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 Fairwind Cosplay
My name is Sinead. I’m 25 years old from Long Island, NY, and I’m a professional actor, princess performer, and educator. I’m a page model for The Fan’s P.O.V. and I like to collect Pokemon plush toys (yes, I’m an adult, I swear).
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was always in a costume as a kid, pretending to be Ariel or Xena: Warrior Princess, or Leia Organa…I was always using my imagination and living in fantastical worlds! Blending theatre and creative play together just made sense for me as a cosplayer; when I discovered cosplay on the internet when I was in seventh grade, I knew that this was a hobby I needed to join.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I work in a creative field: that is, the entertainment industry. Cosplay is a hobby for me, but it also gives me a lot of fun and unique exposure in the theatre world, too! My modeling gigs often toe the line between fashion and cosplay–and my theatre experience as a professional actor make slipping into character while posing or interacting during conventions super easy.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
For garments that are very involved, I tend to commission them from more experienced costumers. However, I’m very good at taking existing garments and heavily altering them to suit my needs! I really enjoy creative problem solving when it comes to my cosplays. A lot of the times, it’s cheaper and more time effective to create a costume out of existing garments!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It varies between costumes. Depending on how involved the costume and its props are, that can take anywhere between a day or two months!
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Out of all of them, I think my favorite so far is Bombshell Mera! It wasn’t a very difficult costume to make, and I really like how I look in it. Maybe that sounds shallow, but as an actor and cosplayer who suffers from body dysmorphic disorder, finding a costume that I actually think I look okay in is a big deal for me. I also love that vintage 1940s pinup style looks on EVERY body, no matter what shape or size! And surprisingly, those green wedge heels are actually really comfortable.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
It’s hard to say! I’ve had many lovely experiences as a cosplayer. But I think the one that stands out most in my head was being the cosplay guest of honor at ImmortalCon 2016. This particular convention was a con for a cause, raising money for breast and ovarian cancer research, and since my mom is a breast cancer survivor, being able to represent this con as its cosplay face was an incredible experience.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I’ve only been a part of one major group cosplay, and while the photos came out well, the experience was a little hectic. We had people adding and dropping at the last minute, photo locations kept changing, etc. I think if they’re well-planned and everyone has a say–that is, there is a leader who does not make decisions without consulting the entire group–the photos come out amazingly well, and the experience could be a fun one!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I don’t currently have any plans for new costumes this late in 2017, but I am most definitely debuting Ariel’s seafoam gown (The Little Mermaid) from the Disney parks next year! However, I did debut several new costumes in 2017: Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs); Team Skull Grunt (Pokemon Sun and Moon); Mera (DC Bombshells); Wonder Woman (DC Superhero Girls); Eowyn (Lord of the Rings); and the Tightrope Walker (Disney’s The Haunted Mansion). I also upgraded my ancient Rinoa Heartilly cosplay from 2008!
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
As of right now, it’s the great sexy cosplay marketing on Patreon debate. Do I personally agree with ridiculously oversexualized cosplay? No, and I don’t enjoy looking at it, either. Will I ever do really skimpy costumes? Nope. I don’t feel comfortable enough with my body to do so, not to mention I work in education, and that wouldn’t bode well (which is another annoying thing about our society, but don’t get me started on that). Do I think it’s fair that only traditionally good-looking cosplayers get featured a lot on major social media sites because of skimpier costumes? No, I don’t. But just let people cosplay what they want, and I will just choose to ignore it, haha!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Disney for sure, though I have several video game costumes that I’m very fond of. I have always loved princesses, and I always will.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I do love photoshoots! I tend to stress out while making the garments, so construction–while it can be fun in small doses–isn’t my favorite part. Though I just love going to conventions in cosplay, and I can’t really imagine attending a convention as myself instead of cosplaying!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I get most of my fabrics from JoAnn and I practically live in the AC Moore ten minutes away from my house. Since I cosplay so many Disney characters, following Disney parks photography feeds on Instagram also gives me a lot of inspiration for fabric choices, posing, facial expressions, and more. Research is really fun!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
I think the biggest obstacle is myself and the way I think of myself, especially while in costume. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other cosplayers who have “ideal” body types, or pristine construction, or who are lucky enough to have been able to make a living off of costuming and cosplay appearances. I fall victim to that all the time, and it can be hard to drag myself out of that constant state of “I’m not talented enough, or I’m not working hard enough to improve my craft, or I’ll never be pretty or thin enough.” Social media is just a numbers game. At the end of the day, I have to be happy with what I’ve produced. If I had fun at a convention while wearing that costume, it’s a success. Small steps are important.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Try not to let the people who tear you down get to you. It can really hurt when people call you names, especially on the internet. That goes for life in general, not just while in cosplay. Enjoy yourself and do what makes YOU happy. Don’t get pressured into doing something you don’t want to do just because it’s popular or will get you followers, or if you’re uncomfortable with any aspect of the character design. Stand up for yourself and keep your head held high.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
To quote Cinderella, “have courage and be kind.” If you’re not an accomplished crafter, make the costume anyway. Buy the costume online (there’s no shame in that) and wear it! And don’t be mean. Constructive criticism, when ASKED FOR, can be a helpful tool for everyone. Saying unwarranted, insulting, and cruel things to a cosplayer is completely unacceptable, whether it’s in person or on the internet. We’re all nerds in costumes and we’re all here to have fun.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
There’s a lot of emphasis on monetization these days, and a lot of that comes from the Patreon thing mentioned briefly above. And again, there’s more of an emphasis on skimpier costumes being the ones featured–because fewer clothes=higher views, for some reason. Sigh. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Padme Amidala’s Naboo gowns from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones give me life. Her rainbow iridescent lake gown and her golden embroidered picnic are FAR above my skill level, but a girl can dream!
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I REALLY try not to spend over $200 on a costume. Budgeting is a great idea. Amazon Prime and coupons are my life when it comes to cosplay. COUPONS.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is more than just a hobby to me: it’s a part of my everyday life. I’ve made so many wonderful friends and connections through this hobby, and I’m thankful every day for the experiences I’ve had, both good and bad. It’s being able to stop being “me” for a while and live someone else’s life, the way that I can onstage. Cosplay is the perfect outlet for the creative, imaginative introvert!
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Money–that would be it. But I still have the plethora of costumes in my wardrobe that I can enjoy myself in, whether or not I have the funds to attend conventions!
You can follow and view more of Fairwind Cosplay here
- Aurelian Cosplay
- John F Sheehan Photography
- View Beyond Sight Photography
- Joey Render Industries
- King Family Photography
- Freeze Frame Foto
- Aurelian Cosplay
- MomentoTempus Photography
Check out our other cosplay features here
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