Cosplayer Interview

Cosplayer Of The Week: Sherry Reardon

Leo Nocedo : How did you discover cosplaying?
Sherry Reardon :  Not really sure… I was aware of it for quite a long time before I developed any particular interest in it.  I’m pretty sure I first herd the term many years ago when I was searching for something vaguely costume-related on eBay.  This may have been as far back as the 90s. Specifically, I was looking for leg warmers for dance class, and there were some from Japan that included “for cosplay” in the description.  I could infer from the word and the pictures what it meant.  As the years moved on, I gradually learned more about it as it became more mainstream.

I’d say my own entry into the cosplay world started around 2014-15, after I’d been hearing about local Cons because a good friend of mine had joined a Star Trek group that exhibited at them.  I just thought it would be fun.

Leo Nocedo : What was your first cosplay?
Sherry Reardon :     I had 2 that happened around the same time.  The first I actually wore was a pirate cosplay that I wore to the Ren Fest.  I’ve since done a number of variations on pirate costumes because we have a couple of local Pirate Festivals as well as
Ren-type festivals for me to wear them at.  But pirate/Ren/historical is usually thought of as a different “track” in the cosplay world, so I’ll try to stick to the more typical “going to Con” type cosplays for the rest of this discussion.

 

The other cosplay I did around the same time was Kaylee Frye from Firefly, which I wore to Supercon, which was the very first Con I ever attended.  Screen accuracy wasn’t that important to me, but cost was, so I assembled something that I thought looked like she might have worn, which I call a “Season 2 costume.”  I guess it worked, because there were people who recognized who I was playing.

 

Leo Nocedo : What are your next 3 cosplay plans?

Sherry Reardon :   That’s kinda hard to say, because I have more than 3 that are somewhere close to the top of the list, and my attention can easily be diverted.

I do have one that I just finished, so I plan to wear it at the next available opportunity.  That is an update to my Harry Mudd (from Star Trek) cosplay.  (More about this one in one of your later questions.)

Another one I have in a semi-complete state is a MoQbara uniform (the “Klingon Tai Chi” from Star Trek).  I’ve got the
“play” part of this cosplay all ready 🙂

The other one that I’ve done some actual work on (besides just gathering materials together) is more of a historical-type costume, an attempt to recreate a person from an old Orientalist style painting.

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever been in a cosplay contest?

Sherry Reardon :    Yes, there was Geek Fest 2016 held at FAU. I think it was just the 5th Con I ever went to, but I was having too much fun with this cosplay stuff!  My first couple of cosplays I’d wanted to be fairly easy and inexpensive, so I wasn’t terribly concerned about “accuracy”.  But then I decided to put some extra effort into something that was special to me.  So I decided to do Alice in Wonderland based on the original book illustrations by John Tenniel, because I’m not a big fan of the Disney movies.  I ended up sewing the dress myself, along with buying/making/assembling the accessories.  When I read that Geek Fest was having a contest, and were discouraging store-bought costumes, I thought they might appreciate the work I’d put into mine, so I entered.  And I won a Judge’s Award!

 

I also entered the runway contest at Supercon one year, with my River-Song-as-Cleopatra cosplay, which I also put a lot of effort into and am very proud of, but I didn’t win anything.  Of course Supercon attracted a LOT of really great cosplayers.  Also, the runway-style contest isn’t optimal for this costume, which has a lot of details that are only appreciated up close and personal.

 


Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?

Sherry Reardon :    I like sewing.  I’ve never tried armor (I haven’t yet been inspired to do a character that would have armor).  I’ve done VERY little with wigs.

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations
?
Sherry Reardon :    [I don’t have enough experience to have an opinion on this]

Leo Nocedo : Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
Sherry Reardon :   Well, Firefly is my favorite fandom.  I’ve thought about doing pretty much all the major characters, but at the moment I’ve only done 3, plus 3 original mashup characters that were half Firefly.

I also belong to the Delta Fleet, a Star Trek group, and so I cosplay Star Trek with them a lot.

And then, as mentioned earlier, I also do quite a bit in the pirate/historical category….

Leo Nocedo : Do you have any favorite cosplayers?

Sherry Reardon :    Generally, my attention goes to specific costumes more so than to the people inside them.  A couple of people that I actually kinda know and have talked with, and they also make AMAZING costumes,are Theo Jones and Jessie Melero.

Deeesher Cosplay is another favorite, but that’s mainly because he’s obviously a fellow Firefly fan and does a great Captain Mal.  I haven’t met him in person (yet)–only online.
 
Leo Nocedo : What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Sherry Reardon :   I guess I’d have to say it’s River-Song-as-Cleopatra, from Doctor Who.  That costume only appeared on the show for a couple of minutes, so there isn’t very much reference material.  Plus the scene isn’t terribly well-lit.  So I had to make a lot of educated guesses about what was going on with the costume based on what I saw and what I thought made historical sense, and then had to balance that with my limited budget and other resources.  The dress, with its layers and draping, was the hardest part; I had hoped to find a simple way to do it based on stuff I already had or could find at the thrift store, but no such luck.  I finally decided I’d have to sew it mostly from scratch. And then  there was the crown, the wig, and lots of jewelry that also required work.  The shoes were the only part where I could use what I had
without having to do anything else to them.                                                                                                  Leo Nocedo : What are your top 3 craftsmanship tips?
Sherry Reardon :                                                                                                                                           – Do what you enjoy.
– Good, fast, and cheap:  pick only 2.
– If they can’t tell from 3 feet away, it doesn’t matter.

Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done?

Sherry Reardon :    That’s so hard to answer, because I love them all.   (That’s why I made them, after all!)  If pressed, I guess I’d have to say, whichever one is closest to the top of my brain, i.e. whichever one I’ve worked on or worn most recently.  In which case, at the time I answer this, it would be Pirate Captain Malcolm Reynolds.                                                                               

Leo Nocedo : What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?

Sherry Reardon :   I’m having a hard time coming up with anything terribly bad happening related to my cosplaying.  The only thing that comes to mind is a minor makeup crisis one time when I was cosplaying Ensign Ro from Star Trek and my nose prosthetic stopped sticking to me mid-day, so I just went without, which was no big deal.  What stayed in my mind most about the incident was that I told my ship Captain,  “My nose fell off” and he cracked up…  So it was a good day because I made him laugh 🙂

 

 

Leo Nocedo : What’s your funniest cosplay story?                                                                                    Sherry Reardon :       AND
Leo Nocedo : What’s the best in-character interaction you’ve ever had?
Sherry Reardon :    I think the answer to both these Qs is the same:  I was at Supercon cosplaying as a Crazy Cat Lady (an original character prompted by my purchase of a small purse with a cat face on it from Operation PAW, a cat rescue group that had a booth at a previous Con.  I bought it mainly to support them, but then I started wondering “When am I going to get a chance to use this little thing?” and thought, “OOH!  Maybe I can use it for a cosplay!”)

Anyway, I was wandering around the exhibit floor and I saw this group from the 501st Legion escorting a big dark Wookie a little ways off.  And it just suddenly reminded me of Monsters Inc. so I started running up to him yelling “Kitty!”

This was a while ago and it’s a bit fuzzy in my mind now, but as I recall, they were a bit concerned about what I wanted to do, but when I caught up with him I just said “Nice kitty!” and then we all took off in our different directions.                                                                                               

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever cosplayed with a family member?
Sherry Reardon :    Nope.

Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite cosplay photo of yourself?
Sherry Reardon :   This is probably a harder question than my favorite cosplay, because of course I have more photos than cosplays, and not really having a favorite cosplay doesn’t help me narrow it down.  Then there’s the problem of seeing the pics and saying, “Oh, that woulda showed off the costume so much better if I’d posed this other way” or “Dang, what is that
weird look on my face?”

So, I’m inclined to go in another direction, and choose a pic where my cosplay is good but it’s not really about me, like this “selfie” with Summer Glau, which I love because SQUEEEEEE!  It’s SUMMER GLAU!

Leo Nocedo : What are your go-to stores for cosplay materials/full cosplays?
Sherry Reardon :   First, my closet.  A lot of stuff I’ve used for cosplay has been stuff I already had.  Sometimes that’s even where the inspiration comes from.  For example, I decided to do Doctor Who #11 because I already had a fez. (Why did I have a fez?  It was a souvenir of my trip to Turkey.)

 

Second, thrift stores like Goodwill. Good for getting a variety of clothing on a budget.  That’s where, for example, I got a pretty good jacket for my Doctor Who.

Third, by this point it’s probably because I’m sewing something and need fabric. For that, it’s usually Joanne’s, or an online store like fabric.com.   Or I’ll sometimes go to Michael’s if I just need notions or other crafty stuff.

Anything else, I go online and usually end up at amazon or eBay, or sometimes Etsy.

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy pre-styled wigs or style your own?
Sherry Reardon :     I prefer not to use wigs at all if I can; for example, I don’t wear a wig to make myself blonde for Alice in Wonderland because the original Alice was brunette; people think of her as blonde mainly because of the Disney movie and my cosplay isn’t trying to emulate the Disney movie.

So naturally, when I do decide I need a wig, I try to get one that needs as little work on my part as possible.  🙂

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever had someone mistake you for a different character?
Sherry Reardon :     YES.  One that sticks in my mind is getting mistaken for Teddy Roosevelt when I was doing Harry Mudd from Star Trek (original series).  I realize that part of the problem was that I was wearing glasses at the time (because I need them for reading), and Harry doesn’t. Another part of the problem was that I had to compromise when getting the fabric for Harry’s shirt, because I couldn’t find anything that was quite right.  I had chosen something in a khaki color because it was closer to what I was looking for while still looking like something Harry might wear.  But I can understand how khaki would be suggestive of Teddy Roosevelt.

Anyway, that happened a few years ago, and I wasn’t planning to change anything about the cosplay because of it.
But a few months into the plague I saw an online ad showing for a fabric that was *substantially* closer to what I had been looking for for Harry.  The better color made me think it would prevent any further Teddy misunderstanding, so I went ahead and got the fabric and re-made the whole shirt.  Which is why it was at the top of my list of “next cosplays” mentioned above                 .

 

Leo Nocedo : List all the cosplays you’ve done.
Sherry Reardon :                                                                                                                                            (Just doing ones I’ve worn at Cons, skipping Pirate/Ren Fests or things I’ve only worn at home.)

From Firefly:  Kaylee Frye, River Tam, Badger
From Star Trek:  Harry Mudd, Ensign Ro, and an assortment of non-specific StarFleet crew members
from the original series and NextGen (including Vulcan)
From Doctor Who:  Doctor 11; and 2 different River Song (including Cleopatra)
Others:  Crazy Cat Lady, Indiana Jones, Alice in Wonderland,
Jayne Who (a mashup of Doctor Who with Jayne Cobb from Firefly),
and a Corsair (Ottoman pirate).

Leo Nocedo : What’s the biggest con you’ve cosplayed at?

Sherry Reardon :     MegaCon.  I’ve only been there once, but I did 4 cosplays in 3 days.
Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer cosplaying characters with props, or characters that you don’t need to carry a prop around all day?
Sherry Reardon :       I don’t really think about it in those terms.  I don’t cosplay for the props;  I’m more interested in the character.  On the other hand,  I am happy to carry around a prop if I think it helps tell the story of the character.

For example, it’s been said that Firefly is a bad fandom for cosplay, mainly because the costumes are kind of non-distinctive.  Props can be very helpful for that kind of problem.   So for Firefly, almost everyone who cosplays Jayne Cobb includes his cunning hat, even though it was only in one episode; and people who play Kaylee include her parasol, even though that also was in only one episode.  When I was trying to do a River Tam cosplay, it wasn’t working terribly well until I made an ice planet prop.

 

Another example is my Jayne Who costume, a mashup of Jayne Cobb from Firefly with Doctor Who #11. It was a decent little costume, and it amused me even if nobody figured it out.    But then I made a supersized sonic screwdriver to help tell the story of the character (I call it Vera) and I really think it makes the whole cosplay.  I love carrying it around because it always attracts attention.

 

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever lost a cosplay piece at a con?
Sherry Reardon :   Not that I recall.

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever bought a cosplay piece at a con?
Sherry Reardon :    Yes, a few times, mostly just smaller accessories.

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to cosplay solo or in a group?
Sherry Reardon :   I’ve never actually cosplayed in a group, unless you count times when I’ve been working
the table with my Star Trek group.

 

Leo Nocedo : If you had a chance to meet your all-time favorite cosplayer, what would you say to them?
Sherry Reardon :   I’m not sure why I didn’t think of him in the context of your earlier question about fave cosplayers, but for some reason, this question makes me think Adam Savage would be my all-time favorite cosplayer.  He’s probably known more
as a Mythbuster and a maker of things rather than as a cosplayer, but he’s done some really amazing cosplays too.

However, I’m having a hard time thinking of what I might want to say to him besides the obvious, “Pleased to meet you.”  🙂  I regularly watch his YouTube channel where he talks a lot about making things, cosplaying, Mythbusting, and almost anything anyone asks him, so I kinda feel like I know him pretty well and I’ve already heard him talk about almost anything I could think of.

Leo Nocedo : Have you ever done a cosplay panel?
Sherry Reardon :    Only as a participant, not as a panelist.

Leo Nocedo : Do you prefer to buy or make cosplays?
Sherry Reardon :     Make.  I really enjoy the making process, and my budget is limited.

Leo Nocedo : If you could tell your past self anything about cosplay, what would you say?
Sherry Reardon :    Maybe I’d tell myself to get started doing it sooner because it’s fun!

Leo Nocedo : What is your ultimate dream cosplay?
Sherry Reardon :    I’ve got several more-or-less “in plan” and I am excited about all of them.  Trying to single one out as the “ultimate” is
like trying to pick the favorite of the ones I’ve already done–I couldn’t do that either 🙂  And besides, “ultimate” implies “final” and that would mean stopping and I don’t want to do that.

Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done? (Craftsmanship, wearing of, ect)
Sherry Reardon :   Probably the same as the “most detailed” one I described earlier, River-Song-as-Cleopatra.

Leo Nocedo : What’s the most difficult character makeup you’ve done?
Sherry Reardon :   I haven’t worn it for a Con yet, but I was experimenting at home doing skull makeupfor a cosplay that I’ve been planning.                                     

 

Leo Nocedo : What, in your opinion, makes a cosplayer a “pro” cosplayer?
Sherry Reardon :   I guess the usual definition of “pro” is that you make money at it somehow.  Whereas the root of the word “amateur” is from the Latin for “love”, meaning you do it for the love of it.  I’m proud to consider myself an amateur cosplayer.

Leo Nocedo : What is your favorite part of cosplaying?
Sherry Reardon :    I really enjoy the making–it appeals to my creative side and the process of starting with an idea and creating something in the real world is very satisfying.

But the best part is probably interacting with other people who appreciate what you’ve done–when someone recognizes the fandom, when they love the same thing you love, and you make that connection.  I occasionally do original characters that are kind of “odd”, and much as they might amuse me, I realize they can be pretty obscure.   When anyone actually “gets” one of those, it’s a real thrill.  It totally makes my whole day!


Leo Nocedo : Make up your own question!

Sherry Reardon :   Hard pressed to think of anything… you did such a good job already!  🙂

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Leo Nocedo is a cosplay photographer who has been using a camera for the last forty years in many forms , in the military and professional studios in Miami and New York city . He got his start in cosplay photography attending conventions with his brother Juan Nocedo . He keeps on doing what he does to honor his late brother .

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