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Yaldamn (New York)

Sailor Moon VHS // Photo : Max Scoville / Originally posted Nov. 2017

I was visiting my parents at my childhood home and stumbled upon these old Sailor Moon VHS tapes I used to watch obsessively as a kid. I’ve always wanted to cosplay Sailor Moon (the icon, the legend) but wanted to take it to another level. When I saw the VHS tapes I had a flash of nostalgia and it just hit me to be the box. Last year I had cardboard strapped to one side in my Joyce Byers cosplay and this year I had it strapped to four sides. Next year I’m going to fully transform into a UPS box.

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The process was very Photoshop heavy. I had to take a picture of each side of the box then clean it up and enhance it on Photoshop, sometimes remaking elements by hand if they were too fuzzy. Then I built the cardboard box by hand and attached the printed and laminated sheets to each side. Plus I had to toy around with getting it to balance around my waist using a belt to prop it up.

The reaction at New York Comic Con was ASTOUNDING! Everyone was so kind and so many people told me I was a flashback to their childhood made me so happy. The best part was I’d hear someone scream in excitement and I’d turn around and see they were also cosplay a Sailor Moon character and then I’d scream in excitement. I heard a lot of “mint condition in box” jokes. People would take a picture with me hugging the box which I thought was absolutely hilarious. I was overjoyed that I could bring back a little nostalgia to people!

Stained Glass Belle from Beauty & the Beast : yaldamn // photo: @allisonthephotographer
Belle has always been one of my favorite Disney princesses but I had never found the motivation to cosplay her. People had already done gorgeous interpretations...

Stained Glass Belle from Beauty & the Beast // photo: @allisonthephotographer // Originally posted April 2021

Belle has always been one of my favorite Disney princesses but I had never found the motivation to cosplay her. People had already done gorgeous interpretations of Belle so I didn’t think I had anything new to add. But then one day I was rewatching the movie and at the end the camera zooms out to show a stained glass window portrait of Belle and the Beast in prince form. I thought it was beautiful and super artistic so my brain immediately went to “how do I do this.” Plus any time I have the opportunity to incorporate a background into my cosplay I’m game.

Originally, I thought maybe I could be the stained glass window itself (similar to how I did my Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 cosplay) but then I thought what if instead of just cutting a face hole for Belle I actually became her and replicated my makeup in a stained glass fashion so it’d all blend into the aesthetic.

I met Costume Super Center when I was at NYCC cosplaying Hypebeast Princess Peach and later they reached out asking if there was any cosplay on my list that I’d be willing to make a tutorial for. They mentioned general ideas of things that could work and when they said Disney this cosplay immediately came to mind. It had been on my list forever so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring it to life. I’m very grateful that Costume Super Center was down to let me do my thing and pursue this idea.

I also wanted to write a tutorial that could be useful outside of just one specific cosplay. I’ve incorporated backgrounds into my cosplays for years whether it’s been for Stranger Things, Sailor Moon VHS, intro Faye Valentine, etc. So doing a stained glass window background seemed like a very “me” thing I could explain and share with others. Plus learning the basics of attaching a background to your cosplay could go beyond just stained glass Belle and be versatile for whatever your needs may be.

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The actual window background itself was a long process of foam work and Photoshop. I touched up the stained glass image, cleaning up lines and removing Belle and the Beast so it would just be the window then had it printed as a giant poster. From there I made a frame out of EVA foam, scoring it and adding fake painted roses on top for detail. There’s a box attached to the poster and hidden by my back where I looped armature wire that I could wrap around my shoulders like a backpack. Unfortunately I came out with the tutorial right before Covid so I was never able to test run it in the wild of a convention but hopefully once everything is safe again I’ll get the opportunity.

What I love about cosplay is that there’s a huge variety of reasons people do it. Some people want to pay homage to their favorite show. Some want to feel powerful and awesome like their favorite character. Some really admire the aesthetic of certain designs. It’s a very freeing hobby that allows for so many different interpretations and that’s amazing. I think what’s changed for me over the years of cosplaying is that I’ve truly begun thinking of it as an art form as opposed to just playing dress up. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to buy a cosplay and be the character and that’s it then that’s totally okay! You do you as long as you have fun with it and be kind.

As I’ve cosplayed more and more I’ve seen the ingenuity and creativity of fellow creators and it’s truly inspired me to not let the outside perception of cosplay as some frivolous nerd hobby stop me from considering it an art. People have some INCREDIBLE cosplays that are on par with paintings, runway fashion, you name it. Being able to explore the cosplay realm and see people be encouraged to put their own spin on their cosplays has increased my love and admiration for the community.

Joyce Byers from Stranger Things : yaldamn / photo: peinaishiya
Like the entire world I, too, love Stranger Things. I definitely knew I wanted to cosplay as a character from the show but I wanted to elevate it. Seeing such amazing and creative...

Joyce Byers from Stranger Things // photo: peinaishiya / originally posted October 2016

Like the entire world I, too, love Stranger Things. I definitely knew I wanted to cosplay as a character from the show but I wanted to elevate it. Seeing such amazing and creative Stranger Things cosplays before made me want to up the ante. So I thought, hey, why not recreate her madness in its entirety with the wall and everything?


Once I had the supplies it actually only took two days to finish. The clothing itself was easy to find, the hard part was figuring out how to strap the fake wall to my back. I got a science project display board, covered it in fancy paper to make it look like a wall then attached a small cardboard box to the lower half. I weaved wire through the box into the green jacket so I could put on the background almost like a backpack. I had to get a little Dexter’s Lab with it, but I’m happy with the result.

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Photo: piercingmetalnyc


Everyone was SO NICE! Seriously, the reaction was the best thing about the entire experience. I couldn’t walk more than two feet without getting stopped for a picture. Everyone was incredibly sweet and kind and just reminded me of why I started cosplaying in the first place. I think my favorite interaction was with this guy dressed as the actual wall from Stranger Things. He was amazing and I got to yell at his shirt, “Talk to me, Will!” which was perfect.

I actually am pretty new to cosplay. I’ve done some smaller cosplays here and there but didn’t really start to get involved until this past Anime Expo where I cosplayed Jake Martinez from Tiger and Bunny. That was my first all out of cosplay. I was inspired by my best friend Phoebe who is a wonderful cosplayer! She made me want to pursue the fun and challenge of making a costume from scratch.

From cosplay I’ve learned that my back is a lot stronger and can carry a fake wall for a lot longer than expected hahaha. Cosplay has shown me that I love to push myself to think outside the box and attempt to make something that I’ve never seen made before. Just being able to talk to other cosplayers and learn from them as well as just bond with other fans has been such a great treat that motivates me to keep cosplaying.

I constantly get a kick out of those Tony Hawk tweets about people not recognizing him in real life. So, I thought it would be funny if I became his “twin” in a way. Clearly I don’t look anything like the man so I decided to utilize what I know best:...

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 // Photo: PS_Cosplay // originally posted July 2018


I constantly get a kick out of those Tony Hawk tweets about people not recognizing him in real life. So, I thought it would be funny if I became his “twin” in a way. Clearly I don’t look anything like the man so I decided to utilize what I know best: making weird faces and creating life-size props. The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was apart of my and most people’s childhood so I liked the nostalgia element of cosplaying one of the games. Also one of my favorite YouTubers, Jacksfilms, goofs on Tony Hawk Pro Skater all the time so that probably brought the game to the forefront of my memory as well hahaha.

So I live on the East coast and Anime Expo is on the West coast. I had to figure out how to build an attachable frame that also was light and small enough that I could put it into my luggage. (I was not about to pay $100 for oversized luggage.) What I ended up doing was cleaning up the cover on photoshop and enlarging it to my measurements. I then had it printed and laminated at the same local printer who did my Sailor Moon VHS cosplay. After that I built a PVC pipe frame that could attach to a harness I had so I could wear the costume without holding it up. I cut the PVC into segments small enough to fit into my suitcase and then attached them to the poster with industrial strength velcro. Lastly I added an elastic strap to the back of the cosplay so I could roll it up like a poster tube in case I wanted to walk the con without getting in people’s way.

The reaction at Anime Expo was incredible. Everyone kept telling me how they grew up with this game. I’d walk by and see people smile or start laughing which is the best response I could hope for. On my way out of the convention I walked past a line of people and they started applauding. It was such a cool feeling that people liked it so much!

So I’ve cosplayed as pretty girls and beautiful women but I’ve never had more guys saying someone needs to wife me or that I’m “bae” than when I’ve cosplayed Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. This group of guys took my picture and I told them, “The sickest kick flip is the one in your heart.” They went WILD and started cheering. As I was leaving one of them kept saying, “Are you bae? Are you bae? ‘Cause I think you’re bae.” It was amazing.

If you ever feel doubtful about your cosplay abilities; if you ever feel like you’re not good enough know that cosplay isn’t a competition. It’s about joy. If your cosplay makes you happy then that’s all it needs to do. There shouldn’t be gatekeeping with cosplay. It’s for everyone, so have fun and join the party!


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