Make Them Awesome wouldn’t have come to be without meeting people and making friends. I first met Rob at an Ikkicon Fire Emblem photoshoot at the end of 2016. He was there taking photos. A few months later Rob and I met again at Mini-Mini Con in San Antonio and he took a couple photos of my Snow Halation Eli! After that, we started planning future photoshoots for Eli and Azura.
I also met Kirsten (Tacocat Cosplay) at that same Ikkicon! She helped me put my Cordelia armor back together before my competition; and I was fawning over her Frozen Fever Anna. We became fast friends and I met her sister Lauren (Mermaid Child) a couple months later at an Anime on Ice event in Austin. Kirsten helped Rob out on a couple of our first photoshoots, and we began collaborating on shoots together when we started cosplaying LoveLive! together.
For my first 4ish years of cosplay I attended conventions alone. I met up with friends who were already there, but we’d only hang out for a little while then part ways to different panels and such. It’s never been an issue for me, but since I’ve been going to cons with everyone and actually spending time together, it’s been a lot more fun! Not only are we now all collaborating together with MTA, we’ve been a part of other friends’ projects as well. One of my fellow San Antonio cosplayers SailorGeekette and I got to become good friends last year, we organized a Sailor Scout Fruit Maid group for San Japan and had a ton of fun making our cosplays together! We had a group of about 11 ladies and it was like a dream come true!
I know a lot of people have issues with meeting strangers and striking up conversation. It can be nerve-wracking and upsetting depending on how the conversation goes. Sometimes you’re put in an unexpected situation where you’re waiting for something and need to fill the time. I introduced 2 of my best friends to Kirsten and Lauren during the 4 hours of waiting in line at A-Kon this year; and it happened to be the perfect ice breaker. Everyone got along, got to know each other and everyone’s nerves melted away. We met up a few times during the con and they didn’t skip a beat!
It’s ok to be shy and nervous about meeting new people, but if you let yourself start even the smallest of conversations, you’re doing great! Ask for a photo of someone, let someone know when you like their shirt or merch. We’re all nerds and there’s plenty to bond over! Most people I’ve met randomly at conventions are really kind and happy to engage in conversation. All it takes is for someone to start it. I’ve been the talkative one and the shy one in these encounters, and being either can be difficult. But once you find common ground it’s easy to chat and start gushing over what you have in common. If you find yourself needing to leave the conversation, ask for their social media and follow/friend them so you can pick up the conversation later! Even if you only talk occasionally online or at cons, it’s still fun to know people when you go to cons and look for your new friends in the crowd!
Like with anything, if you sit around saying “I wish this, I wish that etc.” and never take any action, you won’t get anywhere. Wishing for friends then turning away from an opportunity to make them won’t get you what you want. Take a deep breath and talk! People seem scary at first, but behind those sleepy con eyes is a new friend waiting to be made!