The Genie from Aladdin : Donnie
I have been cosplaying the Genie for about five years now. I began working on him because Robin Williams is my celebrity hero and I have loved the character since I was young. I wanted to do a character that wasn’t seen at cons very often as well as wanted to learn special effects makeup. I looked into basic makeups and how to apply bald caps and body paint. For almost every cosplay I do, I learn a new skill. The fun is in the challenge of the project and seeing people’s reactions to it. When I was nearly finishing this cosplay, Robin Williams passed away. A small part of me didn’t want to take the cosplay that year out of respect to him, but decided that wearing that costume was the best way to honor him.
With any costume, I like to break it down into smaller components. I want to be respectful to the character’s original design and still make it my own. While researching I found a live show that was at the Disneyland park that starred Jeff Sumner as the Genie. The designs on his costume were exceptionally close to how I wanted mine to be, and best of all, most of his blue was a bodysuit. That was a game changer for me. This helped me design the other pieces of the costume. I still wanted to add more detail and a new idea popped in my head. Wouldn’t it be cool if I put small nods to the different actors who have played the Genie? At this point, I was listening to the Broadway soundtrack and really fell for James Monroe Igleharts performance. He had so much style, and glitz and glamour to his Genie. So I found a pants fabric that was VERY close to his costume and I hand placed about 800 Swarovski crystals onto the pants. I was also able to get a replica of James’ lamp. This was the base for the costume until recently when the live-action movie came out. Will Smith knocked the role out of the park and I ended up falling in love with his design too. I created a new top knot hair piece out of foam covered in crepe wool and made more ornate gauntlets. And I added more gemstones to the gauntlets to continue that glitzy feel and tie the accessories to the pants. I used to wear legitimate Khussa shoes (Traditional wedding slippers) but they had wooden bottoms and REALLY hurt my feet lol.
I used to work as a costumer at my state’s primary theatre. I had no clue cosplay was a thing, and when my time as a costumer (over 5 summer seasons of work) was finished, cosplay allowed me to continue to sharpen my skills. I also found something that made me extremely happy. When I began looking into cosplay I found a few local groups that visited children’s hospitals in full costume. We would visit the kids and do everything we could to brighten their days and those visits have been some of my most cherished experiences. The Genie was able to make some REAL magic.