By Summer Seasons
Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday outside of Christmas, because not only did you get candy, but you also got to dress up! Playing dress up was one of my favorite things to do—a large part of the reason I’d eventually become a drag queen—it allowed you to live in a fantasy world for even just a minute. I don’t have many memories of the costumes I chose, although I do remember when I was in grade school I went as my mother—you know…a Career Girl—and I’d later go in drag for a few parties in high school, but the dress up bug had bit me.
I would often hide a lot of my nerdy tendencies from the people I wanted to be associated with in high school, because if something wasn’t cool to them then I couldn’t appear to like it either. I remember having a friend who was absolutely obsessed with ninja turtles and the game Magic, and I’d spend the night at his house and use his clothes to dress up and play games or act out scenes with him, but the very next day we weren’t allowed to speak of it or let anyone know that we were into that sort of thing.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I’d meet friends who got really into the nerdy things I’d repressed so long in my life. I remember it came time to register for AIDS Walk, and my best friend Andrew said, “We are going to dress up as Superheroes.” All I could think to myself is that it sounded so fun, but how could I possibly do that? I wasn’t really in a place to express my nerdy side anymore. With much encouragement from him I decided to dress up as Rogue. She’s always been my favorite character because she had the ability to take anyone’s power, but also kinda lived her life her own way. So I spent weeks researching what she wore, what it would look like and finding the perfect accessories. I hit the bricks of Pioneer Square dressed as the best Rogue I could come up with and people lost their minds! It turns out I was really good at this Cosplay thing because I knew how to pay attention to the details and make things that were more difficult or complex.
People know and love these characters (or in some cases hate them), and they are going to pick apart that costume to make sure it’s perfect.
In the years to come, I’d find myself being constantly inspired by my friends for not only AIDS Walk, but Halloween too. It became a new and interesting challenge for me and I’d sometimes even take suggestions from people in a Facebook poll. Someone suggested that I do the White Witch from Narnia and I became obsessed with how to make it perfect. The thing about cosplay is that the devil is in the details. People know and love these characters—they may love them or in some case hate them, but they are going to pick apart that costume to make sure it’s perfect. I tore apart two dresses and sewed them together, created a staff wrapped in fabric and icicles, built a crown out of icicle ornaments and hand wove hair into the crown to make it perfect, and it all paid off! The costume was well received and people knew exactly who I was dressed as!
One time I found myself at the movie premiere of The Avengers, dressed as Black Widow with all my other friends dressed as the other characters, and it was an incredible feeling watching people take pictures of and with us and celebrating our mutual love of the people we were each portraying. I knew that it would be a huge risk to do drag at the Lloyd Center Cinemas, but I’m so glad I did it because it was very well received.
All of these experiences taught me that it was okay to let my nerd flag fly. You see it may not be for everyone and that’s okay, but for me, it gives me a chance to escape, a chance to celebrate the characters that shaped my life, and to live out my dreams of pretending I was them from a very young age. I think in our current state of turmoil that I’m more focused than ever on helping bring joy to myself and others by doing what I love, and what I love is cosplay. My friends and I will keep dressing up, we will keep things nerdy and we will entertainment you.