Name: Angi Viper
What was your first Cosplay Experience?
I started cosplaying in high school. Back then (early 2000s) cosplay was still fairly new and I found out about it through my obsession with anime/manga. I wanted to dress up as my favorite character at the time for Halloween so my mom helped me make my first costume - Sakura’s final battle outfit from the second Cardcaptor Sakura movie. I wore it to school where I won the costume contest, but suffered excessive ridicule from my classmates. However, I got invited to attend my town’s local anime/scifi/comic book/fantasy/roleplay/trading card convention with some friends where I had the time of my life. I was surrounded by like-minded people. No one made fun of me like they did at school. I could just be myself and let my creativity flow. I was surrounded by inspiration and I never wanted to leave.
How long have you been Cosplaying?
I started in 2002/2003. At that time my mom made the majority of my costumes (with my help) and we produced about 1 a year. I stopped in college because of time, money and accessibility of materials. I picked back up and have been actively cosplaying since 2011.
What is your favorite cosplay you have worn/created?
I’ll be honest my favorites change from day to day lol. Some days it’s Madame Hydra for how comfortable the costume is and how badass I feel in it plus I’m really proud of my scars. Most days it’s Elsa because I’ve put so much into that costume. I’m convinced she’ll never be finished because she’s my favorite character and I see so much of myself in her that I just want my depiction of her to be absolutely perfect. Recently it’s been Astrid who I didn’t expect to be as much fun as she was, but since I’ve started wearing her I’ve connected more and more. I’m also extremely proud of that costume. I learned tons of new techniques and skills working on Astrid that I can apply to hundreds of other projects and I’m very proud of myself for how well it all came out.
If you had unlimited resources, what Cosplay would you create?
I don’t like to advertise dream costumes because someone always ends up disappointed. I will say I would love to work with armor. The materials are so expensive and I don’t have a lot of free time to dedicate to learning to use them, but it’s my dream to make a fancy armored cosplay some day.
What advice would you offer others trying to break into Cosplay?
My advice is always to be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy and you’ll be happy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of cosplaying what’s popular or what your friends want you to do, but if you aren’t being true to yourself and cosplaying characters you really love it’ll show through in your depiction of that character and you’ll lose interest quickly. Cosplay is supposed to make you happy. It’s supposed to be fun. A way of expressing yourself. Of becoming someone you’ve always dreamed but never thought possible. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t cosplay with friends. Group cosplay is a blast and having friends around helps you feel safe and confident. But make sure it’s something you all want to do. Nobody wants to be the odd man out in a costume that makes them uncomfortable pretending to be excited about something they aren’t.