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 Valkyrie Cosfit
My name is Sandi and I’m a data analytics project manager at an employee benefits consulting firm. I’m turning 30 this Sept. and my hometown is Atlanta, GA. Outside of cosplay I also am a competitive natural bodybuilder who competes in figure competitions.
How did you first get into cosplay?
One of my coworkers told me about Anime Weekend Atlanta back in 2007. I looked into it on their site and I saw everyone dressing up so I had to get in on it too! After that, I fell in love.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I cosplay for fun! I do also promote myself for prints and have a Ko-fi to fund future projects. If I happen to make a little side money to fund my cosplays/con trips that’s awesome! If not, I’m still going to keep doing it, because I love being creative and challenging myself to get better at prop/costume making.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer to make everything myself, however, I am not the most talented sewer, so I tend to commission the more complicated cloth pieces such as my Ivy cosplay. I like to make all the props and armor myself even if it’s something I’ve never done so I can keep getting better.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It varies with how complicated they are but they usually range between 100 – 200 hours total.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
This is a tough one but if I had to pick one I would say it’d be my Slyvanas Windrunner cosplay as it’s been a dream cosplay of mine for many years.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I would say my most memorable experience as a cosplayer was meeting my now boyfriend at a cosplay event at a local bar here. If it weren’t for cosplay, I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends and my boyfriend who I continue to make memories with. And that’s the best part :).
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I really like them as long as the group isn’t too large. It’s hard to get more than 5 people to coordinate and be in the same place at the same time, especially at a con.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m going to be making a Gyrados Gijinka armor for DragonCon, and I MAY be making a skin for Brigget from Overwatch.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I would say that the race for fame and popularity is really hurting cosplay. If you’re just doing cosplay to be popular, make money or get lots of followers then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. People should cosplay because they love doing it, not for an agenda.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I would say video games inspire my cosplays the most. I typically like to go for more badass characters (tanks, warriors, etc.) or genderbends.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I’d say being at the con itself is what’s most fun to me. You get to see all of your hard work come to fruition and it’s just the best feeling ever because you get to meet so many people who love your work.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I mainly use EVA-foam and some Worbla which I get off Amazon or cosplaysupplies.com. My LEDs are purchased from various sites, but mainly Amazon cause free 2-day shipping haha.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
I’d say the biggest obstacle to overcome would be to stop being afraid to dive into something new/you haven’t done before. I used to be deathly afraid of weapon/armor builds. Once I started on one, I started to become more and more confident the more pieces I completed.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and fail. You’re going to learn so much from those experiences and grow better at what you’re trying to accomplish. Practice makes perfect.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Make your cosplay durable! People are going to bump into you, so make sure bumps aren’t going to break your stuff.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I’d say there’s greater pressure if you’re a female to have suggestive or lewd content. If you’re not doing it you have to be pretty outstanding in craftsmanship to draw the same attention. I’m not knocking it at all. If that’s what you want to do then, by all means, do it. I just feel like that’s the way cosplay has been trending lately, and I wish some of the great craftsmen, male and female alike would get the same recognition.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Tyrande Whisperwind from World of Warcraft
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not usually, although I try to keep costs down as much as possible.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means being creative, open-minded and free to be the nerd you are. Cosplay is a place that you can fit in with like-minded individuals who feel the same way you do.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Just walk up and ask (unless the cosplayer is eating or fixing their costume).
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
That I also am a competitive bodybuilder!
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Not that I can think of.
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