The Magic Of Cosplay
by Cristi Nino
People throughout time have shown their love for fandoms in different ways; but one of the most unique and creative ways is through costuming.
For anyone not familiar, costuming (or cosplay, as it is widely known) is the act of creating a replica outfit worn by a pre-existing character. The concept is simple enough, but those who are very invested in the hobby take it even further with wigs, make-up, prosthetics, etc. People can hone their craft for decades, to the point of being able to create their own patterns and sew surreal costume pieces or even use vacuum-forming machines to create armor.
It was through this hobby that a group of us, fans of both cosplay and Once Upon a Time, found each other.
It started as a simple Facebook group. Strangers uniting because we were all planning to make various OUAT costumes for Dragon*Con 2012 in Atlanta, GA. The idea being for us to meet up at some point at the convention and get photos taken together. For me, the plan had been to cosplay as Rumplestiltskin (despite my incredibly space efficient 5'0" stature) from as early as January of this year. I cosplay characters that I love, despite the boundaries of gender or height, and Rumplestiltskin was definitely the character I was most taken with.
Then 'Skin Deep' happened.
Before you could say "chipped cup" I had made plans to cosplay as Belle, too! And as time went on, the Facebook group grew. However, we were still strangers and only spoke about the show and about our costume progress, such as posting photos of our fabric choices or trading links to various wig shops. But, over time, we began talking about other things and getting to know one another. As the convention loomed nearer, we started laying out the details of our group (such as when and where to meet, who the photographer would be, etc.) and we also got more excited at the prospect of finally meeting each other in person. It was my wifely duty to drag my husband into all of this, of course, so I created a Jefferson costume for him so that he could partake in the group. After all, Jefferson is the Captain of the good ship Rumbelle!
We all truly bonded over the show, though. We discussed our favorite characters and why we had chosen to cosplay the characters that we had. For instance, there were several Evil Queens, which I think shows the popularity of her character. There were also several Belle and Rumple duos! Funnily enough, most of them were real life couples who were obviously big Rumbelle fans. I was a loan Rumplestiltskin with no Belle for the group (because I had plans to cosplay as Belle earlier in the weekend with my husband as Jefferson) but it turned out just fine for me because there were a couple of lovely Belles with no Rumple, and we became fast friends.
The turn-out was truly astounding. Everyone was wonderful, the costumes were amazing, and we had so much fun! There were serious times in front of the camera, of course, but most of the time was spent laughing and talking. After the convention, many of us went ahead and officially became Facebook friends and have kept in touch on a daily basis. Our cosplay group is even still active! We've begun discussing the season two premiere, and making tentative plans to have another gathering at next year's Dragon*Con!
What could have easily been just any other show has become so much more to all of us. Of course we all love it with enough passion to spend our time, money and effort re-creating the beautiful costumes for our own enjoyment…but now, though we'd never planned for it to happen, I guess there is another purpose. Because now we've forged friendships that I hope will last for many years to come.
Nova - Amy Avery
Blue Fairy - Valerie Layne
Nick Gunnar - Rumplestiltskin (Skin Deep Outfit)
Coleen - Belle