For this Women Creative Wednesday, we decided that, since it’s coming up on Halloween, we should probably check in on some of our favorite cosplayers. Here’s our list!
I’ve been cosplaying since I was twelve. Not well, mind you, but still. I’ve watched more than my fair share of cosplay tutorials and DIYs. When you’re up for 14 hours the day before a convention with hot glue burns on your fingers and you can’t find your scissors, you start to wistfully imagine achieving the cosplay level that Traci Hines has achieved.
If you’ve seen any of Traci Hines, you probably know her as that girl who looks just like Ariel even when she isn’t in costume. And even though I’m showing you her most iconic Ariel video, she does a lot of other characters, including Sailor Moon, Rapunzel and Cinderella. Though she is best known for her cover songs and music videos, Tracy also does a vlog-style series called Life Lessons from a Hipster Mermaid about a modern day Ariel dealing with the trials of civilization and human life.
In Disney’s Ariel, Traci has found her life calling: spinning off of her own videos and cosplay to make her own line of casual cosplay fashion clothing. As a cosplayer, I hope that my own costumes can one day be this incredibly on point, but in the meantime, I’ll settle for watching her cover of “Love is an Open Door.” Hey, at least it’s not another “Let It Go,” right?
I’m just going to come right out and say it. My initial impression of cosplay was that as a hobby it seemed both labor intensive and a little weird. If someone like me who spends his day stewing in the weirdness of the internet finds a hobby odd, then think about how much flack it must catch from civilians. That’s why I’ve taken a shine to one Mango Sirene. While she’s definitely a cosplay pro, her channel works hard to balance the technical stuff with videos that serve as a guide for cosplay newcomers.
While I was totally impressed with Mango’s tutorials on how to build the perfect Full Metal Alchemist Automail arm, I was even more impressed with her videos about how to make friends in the cosplay community, how to get started with cosplay, and how to overcome the stigma that cosplayers sometimes face. YouTube is a great resource for helping us find new hobbies and communities that we might someday want to make our own. However, those communities can often seem distant and even exclusive without a friendly guide. That’s why I think it’s great that we have someone like Mango to help newbies get acclimated.
Of course I wasn’t going to beat around the bush for this WCW — if we’re talking cosplay, I’m choosing arguably the greatest cosplayer of them all: Jessica Nigri. Is this a controversial choice? Absolutely. Some people feel that cosplay is a serious business and that girls with ample bosoms who wear teeny-tiny sexualized facsimiles of actual cosplay getups cast a shade on the industry at large. I say they bring an awareness to cosplay and enhance the viability of the overall industry. Overtly sexual cosplay brings eyes to the genre — and while yes, it is frustrating that events like Comic-Con have become so overcrowded with “non-fans” who are just there to ogle girls like Jessica, the numbers have also given a credibility to the industry and made cosplay a voice to be reasoned with. Like it or not, you have to admit Hollywood has certainly begun to take Comic-Con seriously — and a large part of that is because of cosplayers like Jessica.
Jessica isn’t just some pair of boobs poured into a spandex leotard either — she’s a true blue weirdo with a passion for all things comic. Spend a while watching her channel sometime — she’s giddy and goofy and nerdy. Sure she’s always making sure those aforementioned ta-tas are on camera, but a girl’s got to earn a living. And to be fair, comics were created because of guys fantasizing about girls like Jessica. Cosplay on!
Here is great cosplay.
Meg Turney has done very well for herself since departing SourceFed (where I had the pleasure of working with her for their 2012 Presidential Election Coverage). She left LA, moved to Austin, started working with Rooster Teeth and is now a host on The Know.
Throughout all of these changes, one thing hasn’t — her love of cosplay. Having seen first hand the detail she’s put into her costumes, it’s clearer than day that she ain’t screwing around.
I don’t know a whole lot about cosplay and comic book characters (let’s face it, we’ve got Cat O’Grady in the office so I don’t need to) but there are few things I like more than a good “fake geek girl” smackdown. One of my favorites is a meme that went viral after ComicCon 2013, when some anonymous loser mocked a woman for her frankly amazing and sexy costume. “Steampunk, Gender swapped Joker, in a Willy Wonka hat…” the caption sneered; “Congratulations, you’ve made ‘trying too hard’ into an art form”.
The good people of Tumblr wasted no time informing the fake geek boys of the world that “if you’re going to judge someone’s cosplay you better learn your f**king sh*t because this is Duela Dent you goddamn assholes”. (Duela Dent is a DC Universe character also known as Joker’s Daughter, Card Queen and Harlequin, and a former member of the Teen Titans and Titans East. I barely understand what any of that means.) George Takei even chimed in on Facebook, and when Captain Sulu declares you’ve been owned, then you, sir, are well and truly owned and can sit your ass down.
The woman behind the cosplay, shown here winning the Just Cos costume contest, is pretty incredible. Her name is Dayna Scodras, a Canadian artist currently living in Vancouver. In addition to her beautifully-crafted costumes which made her a convention celebrity long before she was a meme, she draws, paints, designs tattoos and creates music. She has a website, www.inkshutter.com, if you want to check out galleries of her work – just in case you had any lingering doubts about her badass geek credentials.