Derek Newman-Stille, eight-time Prix Aurora Award winner for Speculating Canada, encouraged me to write this post. So, it’s all their fault. 😉
Actually, I’m glad they did nudge me to do this because the strangest thing happened to me five years ago. I saw a Uhura doll online, and for some reason, after decades of not caring a fig about Barbies, I had to have her. That was the start of it all. Since then, I’ve climbed aboard the Barbie Fashonista line—which is full of different body shapes, hair colours, and skin tones—and bought the ones that caught my eye the most. In the last year, I’ve also bought Barbies with visible disabilities, then I bought a Barbie and decided they were neurodiverse, so I made a little neurodiversity symbol for their outfit. But my Spoonie Barbies Network is for another post.
Also five years ago, I finally caught the bug for cosplay. Dressed as a fashionista dalek, I met publishing director Nathan Fréchette of Renaissance, who is also a cosplaying nerd, and not only did Renaissance become my publisher, Nathan also became my “cosplaying spouse.” (I have my husband Bruce, but Nathan is my “husband” for fun duo cosplays.)
Put these two geekdoms of Barbies and cosplaying together, then you can understand where I went next. It began with my loving the comic Rat Queens. I even cosplayed as Hannah, whom I call the “sweary magical elf.”
I really wanted a Hannah doll, but none were available. So, one day while Barbie Browsing, I saw this one:
Hmmmm, I thought. Then a lightbulb went on. I bought the Barbie, and with some help from materials at home, my past experience with styling hair, and my trusty Cricut machine, Barbie transformed into Hannah. At least she resembled a Barbie who was cosplaying as Hannah!
I felt really happy with the result! So, a little time passed, and I got nostalgic for Jem and the Holograms. Once again, I browsed for vintage Jem dolls. YIKES! Too expensive for me. Then PING! I decided to try the cosplay thing again.
I found this Barbie:
But after finding a dress online that I thought suited Jem, a pink marker, and a furious cutting of her locks while channeling my 80s teen past, she turned into this!
I can almost hear her singing Twilight in Paris!
Finally, last week I saw Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). Oh my word, I loved this film so hard. I think it was the next day when I decided to search for Harley dolls. And, you guessed it, I decided to make another cosplay attempt.
This is the before shot:
Isn’t she sweet? Very girl next door. So, I did a thing:
I’ve always been someone who loves crafts, so to me, cosplay is “fancy-dress crafts!” It’s really fun, and when my brain is too exhausted to write for my creative outlet, this is another way to be inventive.
Anway, I decided to share my hobby because I don’t think you’re ever too old to enjoy getting your geek on, even with toys or games from your childhood. Life is short. Have fun, I say!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to strategize how I’ll become Bob Ross’ happy little tree.
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.