First name and last initial: Elly S
Where are you from originally or reside currently: Greater Hartford Area, Connecticut
How long have you been cosplaying?: Almost 3 years
Other characters cosplayed: Catbug (Bravest Warriors), Princess Luna (MLP), Lumpy Space Princess (Adventure Time), Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), Fluttershy (MLP)
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
Other cosplayers were my biggest inspiration. I’ve always admired cosplayers from afar (like, really afar, I hadn’t even realized smaller fan pages and local cons were a thing yet), thinking that there was no possible way I could ever be involved. I saw the cosplayers who seemed to be really popular, and I figured, ‘they look wonderful, but I could never do that. I’ll never be as talented/knowledgeable/pretty as them’. Then, a couple years ago, I was invited to a small, local con for the first time, and saw everyday people cosplaying. They looked like they were having a lot of fun just being themselves, and I just really wished I could be part of that happiness. So, upon realizing that it wasn’t exclusively for ComicCon, I ran headfirst into making my first cosplay. If I remember correctly, that’s part of what prompted me to look on Facebook for cosplayers I could follow just for fun, and maybe some pointers. One day, I saw someone put up a ‘share your page’ post, and I clicked on it out of curiosity. I saw this wealth of links to cosplay pages, and I ‘liked’ the ones that appealed to me the most. From there, I just kept clicking on profile after profile, and seeing all these cosplayers who didn’t look like Victoria’s Secret models, but they were all beautiful and talented and knowledgeable. I was just blown away by how much love was clearly in their work and around their fan bases, and that gave me all the inspiration I needed to get started.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying (hobbies, community service or work)
I’m a nurse’s aide right now, and I’m studying to do Medical Billing and Coding. I’m also a licensed makeup artist, but I’m not doing too much with that nowadays. Hopefully one day the school I went to will open up a special effects makeup course, and I’ll absolutely be on board. Other than that, I enjoy travelling around to both out of state and local attractions as often as possible. Although I may be the biggest introvert I know, I can’t imagine staying in the house essentially for an entire lifetime. I love seeing what this big world has to offer, and I make it a goal to learn something every time I go somewhere or meet somebody new.
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
The biggest challenge award definitely goes to Lumpy Space Princess. I’ve felt a strong connection to her character ever since I first saw ‘Adventure Time’, so I naturally wanted to cosplay her. The problem there is that she is, indeed, floating purple lumps, which turned out to be harder to interpret than I thought it would be. I did a version of her back in 2014 that I was terribly unhappy with, to the point where I came back to the hotel room from the con I was attending and just sobbed for hours (hi, perfectionism!). But it was a small pain that time healed for me, and I got back on the horse and tried again in 2016, at Katsucon. I am much happier with the 2.0 version, and LSP is a lot of fun to cosplay now. I think Catbug has been my most rewarding so far though. Lots of people seem to like it, and I get a huge kick out of when people yell at me to drop my sugar peas! Now I just have to fix them so that they’re, you know, droppable, haha.
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Relax! It probably won’t be the perfect costume to end all costumes, and that’s completely okay. I’m a born perfectionist, so if you’re anything like me, this can be a really hard lesson to learn, maybe best learned from experience. But really, if your cosplay doesn’t turn out 100% on point, at any experience level, its not the end of the world. People will still love that you may be cosplaying their favorite character from their favorite movie/show/story/?, and you can still make tons of friends and have a great time. Also, talk to people! If you want to ask other cosplayers about their costumes, or if you want to talk fandom, anything like that, go for it. You are both already interested in at least one common thing, what’s the worst that could happen? And if they’re not super into talking to you, that’s cool, too. There’s lots of other people to meet. But don’t let anyone be nasty to you for no reason.
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
I think it boils down to treating each other with basic respect. Not too many people would go up to someone on the street and tell them about all the ways they look bad and they should feel bad. So why do some people feel cosplay is a license to do just that? We all have feelings and we’re our own worst critics. We know what we could’ve done differently. So unsolicited harsh criticism really doesn’t solve anything. All it does is break each other down. Its true that it gets forgotten that we are, indeed, geeks in costumes at a giant nerd convention. Nobody should be deemed ‘better’ than anybody there. Almost all of us have already been bullied and found out that words can hurt, so we should know better than to treat each other badly. If you really don’t like how someone is dressed, you are responsible for keeping that thought to yourself. Leave the critiques for the masquerade, and for the cosplayers who asked for them. But, if you do have something nice to say, definitely say it! Everybody likes compliments, and getting a picture taken can be the highlight of any con. Despite its flaws, I’m proud to say that this community is amazing and it’s where I’ve found my home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.