I first heard of cosplay in 2002, during the peak of my obsession with Dragonball Z. I noticed that pictures of cosplayers started to pop up in my DBZ image searches. I thought, “Whoa - that is so cool! I want to do that!” I immediately shared the photos with my like-minded friends and we decided we would try cosplaying for ourselves at Acen 2003. Our moms made our costumes (we went as the princesses from Sailor Moon) and, although no one knew who we were supposed to be, I knew that cosplaying was something I wanted to do again.
So I did. Again and again and again.
Through trial and error and lots of sleepless nights, I taught myself to sew. Since then, cosplay has become a passion and I am still going strong; I even have a handful of costume and performance awards under my belt. In recent years, I have been presented with incredible opportunities: I have served as a judge/guest at conventions across the country, appeared on television, and represented the US in in the 2010 World Cosplay Summit. Heck, one of our skits has over a million views on Youtube! And yet, all of that truly pales in comparison to the amazing friends I have made through this bizarre little hobby.
It's amazing to me that the arbitrary decision to dress-up like a cartoon character in 2003 has had such a powerful impact on my life. As weird as it is, I am so thankful for my experiences from the bottom of my heart and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Why do you cosplay? I cosplay because it combines so many of the things I enjoy: anime, photography, theatre, art, creativity, and spending time with friends. I think cospay is special because it's a rare form of fandom that offers the opportunity to be social and collaborate with people on a level beyond a computer screen. I have met so many wonderful people as a result of this hobby and being able to team up with friends from across the country to create and perform is one of my favorite things about cosplay.
How did you learn to sew? I am self-taught but I learned a lot from watching my mom (and others) sew. When I first started off, sewing was so frustrating. I remember making a stitch, turning the garment inside out and thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing but I hope this works.” 70% of the time, it didn’t. Thankfully, my 30% success rate grew with each project and my confidence developed over time. To this day, I am constantly learning new skills via Youtube.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to cosplay? Find someone to teach you the basics of sewing, whether it’s a relative, friend, or a basic sewing class at a local Joann Fabrics. Building techniques will come with experience but a solid foundation is everything. Buy some cheap fabric and some easy patterns (usually labeled as "Easy") and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Youtube can be a great resource if you’re a visual learner - I probably learned half of my sewing techniques from Youtube. Also, experienced cosplayers can be an amazing resource for new cosplayers and will usually help when they can. Most of us started with little to no sewing experience and learned with lots of practice and the same will hold true for you.
What is your favorite convention? Colossalcon in Sandusky, OH!
What was it like to participate in the World Cosplay Summit? It was an emotional adventure. The stress and sleep deprivation leading up to the trip was unlike anything I had ever experienced. However, once we arrived in Japan, the joy of finally achieving our goal dwarfed any prior apprehension. We bonded instantly with the other teams and the experience felt much more like a private vacation than a competition. We were all treated like celebrities for a week, which was such a bizarre experience, I can’t put it into words. The competition itself has a lot of room for improvement but being able to perform on stage in Japan is something I will never forget. You can read more about the experience here
I have a specific question - can I contact you? Of course! Please leave a comment below: