With a Smile and a Song--An Interview with Snow Cosplayer Malerie McDonald
by Teresa Martin (@Teresa__Martin)
1. When did you first become a fan of Once Upon a Time? What is your "story" in becoming a Oncer?
I actually didn't start watching it until Season One was all done and on Netflix. My sister was watching it and telling me I NEEDED to watch this show, that it was right up my alley. So one Saturday I wasn't working and had pretty much a free day. I sat there and watched the pilot then the next and then the next! Next thing I knew I was watching the finale at around 3 a.m. I just couldn't stop watching! So I would say I became a fan instantly after watching all of Season One in a day lol.
2. How did you first start cosplaying?
I have always been a fan of dressing up and actually have been pretty fortunate that I get to do that as my second job on the weekends. About ten years ago I got hired as a Princess for parties. I did multiple princesses where I would attend the party dressed as them dancing and singing their songs. But my most requested one was Snow. When I got pregnant I decided to just focus on face painting and became a professional face painter. Later, I came back to the Princess Scene and did face painting and dressed up as Snow White on the weekends. The first con I attended was Regal Con and I was a volunteer. When I went to the volunteers meeting I was late, so I snuck into the back seat. Later when we were asked to introduce ourselves, Leah, who was in charge of the meeting, said "Ok your turn. The girl who looks exactly like Mary Margaret sitting over there" (which if I can backstory a little, it wasn't uncommon for me to hear that--the first time I heard I resembled Ginnifer Goodwin was my senior year of High School when Mona Lisa Smile came out. One of my friends told me she had found my Doppelgänger) Back to the cosplaying, after the meeting I was talking to the other volunteers and they told me it would be awesome to see me cosplay as Mary Margaret so I figured ... How hard could this be? I'll just bring my little collar top with me and change into it later. Everyone loved it, and when I wasn't running around doing my job at the con I stopped for some pics. That's how I met Reini Side in her amazing purple gown cosplay.
3. What was the process in making your first costume?
My first costume cosplay was after Regal Con. I was contacted by Reini to go and cosplay with her at D23. I am a Disney Addict so I was on board right away. I knew I wanted to cosplay Snow rather than go in normal clothes as Mary Margaret so I started to think about which would be the best choice for it ... BANDIT SNOW! To quote the OUAT Rock Opera "She's SO badass". Lol. One of my friends is an amazing seamstress and she made me a similar looking archer costume for Halloween one year so I contacted her and asked if she wanted to do this project with me. I am a very visual person and I love getting all of the details as close as possible. Once she was on board, I told her what I would need for her to make mainly the vest. We noticed that this was supposed to look hand stitched and dirty so after she sent it to me I went back and stitched some more on (I can hand stitch and crochet, but I would love to learn how to use a sewing machine one day) and then I put it on and literally rolled around outside in it. As for the rest of the costume, I looked around EVERYWHERE online, thrift and antique stores until I got it just right. Now the hair, I have a lot of people ask me about it since my hair is super short, pixie cut. Well this trick I cannot take credit for because I learned it from the best, Drag Queens! What I do is when I know I have a cosplay photoshoot or convention, I grow out the front and top of it a little more and work my own hair into the wig.
4. Can you share your experiences at conventions? Have you met the stars? What was that like? What happened?
I love going to conventions. I have been to three so far (Regal Con, D23 and just recently Emerald City Comic Con) and honestly if money wasn't an object I would be at all of them! I love going in cosplay and taking pics with fellow Oncers and people who appreciate all the time and work I put into my look. One of my favorite things is to see and admire all the other cosplays I see! It's beautiful how creative people are! I HAVE been able to meet the stars. At Regal Con I was working but was able to talk Lee, Faustino and Michael (my Dwarfs!) shortly while I was helping in the autograph room. Lee and I talked a little bit about tattoos since we both have some ink. I got to sit at the dinner table with David Anders who is hilarious and a really nice guy. I also had a few quick moments with Eion Bailey and Sean Maguire. And I took a picture with Lana for the first time ... I must say it was a little overwhelming in the best possible way! I was running around and someone said to me if you want to go do your pic with Lana you gotta do it now. I was gonna go change into my Mary Margaret top but didn't want to hold up the line so I just went as is. When I walked in, she looked at me in just my all black and said "Well hello, you look familiar" to which I could barely squeak out "please don't kill me". Luckily I was able to chat a bit more with Lana and take the pic I have always wanted to with her ripping out my heart at ECCC! I had her autograph the apple prop I had that I've used for years with all my cosplay looks. She is such an amazing and generous person. She even said she remembered me when I looked more like Mary Margaret.
I got to see and take a pic with Sean when some of my good friends from OUAT Rock Opera, Amiee and Erin. We went to see him play with the amazing band Ultan Conlon. He was SO sweet when I asked him if he wanted to take a pic with us "look-a-likes." He turned to me and said "Of course, and you do look like my friend Ginny".
5. What has been your experience meeting fellow Oncers?
I am so appreciative of always having positive experiences when meeting fellow Oncers. I love talking and chatting about what's happened, what's to come and what I would like to see happen!
6. Is there anything that you would like to share with your fellow fans of OUAT?
Be kind to each other. That is just something I live by and always try to implement in life and even more so in something I love like Once Upon A Time. If you ship a different ship or don't agree on something, that is fine. We are all entitled to our opinions BUT don't try and push those opinions on others, and definitely don't bash people for not agreeing with you. Also, to those out there who wanna cosplay COSPLAY! Have fun with it!
7. Anything else you would like to share?
I was very excited when @OnceABC shared my cosplay this past Halloween and I got over 1000 likes! I'm in the works on some new Cosplays that I am excited to share with everyone so keep spreading the word! ;)
Follow Malerie on Twitter: @malerie_mcd