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 famous members of the cosplay universe.
My name is Alice (most call me “Ali”!) and I am a cosplayer, digital artist, and computer animation student based in north Texas! I spent the first 20 years of my life living in Rhode Island, and moved down here last year to continue my education and be closer to family. If I’m not con-crunching or agonizing over Clip Studio, you can typically find me emotionally crying at videogames, rolling lots of critical fails in D&D, or attempting to appease my pets with treats and snuggles!
How did you first get into cosplay?
I’ve been playing dress-up and video games since I was very little. The first series I was into was the Tomb Raider series. I used to watch my sister play it, I’d dress up as Lara Croft for every Halloween, and eventually, I played the series myself. Around the time Tomb Raider: Underworld was announced I was in middle school. I was just starting to get acquainted with the online community, and I think the first cosplayer I EVER followed was Tanya Croft! At the time I didn’t really even consider cosplaying myself. A few years later, I got into Mass Effect, which quickly became my favourite series of all time. I was much more involved in the community at this point, being in multiple Facebook groups and blogging about it on Tumblr. I saw absolutely amazing cosplays of my favourite characters there, and that’s when I realized: hey, I love dressing up in costumes, and I love video games – why not combine the two like these people have? And the rest is history!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Above all else, cosplay is my hobby and it is something that makes me happy in a way I cannot put into words. It’d be great to make some money on the side from doing commissions and such, but overall I know expecting a career from something like this isn’t realistic for most people. But I don’t see it ever not being a huge part of my life, and that’s good enough for me.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
The process of creating and completing a cosplay is one of my favourite parts about it. I’ve always been very crafty and artistically-inclined, so I try to make as much as of my costumes as I can, at least when it’s a big project I’m really dedicated to. More comfy, casual costumes are usually pieced together from things I already have. I often buy base clothing pieces from Amazon or a thrift store to heavily modify, later on, to save both time and money. My forte is foam-crafting and doing armor builds, so when it comes to fabric, I’m definitely still learning and need a lot of help. I’ve bought or commissioned a few accessories and props from friends, and I am absolutely always happy to support them!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
The majority of my cosplays are done within 1 or 2 months, mostly because I often see something and say “I want to cosplay that for my next con!!” like… RIGHT before the con, so I get hyper-focused and work on it up til the last minute! Con Crunch Queen over here, for sure.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
My favourite cosplay to wear is definitely Winged Victory Mercy. I think she is the only cosplay I currently have that I’m 100% happy with and don’t plan on making any more changes to. The one I’m most proud of, though, is Rime Sombra. She still isn’t completely where I want her to be, but creating her (with the help of my amazing seamstress of a mother on the fabric components!) was such a huge accomplishment. It definitely served as a testament to how far I have come as a costume maker.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
There are too many amazing memories to list! I’ve luckily had very few bad experiences as a cosplayer, thanks to the wonderful people that I’m surrounded by. All of the meetups are probably the most fun and memorable experiences I’ve had.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I think they’re awesome! The more the merrier. The most wonderful part of cosplay to me is the community, and there are so many lifelong friends I’ve made that I would’ve never met had it not been for us cosplaying from the same thing. Most of my friends I’ve met were from Dragon Age and Overwatch meetups, and since then I’ve done a few groups and am planning more!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I am currently working on Jester from Critical Role as well as a secret cosplay I’m debuting next month from another popular video game I recently got into! By the end of the year, I also hope to complete Witch Mercy from Overwatch, as well as an original design of Brigitte from Overwatch for a charity group I’m doing at PAX South.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Competition (not talking about formal cosplay contests!), gatekeeping, and lack of humility. While I don’t see these being a problem in my own circles, I do often see these things causing drama in other parts of the community. Many people feel pressured to get to the same “level” as others – even I’ve succumbed to this pressure before – and it’s just not a healthy mindset to have. A lot of people also feel pressure to change their content because there is a lot of gatekeeping in the community that involves many people trying to label cosplayers into different categories – and sorting those categories by what they believe to be more valuable than another. You need to realize that 1. you are your own person with your own amazing talents and you are just as valuable as anyone else, 2. everyone learns at their own pace, and 3. everyone likes different things! I think that those who stay humble and true to themselves even with growing popularity are the ones that will remain successful in any community.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Games! I actually don’t think I’ve properly cosplayed anything outside of that media. I may have done one or two casual cosplays of TV show or movie characters, but none that I’ve devoted a lot of time to.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I think my favourite part about cosplaying as a whole is attending conventions with a new costume I’ve just spent weeks to months slaving overseeing the reactions from people just gives you such a feeling of accomplishment and unity. It’s amazing to see other people who love the same thing instantly have this unspoken bond just because of that one thing. Going to meetups and making friends with those people, having fun in character, and just being able to let loose and be whatever you want to be for a weekend is a feeling that can’t be replaced.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I get the majority of my supplies and wigs from Amazon! I also frequent JoAnn’s, TNT Cosplay Supply, Michael’s, and Home Depot for materials. For cosplay makeup, I swear by NYX, e.l.f., & Mehron!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Getting over my own fears and insecurities! I have doubted myself so many times before, and yet I still got back up every time and pushed through. Cosplay has made me step out of my comfort zone in a multitude of ways.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Cosplay has undoubtedly taught me more than almost any other long-term experience I’ve had. I’ve grown and changed so much as a person over the years in large part due to it, and in a very positive way. I’ve become so much more confident in myself than I ever imagined I could be. While there are many lessons I’ve learned, I think these are the biggest ones: 1. You can do ANYTHING. If you really want to do it, you can. So many tasks or projects seem incredibly daunting at first glance, and even within the process, you’re going to have ups and downs. But once you’ve made it through, you’ll look back and see just how far you’ve come. 2. The opinions of strangers truly don’t matter as much as you think it does. I used to be much more reserved and scared when it came to social interaction, partly due to a fear that maybe people wouldn’t like me. But I’ve learned that no matter what, you will not be everyone’s cup of tea! Humans are diverse beings and you are not made for everyone – if someone is taking the time out of their own day to send toxicity your way rather than something constructive and educational, that is their own time wasted. What matters in this community is the people who make it a loving, supportive environment for you and everyone around you.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Anyone can cosplay! Regardless of your age, race, gender, sexuality, ability… if you want to be a cosplayer, you can be one. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a huge armor build or be super outgoing or have really fancy photos to post every day – what matters is that what you are doing is making YOU happy. As long as you are not causing harm to yourself or others, what makes YOU feel good is the only thing that’s important. At the end of the day, we are all just nerds dressed up in costumes, and that’s all it needs to be!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It’s become bigger, popular, and overall more positive and inclusive! For every one negative thing that happens in this community, I see a dozen more positive ones – people look out for each other and offer help and advice so willingly. There are so many Facebook groups and Discord channels and meetups where cosplayers just get together and share their love for what they do. For me, it’s a huge family and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
If I had the time, skill, and money to do it, I would LOVE to recreate Frostbite Pharah from Overwatch. It was the first skin I completely fell in love with and it would be a dream come true to make.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Nope! I probably should, but, I actually don’t really keep much track of how much money I spend for each cosplay, although I know it’s always a reasonable amount. I try to re-purpose things and take any cheap alternative and use every discount where I can!
What does cosplay mean to you?
More than words can describe! It has completely changed my life for the better and given me companions, skills, and experiences that I’m forever grateful for.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Nothing that I can think of!
You can follow and view more of Alizorah here
- Eric Wideman
- Alan Tijerina
- Kay Inoue Photography
- The Mind of Ky
- Astrowrecker Cosplay
- Lee (They do not have any social media pages. This was from a photoshoot we just did with our friends.)
Check out our other cosplay features here
If you are a cosplayer and would like to be featured, please fill out our submission form