Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
What was your first Cosplay experience?
My first cosplay was an unfortunate rendition of Axel from Kingdom Hearts 2 before I knew a single iota about wigs, proper sewing skills, prop making and so on. I had temporarily dyed red hair, leather winter gloves, clay tassel things wrapped in tinfoil; it was a sight to behold. I’ve never lived it down with my close friends and it was infamously dubbed, coming up in conversation now and then… what an opulent start to my hobby, haha.
How long have you been Cosplaying?
A little over 10 years now. I can hardly believe it’s been so long. I’ve learned a lot for sure, even though I don’t hold the same determination, focus or drive as I did years back, but I’d prefer it this way to be honest. Spent too long stressing over something I should really just take at my own pace. Hobbies are hobbies, and you shouldn’t feel so stressed to the point of sickness over them.
Who or what inspired you to take up Cosplaying?
When I was young a coworker at my first job told me about Anime North and invited me. It was an eye opener and I was more than eager to want to dress up for it given the opportunity. I’d always been crafty at costume making; making a cardboard Boba Fett for Halloween in my younger years at elementary school, and had no idea of a community who did the same. It was a very pleasant discovery for young, out-of-place me back in the day.
If you had to pick a favorite Cosplay you have worn, or have seen someone else wear, what would it be?
I really enjoyed my Handsome Jack cosplay. It probably got the most re-wears out of all of my cosplays and is arguably one of my more comfortable ones, and very easy to get in and out of. I’ve come to realize the comfier the cosplay, the more fun you can have in it. Challenging yourself with more elaborate cosplays can be loads of fun too, but most of the time you’re immobile, can’t easily take breaks for food, washrooms or so on and almost always need a handler. On that note, respect and appreciate your handlers. I’ve only had one person I’ve ever had to handle for who really conveyed just how much my services were needed and appreciated for that day and it really went a long way. It’s still a vivid moment in my life and it meant the world to me. Do not discount or trivialize their efforts, ever.
If you had unlimited funds and resources, what Cosplay would you create?
Oh jeez… I’m not exactly sure. I’d REALLY like to make a full Metal Gear REX cosplay I could maneuver in, similar to those Dinosaur costumes you see people in at parks or on online prank videos. I’d imagine I’d need a hefty budget for that though. Plus transporting that would probably be next to impossible. Then again, unlimited funds and resources… hmmmmm…
What advice would you offer to those who are aspiring Cosplayers?
Don’t get too caught up in the glamour and ‘politics’ of the scene; there are no rules to what you can and can’t cosplay. Don’t be deterred by someone you think ‘wore it better’, or claims ownership over a certain character.
This is not a popularity contest. Most of us in this community are people who were abused in a similar system either at school, work, home or any other institution we didn’t “fit into”. Try not to let it happen in this one. This should be a safe, fun and nurturing environment for everyone, and definitely can be with the right people and attitude. You will make mistakes along the way, but you will learn from them and hone your craft with time and perseverance.
You will hopefully meet a lot of good people, some whom you will connect with so strongly they might be in your life for a while, in and/or outside of the convention scene. Last but not least, do not break the bank or yourself for your hobby. Budget yourself accordingly and manage your time and know that there are sometimes more important things that finishing that costume in time for a certain convention, or to make it to said convention at all. Certain responsibilities should take precedence and no one, especially yourself, should fault you for it. Above all else though, enjoy yourself to the fullest extent however you see fit in a sea of your peers.
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