How much do you know about Birmingham’s cosplay scene? Two experts give us the details—including a BSC counselor!

Birmingham cosplay
When she’s not helping students at BSC, Pamela Grubbs-Lowery spends her time creating amazing cosplay looks like this one. Photo via Cameron Carnes.

Have you ever wanted to be someone else—outside of Halloween? You might consider looking into cosplay. Two Birmingham residents well-versed in the activity share helpful tips for becoming involved.

What exactly is cosplay?

Pamela Lowery
Pamela’s first cosplays were from Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings and have since expanded to video games, comic books, and Disney. Photo via Cameron Carnes.

I didn’t know a ton about cosplay before working on this article, but I’ve personally seen it become a growing trend—especially through social media. Also, I knew Birmingham was a hub for conventions, such as Kami-Con.

In a nutshell, cosplay involves dressing up as a character from pretty much any form of media like a movie, TV show, book, comic book or just anyone you’d like to represent for a day or two.

Even more interesting—everyone does it, seriously! Take for example BSC Transfer Admission Counselor Pamela Grubbs. She uses the skills from her day job and works them into her cosplay.

“Just like finding a new school, entering the cosplay community can be overwhelming. There are so many fandoms involved and so many different ways to build cosplays.

When I encounter people entering the community, I try to do my best to break things down for them in manageable pieces and continue to remind them that even the most talented cosplayers had to start exactly where they are.

Pamela Grubbs-Lowery, BSC transfer admission counseler

So how can you get involved in Birmingham?

Pre-registration for Birmingham’s Kami-Con is closing on Jan 24th. Photo via Jarrod “Static Jones” Ishman.

Pamela, along with another local cosplayer, Jarrod “Static Jones” Ishman, agrees that the community is very inclusive.  So, if you’re worried about not fitting in or getting started, rest assured you’ll find some helpful folks.

I think that the cosplay community is the most inclusive group that I’ve been a part of. It doesn’t matter your background, your budget, or what fandom you’re interested in. It’s very welcoming and supportive!

Pamela Grubbs-Lowery, BSC transfer admission counseler

She’s been a part of Birmingham’s KamiCon, which is technically an anime convention. However, you can come dressed as any character you’d like. If you’re new to cosplay, this convention might be a good way to test the water–although it’s smaller than other conventions, there is still plenty to do.

For the most part, Jarrod has also had positive experiences in the community. He started in 2010 after attending a free comic book day at a local comic shop.

“While I was waiting in line for free comics, I saw some cosplayers hanging around. I eventually got to talk to them and they told me everything about cosplay. Been friends with a lot of them ever since.”

Jarrod “Static Jones” Ishman

One of the easiest ways to start would be to reach out to these friendly cosplayers. You can get some major inspirations from Jarrod’s Instagram and Facebook. Not to mention anyone we’ve highlighted from past articles, Bham Now has a lot of them.

Let’s talk about costumes.

static jones
Kami-Con is the state’s largest Anime & Gaming Comic-Con. Photo via Jarrod “Static Jones” Ishman.

Like Pamela mentioned before, regardless of a budget everyone is welcome to cosplay—but what if your budget were unlimited?

At the end of the most recent film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Tilda Swinton’s character, Jadis (The White Witch) wears a battle dress made of chain mail, a cowl made of lion fur, along with a very impressive wig and crown.

While she’s currently creating a Starfire from Teen Titans!, Static is hitting a different medium by working on a cosplay from The Ninja Gaiden Video Game Series. Might not want to research that on your work computer—it’s a tad violent.

Pamela Grubbs-Lowery

Both Jarrod and Pamela have a mix of making their own costumes, purchasing or commissioning them, or making adjustments on pre-bought items. A great part about cosplay is you’re able to thrift a lot of the items, and Youtube can also be a great resource.

Looking to show off your cosplay? Check out these upcoming events in Birmingham!

Share your cosplay pictures with us on social @bhamnow!

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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