Emilee Shield and OurShieldMaiden Cosplay
Earlier this week I caught up with Cosplayer, Emilee Shield, who some of you may know as ourshieldmaiden. We talked about her early beginnings as a cosplayer right through to time management of cosplay projects and her new found love: historical costumes.
Hopefully, you get as much out of this interview as I did.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this week. Please tell the readers a bit about yourself and your Cosplay activities.
Emilee Shield: I’ve been cosplaying for just over five years now and started when I lived in Paris, France. I loved being able to go to conventions with people from all over Europe and when I came back to the U.S. I was excited to start building cosplays and visiting conventions here as well. I love to compete with my cosplays and do so as often as possible.
For each of my competition builds, I try to keep my total cost under $100 and the challenge of that alone definitely keeps things interesting. I strongly believe in “reduce, reuse, recycle” as a mantra and try not to use cosplay as an excuse for increasing my carbon footprint. I believe that cosplay is for EVERYONE and that it should be accessible to anyone with the imagination to dream up their favorite costume or character.
Tell me a bit about the inspiration behind your Cosplay appearances (both online and at Cons).
Emilee Shield: Most of my convention experiences are either on panels or on the runway as someone who competes so those two reasons are my main inspiration at conventions. Online I can be found on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok and I just love connecting with people and building community with other creatives!
How did Cosplaying start for you and who did you first Cosplay as?
Emilee Shield: My first ever cosplay was Melody (Mels) Pond from Doctor Who. She doesn’t appear in the series for long but I loved her from the moment I saw her and took her to my second ever convention in Paris.
In your opinion what role does Cosplay serve in Pop Culture and how has it helped with the representation of BIPOC?
Emilee Shield: I think we have a long way to go before we say that we’ve helped with representation as far as BIPOC creators. It’s an uphill battle for many cosplayers who identify as BIPOC and until the community sees it as a problem everyone has to work to solve, we’ll keep seeing negative issues surrounding race.
I sincerely hope that as we move into the future more characters of color will create more opportunities for BIPOC representation within the cosplay communities.
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to coming up with new Cosplay ideas? How do you overcome them?
Emilee Shield: Haha my biggest obstacle is coming up with TOO MANY cosplay ideas. My brain is constantly in a million places at once, as someone with ADHD and I never lack for ideas of who to cosplay. I usually am working on 1-2 cosplays at a time, thinking about 2-4 more cosplays, and have a backup list of about ten other “maybe I’ll get to them someday” cosplays. Creating focus by listening to my gut is how I choose. I’ve found that usually, I know what I want to build, I just have to take a step back from thinking about what others want to see from me.
How did you go about finding Photographers and MUA’s to collaborate with?
Emilee Shield: When I first started I found photographers through a Facebook group (or rather they found me at a convention and added me to a Facebook group). Now that I have my favorite ones, I generally stick to the same few. I prefer to shoot with women who photograph cosplay because I believe they are underappreciated within the community as a whole. Assuming that an MUA is a makeup artist, I do all my own makeup and have never used anyone else (and can’t imagine that ever-changing).
Many of us creators work on projects outside of our 9-5 jobs. Do you have any advice for balancing careers with passion projects/side hustles?
Emilee Shield: I work in the gaming industry so it feeds my passion for cosplay a ton! I love being able to geek out during my 9-5 and then think up and about creative projects the rest of the time. I’m completely immersed in the nerd world and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think for me, being an artist and creative/cosplayer isn’t something that is forced or that I have to work to produce. It’s in my veins. I think about it every day all day and even while I sleep. I have running lists of ideas all the time. I think if you really love something you’ll learn to make time for it always.
Do you have any upcoming events/projects/releases you would like to discuss?
Emilee Shield: I do! I’ve started focusing more on historical costuming in 2021 and I just entered the 2021 Foundations Revealed competition. Voting for my cosplay will start online in early/mid-March!
Thank you for taking the time to do this! Where can our readers find you?
Emilee Shield: You can find me on IG, Twitter, and TikTok as @ourshieldmaiden
Want more Soda and Telepaths?
1. Liam from The War Between Us on Influences and Creative Focus
2. Ahmed Alameen on Balancing Comic Writing with Day Job
3. Jordan Thomas On Horror and Working On Multiple Projects
4. Madeleine Holly-Rosing on Creating Steampunk Comics