Once upon a time, I was not a Child of the Enlightened. Yes, there was a period in my life where I didnae understand cosplay or cosplayers. I didn’t even know it was called cosplay. I refer to my ignorance as The Dark Times.
Then in the fall of 2015 at the tender age of 45, I would attend my first con, Ottawa Pop Expo. My friends wanted to dress up as a group, in Doctor Who cosplay. I inwardly groaned and barked, “I refuse to go unless I can be a Fashionista Dalek!” Everyone said, “Okay!” So then I was like, Crap, I need to figure out how to become a fashionista dalek.
I own a craft biz where I make jewellery and handmade cards. I love working with my hands and being artistically creative. When I sat down to work on my dalek costume, I had an epiphany—cosplay was crafting! Once I realised that, I couldn’t get enough of it!
I raided dollar stores and bought paint, styrofoam balls, a plunger, some black silk gloves, and rhinestones. I grabbed a red dress I never wear. I bought a red construction helmet and hacked an old flashlight. I glue-gunned to my heart’s delight. I used my Cricut mini, too.
It took several days, but for me it was a craft project, and I got really excited over it!
When I was done, I felt proud and had a blast at Ottawa PopExpo. People took my photo and paid me many compliments. Everyone laughed and seemed happy to see me pass by them. I think I might have had a flirtation with an actual dalek. My husband unit didn’t seem to mind. And my friends were glad that I finally got why this is so majorly fun!
The thing is, you never know who you’re going to meet at these cons. As I was leaving, Caro Fréchette, author and director of Renaissance Press, shouted at me, “Hey, I like your custome!” Next thing, we’re talking about my book and you all know by now that Renaissance is my publisher!
Since then, I’ve loved every opportunity to dress up (and Caro is my cosplay buddy, which is awesome). This is us at our book launch in October 2016! Party on, Wayne!
I also loved cosplaying as Joy from Inside Out. Author Amy M. Young thinks Joy is my natural personality. Welp, I guess she’s not wrong. I wore my Joy cosplay when I was selling my crafts at the Creative Ottawa Nerds (CON) holiday craft fair last November. That was a total blast.
Being an extrovert and having people come up to me to chat is like heaven for me. I adore meeting new people and if cosplaying makes people comfortable enough to approach me, then so be it.
AND NOW, THE THING THAT’S HAPPENED. In these last couple of months, I took on a new challenge. Caro loves the comic, Rat Queens, and really wanted someone to cosplay with them. I’d never heard of the comic before but was immediately drawn to Hannah, who I call the magical sweary elf. I said, “I wanna be Hannah!”
Well, I had no idea what a challenge making that costume would be. I’m just grateful to the creators of Rat Queens that they draw women with realistic bodies. At 47, my body is more realistic than it’s ever been.
But wow, so much actual swearing went into this project. I needed to make those hair buns, which was not as easy as I thought they’d be. (No joke, I wrapped the wig’s hair around black fuzzy socks that were rolled into a ball. This was the only way I could figure it out.) Then there was the bra. OH, THAT BRA! I couldnae find a pink bra to save my life. Also, my boobs cannot go strapless. Them girls need straps. I ended up totally life-hacking a white and grey sports bra and stretched pink underpants fabric over it. I ironed on the ribbon and used dimensional fabric paint for all the swirly designs on it (and the rest of the costume).
I fretted over this cosplay but thankfully Caro talked me off the ledge and a kind Twitter word from an actual artist and the creator of the comic didn’t hurt either! When Kurtis Wiebe tweeted me (tweet not shown), I didn’t even know who he was. How majorly embarrassing. Caro squeed for me and then I was like, “OMIGOSH!”
I did take out the first volume of the comic from the library and laughed my butt off. So well written. The characters are truly sassy and badass. Now I want to be Hannah more than ever. And I’m buying the series.
I plan to wear my Hannah costume at the Ottawa Geek Market (Apr 1) and for Comiccon. I also really want to get my Drunk Cersei cosplay going for Comiccon. Will let you know how that turns out.
So, am I too old to cosplay? I will be the moment I’ve died. Until then, I’m gluing, sewing, painting, maybe swearing, and creating costumes to my heart’s content.
I am, as I said, a Child of the Enlightened now.
Cait Gordon is an Irish-Canadian warrior princess and author of Life in the ’Cosm, a space opera about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague (Renaissance). Cait’s also the editor of the Spoonie Authors Network blog.