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 Mimi Reaves
Name: Mimi Reaves Occupation: Seamstress Location: Vancouver, Canada
How did you first get into cosplay?
I went to my first convention in 2007, and after seeing everyone else dressing up I decided I wanted to do it too! Since then my passion for making and wearing costumes has only grown.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I do make a bit of money sometimes, and I would love for it to be a career – but my bottom line is to have fun, and I don’t really have any expectations. Mostly I just want to share my cosplay art with everyone!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
It’s a hybrid for me! Lately, I’ve been finding great satisfaction in making an original take on a character, though I also enjoy the ease of receiving a finished cosplay ready-to-wear in the mail.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
I generally spend anywhere from 50-150 hours on my cosplays.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
That’s a very tough choice, but I’ll have to go with my newest cosplay: an original take on Rapunzel. I’ve done other unique work before, like making creative fabric choices – but this is the first time that I’ve really thought of a concept, drew it on paper, and then made it into a full costume. I’m really proud of how it turned out, and it was so satisfying to see something in my imagination come to life!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
That would be pretty much every time I wear a Disney costume to a convention. Children get so excited seeing me because they think I’m a real princess! It makes my day every time that happens.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
When group cosplays work out, it’s my favourite way to cosplay! Although it can be very difficult to get everyone together to make it happen. As a result, I don’t do group cosplays too often, but when I do it’s always worth it!
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
My immediate plans are a new Ariel cosplay, Luna Lovegood, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m hoping to get lots more done this year, but the rest of my plans are less certain.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I’ve been cosplaying for a while, and I’ve seen quite a few things divide the community. I think at the end of the day we all need to practice kindness and acceptance towards each other, and not let negativity get the best of us.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I love cosplaying Disney princesses and heroines, and generally any strong female characters. I’ve also been enjoying historical costumes lately!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I actually like everything equally! I can get pretty carried away doing costume research, shopping is something I’ve always enjoyed, and sewing is one of my greatest skills. I love that after all that, I get to wear my creation and get lovely photos, and going to conventions to see all my cosplay friends!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I always try to get my materials from local fabric stores first, and if I’m looking for a specific fabric pattern I generally look online at Spoonflower.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
It’s been most difficult (and most rewarding!) to distinguish between what kind of cosplays other people want to see from me, versus what I really want to do for myself. It’s been most freeing to just do what I want and stop having expectations of getting a big following or making a lot of money.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve realized that cosplay is my art, and it’s how I’ve chosen to express myself. If it becomes a business that would be wonderful, but first and foremost I do whatever makes me feel good.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Be kind to your fellow cosplayers and photographers, do what makes you happy, and who cares what other people think!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It’s grown a lot in size, which is whatever you make of it. A lot of people think cosplay has gone “too mainstream”, but I think it’s still just as fun if you go in with a positive attitude!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I’d make a whole group of Disney Princess dresses for my friends to wear with me!
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not really! If something I really want to make goes over what I can afford then I’ll put it off until I have enough money.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is how I make art!
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Honestly, it’s so hard to imagine, because 10 years ago I never would have thought that cosplay would be what it is today!
What is your favorite con to attend?
Emerald City Comic Con!
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
I love the works of Jumeria and J.Hart Design!
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I don’t assume to be, but that would be nice if I am!
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Be friendly and conversational, and always ask permission first!
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
Not much besides how much passion I have for costumes, but I think that comes across well enough.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Nothing within reason. One day I might decide to do more historical costumes than cosplay, but I’ll always love sewing and dressing up.
You can follow and view more of Mimi Reaves here
I’ve done a lot of work with Mike Wu Photography, and lately I’ve been working often with Sarah Bowman Photography. I do enjoy working with others sometimes, and I’m always happy to collaborate with new people!
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