Superman Celebration 2014: My First Costume Contest

As I’ve been talking about it on social media non-stop, this past weekend was the 36th Annual Metropolis, IL Superman Celebration. I went for the first time last year and loved it, so there was no question on whether I would attend this year or not, especially considering that I started working on my Wonder Woman costume just for this particular event. I did the entire weekend and had an absolutely amazing time.

The big thing for me this year was spontaneously deciding to enter the costume contest on Sunday. I’ve never done a contest before and I’ve grown proud of my Wonder Woman costume, so I thought, why not? I started out the day without a costume and felt sort of lost and jealous of the other cosplayers, so I couldn’t NOT cosplay and once I was in costume, I decided to do something I hadn’t done before: enter a contest. So I thought I’d blog about my experiences.

The Superman Celebration contest has a $25 entry fee. That’s nothing considering that they give away some major cash prizes, including $1000 to the first place winner. This isn’t just one of those “Here, have a plastic trophy,” things, apparently. So I found the registration table and signed up and paid my fee. After that, I had a few hours to blow and spent much of that time posing for photos.

Okay, my absolute favorite part of cosplaying Wonder Woman is the look on little girls’ faces when they see me. To them, I AM Wonder Woman. They ask me for photos, and although I got cramps in my legs from kneeling down to pose with kids, I loved every minute of it. I think it’s so important that little girls have superheroes of their own, and to me, that’s what Wonder Woman, and being Wonder Woman represents. Seriously, this is probably my favorite part of cosplay is seeing the excitement on people’s faces when they see a character they love.

My least favorite part was the contest itself. Now don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting experience. It began with a parade down Metropolis’ Market Street. At that point, my feet were already seriously in pain (costume boots are not comfortable), but I marched like a pro, even though I seriously thought about asking Thor to carry me a few times.

Superman Celebration 2014

Btw, I really feel that this costume photographs really well.

After the parade, we got in line according to our numbers. I was #17. So I had to wait for 16 other people to go onstage and do their thing. This is where I have to tell you that we outdid anything you will ever see on that Heroes Of Cosplay show. We were waiting in the sun in 90+ degree heat, with humidity, sweating, with bits of costume pieces falling off as our hot glue melted. The paint and craft foam of my bracers melted a little bit, too. It was pretty darn hot. Talk about trial by fire.

I was completely unprepared for the whole stage thing. Apparently, you’re expected to do something to rile up the crowd and show off the character you’re cosplaying. This is my least favorite part of cosplaying because I don’t do it to score points with other people. So obviously, I sucked at this. I ended up on stage after a dance number and grabbed the mike to announce that “As an Amazonian, I do not give pretty speeches, nor do I dance.” Although I felt it was in character, I’m supposing the judges did not. But I did my best with very little preparation.

In the end, though, I did my bit, including lots of action poses (including a high kick, go me) and got off stage. I had little girls cheering for me and high-fiving me as I moved back through the crowd, and that was really where I felt that I was already a winner. We waited in the heat for the show to end, for some awards to be given, and for the judges to tally up their votes. By the time the winners were announced, though, I was in street clothes and eating down the street. I’m an impatient person, what can I say? I was also hot and hungry.

So would I do a costume contest again? Probably not. It’s not my thing. This is not why I cosplay and now I know that for sure. I had a much better time just hanging out with other cosplayers and discussing techniques with craft foam and leather. I also enjoyed posing for photos with kids (and a few really excited adults) and talking with people while in costume. I was also kind of concerned during the contest because i thought that the judges would be able to look at the costumes more closely before the stage portion of the event to look at everyone’s handiwork. Some of the costumes were so detailed (much more than mine) and elaborate, and yet many of those didn’t even make it into the Top 10. I hope I don’t come across as a sore loser, because, again, I didn’t expect to even place in the Top 10, but the entire experience just wasn’t my cup of tea.

So what’s next up for me? Well, I’m going to start working on my TARDIS dress for next year’s Gallifrey One and a 1940’s vintage Wonder Woman costume for next year’s St. Louis Comic Con and Superman Celebration. There will probably be no more contests in my future, but I hope to pose for many more pictures for Wonder Woman fans and little girls who are excited that girls can be superheroes, too.

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