Where are you from originally or reside currently: Originally from Western North Carolina. Currently based in Washington, D.C.
How long you have been cosplaying: I’ve been cosplaying since 2012
Characters cosplayed: Various versions of Harley Quinn (DC Comics), Sailor Neptune (Sailor Moon) Touko Fukawa/Genocider Syo (Dangan Ronpa), Alicia Hunt (from “Batman” 1989), Triana Orpheus (The Venture Bros), and more.
Facebook page: Miramay Cosplay
1.) Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been into dressing up. Halloween was a major holiday for me as a kid, and I’d wear my Halloween costumes year-round. I had a lot of performance-based extracurriculars growing up, I danced for 3 or 4 years when I was little, and then in high school started acting, and was also in the school’s marching band as part of the colorguard, which was also very dance-based. I spent lots of time in costumes. Acting was especially fun for me, and I considered picking it up when I was in college but just didn’t have the time to commit to it. Once I found the cosplay scene, it seemed like a really cool way to dabble in acting again, while learning something new: costume-making and craft-building.
2.) What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
When I’m not cosplaying, I’m either taking care of one of the seven pets my boyfriend and I keep, reading, or working. I have an Etsy store where I keep from getting too rusty by making and selling a few small cosplay pieces based on the designs from my own cosplays. I also work at a local comic book store a few days a week! The past year or so, I’ve volunteered my time and graphic design work to the successful kickstarter, Studio Cosplay, which is a cosplay makerspace located in the DC area! I dabble a little in tarot, although I’m not proficient enough to do readings for others, mostly just myself. I’m a big fan of horror, so I also spend a lot of time watching horror movies or playing survival horror video games; I love to be scared. That also translates into my dream of going on a real ghost hunt someday; I’m always looking for haunted or abandoned places near me, and making plans to visit, or reading ghost stories, or collecting urban legends.
3.) What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
4.) What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
NEVER GIVE UP! Or at least, don’t give up on the first try. I can’t tell you how many costumes, or props, or whatever were total failures on the first attempt. It can be extremely discouraging, but you can’t let it get to you! Keep researching other methods, ask other cosplayers who’ve done it first, get creative! Only accept defeat when you’ve exhausted every available option. When I’ve tried everything humanly possible, then I can always tell myself that I’ve done my best. But don’t let it get you down. I never truly “give up” on a project, I tend to just “put a pin in it,” and hope that in the future my knowledge and skills will have improved to the point that I can finish it!
5.) What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
There is a lot of snobbery in the cosplay and prop community, in terms of judging people on what parts of their costumes they have made, versus what they have bought, or bought and then altered. At the same time, there is a group of people who want to keep their methods of creation totally guarded. I understand the idea of a trade secret: when you are the first person to figure something out, and you’re proud of what you’ve done, I understand wanting to protect that. It can make you feel very special. But when you turn away others who are asking for your help or advice, you’re only making the community, which is supposed to be about celebrating fans and their creativity, into a hierarchy. I have met literally dozens of people who will make snide comments or flat out insult cosplayers who don’t make their costumes or props, but when they are asked for help, they give overly-vague answers or decline comment. Like I said, I get having your own thing, and not wanting to share information on something unique and special to you as a cosplayer, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find a way to help someone who is learning, and certainly doesn’t mean you have a right to make fun of that person behind their back for not having the knowledge that you do. When I can, as much as I can, I always try to give advice to those who ask, and provide as much guidance as I can. We all start somewhere, and I feel like it’s important to support one another creatively, so we can all learn and grow together.