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Meet Shell of Shellanin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shell.

Shell, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been a HUGE fan of anime and cartoons since I was a kid. I used to spend a lot of time wishing I was the main character in most of the anime and cartoons that I watched after school. I always wished that I could be a Ninja like Naruto or be a Ghost Kid like Danny Phantom. As a child when I imagined myself as these characters, I would try to picture what they would look like if they were me! I always pictured myself with thick and curly hair textures instead of the straight or spikey hair that they actually had. So once I started getting deeper into the world of cosplay, I figured “Hey! Why not make my childhood dreams come true?!” I decided that I can be the representation that lacked in media through my cosplay work. That’s how my #CurlyCosplay hashtag was born! My goal in cosplay is to create representation through characters we already know and love. This way I can be anyone I want and still be myself at the same time. When I cosplay, instead of aiming for accuracy, I aim for representation. I reimagine characters with curly hair and bring them to life through my cosplay!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Unfortunately, the road in cosplay isn’t always smooth when your main objective isn’t accuracy. A lot of people believe that when you cosplay, you should only dress up as characters that look like you. As a black woman that mostly dresses up as characters that look nothing like me, I face a lot of criticism and racism. I personally see cosplay differently and as an art form that you can have fun with and express yourself through! Though I face criticism sometimes, the amount of positivity I receive always speaks louder than negativity. People really enjoy seeing representation of curls in cosplay and it always overcomes any negativity I receive.

Please tell us about Shellanin.
My brand Shellanin is all about #CurlyCosplay! Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character you enjoy, and usually, when people do this, they style wigs that look as close to the character’s hair design as possible. What makes Curly Cosplay different is instead of the character’s actual hair texture, you make your own twist on the character you choose by giving them a curly hair texture instead. It’s all about creating representation and having a good time while you do it!

When deciding to cosplay a character I try my best to imagine what their hairstyle would look like if it was an afro or curly hair texture instead. For example, when I cosplayed Vegeta, I was thinking of different curly/afro hairstyles that are tall like Vegeta’s hair. Once I came up with an Afro Puff, I decided to top it off by having a curl drop down my forehead like Vegeta’s widow’s peak! Like I said, it’s all about having fun and being creative when reimagining the chosen character’s hairstyle.

What makes Curly Cosplay the most rewarding for me is when I inspire people. I often receive comments from others saying that they’re so happy to finally see themselves in characters they already know and love through my cosplay. When people tell me that they want to start making Curly Cosplay to create more representation it really warms my heart.

I would like to continue to spread love and representation through my Curly Cosplay and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to do that so stay tuned and keep checking for updates on my Curly Cosplay journey!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’m always very grateful for everyone that supports me. The kind comments I receive every time I post a new Curly Cosplay is always positively overwhelming. My followers are so kind and supportive and their comments always make me excited to share new Curly Cosplay Content with them. My parents and those close to me also have been insanely supportive of my Cosplay Career. Even though they don’t always understand it, they always have my back and are right there with me when I’m styling wigs at 3am! I’m happy that I can make my parents proud through something I once called a hobby.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
FoxFhotography, Jasemine Denise Photography, Shellanin

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