Cosplay & Drag: The Beginnings

The only existing picture of me from NYCC 2011

When you start out doing drag and cosplaying it’s NEVER what you expect it to be. It’s not glamorous, it’s not easy, it’s “as easy as you make it”. I’ve never been about making things easy for myself. The first convention I ever went to I was about 8 years old and I met Elvira and Sable (Rena Mero Lesnar). It was at the Meadowlands and I didn’t realize it at the time, but conventions were really going to change my life forever. Mind you I had been doing drag years prior to going to NYCC 2011 so I already had some semblance of what “cosplay” was. Being Ursula and Cruella De Vil first in 2008 and 2009, and then a revamped Ursula in 2010. Even before that I was going to showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in drag. So dressing up has always been a thing I do.

Cruella – 2009 – I still have that coat

The first convention I did was New York Comic Con 2011. A friend of mine suggested I go with her. This was back when New York Anime Fest and NYCC were one. She had a table, with NYAF, and she wanted me to be her “booth babe” and also help her sell some merchandise. She sold trinkets, goggles, jewelry bits etc. At the time I didn’t know anything about con life other than it was “Halloween on steroids”. I was intrigued if a bit intimidated. I had commissioned someone, Max Kirkland, to make me an Arkham City Catwoman(TM) cosplay. Images of Selina in that suit had been released earlier that year and I was DROOLING over the ensemble. Unfortunately, I was unable to get it, despite paying for the suit. I won’t rehash old bitterness, so I made the best of it. My friend had made me a corset (as pictured) and I donned some tight black jeans, goggles, a whip (when you were able to bring a whip to a con), false breasts, and a white man tailored shirt. That was on Friday and Saturday. I was a ghastly sight. I decided to wear the above picture the last day, Sunday, because it was just easier. All of this to say, it sparked a severe interest and I made a vow that the following year, 2012, I would outdo myself.

Ursula – 2010

The Cruella coat and Ursula dress were both created by my mother. She did most of the labor on both. Ursula was a drafted pattern, while Cruella was a store bought dress and gloves. The coat was the Mccalls 4222 pattern. Had it not been for my mother telling me to just start sewing my own costumes I wouldn’t be where I am today…at the height of mediocrity. I’d also like to point out this was before I realized the importance of sharp eyebrows. As the saying goes…

“We all gotta start someplace!”

The Birth of Tom Catt

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