Meridian Star

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October 5, 2013

Tupelo woman hand-makes award-winning costumes

TUPELO —

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — They look store-bought, but they're not.

Emily Weathers hand-crafts detailed costumes based on specific characters in movies, TV shows and anime. The 26-year-old Tupelo resident is a cosplayer.

Cosplay, or "costume play," is a growing art form in which fans create detailed costumes to accurately represent their favorite characters in pop culture. It's become so popular there's even a reality show based on it, SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay."

"You're taking the costume and portraying that character," Weathers said. "You have to pick something that fits yourself. I like happy things, bubbly things, so I choose characters that fit my personality. I could be something depressing, but I don't think I could frown all day."

Two of her award-winning costumes include Rapunzel from the Disney film "Tangled" and Madoka from the Japanese anime TV show, "Puella Magi Madoka Magica." She's also dressed up as Penny from "Inspector Gadget," Fionna from "Adventure Time" and Runner 5 from the fitness app, "Zombies, Run!"

When Weathers decides to be a character, she draws her ideas.

There's the task of taking a costume from 2D to 3D, she said, and making sure it fits your body. Anyone can be any character, Weathers said, no matter their gender, race or any other factors.

She buys her cosplay materials from anywhere, from fabric at craft shops to special glues at home improvement stores.

"They'll ask what it's for and I'll say, 'Well, not plumbing,'" she said. "Sometimes I'll say it's for a play. What are you going to say? 'I'm making a light saber?'"

When she's ready to get to work, she creates her own patterns and sews on her sewing machine.

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