As an artist, cosplay is another creative medium I use as an outlet. I try to freely express my imagination and creativity as much as possible. Prior to co-founding Urban Anime Lounge and being a full-time graphic designer, I felt trapped in a space where I didn’t have time to fully be myself. Cosplay helped me break those chains and making my cosplays from scratch takes a lot of time and patience.
Outside of makeup and closet cosplays, I make all my cosplays …sewing, foam-smithing/building, prosthetics and more. By taking the time to create these characters, I realized that I can push my life in any direction I see fit, even when I don’t think I have the time. Cosplay has brought creativity into all aspects of my life and I shall continue to grow and shine. I love drawing and graphic design but cosplaying allows me to temporarily become art itself. I love that and anyone can do it!
I wanted to do a character mash-up and Sailor Moon was my first anime. Now, Usagi may not be my favorite Magical Girl (Team Jupiter) but she is the most iconic. Storm is one of my top 3 favorite X-Men. Storm was also my first cosplay, so why not combine a first and favorite. I have seen my fellow cosplayers create some amazing mash-up but the key is bringing the characters together in such a way that the public knows who the characters are.
So, I had to sketch it out, selecting elements from each character’s design that would fit well together and stand out. For example, using Sailor Moon’s tiara and hair buns vs. Storm’s headpiece. After doing all this I was pleased with the design and the hardest part was making a pleated sailor skirt. 3rd times, the charm! I debuted Sailor Storm at BlerDCon 2019, the feedback was as expected. However, after a Marcus Williams commission and my amazing significant other (Hellspawned_Cosplay) as Tuxedo Panther taking professional pictures (photographer: eyesofh_photography) with me at Katsucon 2020… on Valentine’s Day weekend (completely unplanned), it was the perfect Storm…hehe!
I cannot honestly say when I discovered cosplay. I always enjoyed “dressing up” for Halloween. So cosplay to me is just having the opportunity to become a character on a more serious level. I had been attending conventions in regular clothes dating back to 2011. My first out of state convention was also my first convention in cosplay – DragonCon 2017, I was Storm. The experience was actually, not the best. Anyone who has been to DragonCon knows it’s a huge convention. The feedback for Storm was amazing but walking around in the heels I had on…was not the best idea. I had never been to a convention that large or spread out and in full cosplay. So many people wanted to hug or take pictures, I was a bit overwhelmed as an introvert. The best part of it all was meeting Marcus Williams and him actually taking my picture. But now I LOVE the con scene. The best part is seeing my cosplay friends from everywhere.
My Mom is a retired Army Veteran and the strongest person I know. My Mom has been my caregiver, protector, supporter, friend, hero and so much more, since day one. Through ups and downs in her life and in mine, she perseveres and has taught me to do the same. She also supports me in everything I do. I have no doubt in my mind, I would not be who I am today without her. What can I say I love my Mom!!!!
It is still hard when I feel I am in a creative funk or lack of motivation with no actual conventions to go to safely because of COVID-19. Conventions are a huge part of the cosplay experience, that is just missing right now. I am also worried about returning to work. Once I return to work physically, I won’t be able to push out as many cosplays as I have since March 2020 and what cosplayer actually likes con-crunch time!
Lastly, I cannot say this enough. Cosplay Your Way!!! No matter your age, race, gender… you can cosplay any character you want to be. Conventions have competitions for judgement. Cosplay is NOT a competition…it is not about accuracy! It is about expressing yourself creativity and having fun doing it. If you want to cosplay, DO IT! If you are already a cosplayer, keep doing what you’re doing and feel great while you’re doing it, no matter what people say!!!!