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.
Shatter: Cosplayer. Gamer. Model. Etc. Horde. Marvel. General chill human being. Probably older than you. Messy little weirdo.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was already involved in the fashion industry in/right out of high school – I modeled and did commercial work. I loved fashion and sewing clothes and was a huge nerd. A friend took me to an anime convention where I first got exposed to cosplay – and it’s like the stars aligned and my world finally made sense.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I’m aging out of it being a “career” – I have a Patreon for fun and to support build costs, but as far as ‘making it big’ that ship has pretty much sailed for cosplay as a whole. Not many are going to see huge money success since the market is flooded – unless they’re getting into partnerships and sponsorships with vendors, crafting companies, etc and profiting off their work in that manner.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
Hybrid. Some things are just simply out of my wheelhouse – and that’s ok. I make mostly armor and horror, so some things are just more time and money efficient to buy or commission. As long as you give proper credit, I see no problem with that. People forget that time is worth something – and I think it’s pretty dumb to climb on a high horse about making something from scratch if the time and effort plus cost of materials for that point are more than I could just commission an artist for. Its a bit elitist. I do, however, prefer to buy second-hand cosplays from other artists and cosplayers. It keeps the funds in our community.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
That widely depends on the cosplay – armor takes longer than clicking “buy now” on amazon for parts to put together for an overall look. I wait until the last minute and inevitably squeeze out a set of WoW armor in a few days or a week – so honestly, my build times are manic and unpredictable at best.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Queen Azshara: Light of Lights, Cherished Heart of the People, Daughter of the Moon, Vision of Perfection, The Vainglorious, The Queen Born of Stars, Flower of Life, Glory of Her People, and Queen of the Kaldorei Empire (titles titles titles)
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Either people bowing to me or getting on their knees as Queen Azshara, people trying to barter with me as the Ethereal Soul Trader, or people reacting to me as various incarnations of Sylvanas Windrunner. People lapsing into character acting because of my cosplay really makes all the effort worth it – just to share that little bit of a fantasy world with someone, to both be there present in it and forget our real lives – even just for a split second.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
Generally, unless they are people I know well – they tend to be pretty unreliable. I very rarely participate in groups because I just don’t like the drama of people competing over who is what character, everyone getting equal attention, etc.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’ll be working mainly on the Striga from the Netflix Witcher series for Dragoncon this year – as far as anything else I haven’t made up my mind. I always do a World of Warcraft builds – but nothing has caught my eye yet. I may just make significant improvements on what I already have. I’m very heavily considering remaking my shadow priest from scratch with the new skills I’ve learned since her last build.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Being too involved. I was super into the community a few years ago – kept up with everything. Who was friends with who, who made what and who bought what, who’s social media was posting what? One day, I just walked away and minded my own business. I’ve never been happier or more secure in my craft since that moment – and I highly recommend it to other cosplayers.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I have to see an element of myself in them, on some level. I act in character as much as I can when in cosplay – so having a common something with the character makes it easy to step into the character as getting into the outfit. What that thing is, depends entirely on the character and can vary widely.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
The challenge of making something a different way. Very rarely do I follow directions, use tutorials, or even the normal stuff people use. I craft by trial and error until I get it right, and I enjoy the problem solving and ingenuity of that method the most. Being able to have a piece of work I’m proud of made with crazy materials and weird techniques is my version of runner’s high.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Harbor Freight, Walmart, Amazon. Since really discovering the versatility of foam when done properly, my need for Worbla and other thermoplastics has become practically zero.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Other people. The attitude of a lot of people is toxicly positive – so the community isn’t ready for a lot of conversations it needs to have. Other than that – exposure. I do a lot of work I’m proud of, but it just doesn’t seem to get anywhere in regards to social media or the fandoms it is for. It can be really frustrating and heartbreaking.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Quit worrying about everyone else and their opinions. They don’t pay my bills. They don’t see my work put into each cosplay. So their opinions on it don’t matter – especially if it’s petty or pedantic.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Be kind. Mind your business. Have fun.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
Since I nope’d out of it a few years ago, I haven’t kept up with it. I have no idea what the rage of the week is, and my blood pressure thanks me for it.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Money isn’t a huge factor unless we are talking a lot of super-light metal and electronics – and time spent keeps the cost down. I can’t think of a cosplay where either of those things would eliminate me from completion – because, with enough time, everything can be fabricated on a budget. EVA foam has almost endless possibilities if you have the time to work with it.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Nope. The project takes what it takes – even if its spread out over a long time in small bursts.
What does cosplay mean to you?
I’m able to share my fandoms with people – share conversations, share a love of a franchise or story, share experiences. It’s all about sharing a bond with other people using a visual medium as a bridge.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Hopefully over the “15 minutes of fame” and “I want to cosplay for a living” trends.
What is your favorite con to attend?
As a cosplayer? Dragoncon. Its the only close enough con where I can take huge builds by car conveniently – and my other favorite is Con Nooga, but I staff that con so I don’t get to cosplay AS MUCH. (Come see me! It’s fun!)
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
There are so many, and they know who they are and why.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Oh dear, please no. I’m the worst example of practically everything from technique to safety to eating habits. the only thing I should inspire you as is a cautionary tale.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Please let us pose. Please don’t bother us while we are eating or otherwise mid-something. Please let me give you my costume at its best instead of some hastily taken candid or halfcocked photo where my wig is a mess and I forgot my gloves.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I am a huge goon, I got into this by accident, but here we are making the best of it.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
When I just finally get tired of doing it. Stopping my hobby is a “me thing” – the moment a new build doesn’t fill me with excitement. Nothing other than that is going to stop me or force me out. I may evolve out of the hobby into another avenue or craft – but even that isn’t “stopping”.
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