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by Aly Runke, contributing writer

Having the experience of competing in a convention’s costume contest/masquerade for the very first time is something much of the cosplay community remembers fondly. The weeks and long hours of sewing, embroidering, fabricating, hiding mistakes and complex wiring, all for a few moments to wow the judges and a performance in front of crowds of all sizes. This year, cosplayer Sara Weimer and I got to have this experience at Phoenix Comicon. Weimer crafted an Elsa cosplay from the Disney sensation Frozen, and I created Merida from Disney’s Brave. Neither of us had ever participated in a competition but were eager to show off and have fun.

When asked how she felt about participating in the masquerade as a first-timer, Weimer answered, “Honestly [the experience] was a little bit overwhelming at first. I mean going up on stage by yourself or even in the group in front of a giant crowd is intimidating. I was feeling so, so nervous. All day prior the nerves never really settled until after I was on the stage. Once you’re up there all your nervousness pretty much goes away, you’re up there enjoying yourself in a way only you performing in your cosplay can.” This is a sentiment all cosplayers can agree with, I think, for as we gathered in the audience after each performance everyone discussed how we lost our fear and just went!

For Weimer and I, not only was it our first time in cosplay on stage, but we also were sitting backstage beforehand, only a few participants away from our time in the limelight, figuring out just what it was we were going to do onstage. I went with the idea of playing up the gag of my audio being “Brave” by Sarah Bareillas and went with a sassy vibe.

Weimer described how not having a planned-out skit added to her overall anxiety throughout the day leading up to the masquerade. Once out there, we both owned the stage: Weimer truly a snow queen, regal as can be, and I a sassy little thing blowing kisses into the audience.

Weimer ends with a sentiment I think all cosplayers in the masquerade would echo, “I’m sure I will remember that experience for the rest of my life.”

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