Three of the Best Cosplays I Love to Wear
Cosplay and Cree
Cosplay is one of my absolute favorite things to do! I love creating costumes, researching prop making techniques, learning poses and, not to mention, the con going experience. While cosplaying is a hobby for some, it has become a creative outlet for me. With it I am able to put all of my artistic abilities to good use. I have never been one to sit still, so having such an immersive hobby helps to keep me busy even on my laziest of days!
Over the few years that I have been putting my nose to the grindstone with cosplay, I have collected quite a few costumes. Between my 28 days of Black Cosplay challenges that I do every February and my work with my team the UsualRangers5, I’ve done a plethora of characters and it gets hard to keep track of them.
In fact, there are times where I have a hard time deciding which cosplay I want to wear to an upcoming con! Despite my natural indecision, I have a few that are at the top of my list of cosplay to wear based on ease, wow factor and recognizability.
The first cosplay I love to wear is my Okoye. As the General of Wakanda and the Leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye is a cosplay that demands attention. I couldn’t put my finger on her most impressive aspect, but a lot of people lose their minds over the bead work on the tabard and the bald cap I learned to apply just for this cosplay!
She was the first difficult cosplay I’ve had to make. The time spent making her was filled with trial and error, stress, and tears. The Black Panther movie went all out with their costume design and the intricate details of the costumes are mind blowing. On one hand I was lucky and made my Okoye cosplay after the movie was released since I was aiming to wear it to the Infinity War premiere.
On the other, the movie didn’t even begin to show me just how many details were in this suit. One thing that is difficult to see in any movie Okoye appears in, is the fact that her leggings are have a gold shimmer and aren’t just black!
I didn’t see this detail until I went to San Diego Comic con and was able to see the suit in person. I pride myself in paying attention to details and while most don’t notice or care, I kept in in the back of my mind for when I decided to upgrade the cosplay a bit.
Wearing Okoye is comfortable. I feel like I’m wearing normal clothes and that’s more than I can say for most of my costumes! She doesn’t wear heels, the tabard is made to frame the body not add bulk and her make up is super simple. The bald cap can be hit or miss however. Some days its easy to apply and looks flawless!
Other days it looks like someone tried to peel my skin off. But it doesn’t take away from how the cosplay works in most temperatures, despite the full coverage and the amount of Wakandan salutes I receive from those who see me!
Princess at the Bank
The second cosplay I love wearing is my Princess Tiana gown! I work part time for a princess party company and to be honest, this cosplay was something I never thought I’d be able to do! I’m just now getting into the swing of sewing more complex items and when I first started being Tiana, I was below a novice at the craft. The reason I love being Tiana is two fold.
For starters, it’s fun to be a princess! Even though it’s hard to walk around in a hoop skirt that makes it a mission to knock over anything within its radius, I can’t help but enjoy the happiness that my inner child feels! Growing up, there weren’t any black princesses. Black girls had to deal with picking Princess Jasmine because she was tan, Pocahontas because she was tan or Belle…because she was a smart brunette.
The problem was that while these girls weren’t white (well except Belle), they weren’t black either. I remember wearing the hood on my jacket and pretending it was the long flowing princess hair that I could only get if I wore a wig or got my hair braided for the summer. Thinking back I realize just how damaging that was to my self esteem. I never felt like I would ever be as pretty as the princesses I idolized. Granted I never could because they’re cartoons and that is the most unrealistic expectation of beauty, but my skin would never be fair, my hair would never fall past my shoulders and effortlessly flow in the wind.
Tiana came out in 2009 and I was already on my way out of high school at that point. I figured I would never be able to fulfill that vacancy in my heart from child hood. I even considered working at Disney World as Tiana! But there is a size requirement and at 5’11, I am 4 inches too tall to even apply. But then, 3 years after I graduate high school, I stumble upon Enchant My Party, a princess party company local to Savannah Ga. Not only do I get to fill my vacancy, I get to prevent that vacancy in the hearts of little black girls today!
The second reason why Tiana is a thrill to wear, is because of the response I get from little girls. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go to the grocery store, the bank or even to Taco Bell after a princess party! I once had 3 events in one day and didn’t have time to take off the outfit. In between gigs I deposited my check and did a little shopping that I had to do.
After a while I do forget that I’m wearing the costume, only to be reminded when I feel a pair of tiny eyes staring a hole in my dress. Its then that I realize the crazy magic I just brought into this child’s life. If I was a kid and saw a Disney Princess in real life, I would lose my mind! It’s the greatest feeling in the world to be able to give children these random precious memories that will stay with them the rest of their lives!
Its Morphin Time!
I am 6 years younger than my older sister and 6 years older than my younger brother. Growing up I felt like more of an only child than the middle sibling. What memories I do have of playing with my older sister before she hit puberty and was too cool to hang out with me, was watching the 1995 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie!
We would marathon it so much that we’d quote the lines to each other over the most mundane things. That movie captivated me so much! It was like the Power Rangers were REAL! The TV show always had this uncanny valley effect on me. I loved puppets so the monsters never felt scary or like a real threat. But Ivan Ooze was terrifying and the way he was taking over the adults was so simple and yet genius!
I felt that the kids were going to fall off the cliff and die at the end, I was worried that the Rangers wouldn’t be able to get their powers back and the CG effects blew my mind!
Now keep in mind I was 5 or 6 when this movie came out so its not like I had a good grasp of what really looked good or bad. But it wasn’t just the action of the movie that got me. It was my sister calling dibs on the Pink Ranger while I got the Yellow by default.
At first I was upset because children accept simple concepts like pink means girl. (It also didn’t help that they pushed Kimberly as the pretty one SUPER hard). But somewhere down the line I started to love my role as the Yellow Ranger and yellow became one of my favorite colors. However, being the Yellow Ranger was one of those long shot dreams I kind of put to the back of my mind. Because even if I could wear the Yellow Ranger Suit, I wouldn’t have a team.
That all changed when I went to college and met the first members of the Usualranger5! We made the team together and filled slots with our friends who each came to the group with a ranger they all were as kids. What was more perfect as that there weren’t any repeat roles.
We had someone who was Red as a kid and he didn’t fight with who was Blue for that color because Blue was that color when he was younger! The team seemed to form itself effortlessly! Those suits were the first cosplays that I ever made and it was a huge undertaking. We made six suits in a matter of two months so everything I learned had to be speed up times 10!
Every time I wear my suit, I’m not only fulfilling a childhood dream, but I’m surrounded by my friends and suddenly I don’t feel like such an only child.
Will this list ever change?
Whenever I think about cosplaying, these three costumes pop up in my mind. Despite my ever-growing cosplay closet, these three suits will forever have a soft spot in my heart. I’ll take any and every opportunity to wear them because it’s not just how much others love them, or the attention they attract. It’s what these cosplays individually mean to me and the child Cree I am constantly trying to impress.