I was introduced to the hobby roughly 16 years ago when I attended my first anime convention, A-kon in 2003. At the time I wasn’t aware cosplaying at conventions was a thing, so when I saw people dressed up, I thought “Wow that looks like fun. I want to try that next year.”

Cosplay has been quite a journey for me. Although I started cosplaying more than a decade ago, the last ten years have especially been ones of growth. I have learned and taught myself a wide variety of skills like vacuum forming, resin casting, and more. I’ve built up my craftsmanship and won several awards in contests, been featured television and been a guest at conventions. I’ve found a passion and talent for making things I did not know I possessed.

This hobby has also helped me find a drive and focus in my personal life. I’ve become much healthier by eating cleaner and exercising regularly. My desire to learn how to make things pushed me into pursuing an education in electronics. As a result I have a degree and a wonderful job in biotech that I would never have imagined before.

The hobby has allowed me to meet some of the most cherished people in my life. I’ve met nearly all of my friends  through cosplaying and conventions and it is hard for me to imagine what it would be like if I never had started. I still look forward to seeing all of the wonderful friends I’ve made and making new friends. As a whole, it is an inspiration for me to always push myself to keep striving for improvement both in the hobby and my personal life. Being surrounded by so many hard working and driven people is the motivation to keep growing and to always strive for betterment. The last ten years of cosplaying have been precious to me, and I look forward to what the next ten years will bring!