The activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show)
Source: Cosplay | Definition of Cosplay by Merriam-Webster.
Astrikingly beautiful figure standing strong and confident in her pose, Cutiepiesensei, who prefers to be addressed by her pseudonym, is not only a pretty face, she is also the epitome of what Cosplayers want. With more than 30K followers across the internet, Cutiepiesensei is a cosplay sensation. An Atlanta, GA resident, she is an artist in her everyday life who uses her talent to create incredible cosplay costumes that catch the eye and stir the imagination. She was drawn into cosplay while in college after going to the first convention (Con) with her then boyfriend and now fiancé.
Attracted by the overall positive atmosphere and good will of fellow cosplay fans, she found the perfect platform to show off her artistic talent. Through her cosplay, she revels in the ability to express her love of gaming and comics. In addition to that, she found that she was able to be around others, who shared her affinity for creative expression through dressing up as their favorite characters. She created her first cosplay after that and has been a serious cosplayer for the last two years.
Like many Cosplay participants, Cutiepiesensei enjoys cosplay at many different venues – from sci-fi and comic cons to anime – she enjoys the creative outlet and energy. “My favorite Cons are the big ones. I like the transformative nature of cons. The way they can transform the whole city,” she says.
When cosplay and comic con attendees talk about the “big ones,” they are often referring to the largest Conventions: New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con. Interestingly enough, Comic Con started with meager beginnings. According to the article, A Brief History of Comic Conventions, “The first official comic convention took place in 1964 in New York City, Comicon 64 (which became The Comic Art Convention) took place on July 27th and hosted roughly 100 comic book fans in a meeting hall on 14th and Broadway.” Today, San Diego Comic Con welcomes over 130K fans, and as of 2014, they’ve hosted a total of nearly 1.84 million comic fans. That’s just San Diego; New York is even bigger and international comic conventions, like Comiket in Tokyo, Japan, are beyond massive hosting 590K plus attendees twice a year.
For a complete list of upcoming Comic Con and Cosplay Conventions across the globe, please visit www.upcomingcons.com.
Like Comic Con, Cutiepiesensei’s interest in cosplay started in her infancy and has grown immensely. Early on, as a child, she reveled in dressing up for Halloween and her love of the holiday is apparent in her passionate speech. Starting small with her cosplay efforts, she initially began by piecing outfits together. “My first cosplay, ‘The Legend of Korra,’ used hot glue and a hodge podge of materials to put together the piece,” she says when describing her early efforts. “You use what you have,” she continues, “I learned to keep in mind that price and functionality have to be considered when you create your characters.” By doing this, she was able to evolve in her craft; learning from her cosplay experiences and becoming the serious cosplay and costume designer she is today.
The thought and preparation going into her costumes are apparent. Using Instagram and Facebook to connect with her fans, she often shows some of the items and designs while in the process, and you can see the details and artistry she weaves into each creation. When asked how she chooses the characters she cosplays, she says that inspiration can hit her at any time. From Wonder Woman and Kid Flash to Kill la Kill/Sailor Moon and Korra, and designed from top to bottom from scratch, Cutiepiesensei has cosplayed existing characters, creative crossover characters, and new characters. Often she is inspired by everything from movie characters to the games she’s played.
Regarding her favorite costumes, she’s admittedly conflicted. “l think I would have to say it was my Kill la kill and Sailor Moon crossover because I was able to design it from scratch. I loved the bold colors and ease of wear. People loved it. I got a lot of positive response because people had never seen that combination in cosplay before.” Strong characters, bold colors and creative material combinations are Cutiepiesensei’s style, whether it is a costume made with traditional fabric or a model breastplate made from craft foam and melamine and other appropriate materials, her stylish characters always shine. Staying true to the character and using materials that will not only hold up but that are appropriate and wearable while keeping down costs can be a daunting task, but Cutiepiesensei excels at rising to those challenges. “I like challenging projects that allow me to show off my artistic ability… I want to keep challenging myself.”
That being said, although the majority of her feedback has been positive she has dealt with a few critics along the way. When asked how she deals with negativity from critics she candidly responded:
“At the end of the day people are always going to give more positive than negative comments. I don’t give negative people power over me. I delete the negative from my life and my page. The best piece of advise I can give to any cosplayer is to do the same.”
Drawing from the positive is something that shines through when she talks about the fan experience at Cons. “I love the reactions you get from the kids. I try to stay in character for them when they come up to me. It’s great; they have some of the best reactions and comments.”
What is next for Cutiepiesensei? Right now it’s to keep challenging herself and to go to bigger Cons to expand her experiences. She is currently planning a trip to New York Comic Con this year, and I am sure her fans will be delighted with her latest cosplay for years to come.