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Photo by Chris Stengel

Christina.Is.Crafty: Cosplay Mom of Two, Wife of One, Aspiring Many-Faced God

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Christina is a familiar face around the Southern California Cosplay scene. I first met her at a Doctor Who event in Burbank CA. She was cosplaying as Donna Noble from Doctor Who and her adorable kids were dressed as The Doctor and Clara. Meeting her was a pleasure as I was already familiar with some of her other cosplays. The effort she puts in to her cosplays is inspiring, as is her openness about body positivity. I knew I definitely wanted to share her story. Today we share with you all a little about Christina and her adventures in cosplay.
Tell us a little about yourself. 
Mom of two, wife of one, Aspiring Many-faced god. I’ve been cosplaying for conventions since 2012.
When did you first discover cosplay? About 10 years ago, my husband took me to San Diego Comic Con. I’d never been to a convention before. It was actually easy to get tickets back then! I remember thinking how fun it was to see people dressed up.
What was it about cosplay that attracted you to it? I’d been a theater performer and designer for about 15 years, but cosplay was a way to dress up without having to audition or anything. Before I’d have to hope that a director wanted me in a show to be able to play a certain part. Now everything is up to me.
What was your first cosplay? Power Girl. I’d made Halloween costumes before, but that was my first honest-to-goodness cosplay
What has been your most recent cosplay? Princess Poppy and Branch from the movie Trolls
In Frame : Instagram @budders_dj (Waldo) and @chelsisan

How do you decide on what cosplays to do? Usually it’s just based on really liking the character and if I know how to make it. Sometimes another family member will make suggestions. Usually the Overwatch ones are family requests. My husband and children are big fans of the game. I picked Mercy because I like winged characters. Now I’ve played her and I like her a lot more.

What is the process of building your cosplays like? I try to find tutorials first. Luckily a lot of people have posted Weeping Angel and Mercy tutorials. And Evil Ted’s foam videos have been invaluable. If I can’t find a pattern, I draft it by using the Saran Wrap and masking tape method. Sometimes I’ll just start cutting foam and see how it goes, but I’m trying to be more exact lately.
 How long does it take from start to finish? Some take longer than others. Poppy and Branch were quick because I had very few pieces to make myself. The entire family was done in a week. My first weeping angel took three months because of a lot of trial and error. The second weeping angel took about four days.
On your Instagram account we see that you do a lot of make up cosplays.What inspires those? Mostly just seeing a movie or show I really like. Especially if I don’t feel like I have the time or skill to build the whole cosplay, it’s a fun way to become the character in just an hour or two. A lot of makeup artists like to get into collaboration groups and that can be a fun source of inspiration. We’ll decide on a theme and a deadline and just go for it!  How do you go about creating those looks?  Sometimes I follow the Ellimacs tutorials on YouTube, but mostly I just start painting and see how it goes.  I know I post them online for people to see, but honestly those makeup looks are 99% for me. I make whole cosplays to meet other people at cons, but the makeups are my way to relax, practice and pretend.
Photo Eddric Lee Photography

What’s it like creating cosplays for your family? I love it but it can be frustrating. Kids are fickle. What they like and enjoy one week can change by the time the convention rolls around. Wearing things at home for fun becomes a chore when you have to wear it longer. I’m still learning how to make perfectly comfortable costumes for them.

How do your kids react to your cosplay and cosplays that you make for them? They think the ones I’ve made for myself are fun. Even the scary ones. They’re probably the only kids that watched the Blink episode of Doctor Who and didn’t get scared. Because, as they put it “those angels aren’t that scary because they’re just in a costume” They always get excited when I’ve made them something, especially if they’ve asked for a character, but wearing stuff all day can get hard for little ones. My daughter is more patient with wearing things all day, but my son, who’s a year younger, will only wear things for a little while before he’s DONE.
What advice do you have for someone who is new to cosplay and wants to get started in it? Go for it! Pick a character and find a tutorial! Buy a costume! Put together a casual cosplay with clothes from your closet or a thrift store. Look for meet ups for your fandom online. Just start and have fun!
You are a big advocate for body positivity. Is there any thing you want to say about that? 
For the longest time, I was ashamed of how I looked and it didn’t get me anywhere. It didn’t help me make the world better. It didn’t help me be a good friend or a good mother. It just doesn’t help. It shouldn’t be a bold choice to just love yourself as you are, but we are bombarded with the message that we are not good enough and that we should feel bad about it. And with cosplay, I love when someone is a different color, age, shape, or gender than the original character just as much as when someone looks exactly like them, so that helped me feel happier in my own skin.
You can follow Christina on her Instagram account:

Born and raised under the California sun. Monica can be found around the Southern California comic book and pop culture convention scene. She can usually be seen either behind the lens of her camera or in cosplay. Lover of all things geeks but especially Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Star Trek.