Cosplay

Every year to celebrate the school year coming to an end, teachers at my children’s school love to have a party, especially for those moving out of school or their classroom, as they move up to another level.

This year’s theme was to dress up like any cartoon character. So a cosplay was in place. I’m not much of an artistic person when it comes to such display but seeing their enthusiasm wanting to be part of it, made me excited too.

With a little planning, I’m pleased to say, we managed to pull off a more than just a decent resemblance to their choice of character.

Astrid Hofferson

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A strong willed and determined character from How to train your dragon. We decided to go with her costume from the first movie, when she was much younger.

 

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The biggest detail in her outfit was the skirt. We used crepe paper here. Looked rather nice while it was laid out on my dining table but little did we know how fragile the pointy strips would be once on her. But the axe and shield, that is something we are very proud of.

Used an old tree branch and a flat surfaced rock from my garden. With a little cloth tape and crepe paper, we managed to turn these into something resembling an axe. And for her shield, we used my stainless steel, deep heavy bottomed pot’s top cover. This saved us a lot of time because there was no need to cut out a cake board and stick a handle to it. If time permits, decorate the shield with some symbols to make it look more personal and used.

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My Astrid before she got into the car

Astrid’s hair is fairly simple to do. It’s just two ponytail tied together with a piece of rag or in this case a thick woven thread around her head. You may want to google that up.

We could not find feathers to put on top of her boots, so my Astrid settled for leather boots. A tad big for her but we had no other option.

God have mercy on her feet and let the cool weather stay whilst she’s at school.

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After her car journey to school ūüė¶

An important point to note for those of you planning to attempt this: I should have used the cloth tape (the one used to make her belt), a piece of brown cloth or leather looking PVC ¬†to make the skirts’ pointy strips instead of the brown crepe paper. This way you can be rest assured, the skirt will stay intact no matter how roughly your Astrid moves in it.

“You cannot expect me to move like a princess, all dainty, whilst dressed like Astrid”, she lashed backs at my instruction to take it easy on the skirt.

 

Rey  (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

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A hotheaded, bad-ass, gear-head loner. Another strong willed character became the central part in out little cosplay. My almost tween had a tough time deciding between Rey and a female footballer as her character.

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This took minutes to put on. The only work required was her boots and the staff. We used an old tree branch and tapped a silver/grey cloth like tape all around it. For her boots, we used her ballet pumps and covered it with her football socks, to make it looks like she’s wearing long boots. Amazingly, she managed to pull it off rather well.

I used my pashmina scarf for the vicose used by Rey, and draped it along my daughter’s shoulders right to the front of her body. No pins were used to keep it intact, so it would give a more natural flow as she moved. And we used an arm cover for cotton drapped around Rey’s arms.

It’s the confidence that matters. You can wear whatever you like as long as you have the confidence to pull it off. I have to give her 100% for that.

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Rey has triple buns (tiny ponytail loops) as part of her character costume but I wasn’t able to pull that off in 5 minutes. We were running late so my best was double buns.

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You start off with a tiny ponytail right above her head. Then divide hair into two (three if you want Rey’s effect) sections. Secure with an elastic band as you would a ponytail but as you come to the end, leave your ponytail in a loop. Roll up the remainder of the hair along the elastic band and secure with pins. The triple buns are actually tiny ponytail loops. Please check YouTube tutorials on how to do this.

 

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The curse of a razor

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Hair, is a natural thing. It’s visible from birth and grows as we¬†age¬†but somehow along the way, it became an unsightly part of a woman’s body (because hair on men is totally acceptable).¬†We rid ourselves of it so we can fit in with what is deemed acceptable way to showcase one’s body. We keep trimming, shaving and waxing this hair over and over again, as it tirelessly keeps growing back, darker and ticker than before with no end to this vicious cycle.

Have you every noticed a child with shaved or waxed legs? I have not and society seems perfectly fine with that. So why this need to point out or react when a teenager or an adult with hair on her body comes within your visibility range? (particularly hair on underarms, legs and bikini line). Like a skilled sniper hired to take out the enemy, gross remarks are hurled at that woman to cause nothing but pain.

I was never hairy and the natural unshorn hair hardly posed any discomfort to my body or the way I dressed. Yet, I stripped myself of it because I was wooed by glossy magazines, showing off models with hairless bodies that gleamed. I was proud of the shinny coat that revealed itself after waxing. It was everything the magazine had promised. But a fool I was and my attempt at forever owning hairless and shinny legs were foiled.

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The magazines only shared half the truth (so fools like me would buy everything they sold) and decided to omit the after effects of hair removal. It didn’t say I would have to deal with the itch, barb wire like stubbles, dry skin, ingrown hair that would leave my skin all spotty and worst of all, the reemergence of darker, thicker, longer and curlier hair! (I need a paper bag, I’m hyperventilating)

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No magazine mentioned the need to keep removing hair. Or that I’d be spending tons of money, buying after hair removal products. It not¬†once mentioned the curse of the razor; once touched, forever attached.

Heed my words and don’t fall prey to this gimmick. Nothing lasts forever, especially stuff from glossy magazines.

The other reality to this situation, if you decide to stay true and natural (with hair on you body), isn’t a pretty one either. People will mock your choice, gawk at you hairy body and some¬†may even¬†give you free advice on how to appropriately dress a¬†hairy body .

It requires you to be a strong person to stay real. But over time you’ll realise, it’s just a phase; the initial shock of seeing non conformity to the general society,¬†and it will pass. It will be forgotten once they get over the shock and get to know your beautiful persona. Some may even admire you because of your confidence. Just some. But many would keep mocking you because they know, it’s not something they could ever do, no matter how inconvenienced they are with keeping up with the Joneses.¬†

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Just be you, it’s brave

There are many inspiring stories of people standing up for themselves and accepting themselves the way they are even if they do not look or behave like the general public.

I’m pretty sure you must have seen the video of a lady who blindfolded herself and stood in a busy street in her inner clothes while holding a sign that spoke about her struggles with losing weight. She was brave. Brave to bear all her imperfections for people to judge her. It was a heartwarming clip.

There are many such inspiring stories out there that tells me, “so what if we are different?” As long as we are confident nothing can dim that sparkle in us and that’s what makes me I and you, you.

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There is a person who has inspired many I believe. I’ve known her since I was 12 but I can’t say she knew me then. I used to admire her and her distinct style.

Her beauty was internal and despite being different* she managed to capture many with her uniqueness. She was a caterpillar, waiting for the right time to turn into a magnificent and colourful butterfly. She grew more beautiful with every grey hair and wrinkle. “I feel younger now than I did years ago”, she commented on one of her pictures posted on Facebook.

If you’re not afraid of aging and embrace it, you would become more graceful and dignified.

What makes her special? I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Meet my friend Susheel (yes, we are friends now) and some of her friends who were so kind so share their pictures.10626570_815385491816616_7794549613048641266_n

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*Sikhs (both men and women) are encouraged not to cut or shave hair from any part of their body. Hair helps to stay grounded, be connected and aware of your surrounding. To stay in the most natural state possible.

The best way to describe the importance of hair to my children, I tell them it’s something like the Avatars (from Avatar film) who used their long ponytails like hair to connect with their surrounding.

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