However, I must say that a newbie cosplayer has definitely made her mark on originality in the industry. Meet The Lady Nerd (TLN), a 26-year-old cosplayer from Atlanta, Georgia, with a knack for making unconventional outfits through a minimalist approach.
When we caught up with TLN, she was in recovery from a nasty car accident that left her seriously injured, with a recovery time of 6 months to a year. Needless to say, she had plenty of time to chat with us.
The “Vogue-like” shoots TLN produces add an element of darkness not usually seen in cosplay.
Allow me to explain.
While we see plenty of dark characters with malevolent intentions, and dark shoots with malignant undertones, TLN’s shoots haunt with realism and subtle movements.
As in a Hitchcock film, it wasn’t about the props, it was about the tone. A black and white screen with a piano. Haunting.
Much like modeling, every inch counts during a shoot. Less is more in most cases, and TLN has taken her experience as a print and runway model to her cosplay shoots.
As the art form develops, people will go more and more over-the-top to look like their favorite character, but minimalism will always provide a classically eerie and beautiful result.
While she was in college, TLN discovered cosplay, but didn’t have the budget to construct, as most college cosplayers can relate to, so she wait several years until she produced her first cosplay. Along with your average Renaissance fare costuming projects, TLN developed her costuming skills through designing mythological creatures for her college film projects, a true nerd’s intro to cosplaying.
TLN made an interesting point stating that she doesn’t really have a favorite cosplayer, that she was more inspired by the costumes. However, she does have some great influences in Ryoko Demon, the Russian-based cosplayer with some of the most technically sound cosplays around, and Sarah Scott, AKA, Adella Cosplay, the founder of The Zelda Project.
TLN tirelessly looks for more out of her cosplays, but she loves other geeky things outside of costuming, as she so eloquently stated,
“While most of my geeky interests tend to involve costuming, I usually go one step further to make scripted projects out of it. So I can be found with my nose stuck in the latest Catwoman comic, studying movies for lighting or mood, mermaiding in the local pool, or practicing choreography based on my skills of shaolin, parkour, fencing, or various forms of dance from movies, TV shows, etc.
I also have an affinity for history, so reading up on various geeky news articles can shoot me off to go on a tangent to research the modern dynasties of Europe or what were the cultural and class distinctions of 16th century Venice.”
And while her interests are somewhat intertwined, cosplay has a special place in TLN’s little nerdy heart,
“I love how incredibly innovative the industry is. Individuals from all over the world can come together both online and at conventions to share mind-boggling creations, to inspire, to share, to lift each other up in support, and teach the latest techniques in all manner of craftsmanship. It’s exciting to see what people come up with!”
But with cosplay’s sky rocketing popularity over the past 5 years, critics have come out of the woodwork, especially toward female cosplayers, being that they outnumber male cosplayers 15-1. In dealing with expectations to be perfect, a healthy body image is key.
When we asked TLN if she struggled with body image. This was her response.
“Oh goodness, yes. I thought I was going to get away from it when I left modeling, but alas, I’m finding the same mentality from the fashion world in cosplay. I’ve been disheartened by it as I thought cosplay was more focused on real women with regular body sizes and issues.
But it would seem the same curse of aesthetic perfection perpetrated by the media has taken hold in the cosplay community as well. Remarkable craftsmanship is often overlooked for a toned body and pretty face. Even I feel pressured to stay in peak physical shape, with flawless skin, makeup, and be able to take as good of photos as any supermodel or actress wearing my costume would.
That’s not how it should be. We come in all shapes, sizes, and looks, as do many of the characters we cosplay. The heart of cosplay should be in the creation and embodiment of the characters we love, the fun we have portraying them, and the community we build.”
And on the subject of the sexual nature of cosplay, we had to get her take on it, being a former model and all.
“This is a very touchy subject, one that I will tread on lightly. I believe people are entitled to their opinions as we all come from very different philosophies/ideaologies/religions, so long as it doesn’t bring harm to others or themselves. People’s consciences vary on what is deemed “too sexy” as well as what they find appropriate or comfortable.
But rather than criticize others for doing something one finds to be inappropriate and thus shunning them, I would challenge folks to be positive examples of their chosen level of modesty. Encourage others by example, not tear them down with cruel words.”
And it’s that type of poignant thought process that makes The Lady Nerd an admirable body of work. Her future plans obviously involve more cosplaying, but for now, she’s on the road to recovery, working on a cosplay project that she can use her wheelchair with. The spirit of perseverance is strong in This Lady Nerd, keep an eye for her.
Here are some more fun facts about TLN.
What’s your favorite junk food? Snyder’s honey mustard and onion pretzels. My best friend and I commonly refer to it as “crack”. Why? Well go buy a bag and you’ll see why.
Favorite activity outside of cosplay? Hooping!
Best place you’ve ever traveled? New Zealand, my other ‘home’. Kei te aroha au ki a koe, Aotearoa.
If someone were to write a book about your life up to this point, what would it be called? I don’t know if I’ve had enough tea this morning to answer this question.
What’s the weirdest thing someone has said to you either on social media or at a con? The weirdest message I’ve received was from a follower of my FB page asking if I would be willing to meet up to film a fetish video of me punching him repeatedly. Obviously, I did no such thing and reported the message to Facebook.
If you would like to contribute to TLN’s recovery fund, visit her GoFundMe page