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.
About Bitchin’ Cosplay
My name is Alicia and I’m a central Ohio cosplayer in her 20’s. I currently work as a cashier at the Disney Store but have worked in movie theaters for 4 years (and I’m sure I’ll end up back at one again!)
How did you first get into cosplay?
It started from making costumes years apart and grew into a serious hobby after entering Eating Disorder recovery. Through constructing and wearing cosplays of the characters I love most I found a confidence I never knew I had. 3 years later I’m still improving, taking all my own pictures and better than ever. It’s very rewarding being a one-woman show!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I’d love it to be a stepping stone to a future career, whether that be on the photography or costume construction side.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
Definitely a hybrid! I try to construct as much as I can from scratch since I love the process of piecing things together without a pattern. However, I think it’s just as fun to spend a day thrifting for basic pieces you can use to shoot with later that night. It’s all fun either way!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
I like to crank them out as fast as I can without sacrificing quality, but construction time really depends on the costume itself. The longest I’ve ever worked on a cosplay continuously was 3 months (Qi’ra – Solo: A Star Wars Story) and the shortest time being 15 minutes. I consider the fact that I don’t use any instructions or patterns as a time advantage because I don’t have to stop to read things – I can just jump right in and start figuring out shapes and sizes!
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
This answer changes regularly, but currently, my favorite has to be Elton John’s Troubadour look from Rocketman. While it wasn’t the most difficult cosplay construction-wise, I was really proud of how it came out. Everything was constructed from scratch, from the boots to the glasses! It was the first genderbend cosplay I ever did and the payoff was incredible. Not only did it get me further out of my comfort zone, it connected with my life personally and the rest of my followers. You really can’t beat that!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Absolutely the people I’ve met through the community. Some of my greatest friends I’ve met due to this nerdy hobby and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I think sometimes people don’t understand what cosplaying is when you tell them and it’s easy to feel judged that way, so it’s beautiful to go online and see there are millions of people out there who do exactly what you do.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I think group cosplays are amazing! I haven’t had the chance to be a part of many, but the photos that usually come from group cosplay shoots are always incredible. A lot of people did group Stranger Things cosplays and it was just the coolest thing to see these people come together for the sake of an 80’s supernatural series. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Currently I plan on finishing Rey (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Debora (Baby Driver) and Endor Leia (Return of the Jedi) before the end of the year.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I think the biggest issue I’ve seen first hand in the community is elitism and competition. I think sometimes people can get protective of a character they cosplay, especially if they have a higher follower count, which can cause tension in the community. When faced with issues like this it’s important for everyone to remember that it really is a cosplay COMMUNITY. We’re all nerds dressing up as characters we love and we should treat it that way.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Sci-Fi and fantasy movies/series definitely dominate my inspiration, but I decide what I want to cosplay with the change of the wind. I went from cosplaying Baby Firefly (The Devil’s Rejects) one day to Lazy Thor (Avengers: Endgame) the next. I cosplay what gives me meaning in the moment and tend to return to characters I love when life gets hard!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
There’s a grey area between finishing a cosplay and the first couple shots you take during a shoot – that’s the part I love. Crossing the finish line with a project and being able to see it work together with the lighting and such during a shoot is what brings the character to life. While you’re technically dressed as one of your favorite characters, it’s YOU as your favorite characters and I love that.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Because I like to construct as many as I can from scratch, I like to keep my supplies as budget-friendly as possible. You really can’t tell the difference between using a bed sheet or fabric from the craft store, so unless I need a very specific texture of fabric or supply my first stop is always the thrift store!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Getting comfortable in front of the camera I thought was going to be the hardest part, but after crossing that bridge I find it’s bringing the hobby to the public that is the most challenging part. Showing up to a movie and being the only one there dressed up can feel very out of place no matter how proud you are of the project. It’s still a work in progress since the hobby is pretty close to my heart and who I’ve become, but I’ve never let it stop me from wearing a project to an event.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
The biggest life lesson I’ve learned is confidence is key inside and outside of cosplay. This hobby has repeatedly helped me through my mental health issues and no matter how low I get or how much my motivation sways, I can always come back to this. Whether its constructing for a few minutes or shooting in an old cosplay, that confidence slowly but surely comes back. It keeps me grounded, it reminds me who I am and it helps me take life one day at a time.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
There is no right way to cosplay! Nothing has to be screen accurate unless you want it to be. Design something new, use the materials you want, make your own rules.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I haven’t noticed many changes personally. I think it’s easier to see people change with fame versus the community as a whole, however, I try to stay out of the drama and just post the stuff I love and meet new friends that way.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Cinderella’s ball gown from the live-action Cinderella (2015). That answer will never change.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not really? I try to keep it as cheap as possible but I never plan expenses before I start a project, I just cross those bridges when I get there.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Confidence, community, and creativity. I can’t imagine I’d be here without it and because of that, it’s a huge part of who I am.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
The same, but different. Hopefully more supportive, more inclusive and more creative than ever before.
What is your favorite con to attend?
I went to Star Wars Celebration this past April and would go every year for the rest of my life if I could.
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
The list goes on and on, but if there are any cosplayers who keep me going it’s my friends I’ve met along the way! @emmabcosplay @noworldfortomorrow @randomtapeworm @jammthejedi @jarjarben @cosplaybyrj @cosplayed.bless @madame.elizabeth … just to name a few. I hate to name anyone because I’m sure I’m forgetting people, but the truth is everyone who interacts with me is my inspiration because they’re what keep me going.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I’ve had people tell me I’m their cosplay inspiration which is wild to me, as it’s very hard for me to consider myself inspiring to other people. I do this because I love it and anyone who is inspired along the way – I hope I make you proud and I hope, if anything, you start cosplaying and love it as much as I do!
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Staying calm is always the answer. I know shooting with other photographers can feel intimidating and vulnerable, but knowing you’re both there for the love of cosplay really helps to soften the situation. I don’t have a preferred way to be approached, I’m always flattered by others who acknowledge my cosplays!
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I think the biggest thing everyone can forget is that although the cosplay photos I post are flattering and most of the time happy, at the end of the day I’m still human. I try to be as upfront with my followers as possible, but my mental health is something I’ve struggled with for 6 years. Depression and anxiety are very much a part of me and while I used to hide from it, cosplay has helped me bounce back as well as the people I’ve met through the community. Your support means everything and I love you all.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I’ve always told people when it stops being fun, I’ll stop cosplaying.
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