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Advice From an Experienced Cosplayer: An Interview

ShieldmaidenSA may be a cosplayer, but not in the way you think. While most cosplayers stick with classics like these, SheildmaidenSA takes her own twist on classic characters by combining their personas and style with steampunk. 

“Growing up I was a theatre kid, so cosplay or historical reenactor are the next non-professional steps. I didn’t have any re-enactment groups in my area so I chose cosplay. My first Renaissance villager that I wore to the Shakespeare festival in Ashland, OR. Since then I have done multiple renaissance costumes, just not that exact one.”

ShieldmaidenSA has many characters she cosplays, is starting some original characters like a badass Viking Queen.

“I really enjoy my original character of Penelope Peacock. She is a Steampunk Paleo Potantist (she studies plants that were around during the dino ages) She’s just really fun, outside of the box character. Most people think of Steampunk as Dark and Brooding. While she may be cursed, she is bright and full of life. Her backstory and her goggles really bring her to life,” ShieldmaidenSA said.

ShieldmaidenSA has done cosplay for years, placing herself in the shoes of characters much like she did when she was in theatre, only this time, she’s not one of the cast members of an elementary performance of Cinderella. Instead, she channels her inner Megara from Hercules, with a cosplay she hopes to have out in 2021. 

“Under normal circumstances I cosplay at least 2-3 times a month at various events. Locally I cosplay at several of the events hosted by the NDG events at the Wonderland of the Americas Mall here in San Antonio. I’m a member of a cosplay group called Heroes and Villains of Cosplay, as a group we host a Live action role play (LARP) event, game days which are sometimes costumed events. I also attend the Texas Renaissance festival and I create cosplays for that event specifically,” ShieldmaidenSA said.

Cosplay isn’t something anyone can do in one night (obviously). It’s not like everyone can throw on a wig, blend it into their hairline, get their makeup right, find a perfect costume or even figure out how to put in colored contacts without practice. If cosplay were that easy, then everyone would do it, which is why ShieldmaidenSA has some great tips.

“The best advice I have for any new cosplayer is to cosplay in a way that makes you happy. All cosplay is valid regardless of if it is made or purchased. The more time you give yourself to complete your cosplay the better. You will hear people talk about “Con-Crunch” where they have stayed up 36 hours to get a cosplay finished before an event, when you do that you end up feeling too tired or burnt out to really enjoy the event. Not to say that there won’t be times when you are finalizing the finishing touches the night before, but most of your cosplay should be done at least 1 week prior to your event,” ShieldmaidenSA said.

People can find wigs anywhere; off amazon, cosplay websites and beauty stores. Contacts, the final finishing touch of many cosplay aren’t something ShieldmaidenSA recommends buying anywhere without any eye evaluations.

“Contact lenses are a little bit trickier in my opinion because you are talking about something going into your eye that if not handled correctly could inflict damage. I recommend that before you look into ordering contact lenses that you Schedule an appointment with an optometrist for an exam for a contact lense fitting. There are different shapes to your eye and in some cases getting the incorrect dimensions can at least cause irritation at worst can injure your eyes,” ShieldmaidenSA said.

Cosplay characters aren’t the only thing ShieldmaidenSA is making during this crazy time.

“In the age of COVID I have used this time to plan out some new cosplay ideas as well as cosplay repair. Since I make most of my cosplays I have also refocused that skill to help with things such as masks. I converted my Etsy shop to mask in order to help make fabric masks more available. I also donated batches of masks to several non-profit groups who could use cloth masks for their non-frontline employees,” SheildmaidenSA said.

But no matter how many contacts you buy, how many wigs you place perfectly styled, how many hours it took to get your makeup, a cosplay can ever be complete without a little sass and confidence.

“There is a spirit of a Viking queen that you really have to embrace. Viking women were some of the first to be able to Own lands and have titles independent of the men in their lives. There is no time to doubt yourself or to feel insecure in your cosplay when you walk out onto the floor or into a faire embodying that spirit,” SheildmaidenSA said.

Follow ShieldmaidenSA on her social media platforms!


Instagram username: ShieldmaidenSA

Tiktok username: ShieldmaidenSA



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