The term is a combination of the words costume and play. What started in the realm of geekdom has become so popular that even a modeling genre has grown up around it. It's become quite the phenomenon. Cosplay is like the old masquerade ball kicked up several notches.
Cosplayers often compete at science fiction, fantasy and anime conventions that take place throughout the year including:
- Cosplay Summit
- Dragon Con
- Star Trek conventions
This obviously isn't the type of contests for wallflowers. You need to be comfortable showing off and being judged. But there is a costume type for every personality. If you're not the scantily clad anime girl type, choose a Victorian-garbed steampunk character to emulate. Or maybe a Klingon or even a Borg drone.
Some cosplay contests offer entrants a chance to show off their comedy and acting skills with skits. Make-up and body paint artists shine in these contests too. Fandom is a supportive culture so there's plenty of encouragement at these events. For many fans it's more about sharing their love of the character they're portraying or the genre they've chosen their costume from.
Online sources to find contests include AnimeCons.com and SciFiConventions.com. Cosplay isn't just about winningóthough that's a bonusóbut you can also engage your creativity, meet new people and travel. Some prizes are simply recognition for your cosplay ingenuity while some contests will have cash or other tangible prizes. Have fun and good luck!
Here are two resources with lots of cosplay ideas and instructions from Amazon.com:
1,000 Incredible Costume and Cosplay Ideas: A Showcase of Creative Characters from Anime, Manga, Video Games, Movies, Comics, and More (1000 Series)