Cosplayer Spotlight – Gia Sanrio


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 Gia Sanrio

Hi, I’m Gia Sanrio! Anime first started taking over my life in middle school. One night, I was staying up late watching TV when Adult Swim had it’s parents strongly caution message, and I thought, “What’s this?!” And out of curiosity, I watched my first episode of Inuyasha. I was intrigued, and I made sure that the following Saturday at 11 pm I would be right here in my bed to catch what happened next. This went on for awhile until they moved it to weeknights at 3 am. I stayed up late and went to school sleepy each day, just so I could see what happened next with Kagome and the gang. Shortly after that, I became attached to Toonami’s afternoon line-up, and I started skipping soccer practice so that I could follow Goku, Yusuke, and Kenshin.

But eventually, Toonami was discontinued, and I started High School, and I’d forgotten about anime. But once I got to college, I rediscovered it. One afternoon, when I was studying, I heard my freshman roommate start up an episode of Inuyasha. I remembered how hooked on that show I was and realized that I never saw the ending, so I pulled up a chair and watched it with her. From then on, after studying, we would jump on Hulu and watch as many episodes as we could until we’d finished the series. After that, I began wondering what happened to Yusuke after Yuyu Hakusho was taken off Toonami, and then I wondered what happened on Rurouni Kenshin. And once I finished those series, I couldn’t be stopped. I met new friends who have introduced me to tons of different anime, and over the years my love for anime has only grown. I cosplayed for the first time during the summer after I completed my undergraduate degree at the university, but it will always be about the love of the characters and the love of the series to me. I appreciate old school anime as well as newly released series, I enjoy shonen and shojo genres, and I follow along with strong fighters while laughing along with yandere, dandere, and tsundere characters. One day, I may no longer cosplay. But you can bet that I will always be trying to finish an entire series in a weekend, just like I always do.


Gia Sanrio - Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z
Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z

How did you first get into cosplay?

After marathoning DC movies during final exams of my last semester of college, my college roommate/best friend Morgan and I decided to dress up and attend a comic con in Philadelphia after graduation. We had so much fun, and knew that we had to do it again sometime!

Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?

I cosplay just for fun! I am studying medicine (about to take my boards- ahhh!) and I love when I can take a break from school to watch anime and attend conventions dressed as my favorite characters.

Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?

I do a mix of these things- as time goes on, more and more of my cosplays are made completely by me, but it all depends on what the costume consists of and how my skill level aligns with that.

How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?

It varies a lot. Some of my costumes are very simple, while others are a bit more complex. Most of mine usually take about a week of consistent work, but I remember Satsuki Kiryuin from Kill La Kill was done with just two days before Otakon!

What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?

Tier Halibel or Molotov Cocktease

What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?

Probably when I went to a monster convention dressed as Jason Voorhees. The costume contest prizes were being provided by a company that I used to work for, and a girl that I used to work with that strongly disliked me for no reason came up to me and told me that I looked amazing. She didn’t know it was me, and I didn’t tell her.

How do you feel about group cosplays?

I think they are great, but I bet they require a lot of coordination.

What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?

Right now I am just studying really hard to pass my boards… but in the future, I’m looking at maybe Black Widow, Rias Gremory, Yoko Littner, or possibly Kallen from Code Geass (or all of the above?) but we’ll see.

What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?

I think sometimes a lot of people are trying to make a living off of cosplay, or make money from it, and possibly even fame, and come off very competitive. Sometimes a competitive nature can help motivate you to make your cosplay look very nice, but I think sometimes people take it too seriously and seem to forget what it’s all really about- not the money or the fame, but the love of the characters and series, and meeting others who love the same thing.

What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?

It’s very mixed. Sometimes I like to cosplay as characters that I feel like I have a lot in common with, and sometimes I like to cosplay characters that I don’t feel like I have a lot in common with but that I wish I could take on a few of their qualities.

What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?

I like designing the cosplay. As you may notice, almost none of my cosplays look exactly like the characters, as I take the characters and sometimes alter the costumes to look a little bit more realistic or I may blend it with my style. So if I run into someone who is dressed as the exact character that I am, there are differences in our cosplay.

What are your best resources for cosplay materials?

I usually refer to Amazon for some materials and local craft shops.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer? 

Probably overcoming my shyness. I had a lot of speech impediments growing up, and I’ve always been very career-focused so I never really had a lot of friends. At conventions, there are plenty of people that have a lot in common with me, and I like to take the opportunity to try to make new friends and or talk to people that have a lot in common with me, but I am always afraid of how people will react or respond.

Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?  

To be honest, not really. I guess just that not everyone is there to have fun and make friends. Some people just want to be recognized and appreciated.

What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?

Always appreciate the effort and time that others have put into their cosplays, and if it looks like they worked really hard then tell them! You never know when it might make their day.

How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?

I think that a lot of people are trying to make money or make a living from cosplay now, and people would rather be admired, then to take the time to get to know others who enjoy the same things they do. It creates a bit of an unfriendly atmosphere at cons when people would rather soak in the glory of others than to really reach out to other people.

If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?

Umm, maybe Red Dragon Rias Gremory. Of course, that would take skill into account too. It might be a bit beyond me in every way. Oh, and on those same grounds, Kuroyukihime’s Black Lotus from Accel World.

Do you set a budget for each cosplay?

No, but I’ll spend more on a cosplay if I know that I will be making fewer cosplays that year. In the future, I hope to make fewer cosplays each year but spend more time and money on each one.

What does cosplay mean to you?

It means dressing up as my favorite characters, or characters from my favorite series, and going to cons to meet others who enjoy the same series and taking photos with them. It also means meeting other people dressed as your favorite characters from other series, and talking to them about the anime or theories and future seasons, etc, and finding all of the things that you both have in common.

Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?

I am sure I would take a hiatus if I were to get married and have children, but once I get the time and energy back afterward, then I would cosplay again but just not as much.

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You can follow and view more of Gia Sanrio here

Photographer Credits

  • M9 Photo
  • Knightmare6
  • Rick White
  • Alison Dunlap

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Word Of The Nerd

Word of the Nerd is your source for all things nerd!!! Whether it's comic books, cosplay, gaming, pop culture, movies or television. If it happens in nerdom, Word of the Nerd will be there to cover it.

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