The Cosplayer Feature is a series of interviews done by HappyCosplayer featuring cosplayers from around the world who would like to share their story. Cosplayers are featured every other day both here on my blog and on my Facebook pages: HappyCosplayer, JustCosplay.
“May you be inspired by them!” -HappyCosplayer
Featured cosplayer: Shadow Wing Cosplay!
Cosplay Page: Link | Country: USA | Gender: Female|
Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?
Erica: 12 years ago, when I was in my last year of middle school I was introduced to cosplay through a friend. We already loved anime and manga and so when we found out that there was an actual anime convention in Boston (my home city) where one could not only go and do, see, and buy anime related things, but dress up AS the characters we loved, we kind of got hooked. I learned to sew just for this reason. The cosplay community was small there, and it’s popularity as we know it today wasn’t established yet.
Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Erica: 12 years ago Anime Boston was very small compared to the current size, but there were a lot of people there. They were all so friendly and welcoming, and generally some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I clearly remember at one point we were waiting in line for a panel to open up and my friends and I got bored waiting so we started to sing a song from potter puppet pals and to our shock everyone else in the line joined in.
I remembered thinking at that exact moment: My God, I’m in with the crowd without even trying! These must be my kind of people. By the time the third day rolled around, I remember how depressed I felt when I realized I had to go back to my “normal life” soon.
Happy: Would you consider yourself more of a seamstress or a builder?
Erica: Both! I love to sew and build. But I guess if I had to chose one I’d prefer props over clothing. But without my sewing machine I’d feel… empty.
Happy: Is their anyone who really inspires you and why?
Erica: Anyone who has an awesome cosplay with inspire me! But I do happen to be quite fond of Kamui Cosplay. She is just a very… real, down-to-earth cosplayer who happens to be highly skilled and super nice. I am also inspired by various artists in general, no matter the genre. I’m an artist myself, and so my work goes beyond just cosplay.
Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying?
Erica: Personally, no. When I first started cosplaying it was virtually unheard of. I’d get the occasional creepy comment from a guy but it was something that was easy to defuse and avoid. When I hear stories of others getting harassed or bullied, it really upsets me. That’s not what the cosplay community was founded on and I was there, I saw it! Anyone can cosplay, it’s a way to escape real life for a few days and do something you love, enjoy something you love! If I were to ever personally witness bullying or harassment, I would be the first to step in…preferably with a big scary prop weapon.
Happy: Are there things you have learned through this hobby that you never would have guessed to have learned before you started cosplaying? If so what are these new skill traits?
Erica: Hmm… personally as an artist I want to try all sorts of mediums. I don’t think I would have learned to sew though, honestly. It’s a great skill to have in general. My good friend cosplays as well, and one time I was asked to step in as a bridesmaid at a wedding the night before– and the dress they had was a size 10 (I’m a 2!). She was able to take it in by hand the night before while I was wearing it– all thanks to cosplay skills!
Happy: A lot of people get overwhelmed or ‘brunt out’ over time with this hobby called cosplaying. Have you ever felt that way, or do you feel like you ever would? What would you say to those that maybe feeling burnt out now?
Erica: Sometimes I get burnt out. Its an expensive hobby, and sometimes I look out at the community and all I see is drama and fighting. That part is quite discouraging! But…the artist within me gets this itch and I just…have to make something sometimes, especially when I see a character that catches my interest. I think that’s the part that keeps me going.
Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Erica: I get to dress up as something else for a few days. I love wearing unusual things, and cosplay gives me a perfect time and place for that!! Also there’s something so gratifying showing off something you worked so hard on. I am one with my art, haha.
Happy: What is it about cosplaying you dislike?
Erica: The community has changed. There are parts of it I will likely never agree with unfortunately.
Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?
Erica: Some dancers will say they don’t dance because they want to, they dance because they need to. They have to. Cosplay has become a serious art form for me, and I need to keep making costumes. No other art form gives me the same expression as it does.
Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intentionally for cosplay?
Erica: Hahahahahaha. Oh boy where do I start? I’ve been pricked by needles, cut by scissors and even thread. Hot glue guns don’t even phase me now when I get burnt- it lasts two seconds and I move on like nothing happened! The worst one though is I found out the hard way I am allergic to Nickel (zippers have them) and gorilla glue (went to the ER for that one!). Both caused a horrific itchy rash, and in the case of the gorilla glue, it caused my face to swell! Be careful out there and follow all the directions for the materials you use, please!! (You’re not SUPPOSED to get gorilla glue on you)
Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?
Erica: When I first started, it was a 9.5 out of 10. Now? ….6. So much drama. I just want to make art, see other people’s art, and love nerdy things with other people.
Happy: What are some of your favorite cosplays you have worn?
Erica: I loved Tiamat (D&D)! There was something so powerful about wearing it, and it certainly turned heads. Though the one I am just finishing up now, Sister from Kubo and the Two Strings, is pretty fun to wear, as was Monet from One Piece. I just love to cosplay sinister or more non-human characters, though I have cosplayed pure good guys too.
Happy: Do you have a dream cosplay you would love to do someday?
Erica: Garuda from FF14 because I love to hurt myself with ambition *sobs*.
Happy: What was an amazing experience you had in cosplay that you will never forget?
Erica: The friends I have made are the best part, and I won’t be forgetting them any time soon.
Happy: Has cosplaying presented you with challenges? If so what sort of challenges? Were they hard to overcome? Are you still working on overcoming them?
Erica: Well, it’s not directly related to cosplay but I will admit that I suffer from generalized anxiety. Before I developed it about five years ago, I couldn’t get to a con fast enough. After I developed it, I was so anxious to travel to cons that sometimes I could barely eat when I got there.
It nearly stopped me from attending them all together but I will say this to anyone else out there who suffers from anxiety and is reading this– you CAN overcome it. It just takes time and patience and trying different things out, as well as coming to terms with it. Sometimes I still get a little nervous about traveling to a convention to cosplay and being out in large crowds, but the potential fun I could have is enough to allow me to get past it!
Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Erica: Katsucon! Hope to see you there!
Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Erica: Dragoncon. I’m obsessed with dragons and it’s literally called Dragoncon. Plus I have heard how awesome it is. It is my calling.
Happy: Does any one in your family cosplay? How about close friends? Did you get anyone to cosplay because you were doing it?
Erica: No one in my family does, but my friends where I live now do! I did encourage a few of my college friends though to cosplay and one went ahead and made the flippin’ front page of Reddit with his first costume ever as Scarecrow from Batman. I was so proud!!!
Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying?
Erica: Make more art, find what inspires me, and continue to build friendships… I’m ambitious but I’m also one to leave my future open to possibilities. I just want to inspire others to give it a try and not give up!
You can find Shadow Wing Cosplay at the following links! Please leave some love for them via a like/follow and so on and help continue to make the cosplaying community better by encouraging and inspiring others!
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