COSPLAY, NOUN. A COMBINATION OF ARTISTIC ENDEAVORS USED TO BRING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS TO LIFE. A lot of cosplayers hone their craft by designing and making costumes, complete with makeup, bodypaint, and props. Much to Medina County’s credit, we are home to the Cosplay Queen herself.
“Cosplay is literally a mesh of costuming and role playing,” says Morgan Paige, Founder of Princess Morgan Cosplay and an acting major. It is the perfect hobby for her, as she is an artist, dancer, and actress that is taking the world by storm. “I have been doing cosplay as a hobby for 5 years, but for the past two I have approached it much more professionally. Cosplaying is a good way to combine all the artistic endeavors—it’s a package of everything I love, and it will help steer me into what I’d like to do as a career. When I started cosplaying, I never would have expected that I’d continue doing this and make a business out of it.”
Morgan designs costume pieces for herself, and she has recently started designing and selling pieces to other players in the tight-knit community. She chooses to cosplay characters that she feels represent an aspect of her personality, and she has earned acclaim for the combination of her acting skills and costuming.
“Some people like to present themselves as the character to bring a degree of acting into cosplay,” says Morgan. “A lot of conventions will host in-character contests, which is basically character improv. I have won six contests, and during one of them I was spotted by someone from Wizard World Conventions in 2016. That’s when I started doing guest work at conventions.”
As a professional cosplayer, Morgan handmakes all of her costumes. Some, such as her Corpse Bride and gender-flipped Loki costumes, take upwards of five hours to put on. Like many cosplayers, though, she first started out wearing premade costumes. Her first was of Lenalee Lee, a character from the D.Gray-man anime. It was a gift from her grandmother. She attended her first comic convention with her older cousins five years ago, and with the help of her family her passion took off.
“My first convention was just an amazing experience, and I knew I was hooked,” she admits. “It was an awesome experience, and everybody was just open and accepting. They understand that everyone starts somewhere and offer support to newbies and pros alike. And we all share tips, because it seems like everybody has a particular forte that they excel in.”
Some seamstresses, she continues, are exceptionally talented at sewing gowns. Other cosplayers make armor and props. Morgan, however, believes her specialty is makeup.
As a child, Morgan loved Disney, video games, comics, and anime. She had a sewing machine, which she used to make her own stuffed animals. She always possessed charisma and a creative streak, and when she was in high school she harnessed that energy into cosplaying. At the time, she remarks, people were unfamiliar with cosplay and were taken aback by it. However, the Internet has allowed its popularity to spread and has made it easier for cosplayers across the world to network.
“There are so many people I look up to and have learned from online,” she explains. “I am self-taught, thanks to a lot of online tutorials and advice. Now, I stream videos and post lessons on how to get into character and present yourself well. I also design stickers,