BY GEORGIA VALDES
People dress in costume on Halloween night and others take it further and dress as whoever they want, whenever they want. Arin Hurd, Kelsey Lindsay, and Lazaro Drake enjoy participating in cosplay. In their free time, they spend hours creating and wearing costumes of their favorite characters.
Arin Hurd, a student at the University of South Florida, fuels her love for Japanese anime through her brand, Firebird cosplay. Under this alias, Arin has created a platform in which she can publicly display her art of constructing costumes. To further this experience, she attends comic and anime conventions in character.
“It feels so good when someone comes up to me and loves my work,” Hurd says. “It makes all the time and effort all the more worth it. It also allows me to come out of my shell and it’s how I’ve met the nicest of people.”
“I want people to know that anyone can do this,” she says. “I am just a regular person who’s also experimenting. I want them to watch me and feel inspired to do something. I’m here to help and have fun.”
Kelsey Lindsay has always been a fan of animated film. Recently she became motivated by Hurd to join the cosplay community.
For her first few costumes, Lindsay began by trying closet cosplay. This is where you use and slightly alter everyday clothing to mimic a character you wish to portray.
“This is all very new to me. I’ve never been very crafty, but I’ve learned so much so far,” she says.
She has since graduated into making full ensembles. This year, Hurd and Lindsay attended Matsuricon as the duo team Lee and Guy from the popular TV show “Naruto.”
“If you’re interested in trying out cosplay, choose a character that you’re excited about,” she says, “While you’re in character, you’ll feel all the more proud of your hard work.”
Lazaro Drake is the president of the cosplay sect of the Gamer’s Coalition Club at IRSC. During meetings, Drake leads the group in discussing what it means to be a cosplayer from design tips and tricks to community events.
“I found that, through my work, I could spread the happiness and positivity that I feel while wearing a costume,” he says.
Drake has begun Cosplay in the USA, a company geared toward utilizing cosplay to better the community. Through both volunteer and commission work, he hopes to see people enjoy his passion as much as he.
“I want people to see that conformity does not matter. When you’re in the costume, you can be any size, shape, gender, sexuality, it really doesn’t matter”, he says, “You are the character.”