The art of cosplaying

She’s Rapunzel. She’s Ariel. And don’t forget, she’s also Anna.

Senior Robyn Gruenwald created her cosplay Instagram account in March 2018. She began her cosplay by first dressing up as Anna from “Frozen” and branching out to various other Disney princesses and characters from series such as “Adventure Time,” “Steven Universe,” “Voltron” and more. Her Instagram, named “@annacosplayer,” currently has over 1,000 followers.

“I thought it would be a lot of fun and give me a new way to meet a lot of people,” Gruenwald said. “[Cosplay] really makes my confidence boost because it makes me happy knowing that I succeeded to look like the characters.”

Gruenwald decided to begin cosplaying after being inspired by two cosplayers, “@frostplay” and “@allisonwonderlandcosplay”. It was from them that she chose to style her wigs and edit her costumes. Gruenwald received an opportunity to cosplay with both of her inspirations at WonderCon after Allison asked for a cosplay partner.

“It’s an amazing experience to meet new people and dress up as characters because you can meet photographers and other cosplayers. Everyone is extremely supportive, even if you do not look like the character, because cosplay is for everyone,” Gruenwald said.

To cosplay, Gruenwald typically chooses a character that has a growing fanbase. Subsequently, she purchases her costumes and props, which range from fairy string lights to satchels. She then customizes her outfit to her preference by adjusting its size and adding appropriate accessories. Afterward, she takes pictures of herself wearing the costume to post on her account. She posts her cosplay on Instagram twice every month. Gruenwald hopes to post cosplay more regularly now that she is less busy with school and intends to post daily during winter break.

“Since I’m in drama, I’ve learned to be the character [more] instead of being myself. It gives me an escape from reality, especially [by] cosplaying with [other cosplayers]. You put on this persona and it’s really fun,” Gruenwald said.

Wig styling has also been a part of the routine since the beginning of her cosplaying. Gruenwald buys her wigs unstyled from Fairytale Wigs. Then, she uses her wig foam heads or her styling wig head to position her wigs. Gruenwald also applies water or essential oils to her wigs to remove excess hair spray. Next, she fixes the wig by brushing and cutting them if necessary.

“I look back, and I’ve come pretty far from the beginning. My makeup [and] my wigs [have] improved. I’ve [also] gotten different costumes, and my content is really important on Instagram,” Gruenwald said. “If you [want to] make your own costume, go ahead. But don’t settle for less. Save up and do the best you can instead of settling for something less, [even if] it will take time to get there.”

However, cosplaying does have some obstacles that come with it. Ever since the start, Gruenwald had to budget her money and save up for better outfits. She also manages complications with her photos or scheduling.

“The one thing that really helps me get through it is once I do post, I see all the positivity coming through the post,” Gruenwald said. “I’ll get comments like ‘You really look like Anna,’ ‘You’re an amazing Anna,’ ‘You look amazing’ [and] a whole bunch of hearts. It’s really sweet.”

Gruenwald currently attends cosplaying conventions such as WonderCon but plans to attend more, including the Anime Expo, Anime Los Angeles and the Official Disney Fan Club Expo. She also hopes to cosplay Marceline and Princess Bubblegum from “Adventure Time” and Peridot from “Steven Universe” for future conventions and Instagram posts.

“I really fell in love with [cosplay] when I went to the first [convention],” Gruenwald said. “My favorite part is [walking around] with a group and everyone would point us out. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is actually being noticed because sometimes you think, ‘Maybe I’m doing this and it’s not being noticed by anyone.’ But then in the end, when people do that, [I realize that] what I am doing is making a difference.”


By Ethan Park Staff writer
Photo by Jessie Dixon