First name and last initial: Jen K.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Raleigh, NC.
How long have you been cosplaying? 3 years.
Which characters have you cosplayed? Jedi, Steampunk Captain America, Wonder Woman, Quidditch Player.
What inspired you to start cosplaying? The movies inspired me! As a huge fan of movies, I wanted to find a way to relate to the characters. I also am shy in my own skin, and being in a costume has helped me feel at ease at conventions and make new friends. I have to say that since my favorite movie of all time is Star Wars. I’ve been inspired to make more SW cosplay. I’ve also joined an amazing charity cosplay group called the Excelsior League. We love to bring characters to life to make kids (and adults!) smile. The kids keep me going because they enjoy meeting their heroes.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I finished up grad school in May 2017, and I am a college professor — mathematics. I also love to travel — my favorite places are Austria, Disney World, and Washington DC.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? My Jedi costumes have been challenging — I struggle with the detail and I am a work in progress. I am working on making more detailed and accurate costumes so I can get accepted into the 501st/Rebel Legion. Two of my upcoming cosplays are Darth Revan and an Ewok. Honestly, the time to devote to costuming has been the big challenge as grad school has taken up a lot of my time the past two years.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Anything goes! Find a character that you love, and do research on how to put together a costume. Join cosplay groups, search YouTube, look for anything to help you get started. I know this is easier said than done, but cosplay for the fun of it, not to get approval from others. Sure, costume contests are a blast, but don’t let them overwhelm you.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? There seems to be a lot of drama between the “elites” and the “novices”. I’ve noticed a couple of cliques and unfavorable behavior, and that just ruins the fun. Yes, some people will be better at this than others. But the ultimate goals of cosplay should be to have fun and create. Let’s encourage more and tear down less. I feel inspired when I’m with others who love to cosplay, and we need more of that.
Featured photo credit: Michael Parker