I’ve been a cosplayer for about 12 years and my backstory isn’t some fantastical magic moment or epiphany that this is what I wanted get into. It was more a simple thing; being a creator and having nerdy friends.
Back in junior high, and being in band class for 3 years, my band teacher taught at two schools and felt it was easier to combine the program in both schools at band camp. This lead to rooms full of bunk beds. Spending this much time in close proximity to strangers, making new friends that were just as nerdy as I, wasn’t much of a stretch at all. I was the sporty outcast at this time that played basketball and was heavily into batman and comics.
Fast forward to high school, because of the city I live in, there were only so many options of where you could attend. Moreover, my family is catholic, so this further limited school choices, and because the other junior high that I made friends at were also catholic, this mean’t there was only one high school to go to for us. I spent the better half of grade 10 going through a punk phase. But at the same time, I had friendships growing with those same band nerds I met in junior high. Yes I was still in the band program through high school, so in case you were wondering, that’s 6 years of trumpet.
It was these friendships that introduced me to their friends who went to the non catholic high schools who were into Warhammer, DND and Anime. They introduced me to these Japanese cartoons, and I started to hear and understand more about what it was. As I grew up with Sailor Moon, Pokemon and Samurai Pizza Cats (good show, English dub is questionable though in my opinion), the more I grew as a person, the more I delved into the nerd group. I frequented the computer lab and snagged a Gaia Online account. The next big phase was DDR which I watched others play on the keyboard and matts. Hangout days consisted of gaming and eventually I ended up hanging with some extended friends and actually sat down and watched anime after knowing what it was.
I certainly fit the stereotypical goth look by midway through grade 11. This meant gory things and horror movies were the big draw. However, the first 2 animes I actually remember watching that impacted my view on the whole thing was Berserk and Hellsing (the cheezy 13 episodes with blue uniform Seras). I was obsessed with Hellsing, so delved into the world of anime and manga. I made online friends that cosplayed in the scene, read the manga’s as far as I could, but at the time they weren’t all released. Then I made a Seras Victoria cosplay. The first one was the blue one from the 13 episode Hellsing I watched. That particular cosplay never made it onto a con floor and there are scarce few photos of it. With the manga and the community starting to become a big thing at the time, I made a yellow Seras cosplay like the manga, from scratch, with no sewing machine, and certainly no idea what the hell I was doing.
With my first con in sight thanks to my friends, I went headfirst into a whole new world, and have never regretted it. I remember finishing the outfit, dragging my best friend with me, and showing up to Animethon 13, which was far smaller than what it is these days. I was extremely shy back in the day, so making friends and not feeling out of place was hard for me. Cosplay was usually done with natural hair, a cheap Naruto or Bleach outfit, or a thrown together sewn project that was usually taped the rest of the way on. Instead I had gone headfirst with contacts, and an expensive wig from a wig shop, as cosplay wigs were not a norm at the time.
It’s sort of been history from there, I wore Seras for a few cons, but found anime and manga a staple in my life after that. It wasn’t until I ran into someone cosplaying from black butler I delved into that pit and fell head over heels for Sebastian. That cosplay alone has had several revisions and upgrades, some that are still in the works and need done.
Even though I started with the blue (well yellow), police girl, who I met my fiancé Chris wearing, he proposed to me as Sebastian. So I guess you could say he fell in love with a police girl and ended up with a demon butler who’s picky when it comes to food.
I guess what I wanted to share is how easy it is to find a passion or hobby, but how often it starts out normal and routine, but ends up becoming a part of your life. There doesn’t need to be some magical moment or extreme reason, it just… happens, and often for the better. I’ve made legit 100’s of acquaintances and just as many friends over the years, and I’ve grown more out of my shell, but deep down and regardless of what people see, I’m still that shy nerd showing up at their first con.
And I make it my goal to reach out to those who are just as new and shy to the scene as I was. How did you start in cosplay? Comment down below, or send your story to email@example.com.