MEET FAIRWIND COSPLAY
Can you tell us about your first cosplay?
I grew up playing pretend and using my imagination with a variety of costume pieces, ranging from Beauty and the Beast to Xena: Warrior Princess as a little girl. My first “official” cosplay was the female Pokémon trainer from Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen way back in 2008 for New York Comic Con! The costume was largely constructed out of, believe it or not, felt but sixteen-year-old Fairwind was having the time of her life!
Do you have a cosplay piece that you are most proud of?
I think the costume piece I’m the proudest of is my Elk Shield which is one of Sophitia’s weapons from Soul Calibur. I grew up playing the Soul series and had a blast constructing the shield from papier mache and foam. I’m currently in the process of remaking it since the shield has seen some stage combat over the last five years.
What do you hope to achieve through cosplay?
As a professional actor and character performer, I love making people happy by bringing their favorite characters to life. There is nothing more wonderful in this world than making a child—or child at heart—smile when they see a princess or a superhero roaming around! I also hope to use my platform as a cosplayer and professional mermaid performer to help educate people on social justice issues such as racism and fatphobia in the cosplay community. We can all do better as allies, and I strongly believe that if one has a platform, one should use it to learn, inspire, and encourage one’s self and others!
Is there a cosplayer that you look up to or inspires you?
My dear friend fricklefracklemarco is a constant source of inspiration to me. She is a staunch advocate for social justice, a highly-respected business owner, a talented performer, and an excellent storyteller! We’ve collaborated on many performance opportunities both in-person and through storytelling tags on TikTok. She always pushes me to be the best version of myself and she’s a true friend.
If you could give any piece of advice to new cosplayers, what would it be?
Don’t be intimidated, everyone starts somewhere. Closet cosplay is valid; buying costumes online is valid; altering existing garments as a form of cosplay is absolutely valid, as well as crafting your own costumes from scratch! As long as you’re wearing a costume you’re cosplaying, and you belong here in the community. There is no place for gatekeeping of any sort. If you’re a BIPOC cosplayer, disabled cosplayer, LGBTQ+ cosplayer, a hijabi cosplayer—you are welcome here, and no one has the right to tell you otherwise.
What would you say is the hardest part of cosplaying?
For me, one of the most difficult parts of cosplay is battling body dysmorphic disorder while in costume. I am very critical of my body image and it’s something I’ve struggled with for years on my own. I sometimes have trouble celebrating myself and it can be a difficult struggle to put on a princess costume and not feel as flawless as the “real thing,” you know? But you push past it for the love of the hobby. Cosplay is supposed to be an outlet, and nine times out of ten, I enjoy cosplay regardless of what my silly brain tells me! Plus, your friends are always your best hype squad. Lift each other up in and out of costume!
What are you looking forward to next year?
Next year, I’m looking forward to downsizing my cosplay closet-- if you can believe that! That being said, I’m also looking forward to writing new acting and live-action role play story tags on TikTok. These stories have been a fabulous way to connect with new cosplayers, writers, and actors, and I’ve been so lucky to create with old and new friends on the platform. I can’t wait to make more magic next year!
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?
My cosplay resolution next year is to keep pushing myself to be the best performer and cosplayer I can be. I’d love to improve my wig styling skills, especially for complicated princess wigs! I’ve always been scared of teasing but those larger than life bangs don’t shape themselves! I’ve watched so many wig styling classes online and I hope I can hone my skills and do my excellent online teachers justice. There are so many amazing things to learn from the community!