Tips Cosplay Chronicles Embrace The Art Of Costume Play – Jenny Skelton poses in Poison Ivy and Audrey II cosplay at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., on September 9, 2022. Many attendees dress up in cosplay for the Rose City Comic Con.
Entering the Oregon Convention Center’s massive exhibit hall, countless booths display comics, art, and a life-size, moving R2D2. Visitors bustle about, browse the merchandise and line up to meet the celebrity guests. But the biggest attraction at Rose City Comic Con is the attendees themselves, many of whom dress up as characters ranging from Marvel superheroes to Pokemon.
Tips Cosplay Chronicles Embrace The Art Of Costume Play
Portland High School student Miles Stansbury entered the contest, where contestants show off their handmade cosplays. Colored contacts make his eyes orange, and he wears an elaborately styled white-haired wig with red veins and horns, dressed as Arataki Ito, a character from the popular video game Genshin Impact. While excitement is in the air, the competition is intense.
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“I’m going up against people who have been doing it for about 20 years as well, so it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Stansbury said.
This cosplay competition is one of many events offered at the Rose City Comic Con, which drew an estimated 45,000 people last weekend. It is the second year since the convention was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the competition, Stansbury walks around the stage dressed as Ito and poses for the judges and the audience. Even though he didn’t win, Stansbury said he enjoyed it. He lost to Annie Bugg in the novice division.
Cosplayers Ellie Gossett and Sidney Gore enjoy meeting friends and interacting with other Comic Con attendees.
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Gossett, a college student and cosplayer, met Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood at Comic Con dressed as Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit by J. RR Tolkien.
“Interacting with young kids who are so excited that you’re cosplaying their favorite superhero or someone they recognize,” Gossett said, “those are the moments that are so rewarding, ‘yeah, I’m here to have fun with you and embrace that inner child.”
On the other hand, Gore was able to take pictures at the convention dressed as Scarlet Witch from Marvel’s “WandaVision” and Bella Dimitrescu from the video game Resident Evil Village.
“When you get those finished photos back and they look just amazing, and you see all of your hard work and effort that you’ve put into trying to embody that character just so perfectly reflected in that photo,” Gore said.
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Sydney Gore and Ellie Gossett pose in cosplay for the Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 10, 2022, as do many attendees of the annual convention.
Miles Stansbury applies eye makeup in a hotel room outside the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 10, 2022, while preparing for a cosplay contest at Rose City Comic Con.
A life-size moving model of Star Wars R2D2 carries a Baby Yoda doll in the Rose City Comic Con exhibit hall in Portland, Ore., on September 9, 2022. Comic Con booths featured a variety of artwork and models.
Sydney Gore poses as Scarlet Witch outside the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., on September 9, 2022. Each year, cosplayers gather at Rose City Comic Con to show off their costumes.
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Sydney Gore poses as Bella Dimitrescu at Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Ore., on September 10, 2022. Cosplayers gather at Rose City Comic Con every year to show off their costumes.
Miles Stansbury poses as Arataka Ito from the popular video game Genshin Impact during a photo shoot at Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Ore., on September 10, 2022. Stansbury competed in a cosplay competition wearing his costume.
Jenny Skelton poses as Poison Ivy and Audrey II cosplay at Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Ore., on September 9, 2022. Many attendees at the event dress up as cosplay.
A Rapunzel costume belonging to Victoria Fisher hangs on a mannequin next to a shelf full of wigs in Happy Valley, Ore., on September 6, 2022. Many attendees dress up as cosplay for Portland’s Rose City Comic Con.
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Cosplay – the act of dressing up and role-playing as a character – is a portmanteau of the words costume and play.
“Sometimes people come up with original characters and you can dress up and have fun in that space,” Victoria Fisher said.
Fisher, dressed as Rapunzel in warrior style, fully embraces her Disney princess characters as she makes her way through the convention.
“When you see Ariel in there cursing like a sailor, the kids are going to be a little confused,” Fisher said. “It’s a lot of fun pretending to be someone else for a while, and sometimes it gives you the power of a superhero or the grace of a princess.”
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One of the hallmarks of cosplay is its inclusivity. Many people also come up with creative ways to adapt and combine their cosplays. Jenny Skelton paired her Poison Ivy cosplay with props for Audrey II, the man-eating alien plant from Little Shop of Horrors.
“All of my cosplays are designed to be done in or around a wheelchair because I’m disabled,” Skelton said. “In fact, sometimes I do panels on how to customize your cosplay and make it work with your disabilities.”
“The cosplay community is absolutely the warmest, most inclusive, just the nicest group to attend these cons,” Skelton said.
“It’s a really easy way to start, just find some things at a thrift store or find things in your closet, because a lot of the characters wear normal clothes,” Fisher said.
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Gossett turned cosplay into a career. Gossett received a scholarship to attend college and plans to continue working full-time in costume.
“I was just doing it for fun and being silly because I was a nerd, and now I get to do fashion shows and do theater full-time,” Gossett said.
Online cosplay has given people like Fisher an opportunity to connect with people and make close friends, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s turned into something beautiful because we’ve been able to connect more with not just local cosplayers that we couldn’t be with, but I’ve been in groups that are now all over the world,” Fisher said.
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Fisher posts photos and videos of her finished costumes on social media such as TikTok and Instagram. Conventions give her the opportunity to see her online friends in person and admire each other’s cosplays.
Unfortunately, there are some problems with the online community. Some cosplayers have faced sexism and objectification because of their costumes years ago.
“I’ve had a few instances of more horrible comments in the past, especially as a young female cosplayer, which is unfortunately what you’re dealing with,” Gore said.
Many conventions have now made tools to create a safe space for cosplayers. Many conventions have started providing online templates for cosplayers. They can post a template online so people know what their personal boundaries are.
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“For the cosplayers, especially the women, there was a really big push, ‘These are my comfort zones and you can’t break them,’ which was really nice. I know I usually post it right before the convention,” Gossett said.
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