People Loooooooooved this cosplay! I think I only spent about $10-20 on a few bits I didn't have at home and while there are clear imperfections, people gave me so much love and wonderful feed back. This photo of Nidalee from League Of Legends was taken 3-4 years ago and at the time I was going through hard financial times. I had most of the materials already and was into League then, so I decided to make a cosplay. I really liked the character, but I admit that I wasn't the best at playing her. I used textured vinyl, faux fur, expanding foam, a conduit pipe (spear), plaster, name it.

I don't know exactly when I first heard about cosplay, but I do remember at the time I wasn't interested in it. I thought it was an over-the-top way to show love for a fandom and that there's no way I would do that...and then I tried it haha.

This past year I was at a convention in SanJose, California dressed as "Judy Hopps - Zootopia". I was walking with a friend to get some food, when we noticed this little girl kept shyly looking at me. Of course I made eye contact with her and smiled. The little girl whispered to her mom, "Mama there's Judy", they both turn to look at me and I bounced on my feet a bit, then waved at the pair, while saying "Hi!". The mom smiled and waved, then the little girl said "Hi, Judy!!!!! Mom Judy said Hi...MOM JUDY SAID HI TO ME!!!!". While laughing, the mom had to drag her super excited daughter away, telling her daughter to say bye because I was really tired and busy. I continued on my way, but man I tell you... I felt sooooo good in that moment. Seeing kids light up like that, makes me feel all the stress of creating a costume and getting to a convention is worth it ♥

The first time I cosplayed, I made a closet cosplay of Yoruichi from Bleach. I was a little nervous walking around in it, but I have one heck of a poker face, so people kinda assumed I knew what I was doing. Many Bleach fans came up to me to chat about the show, take pic or give give me a compliment. I was not use to stuff like that, so I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but I got use to it eventually.

Of course at first "normal" people don't get the whole cosplay thing and make alot of rude assumptions, so to educate them I would tell them about skills I've learned, places i've gone, people i've met and all the fun us nerds have. Sometimes words don't always get across, so I show them photo's and regale them of the adventures behind the photos. After that, thats when I hear them say "Oh wow, thats cool...I can't do stuff like that" or "You guys have so much talent".

Creating something with your own two hands and helping others do the same is addictive. Having a community around you that share in your frustrations and successes is invaluable. I have learned not only how to sew, pose and put on make-up, I have learned how to accept myself and others for we are. Cosplay is special to me because for better or worse, it's all a learning experience. I initially kinda jumped into all of this to get better at handling crowds and loud sounds. I began cosplaying almost a year after returning from Iraq. I hated large crowds, loud noises, etc... those things would cause me to get very angry. I sought ways to deal with that and to make a long story short, a friend suggested I meet up with him at a convention he was helping at. I wasn't going to go, but decided to give it a shot and I actually loved it. The next time I went to one I cosplayed. The more I attended events, the better I was able to deal with all types of situations and people. I think this hobby of ours has made me a more grounded person, I'm more outgoing and level headed. I've made life long friends and gone on so many adventures.

JouninK Cosplay