By: Erika Ashley
I have dabbled in cosplay for the last three years. I started out, like most, going above and beyond for Halloween only. After several years of going all out and I started wanting to dress up every available chance instead of waiting for that one special time a year. YouTube provided ample amounts of resources and videos to perfect my craft, or at least it gave me an outlet to obsessively plan and binge on cosplay ideas.
Pinterest also fueled the fire that grew inside me for the need to partake in the art of cosplay. After planning and scheming, I decided to dip my toe in o cosplaying during Halloween three years ago. I dressed up as a ghoulish Wednesday Addams for work. My coworkers complimented me on not only being able to pull off the straight-faced glare, but they genuinely felt I exuded her traits and temperament. The next year I dressed as Princess Tiana for Halloween but I knew I wanted more.
A few months later I attended my second ever comic convention dressed as my spirit animal – Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I thought that she would be a somewhat not well-known character and I wouldn’t run into another Tina but instead, there were three of us but I would have to say I looked the best. But, the others looked good too. The second day of the comic con I dressed as a subtle Snow White, but it was mostly just for me because no one knew I was cosplaying at all.
The following year I attended a local comic convention and begged my mom for her phenomenal seamstress abilities to help me put together a subtle Beauty and the Beast’s Belle costume. She obliged and we constructed an adorable little dress and I received compliments the entire day. I loved it and wanted nothing more than to keep up the positive vibes and recreate the fun and confidence I felt.
For Halloween last year I went all out again and this time tried my hand at full face painting and wearing a wig to become Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out Character – Sadness, since we share so many similarities I just had to dress up as her. I wish I could have dressed as her for the next comic convention I attended but I need much more practice with face and body paint.
This year was my all-time favorite cosplay I’ve done and was the most intense thus far. Instead of throwing an outfit together the week before, I planned for at least a month. I compiled the necessities, enlisted the help from my mom and my wife and it took a village to put together the perfect cosplay of my favorite heroine – Ellen Ripley from Alien. Some people thought I was a Ghostbuster but it was completely worth it. Either way it was a win-win and I loved the confidence the character of Ellen Ripley brought me.
I’ve been thinking about the whole cosplay concept – and don’t we all enjoy pretending to be anyone but ourselves even for just a few hours or a day? I know that I struggle with my own self-confidence at times and there were moments that I’ve wished I could be someone else. Cosplay gives those that struggle with body image, confidence, self-esteem issues an outlet to step outside of themselves and be someone else or channel their inner confidence. While others use cosplay as just a fun time to pretend and cosplaying for whatever reason is great. Cosplaying engages your creativity and allows you to maybe be that person you’ve always wanted to be.
If you are interested in getting into cosplay I highly suggest doing your research and connecting with anyone you can. Because, I’ve found the community to be mostly accepting and you might just find a new friend and a new side of yourself you haven’t met yet.