River Song from Doctor Who // Cosplayer : @lajazziredd

In World History of my sophomore year, I sat down and attempted to ignore my teacher. It was really early, and I had a showdown with the snake game on my Nokia 5165. The first words I remember from my teacher was “next week we have a 15th century high tea. Dress accordingly,” and that sentence changed my life.

When I couldn’t find an empire waisted dress for my plus size body, my mom and I made it. I cried so many times during that week because I knew nothing about fabric, patterns or sewing… and I had the audacity to choose satin (totally ok to chuckle here). Ultimately, it worked out, and my costume was incredible. A little more than a decade later, I would find out that what I did then and had been doing since was called cosplay. Today, I freehand, create my own patterns, do custom fabric, makeup, props. I’ve come a long way!

The first con I remember attending was Wizard World Chicago. I’m a huge Whovian, and my friend convinced me to make a costume for the con. I had no clue who to choose, but my friend told me to think of a character I love. And, that is River Song! Intelligent, resourceful, strong, beautiful, and Black with a complex storyline. She was a positive representation of someone like me. Some moments I loved – like helping other cosplayers create custom fabric – and some moments I didn’t. Body shaming & racism can be real sometimes. But, seeing other people making costumes like me? I was hooked! Remembering that helped me through the harder nights when I would just think “why am I doing this to myself.” LOL. I made everything but the boots, heels, leather vest, lighter & sunglasses. The Whovian fandom wasn’t huge at that con, but I spent hours talking with other cosplayers about sewing hacks and modifying fabric. I was in love. I guess the rest is history.