Star Wars Cosplay

In certain circles, I’m sure – among those who don’t know an elf from an Ewok – cosplay is considered weird.

Even for me, a self-identified geek, the world of cosplay always seemed to be the ultimate boss level reserved for uber-nerds only. After all, I don’t possess the crafting skills necessary to construct a convincing and functional costume, and I certainly don’t have the confidence required to strut about in public in a leotard or green body paint or fake armor or alien headpieces.

But thanks to cheerful internet message boards with step-by-step instructionals and my budding patronage of Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft store, I realized that I’m craftier than I originally thought. As for the confidence? It turns out I had that backwards all along.

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing

I completed a master’s degree last May, so I’ve been job hunting for over a year. Before that, in between college and graduate school, I was job hunting for a year and a half. Through it all, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a steady stream of support (both financially and emotionally) from my parents, and my friends have proven to be impossibly understanding in general as well. But the soul-sucking grind of the job hunt is a reality I still have to face every morning when I wake up, wondering why I should even bother getting out of bed when I have nowhere to go, no one to report to, and no discernible proof that I have served any purpose whatsoever by existing on this Earth.

Therapy and career counseling (which serve similar purposes for me these days, seeing as how prolonged unemployment correlates with depression) have certainly helped with muting – or at least, lowering the volume on – the insidious voice that informs me on a regular basis that my current lack of productivity means I’m a worthless human and a detriment to society. But I needed something else, something more concrete, to prove to myself that I am still, despite the mindless cover letters I spitefully churn out and despite the impersonal rejections I receive in return, a creative and luminous being.   

I needed a project. A big project. A project that would force me away from my computer screen, my phone screen, my TV screen. Tangible proof of my existence over the passage of time.

Star Wars Cosplay

Do. Or Do Not. There is No Try.

So I began to craft. Choosing a subject matter was easy; I had been escaping to the Star Wars galaxy far, far away for months now. One of my main obsessions has been Ahsoka Tano: the snippy, bright-eyed padawan of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who morphs into a wise, tragedy-hardened mentor figure in Star Wars Rebels. I was enthralled by young Ahsoka, captivated by her energy and her power, and charmed by her empathy and optimism. I wanted to replace my listlessness and apathy with her ferocity and her enthusiasm. In short, I was totally done with Allyson Gronowitz, so I decided to be Ahsoka Tano instead.

I felt a spark of purpose light my way over the next few months, keeping my eye on the ever-important (at least, important for this procrastination-prone writer) deadline: WonderCon 2017 in Anaheim, California, just an hour-and-a-half drive from where I live in L.A. With enough self-awareness to know that constructing the Togruta headpiece for myself was, at the time, beyond my skillset, I commissioned an incredibly talented Etsy vendor to take the reigns for that element of the cosplay while I set to work on the rest, making frequent trips to Jo-Ann’s and texting my roommate things like “Come to my room to look at my loincloth!!1!”

I tried on bits and pieces of the costume every step of the way, but it’s hard to top the thrill I felt when I stepped in front of the mirror for the first time in the complete get-up. I hadn’t followed the screen-accurate instructions to a tee – I already owned a pair of boots and a belt that captured the spirit of the costume closely enough, so I decided not to shell out the money to construct new ones. Despite these liberties I took with the details, the gestalt effect was striking. And even more than the flash of pride I took in my own handiwork was the sudden and expanding glow of joy that hit me when I looked in the mirror and saw something other than my disappointing self – instead, I saw a bold, brave, battle-ready badass.

When I made my Ahsoka Tano cosplay debut at WonderCon, I was immediately bitten by the cosplay bug. I realized I needed to make some adjustments to the costume and better prepare for the inevitable wardrobe malfunction, but I was ready for the big leagues. I was ready to hit up San Diego Comic Con.

Continue Reading How Star Wars Cosplay Gave One Fangirl a New Hope >>

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