This was the first anime I watched that I was aware came from Japan. I was very young , maybe five or six when I was Sailor Moon for halloween. I finally recreated her years later. Everything was made at home on a machine and by hand. I even styled the wig with the help and patience of my Mom and my then neighbor. I followed Sparkle Pipsi's tutorials and tweaked them as need be. I used the same tutorial for the bows here that I did when making a wa-Lolita cosplay just a year prior.

A Sailor Mini Moon cosplayer came up to me out of the blue and hugged me with her mother tailing behind her. I had to tell her over and over that no, I didn't mind and yes, she is perfectly adorable and content, so let her hold my hand. The mom and I chatted and bonded over classic Sailor Moon (as crystal wasn't around yet) and how amazing it was that the little girl sat still to put the wig on early in the morning.

I first heard about cosplay shortly after I entered middle school. I finally met more people who liked the same kind of shows and comics that I was interested in. They let me know that there were huge groups of people who got together and did dressed up!

My first convention was a learning experience. I went with two of my good friends and my Mom. She asked who was driving us to the con (we were only 13-14 at the time) and we asked her if she'd like to go! Long story short, she cosplayed as Deidara from Naruto while one friend and I were Hinata and a Lolita Naruto. My other friend was Yuuki Cross from Vampire Knight. I entered the cosplay contest and that's when my love for cosplay really hit me. I'm sure the video exists somewhere on Youtube under the search "MegaCon Lolita Naruto. The crowd loved it; they cheered and applauded, and I was too nervous to really enjoy the attention. I had worked really hard designing and creating this cosplay that I got too nervous to walk when the time actually came to show it off?! I've been in love with contests and creating cosplays ever since. Each response has been better than the other, and I strive to create better quality and more intricate cosplays to keep that pattern!

I love my coworkers. I work for a major entertainment industry in Florida as a seamstress. Many of my coworkers are people I can consider my friends, and these are the ones who cosplay themselves! The work community is relatively open because one way or another, we're all creating and using our skills.

When I started out, my parents were just glad that I was able to put my time into something constructive, but when I began getting into cosplays from shows of my past and princess cosplays, they started getting really involved and interested. I could tell they weren't too sure about my hobby at first, but I knew they'd support this over alternative hobbies kids my age were getting into. Now is a different story. They support me 100% in all of my cosplays, and even help me with hands-on construction if it's too much for one person. Sure, my Dad thought my skirt for Sailor Moon was a little short; and he was completely right. It was a tiny little thing.

My Mom spent hours with me and Sailor Moon's wig. There were a few meltdowns. Things were cut too short and I swear we have 2nd degree burns from the hot glue, but it turned out to be worth every minute. My parents constantly give me ideas on how to work tricky aspects like defying gravity and otherwise doing the impossible. I love them so much for it!

My most memorable experiences while cosplaying have pretty much been in my Rapunzel. I'm a sucker for a child who asks "Can I touch it?" when they look at my wig or the look on their faces after a smile and a wave from across the room. There are too many of the cute little instances like this that melt my heart. I couldn't pick just one.

I tell my co-workers that I cosplay because I wasn't pretty enough to be a Disney princess. I'm only half lying. (That's just why I do Disney cosplays) In reality, I love creating the garments and finding the perfect wig. I enjoy finding each character's face through makeup and expression. Above all, I love the kids' reactions to relatable characters and the overall joy a costume can bring to a person of any age. I love that people of any age can come together because they're in the same cosplay, so they have something to talk about. Cosplay is a start to friendship.  

- Kayla