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 Tuesday and Thursday 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 Maggie Marvelous
My name is Maggie and I’m a recent graduate of a Forensic Psychology M.S degree. I’m based in AZ and I’m 23 years old.
How did you first get into cosplay?
My parents got me tickets to SDCC as a surprise birthday gift, and knowing that cosplay was popular but never having tried it before, I figured I should give it a go at one of the biggest conventions in the world. I was immediately hooked after that.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
For me it’s just for fun, my current career path is in forensic psychology and I would like to get into policy change research.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer a hybrid- there are some things that I know I can realistically do (props, some armor, light sewing, etc.) and some things I know that I don’t have the time to learn (sewing a spandex suit, clothing, etc.) so I try to have a good mix of costumes I can mostly make, half make and completely buy.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Depending on how much of it I’m making, I can spend anywhere from 20 hours to 200 hours. I’ve done very few projects that took me 200 hours though so I would say that the high-end average is about 100.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Armored Mera, Pink, and White Harley Quinn, or Batwoman.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My most memorable experience was meeting the voice actor for the scarecrow while cosplaying the scarecrow. He picked me out of a crowd and was just so excited to see his character walking around- and I was equally thrilled to talk to the guy who voiced one of my favorite video game characters. It was almost surreal.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
Love them! I think that they can be hard to coordinate and I’m not sure that I would do one at a convention, but they are super fun to do outside of conventions.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Mystique and Gwenpool
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I think sometimes cosplayers have a hard time drawing the line with race in cosplay- there seems to be a lot of debate of whether tanning yourself darker (significantly or at all) for a cosplay is alright. I always listen to POC and BIPOC cosplayers on such issues to form my opinions as I think their perspective is incredibly important and needs to be recognized.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
On average I would say comic books (specifically the marvel universe and Batman dc universe) but in the past, I’ve also been very inspired by league of legends specifically and other games as well.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Foam-based builds and attending cons. I love problem-solving and figuring out how to build things but I also love being able to share my hard work with my friends and others. I also really enjoy photoshoots but sometimes they can be hard work to get the vision the photographer and I want.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
For crafting builds I shop at Home Depot and Michaels usually, but for spandex suits specifically I always go to zentaizone. I also enjoy commissioning work from small artists on Etsy or other websites as well for things that are too complicated for my skill set.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Being comfortable with putting myself out there. You can’t get any cool pictures of your costume or make friends with other cosplayers without being outgoing enough to talk to people, which was not something that used to come to me naturally. I think cosplay has really improved my ability to talk to strangers and get to know them. I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends from just saying “hey your cosplay is amazing!” Or “I love your photography work!”. I’ve also had to become better at discerning people with good intentions from those with either misguided or bad intentions because as a woman in cosplay who wears revealing costumes sometimes, people at conventions tend to have a hard time understanding consent. Cosplay is not consent!
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve learned that as long as you’re passionate about your hobby (or career), you can not only use it for your own enjoyment and amusement, but you can also use it to make other people smile and build connections that are meaningful and wonderful. I love the cosplay community and I’m so happy that I joined it, even if it isn’t perfect.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
It’ll happen anyway to some degree, but don’t bite off more than you can chew! If your first cosplay is something super complicated and you’ve never put a costume together before it’s easy to get discouraged. Know your own skillset and capabilities and allow yourself to build on it over time- it’s okay if your first cosplay is basically just plain clothes, a wig, and some makeup! And there’s nothing worse than stressing yourself out about a convention trying to complete a complicated costume, especially if it’s only your first or second time. You have plenty of time to experience con crunch later.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I think over time the cosplay community has morphed into two subcategories: career-influencers and hobbyists. I think both have their pros and cons, and both have good and bad people, but I definitely fall more in the hobbyist group. Once cosplay becomes a career it really morphs how you act at conventions and try to social network with others and it’s not for me, but I appreciate it for what it is. I think it’s amazing some people can make a living off of what they love.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Two different types of over-ambitious- for ridiculously expensive, I’d love to do Triss Merigold’s alternative game dress. I can’t make it well myself and it’s crazy expensive to commission a nice one. In terms of a time-consuming crazy build, I would love to do a full-on stilt-walking Arkham Asylum Scarecrow, like from one of the nightmare sequences. With a really legit glowing glove and animated mask that could move when I talk with a voice synthesizer.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
No- but I definitely should!
What does cosplay mean to you?
To me, it means costume play- not only are you wearing the costume, but you are playing the character in photos, which (if you’d like) can also extend to playing the character at conventions (I don’t prefer doing this though).
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
I see a lot more cosplayers in general, but specifically a lot more career-based cosplayers. Or maybe the hobby will be small again by then, who knows!
What is your favorite con to attend?
Wonder Con (Anaheim)
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
Hendoart, Stassklass, Yaya Han, Jessica Nigri
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Not really, I would consider myself more of a peer to most than an inspiration but I could be wrong.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Remember that most cosplayers are very willing and able to let you get a picture, but that we are people too! If we look like we a busy doing something (eating, relaxing with costume pieces off, etc.) then it’s not a good time to ask for a picture. And not all cosplayers want to be photographed! Graciously be okay with a cosplayer turning down a photo, but never be afraid of asking politely. I am personally fine with being approached for a picture in almost all situations except for when I’m eating, when I’m in the bathroom, or when I’m resting with costume pieces off.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
That I’m a huge science nerd! I love my career field but I rarely get to talk about it. Forensic Psychology is my life passion.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
The only limit on me is time and money. If I’m ever too deep in my career that I don’t have the time I’d, unfortunately, have to give it up- but I hope that this doesn’t happen anytime soon. I think it’s also possible that I’ll grow out of it someday as it is a lot of hard work with sometimes little payoff.
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