- Posted August 26, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Dragon*Con costumes and more
Long-time Cosplayer Stepping Out of Comfort Zone!
My name is Nicole. I'm 22 years old (turning 23 on the 31st), and I've been going to Dragon*con ever since I was 11 years old. When a young woman is about to get married and tries on that one perfect wedding dress, they glow and smile and feel like a princess. That is exactly how I felt when I wore my first cosplay, which was Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Even though I was pretending to be someone else, it was like really stepping into my skin and owning my body. I learned a lot about myself.
There's something indescribably rewarding about becoming your favorite character. It's a display of your craft skills, a display of your love for that character, and a chance to become a different person for a few hours. A convention is a bit like a Halloween party, but a Halloween party where you have something in common with everyone, and that gives you a sense of companionship and belonging, which is just as much a part of cosplay as the costume itself.
This year I'm doing something that I've never done before - cosplaying a man. I'm binding my chest, wearing shoulder pads, and learning to strut. I'll be cosplaying Groose from the Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. Legend of Zelda has always been my favorite video game series; I even have a tattoo of the Triforce on my hip. Groose was so over the top, colorful, bold, and surprising that I fell in love immediately. I never imagined cosplaying him until I learned that one of my friends was making a Zelda costume. After that, everything sort of fell into place.
A lot of the costume was pieced together from stuff found at thrift stores - pants and shirt were cheap purchases at Goodwill, and it was just a few alterations and some paint to make it look better. The cape had to be made from scratch, but it wasn't that hard. I made all the beads and the gem from clay, which I molded and painted and glossed for hours. Even that was relatively simple. The real challenge was the hair! Groose has a huge red pompadour which is his key feature. He loves his hair and talks about it constantly! We found a wig to base it on, but it took Styrofoam, a lot of hair gel and hair spray, countless bobby pins, and several red markers just to get it right. It's so tall that when I drive my car with it on, I have to roll down the sunroof and let the hair stick out the top! I can't wait to debut this costume at Dragon*con this year. So much time and effort has gone into it, and the idea of being my favorite character from my favorite video game for a weekend is extremely exciting!
I'll also be doing other costumes this year at Dragon*con, but they're more traditional for me. Chie from Persona 4 required making a modified school uniform and a track jacket. Bulma from Dragonball Z is just a dress, although the wig (a giant blue afro) was nearly as challenging as Groose's! But they're still female characters, which is very fundamentally different from what I'll be doing as Groose. I never imagined dressing as a man! I'm pretty busty, and learning how to hide that has been interesting and occasionally painful. It's just taking my hobby even a step further. I don't think my family and many of my friends understand why I would willingly do this, and sometimes I question it myself, but the whole point of cosplaying is to push yourself one step further. You can't just make the same kind of costumes and stay at the same level forever and expect to wow people. There are so many extreme cosplayers out there, so you have to get out of your comfort zone occasionally.