Worthy of Recognition: A New Spin on Cosplay

I am, by many extents of the characteristics, a nerd. My worst punishment was when my mom took away my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book during the summer it was released. After non-stop crying for three days, she gave it back because she was sick of my crying. Two of my signature looks - gold eyeliner and a couple streaks of white hair - were inspired by Cinna from The Hunger Games and Rogue from X-Men. I will gladly debate which modern Spider-Man was the best (Team Andrew Garfield all the way). My family will randomly partake in those nerdy movie marathons whether it be Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or superhero movies. I cringe when someone says they only love Marvel as they rock a DC shirt and I am proud to declare that David Tennant is my favorite Doctor. By the way, I met my boyfriend at a nerdy game shop in my college/his home town. So I guess you can say our foundation was built on the nerd life. Yet, there’s one area that I never ventured into but can greatly appreciate when done creatively, and might I add innovatively: cosplay.

For those who are unaware, the term cosplay is a portmanteau of costume play. We are so used to the intricate costumes and detail by detail recreation of beloved characters. Cosplay originated in Japan in the early '80s, but it has since grown into its own art form. I think it is necessary to illuminate the modern take of cosplay. Four people that I strongly believe are killing it in their own variations of cosplay are: Zach “Sneaky” from League of Legends’ Cloud 9 fame; Courtney from @colormemagic; KayPikeFashion, a BodyPainter on Twitch; and Tiffany, the Disneybounder on @followtheyellowbrickgirl. What I tremendously enjoy and can appreciate about how each person approaches cosplay is that you can notice the effort they put into an otherwise simplistic concept.

Zach “Sneaky” @zachscud

My boyfriend loves the popular computer game League of Legends and his favorite team is Cloud 9. Imagine my surprise when he direct messaged me a photo of its most popular player dressed as Pizza Delivery Sivir. Now, as true adults, there have been many nights where he, his friends, and I will sit around late in the evening after drinks and board games, attempting to understand the nature of Sneaky’s cosplay. There is gender bending in cosplay (when the cosplayer pulls elements of the character to make them more masculine or more feminine as opposed to their origins in order to suit the cosplayer’s desires). Sneaky expresses confidence in his masculinity and avoids the gender bending in cosplay, instead opting to select female League of Legends characters and dress as them. Cosplay aside, it’s definitely the confidence that makes you appreciate this high profile professional video gamer not being ashamed of his sexuality to, in essence, challenge the boundaries of gender and sexuality itself.

Favorite outfits: Pizza Delivery Sivir; Divine Sword Irelia; Pool Party Caitlyn

Courtney @colormemagic

This is Courtney’s second Instagram account. Compared to her first one, this one is geared towards all things Disney, Harry Potter, musicals, and the like. Not only does she express body positivity, but she will sometimes create stop motion animations to bring her outfits to life. Her smile is infectious and the way that she is constantly engaging with her community whether it’s through comments or Instagram stories, Courtney creates a vivacious world of modern day escapism. Not to mention, no two outfits are the same. She and her fiancé, Paris, may dress as Mickey and Minnie Mouse 10 different times and each outfit will be drastically different.

Favorite outfits: Mike and Sully meets Clueless; Mad Hatter sipping tea; Millenial Belle; Princess and the Frog stop animation

KayPikeFashion @kaypikefashion

My boyfriend and I came across this bodypainter while we were perusing Twitch one day a couple years ago. On the screen, she was just talking to somebody off screen and slowly painting her body. Thirty minutes later, we were still watching her paint. Sometimes, her body painting can take 12 hours, but she does not rush or express any indication of being exhausted. By the time you get to the final reveal, it’s honestly like a Bob Ross episode: you were watching the entire time, but you still wonder how the artist reached the final stage. I doubt she walks around in person with this intricate character body painting, but, similar to sand castles, the temporary nature of the final product is absolutely breathtaking.

Favorite “outfits”: Rogue; Sylvana; Doctor Strange; Jaina

Tiffany @followtheyellowbrickgirl

Through the dark hole of Instagram, I stumbled upon Tiffany and her disney bounds a few years ago. Disney bounding (I believe now there’s a variation of “bounding” for almost any nerdy world) is when you select the colors of a character and model your outfit after them. It’s a more tamed look, but when done well is still extremely effective. Imagine incorporating this method of cosplay into a trip to one of the Disney parks or attending a themed party where costumes are optional. At the time, Tiffany was doing a Disney bounding challenge of picking one movie and creating a unique outfit inspired by one of the characters every day over the course of 30 days. She selected “A Goofy Movie” and honestly, I did not know there was enough characters for this type of challenge, but she absolutely killed it! Each day, she’ll showcase her latest outfit and since a wardrobe can only contain so much past a certain point, it’s pretty fun to see her recycle a belt or pair of shoes for multiple characters.

Favorite outfits: Aladdin; “A Goofy Movie” 30 day challenge; Zenon (her husband was Protozoa); Darkwing Duck Dapper Day

All in all, my boyfriend and I love indulging in the latest outfits and cosplay displays by these four accounts. Of course, this is not an attempt to dismiss other cosplayers, but with these accounts, he or I keep going back and are still constantly impressed years later as we were when we first discovered them. I recommend checking them out because honestly, their talent is worthy of recognition.