four person in naruto costume

Jacksonville’s Craft Cosplay Community 

Story by: Giana Mercado

Alex Heart, also known as Countess Alyx in the cosplay community, got involved in the costume world through her passion for theatre. Growing up, Heart wanted to be on Broadway, however, she fell back into an art form just as inspiring and fun. 

Cosplay stands for costume play and is a performance art where participants dress up to represent a specific character. Heart fell in love with performing and dressing up like anime characters, such as Pearl from the animated series “Steven Universe.” 

Originally from West Palm Beach, the cosplayer has stayed in Jacksonville for 7 years due to the large costume community. “This is the thing I love the most. I love being part of the community, it was the first community that made me feel at home, so I decided to stay here when I had no reason to, other than this lovely community,” said Heart. 

As part of the craft, Heart makes her own costumes. “I also believe in reusing things. The costume I’m wearing today is all thrifted items I’ve added sparkle to, readjusted, or changed hemlines,” she explained.  

Heart designs her costumes to be shiny and glittery to look good on stage as she performs and entertains audiences for events she emcees.  

Heart was a costume guest for Hall of Heroes’ Ancient City Con in 2018, where she then began to work with the company. Now she works on finding talent for events and producing performances.  

Heart helped produce past Hall of Heroes events at Mosh such as a history of comic books mini-con and a steampunk event that celebrates the culture around steampunk history. Hall of Heroes often holds events at Mosh that coincide with the theme of their exhibits. Hall of heroes even held a dragon event for Mosh’s Dragon exhibit “The Lost World of Dragons.”   

 Alex Heart cosplaying as Pearl from “Steven Universe.” Photo by Giana Mercado. 

Finding talent and scheduling can take Heart anywhere from two to three weeks. For Mosh’s current “Mission to Mars” exbibit, Hall of Heroes hosted their “Spaced out to Mars” mini-con including a costume contest. Heart booked experienced cosplayers to be costume judges for the out-of-this-world event. 

Heart believes these events are important for children in the community. “I think that having costume events and a costume community that makes them feel inspired by a creative community is really important for those that may feel like they may not belong elsewhere,” she stated. 

Hall of Heroes puts on family-friendly events throughout Northeast Florida where people can geek out together. Hall of Heroes’ website has more information on upcoming conventions.