636336582132360691-cosplay1.jpg (Photo:plus size formal dresses)

Former Wichitan Meaghan Jordan discovered anime in junior high school, when she watched the TV program “Inuyasha.” She soon persuaded her mother to take her to the Dallas A-Kon anime convention.

Because she had seen pictures of people dressing up as anime characters at conventions, she ordered a costume off the Internet of Kagome Higurashi, a fictional character on "Inuyasha."

“I still remember that moment when we drove up to the hotel,” Jordan said. “People were walking up and down the street in costume. And I realized, ‘Wow, I was home. This is where I am supposed to be. These are my fellow people, my nerds.’ It was life-changing for me. I was hooked.”

Jordan took on the persona of Viverra Cosplay for cosplay conventions, just as others dress as their favorite characters from video games, anime programs, movies, comic books or graphic novels.

Fourteen years after her first A-Kon, the anime and video game fan works in fashion in Houston and will return to her hometown as a special guest to judge a 100-contestant cosplay contest from 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 24 at the two-day Animania Wichita Falls convention at the Multi-Purpose Event's Center's Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall.

The convention, in its debut year, runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 24 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25.

Following Jordan's first-ever convention, her grandmother began making her anime costumes and eventually taught her to sew.

“I realized pretty quickly that I was pretty good at sewing, and I enjoyed it," she said. "When college came around, I investigated fashion colleges and found a great program at Texas Tech.”

As much as she loved making cosplay costumes, she also was very much drawn to fashion design.

“Because sewing was literally my homework, and I didn’t want to burn out, I only made four or five costumes in four years.

“At the time, no one thought of cosplay as a career. It was really all about fun.”

After graduation, she got a job in Houston in technical design and now works in product design, specializing in a wide range of sporting goods.

Although a number of designers over the past several years started making money from their cosplay creations, Jordan only makes costumes for herself. “I have somewhere between 20 and 30.”

At a recent anime convention, she donned costumes for a different character for each day of the convention.

A cosplay outfit is more than just clothes, she said. It’s accouterments, sometimes armor and also props, such as weapons.

For a character called Sole Survivor, she 3D printed pieces of the gun, sanding them, gluing them together and painting them.

Jordan said she’s drawn to a variety of cosplay characters, but most are the strong female ones.

She said she sometimes chooses to cosplay a character because she loves them, such as Commander Shephard from the Mass Effect science fiction video game.

“It was one of my most popular, I think, because I loved the character so much, and that made her easy to channel.”

Her current profile picture depicts her as Sole Survivor from the post apocalyptic role-playing game Fallout 4.

“I waited for the game so long, I had to cosplay her character,” she said.

Jordan likes to dress as characters she looks like, but that isn't always the case.

“I don’t look a thing like (actress) Emilia Clarke playing Daenerys (from HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones"), but I did the costume because I like her so much.”

Judging the cosplay contest this weekend, she will focus on several major elements. She looks at costume craftsmanship, the design, finishing and detail. What she calls face presence is next, then elements such as mannerisms, attitude and what cosplayers do to resemble their character.

The cosplay contest in Wichita Falls allows each contestant 30 seconds on stage. At larger conventions, there can also be skits, voiceovers, singing or dance. But most cosplayers don’t do all that.

Most, she said, wear costumes to walk around in during conventions. If they want to involve themselves in a certain community, they may dress with their friends in the same series. There are also photo shoots at conventions and off-location.

Jordan is excited about an anime convention coming to her hometown

“When I heard about it, I told everyone I had to be there. I never dreamed it would happen here. It’s exciting, and I think people will open up more. It happens with me. I am more shy and quiet, but when I’m at conventions, I’m loud and talkative. It changes who I am, because I’m comfortable. I can’t wait to see that happen with other people.”Read more at:celebrity dresses