Spotlight

Cosplayer Spotlight – ImaginEeri

ImaginEeri

 

Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight.  We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community.  Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and already famous members from the world of cosplay.

 

About ImaginEeri

My name is Eeri. I’m 27-years-old, and a shift manager at Starbucks and MassArt graduate. I attended MassArt for fashion design and received a certificate in 2015 after completing the two-year program. My goal is to become a professional costume designer. I have a cat, Miss Kitty-Fantastico, who is the love of my life. I am currently interning at a children’s theatre in my area, and also have a sewing job on the side. Over summer, I’m planning to move to FL, and I’m super excited to attend FL cons!

 

ImaginEeri - Historically Accurate Ariel: Based on the design by Shoomlah (Claire Hummel). Photo by Toshi Studios and Vander Photography.
Historically Accurate Ariel: Based on the design by Shoomlah (Claire Hummel). Photo by Toshi Studios and Vander Photography.

How did you first get into cosplay?

I’d first heard about cosplaying when I was in high school–I must have been a sophomore, so this would have been twelve years ago now. I didn’t know anything about conventions or cosplaying, let alone sewing intricate costumes at that time. I just knew that I loved Cardcaptor Sakura and all of her costumes, and cosplay was a good way to be her. Unfortunately, I also knew my dad would not let me attend a convention on my own, so I didn’t actually start cosplaying until I was nineteen, at the end of my first year of college. That was in 2008. My roommates at the time were the ones who took me to my very first convention, FanimeCon in San Jose, CA. I bought a costume online (Sakura-hime from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles), and I haven’t stopped cosplaying since.

Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?

It’s for fun and for a future career in costuming. It didn’t start out that way, of course. It took me about three years of cosplaying before I actually started to really make my costumes, but once I started I fell in love with the process and decided to go to school for this.

Cosplay is still very much about having fun, but the process is about learning and growing as a costume designer and creator so that hopefully soon I can land a career job doing this.

Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?

I prefer to make them from scratch. I very rarely do hybrids, and I no longer buy costumes at all. This is not to say that buying costumes is bad–it most definitely is NOT! It’s wonderful. Supporting other cosplayers by commissioning them is so important! For me, part of cosplaying is the process, and of course, this really is about learning and growing for me for a future career.

How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?

Depending on the complexity of the costume, I would say I can spend anywhere from 3 hours to 200 hours if you take into account everything that goes into making a costume from the shopping for supplies to the actual construction process. If a costume has intricate detail work, then it’s going to take a lot longer than something without because detail work is very time-consuming as it’s a slow process.

What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?

Oh boy. This is a very difficult question. If I was to say my favourite costume that I’ve /made/ it would be a toss up between Rapunzel’s concept design that I just wore to KatsuCon, Megara that I made for animeBoston 2016, and historically accurate Ariel, which I wore to Katsucon 2016 (and also Fanime 2016).

However, my favourite costume overall is still probably my Rock Lee cosplay.

What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?

That’s a hard one. I have so many of them. I think if I had to pick it would be either doing the Dating Game as Rock Lee at animeBoston 2011 or winning Advanced Craftmanship at ALA 2013 with my friends for our Thumbelina group.

There are so many other moments from meeting friends who I’ve now known for nearly 10 years, to some not so fun experiences like being hit on aggressively (usually this happened while I was Rock Lee).

How do you feel about group cosplays?

I love group cosplays! It is so much more fun when you are cosplaying /with/ someone. I love solo cosplaying, but sometimes it feels lonely. I think at the end of the day, cosplay is supposed to be fun and it’s the most fun when you’re with friends!

What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?

This year is a low-key year for me because I am planning to move out of state, so I’m trying to save up and also taking part in a fashion show so I need to focus on that. Because of all that I’m only working on fixing up the Rapunzel costume I just wore, making one more new Rapunzel costume, and finishing up an Elsa commission. If I decide to work on anything else this year, it will be either Kate Bishop or Leah of Hel from Angel Queen of Hel, as I already have all the supplies.

What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?

Unsurprisingly the issues of race change. As someone who is half Black and very invested in anti-racism, I am not okay with race change for cosplay. I don’t think it’s okay, and I don’t think you can ever make it okay. There is too much racist history that simply cannot be erased. If you want to cosplay a character of another race whose skin tone differs from yours, go for it, but don’t darken your skin! And stop trying to use your one Black friend who doesn’t care to tell other Black folks that they’re wrong–we’re not a monolith!

What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?

Oh gosh, it really depends. I love a lot of things from video games to comics to anime to Disney… I think I’m generally more inspired by the costumes and the character themselves.

For instance, I will always cosplay Cardcaptor Sakura for as long as I can successfully pull off looking like a ten-year-old magical girl (thank god Black don’t crack!). She is so sweet and kind, and that entire series is so pure. I love stories like that.

I also love Rock Lee because he’s so determined to prove himself.

I think I’ve changed a lot in how I approach who I’m going to cosplay. It used to be only characters I liked and related to, but as I’ve grown, I try to challenge myself to take on new costumes. My hope for next year is to do Widowmaker from Overwatch, which isn’t the sort of character I usually pick for a number of reasons from lacking the confidence to pull off someone who looks like that to the armor being a bit daunting.

What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?

That’s so hard! I think my favorite part is the construction though. Oh, and getting supplies in the mail!

What are your best resources for cosplay materials?

I typically shop at the same places. So I’m either looking at Mood’s online website or hitting up the fabric store in my area. For wigs, I always go with either WigIsFashion or EpicCosplay.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer? 

Time management. It is so difficult managing your time, especially when you have to work a full-time job or are in school or both! animeBoston 2015 I was still in school and working full-time, and I’m still not sure how I managed to make two new costumes, plus a costume for a friend that year. Other than skipping sleep a LOT.

Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?  

The most important thing I’ve learned is accepting yourself and appreciating others. I often see people becoming insecure when they meet people cosplaying the same character–I’ve felt that too!–and I think it’s hard because we compare ourselves so much. Especially as cosplay has become more and more of a popularity contest. We all want likes and shares, but what’s most important should still be having fun and allowing ourselves to feel special. Even if someone has the same costume as you, they made different choices. Your choices are your own, they’re unique to you. And that person’s choices are unique to them. Both costumes are special in their own way, and I think that’s one of the things that makes cosplay so wonderful!

What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?

If you’re not having fun, take a step back.

Cosplay should be about having fun. Even when you want to use it as a stepping stone for a career, you need to have fun. Don’t be like me and lose sleep to the point that you’re incoherent at work. Trust me, you’ll regret it. If you’ve messed up on something, it’s okay! It’s not the end of the world! My corset for Rapunzel had issues from the mockup to the final pattern, and I didn’t have time to fix it, but I know I can fix it later. I still had fun wearing my costume and I know my corset was still beautiful!

Just breathe. Cosplay is fun, but it won’t be if you stress out.

How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?

I started cosplaying a lot later than some, but for starters, it is much much bigger. Cons are more crowded, there are so many people to meet and so many costumes to see! I love that. It’s also so great because I see that the cosplay community is growing in diversity, and my favorite thing is seeing Black cosplayers being able to celebrate themselves so much more now than before.

However, I do think that we all sometimes forget that cosplay should be about having fun. It’s nice to get likes and shares, but we shouldn’t let our egos get the best of us, and I think I see that happening more-so now with all the FB pages out there. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having those pages, of course. I have one! I simply think that we all need to remember to be humble. We’re all just a bunch of nerds having fun, after all!

If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?

Oh gosh. I have a lot of those, tbh, and I fully intend to do them. I have especially ambitious plans for Rapunzel. And there are some CCS costumes too… I think my biggest problem is I always wanna make everything out of silk. I love silk so much, it’s a problem.

Do you set a budget for each cosplay?

That’s a funny joke. I mean, I do try, but I am very bad at budgeting. Depending on the costume, I can spend up to $1500. It depends on the materials I’m using and how complex the costume.

What does cosplay mean to you?

It means making new friends and making memories with old ones, becoming closer with the friends I already have. It means learning and growing as a costume designer. It means escapism and fantasy and having fun and living your life to the fullest. It means a confidence boost. It means sharing passions and joys with others. It means making someone’s day just by being their favorite character.

Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?

Nope.


 


You can follow and view more of ImaginEeri here

Photographer Credits

  • aartmae
  • Callesto
  • JiiDragon
  • Mario Santos
  • Nate Buchman
  • Rodney Brown of NerdCaliber
  • Toshi Studios and Vander Photography
  • Vince Rants


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