All images © KIKASSPHOTOGRAPHY
At very short notice this year, I decided to attend the Winter London Film and Comic Con at Earls Court Two. When I say short notice, I mean 12 days before! I also made the decision that I wanted to have my first attempt at Cosplaying. This probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal – I mean, sorting out a costume sounds easy right? Things change slightly when I add in the fact that I’m a wheelchair user.
In the run up to the convention, my mindset was that I wanted to make my wheelchair part of my costume. This was something that changed afterwards, but at the time, I felt it was important. So after a bit of a brainstorm, (with my engineer dad – always handy haha!), we decided on the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. Deciding on the character was a bit more complex due to time constraints. Being my first attempt, and after a bit of internet research, I plumped for Cersei Lannister. Components of her costume were easily available online, and I could guarantee they would be there in time. Knowing a bit more now than I did about the Cosplay “scene”, I realise that the shop bought dress isn’t really the done thing, but it served a purpose at the time.
My dad did an amazing job in building my throne. Countless hardboard swords, all spray painted and then details added in marker. Eyelets, cable ties, cardboard and a bit more spray paint later, and I was all set. The wig was a bloody nightmare because I’m not great with getting my arms above my head, but with a little help from my friends, on the Saturday morning I was all set. Shaking with nerves, but all set. I mean, a larger lady trying to be the beautiful Cersei, in a wheelchair – I was terrified of people looking and laughing.
I needn’t have been worried. From the second I got into the queue, I felt totally welcome. My wheels weren’t wheels – they were a throne. I was Cersei Lannister, not Shelley, the chunky girl who was terrified of the world looking at her. It was a huge sense of escapism, and I buzzed the entire day. I had the best day. I HATE having my picture taken usually, but I wasn’t “me” – I was Cersei, and I was able to shrug off that hatred. Which was good, because I am awful at saying no to people, and it would have been a lot of people to say no to!
One of the highlights of my day was meeting Joe from Wheels of Steel Cosplay, and his dad, Jon. I had an amazing chat with them about wheelchair cosplay, and it was at that point I realised that my wheelchair really didn’t matter. It was totally meaningless. I could choose to incorporate it in my costume, or just ignore it and focus on my outfit and accessories. It was like something had clicked in my mind, like a puzzle piece slotting into place. I could be whoever or whatever I wanted to be, and really enjoy escaping from the reality of my day to day life.
By the end of the day, I was shattered, but so very happy. I can’t wait for next year. Everyone reacted so positively, and I couldn’t have felt more included by everyone. Now to plan for next year… hopefully I’ll be at a few more, with some new alter egos!