Earlier this week, Shelley guest posted on the blog with a write up of her Rapunzel cosplay, and today we get to find out even more about this cosplay rock star! Read her interview below!
How and when did you get into cosplay?
I've always loved making costumes, even as a kid. I would make them to wear for movie premieres, or dress up parties, but I never really knew cosplay was a thing until a few years ago. My first experience actually seeing how amazing the cosplay community is was when I went to my first con, Edmonton Expo 2014. From the moment I walked into the con, I knew I'd found the community I belong in!
What do your friends and family think of your hobby?
They're very supportive! I'm so lucky to have a family who supports and encourages me to cosplay. My mom takes some of my photos, and my grandma is my sewing mentor and helps show me how to do anything I don't understand on my own yet. Some of my friends think it's a bit strange, but they still support me because they see how happy cosplay makes me. I'm also lucky enough to have many friends who cosplay too!
If you're still cosplaying in 10+ years, do you think it will have an effect on your cosplay choices, or the characters you choose to portray?
Absolutely! The more experience I get, the more bold I'll be in choosing characters with more elaborate outfits, and cosplays that are more difficult to create. I want to always be pushing myself and growing as an artist, and making the same kind of thing over and over isn't going to help me do that. I also can't wait to be a badass old lady someday, still cosplaying! One of my favourite things to see at conventions is older people cosplaying and rocking it!
What do you do when you're not in cosplay or geeking out?
I love being outdoors and in nature. I can spend hours and hours wandering around the woods on my dad's acreage! I discovered in spring 2015 that I have a passion for wildcrafting, and spend as much time as I can in the spring, summer and fall learning and practicing that. Camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, lake swimming, I could do these things every day! When cold weather has me trapped indoors, I just try to keep my hands busy with craft projects. Oh, and thrifting! There's no feeling like treasure hunting for hours at Value Village and then finding the EXACT thing you've been searching for, or an amazing collectible piece!
How do you choose your next cosplay?
There are a lot of factors that go into deciding. Time, budget, availability of supplies, etc. What I tend to do is put all the ones I want to do into my cosplanner app, and then keep an eye out for supplies on the cheap. When I begin to accumulate a few things for a particular cosplay, then I'll bump that one up to the top of my priority list! It also depends on coordinating with friends for groups at conventions, and sometimes it all goes to heck when a new guest gets announced and I HAVE to cosplay one of their characters to meet them! It's all a bit chaotic and random sometimes with so many things influencing my choice, so at the end of the day I sometimes just have to go with my gut instinct and choose one!
What is your dream cosplay?
Belle's ball gown from Beauty and the Beast. It was the first movie I ever saw in my life, and it's still my favourite. I'm waiting until I hit my goal weight, and until I feel confident enough in my sewing abilities to make the gown from scratch by myself!
What is your favorite cosplay you've made?
Viking Snow White! It's my fave for so many reasons! The inspiration behind it has a deep personal meaning to me, It allowed me to meet so many amazingly talented cosplayers who I now am lucky enough to call friends, and our Disney Viking group won Best Journeyman in the Edmonton Expo cosplay contest! (My first time winning!) I've never put in more work on a cosplay, and never been more proud of anything in my life.
What cosplay did you put the most time into?
Mistoffelees from Cats! It took me seven months because I had to learn to knit, learn to make tails and wigs from yarn (and then I bought the wrong kind of yarn so it took way longer than it should have!) and hand-fray and sew on HUNDREDS of small pieces of organza! If I did it again today, it would probably only take me a couple months, instead of 7! That was my first big costume project, which I've been considering pulling out of retirement some time this year!
What is your favorite convention to attend?
Hmm that's a tough choice! As much as I love Calgary Expo, Id probably have to say Edmonton Expo. It's smaller, so it's a more relaxed atmosphere. I have an anxiety disorder, so big cons can be very overwhelming for me. Edmonton has all the fun of a larger con, but I'm able to stay calm and relaxed there!
Do you have any cosplay or convention pet peeves?
People who shame or make fun of other cosplayers. Whether it's teasing someone for a poorly made costume, or for having a different body type or skin colour than the character they're cosplaying, or telling someone they cheated by buying their cosplay instead of making it, I have ZERO tolerance for that kind of elitist snobby crap! Cosplay is for everybody, it's for fun, and it doesn't matter who made the costume (as long as credit is given), or how accurate it is as long as you're enjoying yourself!
Do you have any horror stories or mistakes you've made that others can learn from?
Yes! Always make sure carrying straps on props are SECURE AND REINFORCED! One of the straps on my Viking Snow White shield broke in the parking lot before I even got inside the con because the wind was so strong that day! It was my first foam prop, and I hadn't secured the straps as well as I should have. The wind caught the shield and snapped one of the straps right off! Thank goodness someone with a glue gun at their booth saved my butt!
Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for other cosplayers?
Just do it. Don't be afraid to jump right on in! Everyone starts from the bottom, so don't be afraid to cosplay just because you don't know how to make armour from worbla, or sew impressive ballgowns. Start with what you're comfortable with. Don't be afraid to ask other cosplayers for advice or help! I promise you most of us don't bite and would be more than happy to offer whatever help and suggestions we can! If you have questions, ask someone or Google around, there are tutorials for almost everything! Mostly just don't be afraid to try cosplay because you don't feel like you're good enough because I promise you, you are! None of us knew what we were doing when we first started out so don't let inexperience hold you back. Don't let yourself be intimidated by advanced and intricate cosplays, only inspired.
Where can we find you on all things social?
What an awesome interview. Shelley Elise is stunning and friendly. Make sure you go follow her on all things social!