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 Shnookums Cosplay
I’m Shnookums and I’m a cosplayer of over 4 years from Michigan. I’m an apparel and textiles major with a minor in art and a love for sewing and creating. I love everything cute related and eating lots of sweets.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was first really inspired to cosplay when I was 8 or 9 years old and incredibly obsessed with the Final Fantasy series. At the time my friends and I were in a role play for FFX and found out you can actually buy very well made cosplays on eBay. That literally sparked my want to cosplay, and ever since then I had wanted to literally become one of my favorite characters. I didn’t gain the confidence to start actually cosplaying and going to conventions until I entered college, where a friend had helped me make my first cosplay.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Definitely both. I’m an apparel and textiles major with a minor in art, so creating costumes from scratch can only help me in my field and vice versa. I would love to do something like costume production. I only have a small following now, but I know that many cosplayers with a larger following can create a career by just cosplaying, which would be amazing to do if I could ever get that big. At the end of the day, though, I think having fun with what you’re doing is the most important part.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I have actually made most of my cosplays from scratch. Being an apparel and textile major, I have experience traditionally and digitally creating patterns to fit myself as I like, since, for the most part, I have to alter commercial patterns, to begin with. I’ve only bought a couple cosplays that I’ve found for pretty cheap online to do for fun, as well as I’ve bought the cosplays for my dance group in order for us to all match perfectly.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Usually, I like to take my time and will spend a couple months on a project. I can say, though, that I’ve been incredibly busy with school and work before that I’ve made an entire cosplay in a week before. I also get so busy with school and work that sometimes I pull an all-nighter just to be able to work on a cosplay.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
I really loved being in my floral Sylveon interpretation I designed myself. I wore it this past Colossalcon 2017 and it made me feel very confident. I love being in Rem from Re: Zero because the wig looks really great on me. I’ve also always loved being Rise from Persona 4 because she is one of my favorite characters,
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My most memorable experience is when I was in floral Sylveon this past Colossalcon 2017. I had multiple people come up to me and tell me how amazing I looked and that I inspired them because they always wanted to make a Sylveon cosplay. It is a really great feeling to see someone’s face light up when they see you and to know you inspired someone. One girl almost looked close to tears when she told me she loved my cosplay and wanted a picture with me. It was a very rewarding experience and I’m glad to have made a lot of people smile that day while stopping for a picture and to talk with them.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I think they’re great! I’ve done quite a few group cosplays. My Sylveon cosplay was actually a part of a small Eeveelution group. I also was in a Kiznaiver group as Nico Niiyama, I was Rise in a Persona group, Revy in a Black Lagoon group, and I’m Ruby in a Love Live! Sunshine group just to name a few!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Right now I’m currently working on a Makoto Cosplay from Persona 5 and a second Sylveon cosplay in my floral Sylveon series. My dance group is currently also working on getting new outfits for our next performance. Later on, for the rest of this year and early next year, I am working on a couple cosplays from the Atelier series, a couple cosplays from Sailor Moon Crystal, and Nadeko from the Monogatari series.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
The lack of understanding that EVERYONE can cosplay. I feel very strongly about this. I think it’s ridiculous that people are so okay with thinking that they’re allowed to be the judge anyone who took the time to put together a cosplay and come to a convention to have fun. Everyone is allowed to have fun and represent their favorite characters.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
A lot of other people usually always try to show me super cutesy characters, animes, and games, and I can agree that those characters are very me and they fit my aesthetics. It’s not always entirely true, though. It really depends on the anime and who my favorite person ends up being.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Although I love a lot of the researching, sewing and creating processes of putting together a cosplay, my favorite part is definitely when I finally arrive at a convention, get into my cosplay, and get to relax and become the character. It’s very rewarding to finally put something entirely together. I love having photo shoots and getting to document the hard work I’ve done, but I love even more to talk to people who love the character I’m cosplaying or series I’m cosplaying from as much as I do. It’s really fun to geek out with people.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Even though I work at a craft and fabric store, surprisingly my biggest resource is online, even for fabric. Sometimes I find more variety for projects I’m doing. Amazon and eBay are my go-to websites for really good deals.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
My lack of free time. In between work and school, I don’t get to go out as much as I want to. Cosplay is a full-time job even if I’m not at a convention every month. I spend a lot of my spare time researching for future costumes and working on costumes. Another big obstacle is the random hate you sometimes receive from people you don’t even know. A lot of cosplayers seem to get this. I haven’t gotten much hate, but the little that I have has been completely random and unnecessary.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Actually, I’ve learned that I’m much more capable of making friends that I thought I would ever be. Up until college, I didn’t have a lot of friends or really talk to anyone. I never really felt like I could truly be myself until I finally started going to conventions. From there I met a lot of people with common interests who were all as enthusiastic as I was. For a while, I started to just accept that I was anti-social but being in cosplay and going to conventions has really taught me that I actually can open up more. I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing if I wasn’t cosplaying now.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
My golden rule is to just have fun. Don’t compare yourself to other cosplayers. Learn to appreciate and make positive comments to others, and to yourself. Any work on a cosplay should be worn proudly. If you had fun at the end of the day as your favorite character, then that was a successful cosplay!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I feel it’s gotten more mainstream. I don’t think popularity is bad, but I think it can come with some faults. A lot of people seem to wander into conventions now with no idea how hard cosplayers work or an understanding or respect for what they do. With more people at conventions, it only means there could possibly be more problems, just like with any big event.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Honestly, right now, I would really to do a Queen Makoto cosplay with Johanna from Persona 5. I’ve also always really wanted to cosplay D.Va with her mech as well.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Honestly, I don’t. I always try to find the best deals, but when I need something, I buy it.
What does cosplay mean to you?
It means getting to be myself through characters I love and relate to. Cosplay helps me feel confident and connected to others. Like I said earlier, I really don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t cosplaying and attending conventions. It has gotten me out of a big rut in my life where I was depressed more often than not. I hope that maybe my cosplaying can inspire others to feel the same way.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Nope! I can’t really think of anything. I already have cosplays planned for when I get older and if I ever have kids, so there is no stopping me really. I’m here to stay!
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