Sara B. Staley poses for a photograph dressed as ‘Negan,” the current main antagonist of AMC Network's The Walking Dead. Staley stated that she plans on wearing this costume at the Walker Stalker event in Portland, Oregon during the weekend of June 24, 2017.

Photo by Mike Staley

'Cosplay can empower anyone,' says sara b. staley

By Justin K. Thomas

June 23, 2017

Sara B. Staley has taken cosplay or the act of dressing up as your favorite character from cartoons, comics or movies and has used it as a means to empower herself and she says that it can do the same for others.

“Cosplay means having fun and doing something I’m truly passionate about,” Staley said. “To me, it’s about being creative and bringing my favorite characters to life. I love all the characters. "My two favorites come from a late 60s and 70s-era cartoon and a 90s-era video game. I have a soft spot for ‘Velma’ from Scooby Doo because I grew up watching the cartoon television show. ‘Lara Croft’ of Tomb Raider is just awesome because she embodies a character that's sexy and tough at the same time.”

The American Pacific-Northwest native said that to her family, impersonating pop-culture icons such as video game and cartoon characters weren't expected in the beginning, but as time passed, everyone now looks forward to her public appearances.

“When I first got involved, my family thought it was a little strange,” she said. “But once they saw how passionate I was about it, they accepted it, and they now look forward to my new cosplays. My friends know how much I enjoy it, so they think it’s great.”

Sara B. Staley poses for a photograph as "Velma" in front of the Mystery Machine as seen in the American cartoon television show, Scooby Doo.

Photo by Mike Staley

As a cosplayer, Staley stated that her unlikeliest fan came in the form of a toddler.

“My biggest fans vary on what I’m cosplaying,” Staley said. “One time, a little boy who dressed up as 'Captain America followed' me around the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle a couple of years ago when I was dressed as ‘Daphne’ from Scooby Doo. He thought I was the real-life cartoon character and was very concerned that ‘Fred’ and ‘Scooby’ weren't there with me. I had to assure him that everything was okay. It’s moments like this that make cosplay worth it.”

Staley said that cosplaying is about every man, woman or child being able to have fun, even if they think that they’re not up to the challenge.

“The remarkable thing about cosplay is that anyone can do it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what height, weight, age or gender a person is, this is an activity that anyone can do. There has never been a moment where I felt I couldn’t cosplay.”

In addition, Staley said that a person should be prepared to spend a "few" dollars while trying to build their costume. But, the lasting friendships created are what matters the most.

“My advice would be to just go for it,” Staley stated. “I’ve had so much fun and I have met lifelong friends while cosplaying. Yes, cosplay can be very expensive and time-consuming when it comes to putting a costume together. However, the price-tag ultimately depends on what you chose to cosplay because every character can be more nuanced than the ones I perform.”

As to the future of her hobby, Staley said that anything is possible, especially since there will be new films surrounding the “Star Wars” franchise premiering in theaters over the next few years.

“I have multiple comicons coming up,” she said. “The Walker Stalker event in Portland, Oregon is the weekend of June 24-25. I will be cosplaying as 'Negan' from The Walking Dead. In addition, I’m currently putting together a new costume featuring the likeness of ‘Han Solo’ from Star Wars. It’s fun to take a male character and put a female spin on it. Of course, there will be many ‘cons’ in the years to come because this is something I plan on doing for a very long time.”