Natural Hair & DragonCon Cosplay, Part One

September 14, 2016

So… we went to DragonCon this year… Best. Time. Ever.  (after our awesome honeymoon, of course!)  I have rarely seen so many people in one place (well, except for the Champs-Élysées, Paris, France).  But what’s weird is that I’ve never felt so comfortable around so many people in one place.  It was like being among 70,000+ peers in cosplay and we can’t wait wait to go back next year.

So What is DragonCon?

Well, it is the world’s largest fantasy/SF convention, held annually in Atlanta, GA, on Labor Day weekend; when lots and tons of cosplayers come out in droves to hang out, cosplay their favorite characters, and attend session and other events.

And Cosplay?

iFanBoy has a pretty good breakdown of what this is on this site:

“Cosplay is a shortened form of two words – costume and play.  The early 90s saw the rising of cosplay into popular culture, although it probably originated initially in Japan.  It is the practice of portraying a fictional character – at times completely identifying as that character while in costume (and thus acting as if the individual was that character to add to the authenticity of the experience).

It is of my own opinion that cosplay is not merely costuming, but a very unique form of performance art. It is most widely associated with comic books, anime, video games, and most things that are geeky in nature. It has become such a massive subculture within the geek world at this point that is is essentially synonymous with the idea of a convention or a gathering of individuals who subscribe to more “geeky” interests.”

And we did.  Well, mostly my hubs with his too-cool Batman Beyond Cosplay.  My main character did not want to play nicely so I let her rest until the next Con.

My plan, though, was to rock the costume and bring some natural representation to the comic book scene.

Wait, YOU Cosplay?

Why yes, yes I do.  And although we are newbies to the art of costuming and cons, we are not new to the idea or the desire to have started this a loooong time ago!

There’s a video.  You should watch it to see what we’ll be getting into below.  Yes, now – go!  I’ll wait:

Poison Ivy, Naturally

The Plan.  Right, so I love Poison Ivy.  You know, the crazed plant-loving “villain” from DC’s Gotham who puts her green leafed family before people?  Yep – I know exactly how she feels.  I love my plants more than people most days, and prefer being out with them and with my hands in the dirt.  So it was that connection that made me decide to cosplay her for my first.  If you watched my video like you were supposed to (!!! ::wink:wink::) then you have already seen the planned combination that was to be my cosplay.  Just in case, here are some more pics of my girl…

Poison Ivy Gif, Ask Me About My Hair Blog

Dr. Pamela Isley, Ask Me About My Hair Blog

Right; so how do you combine the character Poison Ivy and natural hair?

(You all know me by now, and know that I can bring natural hair into any conversation!)

Instead of complaining about no representation of natural-haired women in comics and cosplay, I choose to show that you can incorporate natural hair into comic book characters and cosplay.  Actions speaking louder than words, and all…  And I love the cosplay community – which is a most accepting community of geekish fans portraying their favorite imaginary characters by their personal interpretation and how they see them.

That, ladies and gents, was a gentle disclaimer and short soapbox rant all in one… don’t worry, a post on the source of this statement is coming soon!

Back to Ivy – so during my short stint with locs, I realized that growing natural hair was very similar to growing plants and gardening.  This analogy came full circle when I was wondering how I would do my hair for my Poison Ivy cosplay.  Not ever wanting to be like everyone else, I imagined all the possibilities.  Immediately, my mind came back to locs – why shouldn’t Poison Ivy have locs?  After all, they are the most naturally organic hairstyle out there; and locs most closely resemble plant stems and roots.  In all their beautiful glory!

I thought and thought and thought, and finally came up with faux locs.  I would install faux locs onto a lovely naturally kinky wig I own

My Jamaican Loc wig from WigTypes, Ask Me About My Hair Blog

and do it in a nice red shade.  Yep, that was the plan.  I found a few bags of red Marley hair at a local beauty supply store by my job and decided that this would be the color.  Not burgundy.  Not Ronald McDonald red.  But a Poison Ivy crimson red.  This was my first mistake… I should have used yarn because my local beauty supply store only had 4 bags left.  So assuming I would be able to find more bags, I went home and started putting in the locs.  (Phone camera pics aren’t as nice as my b(v)logging camera but it’s all I had at the time)

Red Locs for Poison Ivy Cosplay, Ask Me About My Hair Blog

And the following Monday, after traveling to another 6 or 7 beauty supply stores, I realized that the preferred shade is actually burgundy or Ronald McDonald red.  No one carried this very uncommon red shade of Marley hair.  And it was all out online.  What. Are. The. Odds?  I was NOT happy, especially with only a few weeks until DragonCon.  So I ended up taking them down and looking for options…

…which I found in seven very last-minute, very messy cans of red Jerome Russell hair color sprays.  The coverage is AWESOME, but this wig has a LOT of hair so I still didn’t get it as bright as I wanted.  But it was better than nothing, and since the kinky wig was awesome before locs, I would still be able to represent for the naturals.

Sprayed Marley Wig for Poison Ivy Cosplay, Ask Me About My Hair Blog

I loved the look of this Marley wig and knew that this look was also an awesomely organic look that I could rock with my Poison Ivy [natural] Cosplay.

(Unfortunately this costume did not work out like I planned.  But I will come back in full force next year!  In part two of this post I will share why I didn’t wear the costume, and share some of my other natural cosplay characters.)

Stay tuned for Part Two…

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