Sunday, September 27, 2020

Nerdbot Cosplay Spotlight: Miranda

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Stephanie Sandmeier
Cosplayer, Host of Nerdbot's "What's Better" & "Foodie Function", cast-member of MyxTV's "The Doll Life", fashion show coordinator for Anime Pasadena and usual front-desk chick for Nerd Knights. I like cute things, love disney and dinosaurs, writer and actor.

Cosplay can lead to many things: social media influencing, guest at cons, staff at cons, and even businesses. I am happy to present someone who has grown into an entrepreneur with multiple companies and podcast: Miranda Jo.

Please introduce yourselves. 

Hi, Hello! My name is Miranda and I am a Cosplayer, photographer, singer, actress, model, and professional princess. I’ve been Cosplaying since 2008 – which was even before I knew that dressing up had a special name. I am 27 years old and currently live in Cleveland, OH, am the Co-Director of Cosplay for Nostalgia Conventions – which you probably know better as ColossalCon. I have two cats named Luna and Tiabeanie (aka Bean) and a hubby I call “B-man”. 

How would you define “Cosplay”? 

I would say that cosplay is the art of costuming: using your own imagination. It’s building and putting something together that allows you to immerse into a fantasy world built around your favorite fandoms.

What is your favorite part of it?

My favorite part is definitely the very end of the building process, where you put all of your pieces on together for the first time. I’ve cried during those moments. It’s in this instance where you realize that all the hours, time, energy, and the last little bit of your money all came together for this; something you made with your very own hands. OR if you bought something, then something you saved up and waited Patiently for. It is such a great moment and it feels like all of that hard work has paid off!

What are your principles of cosplay?

I don’t think there are really principles to the art of cosplay; the goal is to have fun – and if I did have a principle, that is definitely the top one. I was in a cosplay group for several years that was very demanding of my time and my life – that sucked the fun out of it. I was making costumes for things I had no interest in, was side characters I didn’t care about, and was forced to be at certain gatherings or risked “ruining” the aesthetic of the team. It was a very difficult time of my life, but it taught me that cosplay is supposed to be fun. If anyone is taking that away from you, then they are not really your friend. Have fun with it! From the starting point where you choose patterns and fabrics, to the building process where you learn new things, to the time you step out onto the con floor. Enjoy the moment.

What would be one of your embarrassing cosplay moments?

Trigger: Harassment

Oh Oof – gonna go dark here. Does being forced to kiss someone count? Looking back, I definitely consider this as harassment. I’m going to talk about this, because I don’t feel like we speak on it enough, especially within the cosplay community.

I was freshly 21, and was having a conversation with an older gentleman about musicals. There was an entire group of people gathered, all of which we knew for the most part. He and I were well into the conversation when he suddenly grabbed me and kissed me. He was probably in his late forties/early fifties. I was completely taken aback and could not move – to make it worse, he did it in front of his wife. A friend of mine immediately stepped in and pulled me away as I just cried. I had never been so humiliated in my life. The next day I sobbed and apologized to his wife because everyone made it out to be MY FAULT. Because I shouldn’t have been talking with a married man who had been drinking that late at night. Did I mention his wife was right there? 

Looking back on it today, I should have never been treated like that. I should have never been put in that situation and I sure as heck should not have needed to apologize. He never apologized to me. In fact, no one did. But hands down, the most embarrassed I think I’ve ever been. 

As I’ve grown, I make a note to look out for the younger Cosplayers in my life. I don’t want anyone to be in the bad situations I have. Learn from me: read the room and know your comfort limits. If you feel unsettled, leave or tell someone you’re with. And try to always have a buddy with you. Your safety should always be a priority. Look out for your friends and offer a hand or ear if something is bothering them. Safety is more important than fun! 

Out of the many cosplays that you have done, which one is the most memorable and why?

Probably Starfire – she was the first costume I ever made 100% from scratch with no help. I patterned her myself: from the bracers and resin casting, to the shirt and skirt to the shoes. Wore her to Montreal ComicCon, which is my favorite con I’ve ever attended. It was because my best friend, Parker, and I had so much fun together and my family was there. It was also my first time visiting Canada and let me just say that Canadians are great! I just had so much fun at this convention and it was so relaxing. No stress con! And who can say they’ve cosplayed with their whole family? I also flew with my sewing machine as my carry-on in a suitcase so I could finish my boots. So the memories are just endless for this trip!

Have you learned more about yourself since you started cosplaying? 

Oh absolutely. First and foremost – be careful who you trust in the community. I learned that I was too trusting. Some people will guide you and help you grow, while others will use you and drain you. Like all aspects of life, there are bad apples here too. The goal of cosplay is to grow, so surround yourself with people who truly support and love you. And in return, be a light in the community!

Show others love and support the way you want to be shown support. Be kind. We’re all just nerds trying to have fun. I’ve also learned to trust my create-ability. Just go with it! No one can be 100% perfect. That is something I wish little Miranda knew way back when I first started. I had whole cosplays I never wore because I thought they were not good enough. Trust your imagination to guide you. You are good enough.  

I do recall that you had a podcast: The Princess Pod. Please explain the premise of the podcast, has cosplay helped?

I do have a podcast! I talk about everything ranging from costumes to ROIs to company culture. As for cosplay playing a part – it absolutely has helped! I am able to fix and/or make costumes from what I’ve learned from this community. Learning to sew was one of the biggest aspects of helping me grow as a business owner. It also allows me the chance to see outside the box into a world of creativity. 

Outside of Cosplay, what are your interests?

I am a busy body. Before COVID-19, event planning was definitely one of my biggest passions. I love decorating and making centerpieces. I also make Nerdy wedding bouquets on some occasions and I have a little Etsy shop. And my new favorite hobby during quarantine has been making mouse ears. I don’t think I’ll ever sell them, but I love making them for friends! 

Another passion of mine is definitely film and photography. I love editing as much as getting the perfect shot… and have taken more costumed photo shoots than I have normal photo shoots. I’m also a character performer and Dino mom: taking care of 11 dinosaurs – four of which are over 7 feet tall. So far, that has been taking up much of my time. Who knew training dinosaurs would be such a hard job?! But still the coolest job ever.

Is there anything you feel like I may have missed that you would like to add?

Cosplay is an expression of yourself through your favorite fandoms. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough or that you can’t accomplish something. You’re amazing because you chose to love something enough to bring it to life. THAT is what cosplay is all about. When you’re doing what you love, you will grow. You’ll get better as time goes on – so there is no need to be perfect; but no matter what, love what you do and the characters you portray. Be proud that YOU bring a character to life. YOU made them real. It doesn’t matter if you spent 9 months making a costume or $90 buying it. You had enough confidence to put on a costume and live outside of the “normal” box. And besides, normal is far too overrated anyways! 

If you want to check out Miranda’s podcast – Princess Pod – you can check it out on Spotify. You can find her products on Etsy and her company on this Site. Also show some love to Miranda of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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