The Holiday Season is upon us; and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or even Festivus, you can’t deny this is a magical season. It’s a season that reminds us what it is to be a kid again and look upon all the beauty in the world. As such, I wanted this month’s ‘Cosplayer of the Month’ to embody these traits and remind us all of a simpler time filled with magic and wonder.
Allow me to introduce you to Jessi Rizer; but we’ll just call her Jess. With her kind heart and artistic vision – as well as the help of some very talented designers – Jess is able to bring our favorite Disney characters to life in ways you won’t believe. So let’s take a look and get to know this real life Disney Princess a little better.
The seeds of Jess’s Cosplay spirit – like most of us – were sown back when she was a child; but Jess admits that as a kid she actually wore more costumes than real clothes.
“Each day I was a different character, be it Pocahontas, Ariel – it was usually Ariel – and it’s pretty much been that way ever since. I’ve just always loved the idea of transformation and the ability to become anyone or anything you want” – Jess
It’s this love of transformation that pushed Jess to pursue Theatre through Middle School and High School. During these years she didn’t get to do much dress up; but she remembers always winning the costume contests her school held for Halloween. As Jess headed off to college she left the theater behind; but went back to using every excuse she could to dress up – Halloween, Masquerades, etc. This brings us to this year when she feels she officially started cosplaying after she and her friend Kelly headed to New York Comic Con together.
Now as I said earlier, Jess doesn’t make any of her own costumes from scratch; but instead pieces them together from different vendors and artists in the community. Between finding the perfect item, the perfect person to create new items or hoping the item doesn’t arrive late/damaged, this can sometimes be as stressful as making it yourself.
“I wish I could say that I have half of the talent that some cosplayers do to make my own costumes, but I never have been gifted when it comes to being crafty! I have met some really amazing people through Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, etc., who are insanely talented and have made most of my costume pieces for me.” – Jess
Thankfully, Jess has found some incredible people to work with, such as LittlePennyLane, Petite Leon, If The Crown Fits and many more. It is through people such as these that Jess is able to turn heads like she did at this year’s New York Comic Con where she debuted a Jasmine costume that is simply breathtaking. Between the brilliant costume provided by Glimmerwood, and Jess’s smile and energy, the only thing missing from this costume was a Bengal Tiger – which I’m sure the NYCC Staff was thankful for.
When it comes right down to it, Jess sees Cosplay as “a way to express [her] love and admiration for the characters who have made such an impact on [her] in some way”. Though it’s also the community itself that she finds the most endearing.
“Everyone is very supportive of each other, and I have met some wonderful people. To me, I think it’s just so incredible to be a part of this network of people who, not only understand my interests and passions, but also share them.” – Jess
At the end of the day, Cosplay is all about having fun and bringing smiles to people’s face, which Jess’s costumes have absolutely done – especially to the kids. Whether it’s at Comic Con or surprising a kid for their birthday – in costume – Jess loves reminding people why we fell in love with Disney all those years ago. In a world that’s constantly besieged with negativity and sadness, it’s nice to remember the uplifting messages and beauty we grew up with.
“I love everything the company stands for: love, imagination, family, happiness, good always triumphing over evil. I love the princesses in particular because they are relatable and yet at the same time inspirational. They have so many admirable and inspiring traits-innocence, purity, bravery, courage, intelligence, kindness…I could go on and on.” – Jess
What’s next for Jess? Well she’s currently applying for Law School so her days are about to become a lot busier. Regardless, she’s already planning her next costume, which I was told will be a non-princess from her favorite show Once Upon A Time – *cough* Regina *cough*! Additionally, she’s also planning on attending D23 – Disney Expo – next year in Anaheim. So be sure to check out Jessi Rizer on Facebook to see how these are coming along.
Remember, Cosplay’s all about having fun and meeting awesome new people. Whether you have years of experience or are just starting out, everyone has their own unique view and style that you can not only appreciate; but also learn from. Again, a very special thanks to Jess for chatting with me and a very Happy Holidays to everyone reading. See you next year!
*As always, all photo credit to their original photographers