When you see Eleanor Barnes, known online as Snitchery, in one of her awesome cosplays, one of the first things you’ll notice is her remarkable Japanese sleeve. It’s not every day you see a beauty influencer with such a bold black tattoo. She loves this tattoo and wears it with so much pride that you would never guess it is actually a cover-up. “I used to have a woman with her hands up and a snake tattooed on my chest,” Barnes says. “I got it on a whim and there was a lot of saturated black in the hair. I sent it to my family group chat and no one answered. Then I got a message saying the thumbs were upside down.
Barnes panicked upon realizing the mistake of the tattoo and ended up contacting 13-15 artists to see if they would cover up the design. Each of them said no, except for one artist who told her she would have to commit to a full Japanese chest panel and sleeve. Over the course of about six months, Barnes got the sleeve session by session, going from a student with a few small tattoos to a very visibly tattooed person.
It was Barnes’ first major transformation, but it wouldn’t be the last. She started experimenting with creative makeup while still in high school and although she thought cosplay was cool, she didn’t have the confidence to go all out. That would change when she created her first cosplay with Aang from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” With the first under her belt, she began tackling other nostalgic characters from her childhood.
“Now I’ve cosplayed over 200 characters,” Barnes says. “Because I’ve done a lot of heavyweights, I’m doing more obscure and ridiculous characters. We’ve moved into Nigel Thornberry and Bob Belcher territory. We’re kind of hitting rock bottom, but rock bottom has actually been some of my best content. I usually look for things that are timely and just cosplayed Jinx from “Arcane”. I like to find characters that most cosplayers wouldn’t touch or are not interested in .
As Barnes honed her cosplay skills and carved out a niche for herself, she got to see the cosplay world itself change. 5-10 years ago, cosplay wasn’t as visible, accessible, or diverse as it is today, something Barnes has been working to change. “I used to be really dedicated to trying to be as character specific as possible,” Barnes says. “My goal for cosplay was to pose and look exactly like the character. Now, because I’ve done so much and carved out a place for myself in this industry, I have a lot more freedom to be creative and to take on characters that would typically be difficult to humanize or yasser.
Barnes paved the way for other cosplayers to create creative cosplays with items they can find at a thrift store or in their own closet. She has been able to showcase her personalized creations via social media and has seen the community grow, especially since the arrival of TikTok. “I’m a millennial Gen Z cusp, so I thought TikTok was for kids and held out until I was in my 40s,” she says. “Then we were all super bored, downloaded it and immediately got hooked. I’ve grown faster on TikTok than any other platform and have a weirdly supportive following. My following is almost entirely female and it’s a really cool place to hang out.
Barnes has achieved many of her cosplay goals, but there is one thing she has yet to do and that is to make her official cosplay debut in a public setting. “I often left my New York apartment in cosplay, just to run an errand or pick up a package,” she says. “I would just go up three flights of stairs and see, like, 16 people dressed like a pretty weird relative. This is probably the most public I’ve ever seen with cosplay. But with TikTok, people are going viral cosplaying in their bedrooms and for the most part you only see these costumes at conventions.
In just a few short years, Eleanor Barnes has taken the cosplay world by storm, and sometimes as Storm. There’s no limit to his creativity, whether it’s cosplaying as a sexy Ghostface, covering up a tattoo gone wrong, or launching a paranormal podcast for Spotify. This is the world of Snitchery and we can’t wait for who she will become next.