In our second installation of Inside Cosplay, we introduce you to a cosplayer who inspires us with her creative use of We Love Colors to bring fan-favorite characters to life. We’re proud to present, Kelly Kirstein, a cosplayer, model, actor, and an incredibly talented makeup artist.
WLC: How long have you been cosplaying? What inspired you to become a cosplayer?
Kelly: I began cosplaying a bit casually back in middle school. I would take clothes from my closet and alter them as best I could to represent characters from fandoms I was obsessed with like Final Fantasy and Cardcaptor Sakura.
I didn’t begin putting together full costumes until I put together my own business of costumed characters for kids back in Michigan. This meant a lot of princess and hero characters, which was awesome for me after high school when I missed performing.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I really knew what a comic or anime convention was. I went in fairly simple costumes to a few and was quickly bit by the bug, encouraged to build more. I loved the sense of community and self expression. You really feel like a celebrity when people get excited to meet you as this specific character and it’s great knowing you’re not alone in your obsessions.
WLC: Do you think having a theatre background has helped you in your pursuit of cosplay? Is there anything that you wish you had known when you first started cosplaying?
Kelly: I was in theatre throughout and shortly after high school. I have also been trained in various dance techniques which definitely helped. From there I progressed to a couple small film parts, a bit of modeling and eventually pageantry, all the while learning bits and pieces that could aid in costuming.
The biggest hurdle was self confidence which is something I have to work on everyday even still. It’s really easy to be down on yourself but I think so much of performing is about pushing through that. Cosplay is no different, it’s easy to look at others on social media and think how much better they are or have more followers, but you have to push past that to be the best version of YOU. Hit that con floor like a runway and strut your stuff!
Something I wish I knew before going full force into cosplay…. hm, pay attention more in woodshop back in middle school. Who would’ve thought that would come back to haunt me as I venture into working with foam builds?
WLC: Do you have a favorite medium to work with? What is your favorite part of the cosplay process? What costume has challenged you the most in your cosplay career?
Kelly: Foam has been an adventure so far, but it’s been fun to use it to enhance some of the future works I’m doing! Outside of that, I have always loved the makeup and general aesthetic side of cosplay. I began body painting for my Steven Universe cosplays, but I’m putting that paint and foam use to work with my Widowmaker cosplay I’m currently building. She has been a challenging one for me so far because it’s a lot of new techniques and so many accessories to her standard costume.
WLC: What has your experience with We Love Colors been like and why do you choose them over other brands?
Kelly: I first discovered WLC a little over two years ago when searching for brands to use with my Lapis Lazuli cosplay. Sky Blue was the perfect option for armsocks and tights to achieve that blue skin tone.
My favorite product is the microfiber tights. They’re a classic and it’s almost impossible to get a tear in them. Next would be the gloves because their fit is gorgeous on my hands.
I’ve used WLC in all my Steven Universe cosplays, to accessorize my Poison Ivy, for the gloves of all the Sailor Senshi, Roller Rey and my Catra cosplay which I recently premiered.
I love using WLC for everything I can, not only because the products and diversity of colors are stunning and great for matching, but it’s a brand who clearly loves what they do. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure with speaking to from We Love Colors has been so kind and passionate, it really gives you a sense of community us cosplayers love to see.
Shop the We Love Colors’ Styles Featured on this Interview:
Style# 1053 – Microfiber Tights
Style# 3407 – Shoulder Gloves
Style# 1403 – Wide Mesh Fishnets
If you have used We Love Colors for cosplay or any other creative projects feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.
You can find us as @welovecolorscosplay and @welovecolors or use the hashtag #welovecolorsusa and #welovecolorscosplay.
Connect with Kelly here. Interview by Amanda Johnson for We Love Colors.