I’m a woman of many talents. I cook, work, educate and parent. Above all I choose not to define my motherhood by what I do for others… but what I choose to do for myself. That’s what cosplay is for me.
“Aren’t you a bit old to dress up like that?”
“Isn’t that more for younger people, right?”
“But you’re an adult now…”
These are just the ones from my mother. I think it’s a generational thing.
Hello, I’m Danielle and I’m a 30+ (ha!) year old cosplayer. I’m also a wife and mom to three boys. I run a 13-year-old creative company with an international team of women spanning five countries. When I have time, I play retro video games like Tetris, Mario and Sonic. However, my favorite pastime is cosplaying.
How do I manage it all? I choose to funnel my energy into things that re-energize me, recharge my batteries and fill my cup all the way up so I can leave my invisible cape flying in the wind for a while.
When I was a kid, I was the vain girl in the mirror. Secretly imagining I was exploring space, or being a news anchor. I pretended to be anywhere but where I was. And as I developed more into my quirky self, I discovered others like me early on that did cosplay.
I’m not a major seamstress, but I learned some skills from those that were. I hated American makeup but grew up in theater which meant knowing the makeup basics. As a technical theater major (never finished it), I loved the drama props and aesthetics that could bring a simple ‘blank canvas’ to life. As a huge DIYer, I couldn’t let my kids get ANY costume…I had to “doctor it up” or literally piecemeal it by hand.
As a mom, I wanted to give my kids the challenge to be what they dare to dream. So if that meant niche anime costumes — we drafted the ideas out together to make it happen. Or maybe… It’s a clash of characters. Mama needed time to assemble.
Either way we planned; we crafted and we wore it with pride, seeing our ideas come to literal life. Seeing the wonder in their eyes fueled my own.
For me personally, cosplay allows my creativity to flow freely in a different element that is easier than when I’m actually working for money.
The Harder Parts
Speaking of money, it’s a key factor to customizing anything and making my ideas real. Don’t get me wrong, we DIY materials but it’s still money out of my pocket.
We get creative with cement glue, foam sheets and rubber spray paint. Throw in a heat gun and some acrylic paint and you can build wonders.
A thought I keep in mind is that money doesn’t bring happiness. But it sure does make opportunities to make happiness easier. That’s my mindset with each new Dremel or tool I purchase.
The best thing about cosplaying is the character I choose to embody. To many people outside of the cosplay community, this is the most foolish part.
“But you’re you? right?”
Was Judy Garland Dorothy or not? We all can safely be whoever we want to be. That’s the beauty of this genre. It’s not about escaping. It’s about becoming.
Seeing myself as someone else gives me strength to pursue the things I might not normally pursue.
I’m a bit more specific about the characters I cosplay. I choose ones I specifically identify with for strength. Just to name a few:
- Mrs. Incredible – Everyday mom with super powers who will go to any length for her family.
- Ramonda / Queen Mother – Incredible strong Black mother and fierce protector of her culture and her children.
- Okoye – A general, fierce protector & leader who’s willing to put duty above all.
- Rogue – A small town southern girl, with the ability to absorb others’ energy (I consider myself an empath), is often secluded, hot-blooded, and socially outcast for being a mutant.
- Hipployta Freeman – Mom, scientist, explorer, felt small by the world around her but was mentally freed
Through cosplay I empower myself in a positive way to be a better woman than yesterday; to craft my own character; to bring my inner child to life and let her voice be heard in a world that often shhhhh’s it.
Cheers to the cosplayers that dare to dream beyond the worbla, duct tape, sewing and foam sheets and see themselves as sheer maidens of courage, empowerment and strength. You are not alone, huzzah!