If there’s one thing I’ve loved about being part of the Twilight fandom throughout the Twilight Renaissance, it’s the resurgence of fan-created content. Over the past two years, I’ve seen an influx of fan accounts dedicated to edits, story analysis, podcasts, character wardrobes, and more, and it’s been a real treat to immerse myself in this content after some slim years in the fandom, where it felt like the fervor around Twilight was finally starting to fade.
I can’t – and don’t – blame fans for moving on. As we grow up, we find new things to capture our interests. Our priorities shift. Being part of an established fandom can be a fun and comfortable thing, but without something new to drive continued interest, people eventually move on. But the release of Midnight Sun – and Twilight becoming more accessible to new audiences during the pandemic – changed that.
Most excitingly for me, the Twilight Renaissance has inspired an influx of new Twilight cosplayers. As someone who has been in the fandom for a while, I often get messages in my inbox asking if I have any tips for newcomers. I’ve compiled some of my thoughts below, and while they may seem obvious to some, I hope they help others navigate the world of cosplay.
Alice’s Tips for Cosplay Newcomers
- Choose your handle carefully: When you select a cosplay handle, you’re sometimes limited by what’s available. It can feel like all the good names are taken – especially when it comes to using the actual names of characters. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative! Try thinking of a name using words that are common in Twilight, a name that describes your character, or a handle that your favourite character might use in real life. Choose a name that’s unique to you and will help you stand out, because the last thing you want is to be mistaken for another cosplayer or content creator.
- Build a wardrobe: Many cosplayers think you need a vast, screen accurate wardrobe to be a good cosplayer, but that just isn’t true. Some of my favourite cosplayers are creating looks purely with closet cosplay, and some of my personal favourite Alice looks have come from re-creating fan art or putting together formal wear for events in Forks. If you’re on a budget or looking to branch out from a screen accurate wardrobe, ask yourself: Based on what I know of my character and their established style, what would they wear in 2022? What would they wear to prom? On a date? Imagine them as real people with a wardrobe beyond what we saw in the films and go from there!
- Prioritize engagement: When you’re just starting a new account, it can be hard to know how to meet new people or gain followers. One great way to introduce yourself to the community is to follow other creators whose work you admire, then “like,” comment on, and share their content to build a relationship over time, which may inspire them to check out your work, too. Replying to Instagram Stories is also a great way to start conversations in direct messages!
- Explore new territory: During the pandemic, I took a lot of self portraits inside my house. Many of those photos were taken against blank backgrounds with my cell phone. I liked them for what they were – a way to fill a content gap when I couldn’t leave my house – but overall, I prefer creating content with real settings and dynamic backgrounds. Not everyone has access to locations in and around Forks or the movie sites, so try taking photos in your backyard or in a local park. Find your own version of the meadow and lay in a bed of flowers, or visit a local baseball diamond in your baseball gear, if you have that costume put together. If you aren’t skilled with a tripod or taking self portraits, ask a friend or family member to help you out!
- Find your content style: Some cosplayers like to re-create scenes from the films. Other like to imagine scenes from the books, or create their own canon. Some edit their cosplay into movie stills, while others create memes or focus on non-canon pairings. There’s no right or wrong way to cosplay – you just have to decide which approach is best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a style that fits!
- Remember, this is a community: It can be tempting to view cosplay as a competition, especially when you’re just starting out. You might ask yourself: Why do other people have more likes, followers, and engagement than I do? How can I create good content when I don’t have the things other people do, like trips to Forks, a screen accurate wardrobe, or access to movie sites? And I’m so lonely – why does it feel like I have no friends in the fandom? These are all valid feelings, but I would caution against comparing yourself to other creators, especially those who have been cosplaying for a long time. You don’t know what their journey is or how long they’ve been creating in the fandom. Anything worth doing takes time and hard work, and that includes cultivating fandom friendships. Be kind, uplift others, and use the resources you have to create the best work you can. As Twilight fans, we’re already subject to mockery and ridicule from outside the fandom, so let’s make our little community as safe and fulfilling as we possibly can for those inside it.
Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips for new cosplayers? Feel free to share them in the comments below – or tag me in an Instagram Story with your thoughts. I hope this helps!