I've posted a lot of progress pictures for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Rainbow Dash and Soarin cosplay I created for my boyfriend and me to wear to PAX East and BronyCon this year, but I haven't really put up a ton of pictures of the finished product. This is my second cosplay ever and I learned a lot during the process, including how to embroider and how to use the character I was portraying as inspiration for my workout routine.
The reason I was holding off on posting photos is that while we were at the con, we managed to do a photo shoot with a professional photographer, Ger Tysk from Chou-wa Photography. My friends Stephanie and Emily had already arranged shoots for their costumes and raved about how fun she was to work with, plus she was only asking $15 dollars per person to do the shoot. When you've spent over 40 hours of work and a fair amount of money on building a costume (and who knows how many hours sweating at the gym to look good in it!), it's natural to want to celebrate the finished product with good photos to commemorate the occasion. This seemed like the perfect way to do it! She was a pleasure to work with and she's currently working on a photobook called Breaking All the Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self Expression. You should definitely check out her page and see if she's headed to a convention near you!
When I chose Rainbow Dash, I didn't know if I could pull off the costume. I had done Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender at New York Comic Con because he was a giant sky bison and I figured the internet couldn't lampoon me for that choice as an overweight lady. Doing Rainbow Dash, a character who's been done by extremely fit and talented cosplayers like Jessica Nigri amongst others AND is known for being the "jock" character on the show is risky because your body is a part of your success. Sadly, if you can't "embody" the character then it's almost like you didn't make the costume at all. I'm sure there are a lot of people who disagree with that, but I think it holds true (even though I don't like saying it). I do think that first and foremost, cosplay is something you should do for yourself and if something makes you happy, then you should absolutely go for it. Personally, I know that feeling like I can't pull something off makes me more miserable than proud, no matter how hard I worked on a costume.
When it came to Rainbow Dash, I just knew I loved the character enough to challenge myself all the way to the finish line. I made the choice in October and I had until the end of March to see it through. I had no idea if I'd be satisfied with my physical progress. Despite my fitness improvements, the support of my friends, and my pride in the costuming I'd done, I was even worried while I was getting into the costume and even at times while I was at the convention. That's not to say I didn't enjoy myself. I just have a habit of seeing my flaws. It's one of the things that landed me in this mess with my body in the first place. I'm really hard on myself and I can be cruel to the point of being crippling to my own development as a person and as an athlete.
It wasn't until I saw these pictures that I understood my success. Not only do I feel great about the way I look in them, but I see the fun in my eyes and in the brightness of the costumes. I can feel the love that my boyfriend and I have for these characters and for each other. I see the whole journey. I feel the ache in my legs after a long run, something I never would have done were it not for Rainbow Dash. I see the athlete I didn't think I could live up to. I'm proud that I didn't adjust the costume to my body, but that I worked on my body to fit the character and to better myself. I see myself energized after a week of finally getting all the food I was supposed to as opposed to abusing myself by depriving it. I can say that I feel beautiful when I look at those photos and that I actually believe it- hell, I can say I'm AWESOME and believe it! I know I'm working and I have every intention of continuing this journey for the rest of my life, but I can say that seeing these pictures makes me proud of where I am now.
Some days, that has to be enough.
So without further ado, here are the pictures of Rainbow Dash and Soarin, shippin' it up at PAX East 2013.
Look out for us at BronyCon in August because we're going to wear the costumes again! It's kind of nice not worrying about building a whole new costume, but I'm sure if I keep progressing like I have that I'll have to do a little "refitting." Hell, that's a problem I'm ok with having. Next on the docket? Hitting my goal weight and tackling the Xena costume I've always wanted to do.