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.
I’m a cosplayer born and raised in Southern Louisiana. Currently, I live in the D.C. area. I’m 25, and have been cosplaying since 2006. I’m a total animal lover, and a Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts dweeb. I love everyone, so don’t ever be shy to talk to me! Current obsession is Yuri on Ice~
How did you first get into cosplay?
In 2006, my mother surprised me and brought me to my first convention, MechaCon in New Orleans, LA. My friends had gone on a different day and told me how much they had fun dressed up. So, when my mom told me we were going, I really wanted to wear a costume, just like my friends. So, literally in the car, on the 2-hour drive there, I made my first costume. It was Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto. I had so much fun, I became addicted. Now, I can’t go to a con WITHOUT cosplaying. Haha
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
For fun!! I literally only dress up to goof off with friends and enjoy my time with them.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
It depends, really. Most of my cosplays are made from scratch or are commissioned. Sometimes I just buy them offline, Like my Yuri Plisetsky cosplay. Just whatever is worth it in the long run!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It varies. My Launch cosplay was done in a day. Ladybug was done in a week. It just all depends on if I’ve ever worked with that pattern/material before. But on average, I’ve done about a week of time total or less.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Ladybug from Miraculous Ladybug. I have so much fun in her. Every time I wear her, I meet tons of new people, and we all talk and have so much fun. Also, Yuri Plisetsky. The Yuri on Ice fandom is full of wonderful and loving people. They all make me feel at home.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I wore my Link cosplay to a Renaissance festival once. All the kids were amazed and wanted to take photos with me. I would let them hold my sword and shield, and their eyes would just light up!! It really made my day, just seeing them so happy.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I LOVE group cosplays. 99% of the time that I do a cosplay, I have at least 1-2 other people planning to join me. I think I’ve only cosplayed by myself twice in my whole life. I prefer groups. They’re so much more fun.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Axel, from Kingdom Hearts, Hanayo from Love Live, and Merida from Brave. I also plan on starting on Sailor Pluto from Sailor Moon, and Yuna from Final Fantasy X, but they won’t be for this year
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Whether or not you fit the body type. I don’t care if you look 100% the character, or 0% the character. If you want to cosplay them, DO IT. Don’t let anyone tell you, you don’t “suit the character.”
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Mostly anime and video game characters. I’ve never cosplayed a comic book character. And I don’t think I ever will, to be honest. Comics just aren’t my thing. Also, strong characters, that can totally whoop your butt.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Attending cons, and the photo shoots!! That’s when you can bring your character to life! You can also meet tons of new people while doing it, and make new friends!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
JoAnn’s Fabrics, Arda Wigs, and The Home Depot. JoAnn’s always has amazing coupons going on, and you can use multiple at the same time, so you can save a fortune on materials. The Home Depot is literally the only place I shop at for prop materials! I use PVC pipe, wooden dowel rods, and the pink insulation foam sheets the most. They’re pretty cheap, too! Arda Wigs is literally the best company for wigs. They are all I use anymore. The fibers all look so realistic and feel so soft. Plus they have two lines you can choose from. Classic, or Silky.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
My anxiety. I never really talked to people before. But through cosplay, I’ve definitely become more confident in myself!! I’m not afraid to approach people anymore and compliment them, or just talk to them!
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Some people just don’t understand cosplay. They just don’t get it. And because of that, I’ve had lots of people asking all kinds of strange questions when they see me walking around outside of the con hotels, or while out on a shoot. I used to get defensive about it and thought they were being rude. But now, I understand, that some people just don’t know about it. So, I’ve made it my mission to talk to people and answer their questions as much as I can when I get the chance to. I guess you could say the lesson is “Don’t jump to conclusions.” Treat everybody nicely.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Get good wigs. A good wig can completely tie your cosplay together. For my Kuja (Final Fantasy IX) cosplay, the whole outfit looked okay together when I put it all on. But once I put the wig on, it was amazing. A good wig works wonders. I use only Arda Wigs.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I feel like there are for sure a lot more people who cosplay now, than 10 years ago. And I also feel like more people are more open to it now. I know a few years ago, I hid that I was a cosplayer to most people because they just didn’t get it. Now I openly talk about it. I feel like it’s become more known, so more people are open to it.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Kimahri from Final Fantasy X. He is a dream cosplay of mine, that I would love to be able to go all out on. I want to be on stilts, and make him be basically a fur suit. I want to be able to get every detail on him perfect.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I don’t, however, I always use coupons, and wait for items to go on sale if possible. I go to JoAnn’s for fabric, and they let you use multiple coupons at the same time! I try to stay cheap as possible.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay for me is having fun. Dressing up as your favorite characters, and making other people smile. A lot of people take cosplay too seriously and stress themselves over it. I just want to have a good time, and make new friends!
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Honestly, I don’t think so. I’ve had some bad experiences while cosplaying, but really, they all made me more determined to keep going! Haha.
You can follow and view more of Kymbawee here
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