A cosplay that came out of my year while I was living in New York. Something I drew on for transformation. I looked to Sansa in the series while I was living in NYC. I was lonely, on my own. I wasn’t sure who was really my friend and if the relationships I had with certain people were genuine. It was rough living there. Well, Sansa had it rough too. The two of us reached an accord during those 18 months. Here’s what resulted when we finally moved home to Portland.
Most of the coverage on my website has featured the development of this robe from when I originally said I would start working on it to when I finally finished the robe and debuted it at BlizzCon 2014. Now, with my new cosplay photographer, AJ Brooks, we managed to find some time to sneak off to the woods and do a photo shoot. At last, I give you the Robe of Departed Spirits (done as a female Blood Elf). Pleas enjoy this photos as this is one of my most exciting photoshoots to date!
After the move of my life – 289 pounds of my own stuff, 3 checked bags, one cat, and way too much alcohol at an airport, I have managed to reinstate myself in my home state of Oregon! I got things off with a bang pretty quickly by dropping in for my 11th consecutive year with Sakura-Con. Honestly, I can’t believe I have been rooted for so long with a convention, but every year keeps getting better and better. See my con review blogged here! (TBW).
Now that I am back on the west coast, I have a whole new bunch of conventions that I can travel to with ease and cheaper travel costs. My friends didn’t hesitate to tell me that I can now attend the grand daddy of them all – Anime Expo in LA! I’ve always heard of AX but never considered going, but this year, it’s on! I’m gathering up my favorite anime cosplays – Sailor Neptune and Magumi – and we are going to go run and play in the sun! For the first time ever, I am also going to be designing and making my own Pokemon gijinka! Gah! I’m so excited!
I ALWAYS caught a Mareep when I played Pokemon Gold and that was my electric Pokemon all the way until I got my Ampharos. Picking a Pokemon to gijinka was the hard part at first, but now that I know, I had to pick a fashion style and really, the options are endless! I went ahead and stuck with something familiar and I’m going to do it in Lolita style with a bustle back, and I’ve decided to also add a black waistband that wraps around and ties into a bow in the back. I have some other really cute accessories planned and can’t wait to buy my fabric so I can find the coolest yellow shoes EVER. I’ve never done a gijinka, but I feel really good about this one! It’s probably my new cosplay gateway drug and I bet I’ll want to do another one later!
After lots more discussion and convention planning, I have figured out my con schedule until probably the winter. I never imagined I would get booked up so quickly, or have so many things that I wanted to do! Here’s what I’ve got going on, and this is just the conventions I’ve got planned!
Anime Expo – Fourth of July weekend, Los Angeles, California
Anime Revolution – August 14-16, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Kumori Con – September 4-7, Vancouver, Washington
Rose City Comic Con – September 19 & 20, Portland, OR
I have so many other events crammed in there that my work is going to super hate me for the all the time I plan on taking off work. I figure taking a few days off every other month isn’t too much to ask, so we’ll just have to see. I’ve already got things arranged for Anime Expo, including my cosplay line-up. We’re goin’ full anime for the first time in a long time! Gee…cosplay…what on earth am I going to do for Anime Revo?! Guess we’ll have to pull something from the ‘To Do’ list.
Life is gradually getting easier as I am back home. I have so many people to spend time with now. All my favorite hang-out spots are right where I left them, and traveling around this city is so easy, both by bike and by public transportation. I am in the height of the weather season here. The days are getting longer, it’s warmer and there’s more sun in my life than I feel like I’ve had in a long time. Even though there was technically sun in NYC, it never really feels this clean and pure because there’s garbage on the ground everywhere. In Portland, I am surrounded by green. I’m heading into the summer months, and in addition to conventions, I have so many events planned and still so many things in addition that I should be doing. Also, BAWLS is fully back in my reach. I CAN DRINK IT EVERYDAY. It’s going to be a great year.
I think I have said this at least once everyday in the past month and a half…but it is so good to be home.
I have pretty much come full circle with my life since moving to New York a year ago. I’ve made five new cosplays, traveled to six different states for conventions, been a participant in the country’s largest cosplay contest, and ran Need Input four times. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve battled terrible homesickness, struggled to maintain PMDD, and my relationship with my fiance finally fell apart after 4.5 years. I find myself with the year coming to an end as both a winner and a loser.
Well, no, not a loser. I’m just being hard on myself. My own greatest weakness. I’ve never felt like a loser in the past year. Even standing up on the stage at Crown Cosplay Championships as they announced the winners of my category, I didn’t feel like a loser. Quite the contrary – two other competitors in my category also had skepticism about being able to win. The three of us all agreed that even if we lost, we would stand firm as Team Snowflake and that nothing could even crush our dreams. When Big Daddy was announces as Video Games Category 1st place, the three of us all cheered, “Yay! Team Snowflake!”. It was obvious that many people in the front row of the audience had heard us, and they had no idea what was going on. We were more stoke than anyone one else when we learned that we all still got this large swag bags with tons of awesome nerdy stuff inside. It still felt like winning.
As far as the year ha gone, New York has been a unique experience that I think any creative person can benefit from. It lights a fire under your ass. It will make you pursue your dreams, conquer your fears and you will learn more about yourself, more than you ever thought possible. I have been so productive this year in terms of cosplay, and I have been able to discover what I really want to do career-wise while living here. I know I’m never going to be a big professional cosplayer, probably not an ambassador for the craft, but I’d like to think I’m a good representative for the idea of cosplay. I believe in what this craft can do for you, and I’ve just come to terms that I’m not going to make a living off this, and I’m ok with that. I have found my true calling…beer.
With my cosplay season over for the year, I am going to spend the month of December working on new cosplays for my upcoming season, which actually starts in Janaury this year x_x I was invited by Wizard World to present my panel at another convention, and I picked Portland since it means I get to go home! With the ending of my engagement and no real reason for me to stay in New York, I am going to being moving back in March. I’ll spend some time while I’m back in Portland in January networking with Whole Foods locations in the Portland area so I can try to secure a job before I move back in March. Just to give them my resume and put a name to a face. The month of December is also dedicated to earning my Certified Beer Server, which will just make me more marketable as I transfer back to Portland.
I regret nothing over the past year. Eh, I’ve lost some and won a lot in exchange. Leaving New York will be hard. I’m leaving behind an ex, a great team of workers at the Whole Foods I helped open and all the footsteps I’ve taken all over this filthy city. At least I’ve done it. Moving back to Portland doesn’t feel like failure. I have never felt like I belong in New York, and I fucking love Portland. It’s an ok place to be. I miss my old fabric stores too. I like being able to go one place and buy everything at once. I will miss the garment district, but I get the feeling most of the things I have been buying here, I can get them online. Ah, the glory of the internets.
Speaking of internets…When my relationship finally ended, like, I knew it was over, the first thing I did was crack open a beer and get onto Battlenet. I worked with a wonderful WoW GM who helped me reset my password and get back into the game. I told him I had stopped playing around the beginning of a relationship with a non-nerd, mostly because there was no internet to play WoW with. Anywho, this GM though it was nice that I was coming back to WoW after leaving it because I was in a relationship with a non-nerd. He gave me a week of free play time and gave me some advice as I came back into the game. I had left pre-Cata, so everything had changed. This was part of the reason I never wanted to go back. On the bright side, my favorite parts are still there. The feeling is still the same. I don’t have to say no anymore. And I couldn’t have come back at a better time. Warlords of Draenor just release. I attended Blizzcon for the first time ever, and now I have to go back next year. I met awesome new people, was exposed to some of my favorite gaming lore, and I can’t wait for next year. I couldn’t be happier on the nerd plane.
The world is realigning itself. I’m moving in a direction of eternal gaming, cosplay and nerd happiness. Now stop reading my blog and go back to playing your video games. Or watching your anime. Or reading your comics/manga. Or just go back to being your awesome self ^_^
I was able to escape to an abandon building on the coast during this last summer and shoot some awesome, sandy photos in my new Sailor Neptune cosplay! Sailor Neptune has made several convention appearances, including Sakura-Con 2014 and Nashville Comic Con 2014. It’s a fun, frisky and powerful cosplay for me to wear – also the first cosplay I have ever done with a wig! Easier than I ever thought would be and I simply love this wig from Epic Cosplay! They will be getting so much business from me in the future as they have broadly expanded my world and made me really love being able to chance my hair for other costumes. Using my hair is awesome, but I think having teal hair is pretty spectacular too!
Here’s hoping I can get enough support from IndieGogo crowd-funding campaign so I can compete in this prestigious competition! Little Sister was chosen to compete at the Crown Cosplay Championships in Chicago, IL this April to compete for the Crown! Oh, and $10,000. That’s kind of a nice perk! Let’s all try to raise the funds!
Update: March 31st, 2014
I’ve decided to start a campaign on IndieGogo to try and raise the money to go to Crown Cosplay. Here’s a link! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/733195/wdgi/6891785
Hopefully we can all pull together and help me reach my goal so I can go!
Thanks for your support!
On March 21st, I received an email that I feel dramatically changes the path of my cosplay career.
It was pretty strong in comparison to another recent email detailing my admission to NYU for my interest in studying cosplay. I had originally applied to the Crown Cosplay Championships as something of a joke. I don’t consider myself on the level as some of the best cosplayers in the country. I’ve been pretty humble, not the greatest at craftsmanship. I don’t have the space to use really fancy materials in my cosplay. Most of my early cosplays didn’t even really involved sewing because I didn’t know how. (BEHOLD! Glue and duct tape) But I guess someone out there thinks I’m something kind of cool. I was asked to compete at the Crown Cosplay Championships at Chicago Comic Con in April. My little girl from the bottom of the sea is going to be competing with the best Video Game cosplayers in the country. In a polyester dress that was dyed in coffee, I am going up against Master Chiefs made out of Worbla and League of Legends cosplayers with shit that lights up and giant props and just overall amazing cosplay. I’m hoping I’ve got what it takes. My make-up has to be spot on. I usually only cover my sleeve tattoo on my right shoulder, but I’m thinking this time I should cover all my tattoos, even all the little ones (wrist tattoos, totoro, etc.) I’m gonna make some nicer bloomers and distress them too, and maybe a slip to go between the bloomers and my dress. I’m thinking about putting a little bit of curl in my hair too. It would have been appropriate for the style in the 40s and I have so much hair these days that if I leave it straight, it’s like a big pile of fluff on the back of my head and it doesn’t look nice. I told myself if I got in to Crown Cosplay, I was going to buy some new stage makeup and work on some new techniques to get more dimension out of my face. On the make-up platform too, I was considering getting better makeup for making myself look pale. I’ve got some ideas for making my fingernails look dirty and maybe scratching up my knees a little bit since Little Sisters crawl around in pipes a lot. I’m thinking about whatever I can do to put myself out there just a little bit more. I have to consider everything that might make me stand out beyond the others. I’m doing old school cosplay – sewing and make-up. No crazy armor, no light-up effects, nothing really fancy. I’ve got to make myself the best Little Sister I’ve ever been. I’ll be posting my web profile here once C2E2 posts it on their website. I’m eager to see how many other people will be in the Video Game category and just who I’m up against. Right now I’m trying to figure out how I am going to pay for a trip to Chicago. It’s an extra convention appearance that I wasn’t planning on, and I’m not sure if I can swing an extra $400-500 for a plane ticket and a hotel and all that. I’ll see what I can wrangle in a way of putting together a crowdfunding platform or something. It’s not a lot, maybe some members of my family can pull together and make some things happen for me!
Cosplay has been a very big part of my life for the past ten years. Since my passion has become more serious in the past few years, questions of my dedication to cosplay have risen – Why am I doing this? What is cosplay doing for me? Of course, cosplay is very fun, but I think there’s more to it than that. This last year, at Sakura Con, I conducted a panel called Need Input!: A Panel for Cosplay Research. I hosted a Q&A style panel that asked cosplayers deep questions about their cosplay passions, and their responses blew me away. Now on tour at conventions on the the east coast, Need Input continues to gain ground and knowledge about the will and the way of cosplay for hundreds of people. I became so committed to this mission of learning why people cosplay that I have now invested an academic agenda and wish to pursue a Masters degree in Cosplay Studies. Cosplay isn’t just costuming – it’s culture, community, inner dialogue and personal growth. It’s learning new skills, building self-esteem, and learning to think on the spot. It has become one of the newest and hottest pop culture trends and it’s taking over conventions. This is a performance art revolution, and I’m committed to researching and discovering the will and the way of Cosplay. FOR SCIENCE!
On this page, I will be posting my audio files and my transcripts from conventions where the Need Input panel has been hosted so you can get a real feel for what happens at my panel and what kind of research I’m doing. I’ve also conducted surveys to collect statistical data to get demographics for the typical cosplayer and once my statistics have been allocated, those will be posted too! In case my panel doesn’t get approved, I’ve recently thought of the idea of doing walk-around mini audio interviews where I run with a question for little while, ask a few people, and then change the topic and ask a few more people. These will also be posted in audio format and transcribed. It’s all in the pursuit of field research and discovering the reasons behind why people cosplay!
Below we have transcripts of Need Inputs that have been conducted and audio snipits of dialogue from the panels!
Panel Transcript SakuraCon 2013 – Sakura Con 2013 works as the launch pad for the first ever Need Input panel. This round explores diversity in the cosplay community, love for cosplaying villains, dressing up as animals, and the true social profit of cosplay.
Panel Transcript SakuraCon 2014 (Coming Soon) – Back at Sakura Con after moving to New York with more organization and structure, Need Input looks into gender stereotypes in cosplay, professional cosplayers, ‘Cosplay is Not Consent’, and being an older cosplayer in a perpetually youthful convention setting. Also, Katelyn’s eternal love for the high caffeine beverage, BAWLS.
Panel Transcript AnimeNext 2014 (Coming Soon) – In New Jersey for AnimeNEXT, Need Input is set in an at-capacity room with some of the best audience contributions to date. This session explores what cosplayers look for when they pick characters, what cosplayers actually learn on the path to becoming a character. and the biggest struggles they face in finishing their cosplays.
Panel Transcript Wizard World Nashville 2014 (Coming Soon) – Working on a mini-tour with Wizard World, Need Input journeys to Nashville to explore cosplaying as a family, breaking down what it means to be a part of the cosplay community and what embarrasses or annoys people in the cosplay/convention community.
Panel Transcript Wizard World Portland 2015 (Coming Soon) – Back in Oregon for a week, Need Input makes a second appearance at Wizard World, and the attendees are not shy to bring forward ideas about what they have learned and the inner strengths that have discovered as a result of cosplay.