Cosplayer Spotlight – Nicole Oliva


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 Nicole Oliva

Nicole Oliva 27 year old Singer/Actress by trade as well as Model, Designer, Seamstress, and Cosplayer, based out of Long Island NY. Has been cosplaying since 2004 and attending conventions since the first New York Comic Con in 2006. Now notable convention entertainment headliner and manger of Immortal Con the Long Island anime and fantasy convention for a cause!


Nicole Oliva
Ariel from the Little Mermaid

How did you first get into cosplay?

I found out about cosplay through an article in an anime magazine describing cosplay and the convention scene in Japan.

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

I mostly do it for fun but I also work as a seamstress making cosplay commissions and theatrical costumes. Although my full-time career is a singer and actress.

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

I almost always make my cosplays from scratch.

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

On average about three months.

What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?

It’s hard to choose as I love all of them but if I had to narrow it down I’d have to pick two. Princess Tutu and Super Sailor Moon.

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

My first time cosplaying and attending a convention will always be the most memorable. Attending the very first New York Comic Con wearing my very first hand made cosplay as Sailor Saturn. It was an amazing feeling getting recognized for my work, and even more amazing that people recognized who I was cosplaying and would get so excited! At the time no one knew who Sailor Saturn was because she was rarely seen in the American dubbed anime on Toonami.

How do you feel about group cosplays?

I love cosplay groups and the creativity that comes out of them. I’ve rarely had the opportunity to get together a group cosplay.

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

Centaurette from Fantasia, a couple of mermaid tails, and some commissions for others from The Hobbit and Little Witch Acadamia.

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

I’ve been cosplaying for 13 years now and the cosplay community has grown so much. What causes the greatest disagreements between cosplayers seems to be about cosplay accuracy. Now while I’m pretty old school about my cosplays and prefer screen accuracy over fan interpretation I would never bully or pick on anyone in any way because of it. In recent years there’s been a lot of cosplay harassment, bullying, and prejudice because of opinions on what certain characters being cosplayed should look like and what kind of shape or body type you should be in. Unfortunately, this happens with every fashion based community out there, but it still doesn’t make it acceptable and needs to stop!

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

Anime and Fantasy especially magical girls and Disney princesses

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

Sewing and attending conventions

What are your best resources for cosplay materials?

My local fabric store is a must for fabric and notions, but I will look everywhere and shop anywhere to find just the right pieces to put my cosplay together.

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

Balancing my cosplay/convention time, my singing/acting gigs, and a full-time job was a huge challenge. I was convinced by many people around me that I had to maintain a career at a job I hated to be financially successful and happy. But in 2013 I finally quit my day job and now have made a full-time career at conventions as a cosplay seamstress, cosplay contest judge, and most importantly a convention performance guest, entertainer, and singer.

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

I can’t say I’ve learned any profound life lessons, but I have found something that makes me truly happy and has introduced me to many life long friends.

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

Do your research! Research your character, research tutorials on how to make things, research the events you are going to as well as what they have to offer, what the venue is like, and what their policies are. Research it twice! things change quicker than they seem.

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

Popularity has shifted in more ways than one. First, what was primarily cosplayed has changed in popularity. The first cosplayers focused on sci-fi such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The second generation, which would be considered my generation was all about anime, which is when the term cosplay(costume play) came out of Japan. Currently, American pop culture is what I most commonly see at conventions, such as comic book superheroes, Disney characters, cartoons, and horror movie characters (lots of zombies!).

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

A big ball gown! For a character like Princess Euphinia, Ashlotte Maedel, Lizzy Midford, Cinderella, Anastasia, Glinda, etc.

Do you set a budget for each cosplay?

Yes, or at least I try to.

What does cosplay mean to you?

I think it’s one of the most amazing artistic expressions to create a costume and recreate the look, feels, and actions of a character through cosplay.

Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?

The only way I would ever stop cosplaying is if my singing career took off so much that I no longer needed to sew as a second job and no longer had the time to attend my favorite conventions.

You can follow and view more of Nicole Oliva here

Photographer Credits

  • Dennis Carter Jr.
  • Freeze Frame Photo
  • Jaypoc Bauman Photography
  • John F. Sheehan Photography
  • Kassandra Leigh Purcell

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About the author

Word Of The Nerd

Word of the Nerd is your source for all things nerd!!! Whether it's comic books, cosplay, gaming, pop culture, movies or television. If it happens in nerdom, Word of the Nerd will be there to cover it.

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