island. You are totally alone, with the exception of a magic genie who wants to grant you 3 wishes. Getting off the island isn’t one of them. What would your 3 wishes be and why?
I suppose this sounds by-the-book, but the first thing I’d want to wish for is infrastructure for basic living—shelter, sanitation, sustenance, and so on.
Second wish? Convert the island to a ship. If I can’t leave the island, maybe I can take the island with me. That’s already good.
Last wish? An infinite library and a sewing machine. I’ve already got a foundation for crafting, and as long as I’m preoccupied with a good book, I suppose I can’t bother anyone too much! You know what they say about idle hands.
Many of our members tell us stories of special situations or circumstances in their own personal lives which causes them to have a special place in their heart for charity organizations. Is there any charity or organization that holds a special place in your heart?
I’ve mentioned this before with other members, but the YES of America is where I cut my teeth, and I’m going to be forever thankful for them setting me on this path. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
What is your favorite amusement park, and what is your favorite ride within that park?
Right now, I have to give that award to Islands of Adventure. I remember being a little kid and seeing its humble beginnings. Look where it is now — it’s truly a… Marvel, dare I say it. I’ll probably break out into a dissertation that will leave your ears ragged if you press me further!
My favorite ride is the Incredible Hull Roller Coaster! I’m an adrenaline junkie who loves a good coaster. And the Hulk Coaster just squeezes that nice spot in my brain. Not much more than that!
Secret time: What is one thing about you that you think would surprise someone who thinks they know you pretty well.
I had to practice smiling because I’ve always had trouble emoting.
Who is someone you really admire? They can be real or fictional, alive or passed on. What is it about them that you admire and why?
The Addams Family. I was always something of a weird kid growing up. I liked the morbid and the outrageous, but I never felt as though I had to change that even if it did bring me some grief. Between their different iterations, they were consistently happy to be as they were. They had their convictions and lived as they saw fit, but they were always ready to help people who were different from them. People would mistake their kindness and hospitality–but those who’d do so never make that mistake again.