I was working as a MetroCon Mascot, promoting the upcoming convention. MeterCon is Florida's largest anime convention, held in Tampa, FL at the end of the summer each year. The con is known for doing themes each year that play into all of the main performance events at the con as well as the Mascots.
I auditioned to be a MetroCon Mascot and was selected for the role. I designed the character to represent "the East" since the convention's theme for that year was East VS West. One of my best friends made it for me while I helped her select some of the items and paid her for her time. Everyone loved the MetroCon Mascots! We weren't sure how people would respond to original characters [ at Megacon], but with the support of MetroCon and their marketing team we were well-known and were a big hit.
To select the mascots, the cosplay coordinator hand picks cosplayers to represent the convention as Metrocon Mascots. Mascots are responsible for representing the convention in a variety of ways, including assisting with promotions, appearing on official artwork and gear, fulfilling media requests, hosting some main & special events, and last but not least interacting with MetroCon guests. During the con I had the pleasure of hosting several contests, performing skits at some events, and taking lots and lots of pictures with guests at the con. The role takes a lot of work, but it totally worth it. I think it's my favorite thing to do in cosplay! To interact with tons of people and use it to promote the con and its culture.
I started cosplaying as a stunt fighter in a local theater troupe. We would write anime mashup shows where we would pick characters from different fandoms and imagine how they would fight each other. It was really fun. My first cosplay was Neliel from Bleach... I was basically thrown out there in a skimpy outfit, but I was surprised to see how people treated me like the character and not like a girl in a ripped shirt with no shoes! I had been fortunate to be surrounded by people who love cosplay and how it breaks down barriers. Honestly people think it's so fun and unexpected of me when they see my photos from conventions. My husband is also big into cosplay so the family recognizes it as "our thing". Co-workers always ask me to show up one day to work in full-cosplay... but I wouldn't do that!