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 Nikki Pardee
Hi, I’m Nikki! I’m just a girl that forgot to grow up. I’m an amateur cosplayer that just loves to dress up and play pretend. I’m a pommy mommy to two cute little fluff balls and sometimes I dress them up too. I really hope that you all enjoy my work
How did you first get into cosplay?
I’ve always loved dressing up for things like the movies and plays just for fun. But my first real cosplay was Pokemon Legendary birds last year. It was a lot of fun and I did it with my friends to go to Sac anime. From there I realized how much I love making costumes and showing my skills off.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I would love to make cosplay into something that I can turn my hobby into a full-time career, but at the same time, I always remember to not stress and to have fun with it. Because once you take the fun away and look at it as just a money maker you start to lose focus on what’s really important about cosplay. Which is showing the love you have for a particular character.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I love making my cosplays. It can be pretty difficult to find things that will work well with what you are trying to build, especially if you like to mix things up and do something no one has seen before. But what I find to be really cost effective and easier is to look through your local thrift stores and see what obscure thing you can find and dismantle to create your cosplay with. Old prom dresses are my favorite. They always have such vibrant colors and lots of material to work with. Though I don’t judge someone for wearing a pre-made cosplay. Sometimes you can love a character and just not be super crafty, and that’s ok too.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Honestly, I have no concept of time. I usually judge my cosplays time by how many seasons of a Netflix show I can get through. So, for example, my Goldeen cosplay took my two seasons of Game of Thrones.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
That’s such a hard question! I love all my cosplays for very different reasons. I love my Inuyasha because I really love that anime and it was my gateway show into the wonderful world of anime. But my Cosworth cosplay is soooo much fun to wear! When people see us as Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast people instantly recognize us and you can see their eyes light up and the nostalgia sweep over them. People of all ages love those cosplays and I really love seeing how happy my work makes them feel. Like I said its so hard to choose! I love some cosplays because I’ve done them with my friends or gone someplace special to wear them so they hold a lot of fond memories. Others I love because of particular detail work or what they represent. Each cosplay is its own work of art and can’t be compared to any other.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My most memorable experience was when we went to go meet Paige O’Hara who plays the original voice of Belle and we were Lumiere and Cogsworth. she got so excited when we walked up to her booth that she grabbed her husband and thrust her phone into his hand to get a picture with us! I couldn’t believe it, here I am standing in front of one of the most iconic Disney princesses and she wants our picture! Usually, you have to pay to get a picture with her but I sneakily slid my phone over to her husband and asked if he could get one on this phone too. Afterwards, we went back to our friends that couldn’t believe what had happened and let me tell you, it was soooo hard not to tear up and cry from sheer happiness. The only thing stopping me was the fact that I had a full clock makeup painted on my face. So that has been my most memorable memory yet, but I’m sure I’ll have so many more as I continue to cosplay.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love them! It can be hard to work with others and to get everyone on the same page and work with schedules. But I love being able to work with and even meet new people in the cosplay community. It’s a great way to really connect with others that share your same passions and interests.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Well, I am so in love with the character Maleficent. Old version and the new one. So I’m currently working on a build of an armored version of her and her dragon. I have the idea in my head and I’m really hoping I can pull it off. This will be my first armored big build and I’m so excited to test my skills.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
To be honest I never really like to focus on the negative. For me, cosplay is an escape and it should always be a positive environment for everyone. It’s a shame that so many people like to focus on the negative and like to cause problems or hurt others feelings. I do though see a lot of issues with sexy cosplays. For me personally, the human body is the most beautiful piece of art and if someone wants to show off their piece of art then that’s no problem with me. I think there’s a misconception that sexy cosplays are easy cosplays and require no talent. And for anyone that has ever tried to take a sexy selfie we all know that that isn’t easy. You may think your making a sexy face and then when you see the pic your like ‘dear god no delete, delete abort the mission!” it takes a lot of courage to put something skimpy on and post a picture for the whole world to see and judge you about everything from your ears to your kneecaps. Everyone should be free to express themselves however they want as long as they rant hurting anyone. If you want to be a zombie cinderella or a sexy Cinderella that is your choice. Its how you want to portray the character and where your art is taking you. So I say rock on to all the cosplayers in the world no matter how they envision the characters!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Oh, Disney is my one love. It’s so hard because I want to be all the characters. just all of them. Everyday. All day. I also really love Pokemon. First gen is more my style though. And whenever I come across an anime that I really love I just have to cosplay it in some way. Usually what inspires me is hanging out with my cosplay girls and just talking about the shows and movies we love and come up with a new and creative way to show off the characters.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Seeing people that really love your cosplay. There is nothing like having a kid walk up to you and love your cosplay so much that they want a picture. My friend and I were Beebop and Rocksteady one time from the ninja turtles and little kids recognized us, which surprised us that people knew who we were at all, and it was so heartwarming to see these little kids get to see characters they love come to life. I like to think I inspire them in some way to be creative and keep in touch with their imagination side when they get older.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Thrift stores!!! You never know what you’ll find! And usually it is super cheap and a lot cheaper than the cost of materials new. Anything to help save money with this expensive hobby is always a plus.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Learning to network with people. I tend to be a more shy person and a little socially awkward. So I don’t always know how to meet new people and remember their names later on. And one thing that’s key to being a more successful cosplayer is networking. Someday I’ll learn those skills.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Have fun with it no matter what. Don’t take things too seriously. Things are going to go wrong, people rant always going to like what you do, your gonna be late. But if you just smile and keep pushing forward and keep true to yourself everything is going to be alright.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Make your cosplay as comfortable as you can. You never know if you’re going to be in it for an hour or twelve hours. So try to do yourself a favor and make sure you can move easily and be comfortable.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
Well, I have only been cosplaying for a little over a year now so I can’t say for sure how things have changed. For me, I’m still new and still learning so much about the cosplay community and I see it growing every day. I have a lot of catching up to do!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I always try to make whatever cosplay I’m doing affordable. I would probably just use a lot of high in materials like warble on all my cosplays. And I would invest in sewing classes and time to learn new skills to help me. I don’t let money and time stop me from creating the cosplay I want to create, I just work around those obstacles.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I work as a server so I’m always getting more tips and can pick up more shifts when I need to, so I never really have a budget. I just try and keep it as cheap as possible with still looking good.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means community. The friends I have made, the community that I have grown to know and love, the memories I have made. Even if I don’t go in cosplay I still want to go and have fun and be with my friends.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Never! I love cosplaying and creating too much to just stop. My friends and family are very supportive of me. Crafting is a way to unwind for me. Playing dress up has always been my favorite game as a child. Its what I did as a little girl and now I get to play the grownup version.
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