In the spirit of embracing my geek brand, I thought I’d take a step away from writing about writing this week, and instead write about something else close to my heart: cosplay* (although since my YA is about a girl with some of the same cosplay reservations as myself, maybe I’m not actually that far from writing about writing after all…)
I’m going to start by saying that I fully believe cosplay is for everyone. I love seeing plus-size cosplays, pint-size cosplays, genderbent cosplays, hijabi cosplays, not to mention people of colour cosplaying traditionally white characters.
But when it comes to my own costumes, I’m a super perfectionist. I want to be as screen accurate as possible, even if that means ruling out a whole slew of costumes because I don’t look enough like the character.
Part of it is my own body image issues. It’s taken me a long time (looooong time), but I’m finally (mostly) comfortable with my body. However, I’m still not ready to cosplay She-Ra in her skimpy white skirt, despite her being one of my favourite characters growing up.
And then there’s my shades. I need to wear them if I want to last more than 5 minutes without a migraine. (Even if sunglass-contacts were a thing, I have trouble with contacts). In past years I’ve just worn my shades, and taken them off for photos, but the problem is most people don’t seem to know who I’m dressed as while I’m wearing them – they completely ruin the effect of the costume.
So, this year I decided to try something different. Instead of dressing as an exact replica of a character (because, let’s face it, there aren’t that many female characters with shades – except maybe for Trinity from the Matrix movies, which aren’t my favourite) I’d do a mash-up that incorporated my glasses.
Which is how I ended up dressing as a Steampunk version of Belle from the animated Beauty and the Beast movie for Ottawa Comiccon last weekend.
It was awesome. Not only did the costume turn out just how I’d imagined it, but it was recognizable, and I got stopped and asked for photos a lot.
I think for me, and my perfectionist soul, this is the way I’m going to do cosplay from now on. (Once again, I’m not speaking for anyone else – if you want to be a screen accurate wheelchair-using Leia or a screen accurate Japanese Wonder Woman, or a screen accurate plus-size Ariel, I want to see your amazing pics!)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and start planning my Steampunk She-Ra costume.
*For those of you unfamiliar with the word, cosplay means dressing as a character from a movie, book or TV show, usually at an event like Comiccon or a movie release, etc.