College to Career: a journey in cosplay
Can someone actually go to college for Cosplay? Can someone have a profession as a Cosplayer? Corinne Main asked herself these very questions, and while some might have questioned her sanity just for asking them, she only focused on the one thing that led her to them: her passion for Cosplay.
“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” is a question most young adults today struggle with tirelessly; the mounting pressure to finish High School, go to college, and major in something that will one day bring both happiness and a livable income, is heavy and thick in the air. Add to that a unique love for art and performance, and a need to spend the rest of one’s life doing just that, and you might find yourself in Corinne Main’s shoes.
The world of fantasy and imagination has always been a large part of Corinne’s life, and as such, seemed like a natural and necessary part of her future. Only a future that would combine her love and talents for performing and creating art would do. Corinne, or Cori, as she nicknames herself, was in a precocious position. However, that same creative and talented mind allowed her to carve a path few have ever traveled.
While attending the University of Hartford, Corinne created the idea of a new degree path: a degree in Art & Performance FX. But creating a new major is no easy feat; she needed some major help to start the contract major. “This was the toughest part of the process;” Cori explained, “the collaboration between the two schools (the Hartford Art School and the Hartt School) to bring this major to life. It was tough coordinating what courses would provide a well-rounded & structured curriculum to support the major. Once I got approval and the coursework underway, I enjoyed it.”
With the help of the professors & faculty from both the Hartt School & University of Hartford, and Cori’s unending persistence and determination to major in something she had such a passion for, in December of 2009, Cori walked onto a stage in her cap & gown to finally accept the degree that was a reflection of all her passion, love, and hard work.
But Cori’s story, and influence on the Cosplay community, does not end there. She later became an official SAG-AFTRA actress, getting roles when and where she could to express her passion for performance. Today, in addition to being an actress, she is also an aerobics instructor and does craft work. “Life is crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” she said, explaining her nonstop schedule.
As for her Cosplay work, Corinne truly enjoys her Cosplay builds, and doesn’t look to be known for being a “pro” Cosplayer. From speaking with her, it’s clear to see she does Cosplay for the passion of the craft. “I do what I can to stay true to the character. I've driven my family insane during the process multiple times because I'm picky about detail.” To drive home this point of her extreme dedication to her Cosplays, she went on to tell us of her cosplaying as a famous Ghostbusters character, “Gozer”: “I couldn't drink anything when I was Gozer because it was a full bodysuit…I didn't go to the bathroom all day. And that's small compared to the range of builds I've seen other extremely skilled crafters accomplish.”
Her toughest build was more stringent and time-consuming yet, as she goes on to explain: “My toughest build was Machiko; or commonly known as Lady Predator. I had no base structure, save for the fishnet body stocking. I made foam molds for all the armor pieces; used (and destroyed) a dremel to carve the design pattern, then applied layers of paint for texture and did detailing brushwork. Once I got the supplies, I was working on it for at least two months whenever I had free time.”
Cori describes her proudest moments as receiving the appreciation & acceptance from fans and cosplayers alike for her works of art. For her, and many Cosplayers, finishing a build is only half of the accomplishment; the validation of her efforts is the finale to a job well done. As for her personal life, Cori has a loving and supportive husband, who helps lug around the big pieces of her Cosplays when needed. They hope to start a family someday.
Though the road has been tough financially, Cori continues to see a future in her efforts and will continue her work in Cosplay. “I'm just happy to be applying my skill set and passion in everything I do,” she explains. Cori is a trailblazer in the Cosplay community, first for fighting for and creating an academic path for herself and artists like her that can’t live without their passion, and secondly for bringing her talents and passion to the community continually through her work. Cori, we salute you!