She is another very versatile cosplayer. She will happily cosplay something current or take it to the other side by gender bending it. It amazes me how easily she can take your favorite maile character and flip them over to the other sex.
Well, I am sure you would rather see, so lets get on to this weeks cosplayer interview.
What is your name, where do you reside and what is your age?
My name is Shay Wood, aka Shaydor, and I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am 24 years old.
What first started you on the road to cosplay?
A good friend introduced me to cosplay several years ago. I went to an event where she and another friend were cosplaying, and saw quite a few people dressed in costume. When I saw it, I knew I wanted to try it, too. I’d always loved dressing up and making things, so it suited me well.
How do you choose which characters you will Cosplay?
The design of the costume and the level of skill it will take and cost always play a part, but the most important factor to me is that it’s a character I really love or admire. I like being able to relate to a character or look up to them or learn something from them, and that’s what draws me to a character.
I won’t often be seen acting as a character in cosplay (although this is mostly just because I'm very shy) but there will always be something about that character that has made me want to be like them or admire them enough to cosplay as them. An example of this is Lara Croft – she is strong, adventurous, fit, beautiful and intelligent, and she is my inspiration to become fitter and healthier (and once I have reached that goal, I plan to make several of her costumes).
I see that you like to gender bend characters (crossplay). What drew you to unique version of cosplay?
Well I like both gender bending and crossplay for different reasons. Gender bender cosplays are fun to do because it is a very ‘free’ form of cosplay to me – creating one’s own interpretation of a character as the opposite sex. I enjoy getting creative and also have a very girly side to me so end up turning male characters into female.
How is the art of cosplay developing and what conventions are there for cosplayers around you?
The cosplay scene here in South Africa is still small but it does seem to be growing well. On an international scale, I think that people are starting to enjoy and accept cosplay more, some of the really good cosplayer even make a living by cosplaying.
Personally, I am not very skilled and can’t afford to make the most amazing cosplays, but I still cosplay and work around what I have or can buy, and what I am able to make. One can be a cosplayer no matter what their skill level and no matter how they interpret the character.
There are three annual conventions around my area: Upcon (held in Pretoria) around April/May, Icon around July and our biggest one, rAge Expo in September/October (Icon and rAge are held in the Johannesburg area). There are also events held by A.I. Fest from time to time, although I have not attended one yet.
When not cosplaying, what do you do?
I am a ‘house-wife’ (house-girlfriend?) so I have a lot of free time. I write and it is a goal of mine to have my writing published one day. I have recently started writing a comic book I’d like to draw. I enjoy photography (quite a few of my cosplay pictures are self-taken but I take pictures of things besides myself sometimes). I spend a lot of my time messing around on the internet or Googling interesting things.
For any aspiring cosplayers a little shy, what words of wisdom do you have for them to get started?
Well I think that this depends what they are shy about. If one is simply shy about being seen wearing a cosplay (thinking others might make fun of or judge them, perhaps), then its best to try not to worry about what others think of what you wear or look like. If one is shy in general (like myself) then it can be hard to get into character or enter competitions, but, in my experience at least, cosplaying can help boost confidence.
As a shy person, getting into costume and walking around with peoples’ eyes on you (especially when its competition time) is frightening, but I always give myself a pat on the back afterwards for doing it, and it gets easier each time. This confidence carries over (at least a little bit) into my everyday life, too.
Where can we catch more of your Cosplay at?
Blog | SocialCos | Facebook
Visit Cosplay South Africa, where you can find other South African cosplayers too.
Here is a Shout Out to our Photographer: Quisto Elliott
Some Additional Cosplay Photographs
|with Felicia-Anne Jocelyn Verschuur|
I want to thank Shay Wood for taking the time to write to me and to the Photographers for the great photos that you get to see here today.
Want to be my next interviewed COSPLAY STAR? Drop me a line a bluedrakon (at) gmail (dot) com!