Cosplay All Over The World: Shelby of Astoria, New York

64568_3786212981883_731063565_nBleeding Cool Senior Cosplay Correspondent, Endymion Mageto, talked to Shelby ahead of New York Comic Con.

How long have you been going to NYCC?

2010 was my first year going.

What was your first time at NYCC like?

Walking onto the show floor that first time was unlike anything I had experienced up to that point. I was dressed up in an early version of my Xena costume and nervous because I had never worn it out in public before. As soon as I walked into the place, people were swarming me for pictures, fan-girling over me and saying the kindest things. I got to bond over a mutual love of the character I was cosplaying with so many new interesting people that seemed just like me. I felt a sense of belonging almost instantly.

If you could change one thing about NYCC what would it be?

It always seems to be too crowded. I can barely get through some areas at all on Saturday. I think it would be better if less tickets were sold What makes NYCC different from other conventions?

What is your best memory from NYCC?

Meeting Kevin Sorbo, the actor who played Hercules, two years ago while wearing my Xena costume. I was so nervous but he was so awesome. He chatted with my friend and me for a minute before taking a photo with me.

Dark Xena FW 2 1149761_520132191393517_1048930299_o Cliff 2

Apart from cosplay what do you look forward to most at NYCC?

Spending time friends that I only get to see a few times a year. When you travel around for cosplay you meet a lot of people who live all over the U.S. and cons are sometimes the only time and place you get to see them. That’s easily what I am most excited about it.

What costume are you working on for NYCC this year?

This year I’m part of a group cosplay from the Series: Uncanny X-Force. I’ll be cosplaying as Cluster/Lady Fantomex on Saturday.

How long have you been cosplaying?

I’ve made costumes for plays and Halloween since I was kid but I’ve been ‘seriously’ cosplaying for about three years.


Which costume are you most proud of ?

Xena. Hands down. I worked on that costume on and off over a year, continuously adding to it and making it better. It’s at a point now where its completely streamlined, comfortable and accurate.

How do you decide on which costumes you’ll work on next?

First one is that I’ve just finished a cosplay and its time for me to just pick my next character. I always go for characters that I have a strong connection to and like their physical look. If Im going to spend all that time and money making a new costume, I have to be in love with the character and really like the costume design. Second scenario is where I’m asked to be a part of a group cosplay. Sometimes people ask me to make a particular costume to go with theirs or they ask me to pick a character that could go with theirs. I like to have a good balance between these two.

Which other cosplayers do you admire? Are there any that you’d most like to work or compete with?

Rana McAnear, the Face of Samara and Morinth is easily one of my favorites. She’s been nothing but supportive of my Samara cosplay and I always look forward to seeing her happy sweet self at conventions. The work of Propped Up Creations and Punished Props never fails to wow me. The talent those people have is ridiculous.

What are the most difficult parts of making or wearing your costumes?

Sitting down, haha. Costumes typically aren’t made like clothes in that they take a lot of practicality into account. With my Xena costume it’s a corset dress and full armor so I have to sit and stand straight all day. You have to be really mindful of what your body is doing to not damage the costume and that can be physically exhausting.

1273304_478335152274499_1287110147_o857411_538288732909312_949419242_o xena and gabrielle

What is the hardest part/thing about cosplay?

Dealing with the occasional sexual harassment on the floor and on-line ridicule after the con. When people pose with you when you’re in a costume, physical boundaries kind of go out the window and they grab or hold you in places you normally wouldn’t to a stranger. Then after a con, if your picture is featured on a big cosplay page you have to deal with people making negative comments about your costume, weight or body shape. You have to learn to let those kind of comments roll off you.

What is the cosplay scene at NYCC like?

There are so many amazing cosplays every year at NYCC and it seems that every year more and more people are getting dressed up. The only thing is that there are a lot more people not wearing costumes then there are people who are in costume. So if you cosplay, be ready to be stopped often and by swarms of people for pictures. Especially if you have something that is really well done and has a big fanbase.

What advice would you have for anyone cosplaying for the first time at NYCC?

Have confidence in yourself and have fun! Don’t compare yourself negatively to other cosplayers that may have costumes that look ‘better’ than yours. Have a positive friendly attitude, try to be social and talk to other cosplayers whose costumes you enjoy.

Do you have a website or fan page where people can see more of your work?

People can follow my cosplays and progress on Facebook at Cerberus Productions is a two woman cosplay duo that I am proud to be a part of with my best friend Shar.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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