Where are you from originally or reside currently? I currently live in Central Pennsylvania.
How long you have been cosplaying? I have been cosplaying for just over three years, now!
Characters cosplayed: Alice from American McGee’s: Madness Returns, Elizabeth Comstock from Bioshock Infinite, SpiderGwen of Marvel Comics, Jessica Jones of Marvel Comics, Jon Snow (genderbend) from Game of Thrones, Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, Merida from Pixar’s Brave, Imp Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Mad Moxxi from Borderlands 2, Mystic Pokemon Go Trainer from the Pokémon Go! app, a Spider Splicer from Bioshock, Vanellope Von Schweetz from Wreck it Ralph, Warrior Chibi Moon based on NoFlutter’s original design, and Bombshell Wonder Woman of DC Comics.
Who or what inspired you to cosplay? I was inspired to start cosplaying after watching “Heroes of Cosplay” on Syfy! Halloween has always been a big holiday for me and my family, and when I found out there was an entire hobby dedicated to dressing up as beloved pop culture icons, I was hooked. At the beginning I started with very basic cosplays for Renaissance Faires and Halloween, but it soon turned into a hobby that constantly challenges and pushes my skill set to new heights. I truly love what cosplay has become for me; it’s so much more than a hobby.
What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying? When I’m not cosplaying I’m a huge gamer! I’m typically online with my friends playing Overwatch, but I mostly enjoy story-rich solo player games such as the Bioshock series, Fallout 4, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, The Legend of Zelda, etc. I also enjoy photography, painting, and making custom masquerade masks on the side.
What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why? The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far in my cosplay career had to be my first armor build. It felt like I had thrown myself into the deep end of the pool and only knew how to tread water. After lots of tutorial videos, help from friends, and several venting sessions with my boyfriend (read: mental breakdown). I came out with a finished product that I was very happy and proud to show off! It was a skill that I knew I wanted to eventually master since sewing is not my strongest skill, and now that I have two full armor builds under my belt, I feel much more comfortable tackling larger and more complex projects.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Attention new cosplayers or those thinking about cosplaying: “Never give up, never surrender!” When you’re just starting out (and even years into the hobby) you are going to make mistakes. Sometimes they’re small, but other times they can be devastating to your build. My advice is to expect that something will go wrong and try not to be too discouraged when it does happen. When you’re so in your own head and focused on creating the “perfect” cosplay, you lose the ability to take a step back and really look at everything you’ve built and created. Be proud of your work and always accept that you did your best!
Another bit of advice that I will shout to the ends of the earth: anyone can cosplay, and I mean anyone. It doesn’t matter what your gender, race, weight, or economic status are, you are a human being creating a piece of living art and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Cosplay is for everyone and I can never stress that enough. I’ve seen so many people shy away from the hobby because they see how catty and elitist the community can be and it scares them. I always try to be a helpful, encouraging, and guiding voice that can convince them otherwise.
What is the one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? Cosplayers absolutely need to stop comparing themselves to one another, tearing each other down with toxic commentary on how “so-and-so should only cosplay x, y, and z.” It’s so important for everyone to realize that while our community is growing, we are still a niche group. For me, cosplay is a way to escape my own mind for a few hours a day by consuming myself in my latest build and it has helped me cope with anxiety, OCD, and depression. Knowing that is my own situation, I know I am not alone. For so many people, cosplay is an escape from the real world and it’s just silly for us to tear each other down or criticize one another.
I could go on the world’s largest soapbox and shout “peace, love, and equality” for days, but it won’t mean anything until each of us act on that. Help each other. Compliment cosplayers you see at conventions. Boost each other up online when you see a new post in your cosplay groups. In short, be excellent to one another.