Cosplay Family Spotlight: The Sondheimers

Reading Time: 5 minutes

sondheimer-featuredCosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Shiri Sondheimer, one of our writers, and her family. Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Sondheimer:
We’re all pretty involved. The kids are still young, so Jon and I do most of the heavy lifting in costume creation, but the kids are always finding bits and pieces they want to make into gauntlets or weapons or various holders for their various weapons. Zora, our four-year-old, also finds great joy in using makeup to create superhero masks RIGHT on her face. Isidor, our six-year-old, is more apt to choose a theme and create a cohesive costume, where as Z likes mixing her fandoms to the nth degree. A lot of my cosplay is of the “everyday” variety. My closet is about 2/3 geek. I tend to throw stuff together out of what I find around; Jon likes to plan and fabricate carefully and exactly. We’re a good team.
GeekDad:
How did you and your family get into cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
Sondheimer:
sondheimer-horusbug
Photo by Shiri Sondheimer.

The boy’s first real Halloween costume was the Tom Baker Doctor. That same month, hubs and I went to a party as Zatana and Six Pack. After that, we… sort of couldn’t stop. Izzy is very into mythology, so we went more intricate with a Horus costume two years ago, while Zora asked to be the main character from her then favorite book Lady Bug Girl. Last year was the first time we did a family costume. We have one night a week where we order dinner (usually pizza for the boy and the hubs and Japanese for the girl and me) and watch a show altogether. Last year, we jumped into Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. Our family became integrated with the family on the Ghost through the kid’s play–they started calling my CRV the Ghost and my husband’s sedan the Phantom, addressing me as Hera and Jon as Kanan, and would, very briefly, do anything I asked them to do the first time if I address them as “Troopers” and used a fake New Zealand accent–so it was a natural progression to our first family Halloween costume.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Sondheimer:
sondheimer-rebels
Photo by Shiri Sondheimer.

Last year’s aforementioned “crew of the Ghost” costume is my favorite. I’m also partial to my Winter Soldier cosplay. Which is really just the clothes I wore to the library last Wednesday.

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Sondheimer:
We do some together and some separately. I always feel kids don’t have a ton of life-choices they get to make and what they wear, provided it covers what needs to be covered and is weather appropriate, is sort of up to them. I made some changes with my hair recently, for example, because they said they wanted to do a family Voltron cosplay this Halloween and they decided I should be Shiro. They have since decided to go in other directions (most recently barbarian warrior and Kubo from Kubo and the Two Strings). I’m still planning on Shiro. As long as everyone is happy and having fun, the rest is detail.
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Sondheimer:
The Horus mask my husband made Izzy two years ago was amazing, and it took hours. He also made Zora’s Ahsoka helmet for last year. I’m not huge on fabrication (don’t have the time or the patience), but I pride myself on being able to use what I find–making a Twi’lek head out of an old pair of tights and a pair of boxers, for example. My favorite sort of costuming challenge is how can I make this out of what’s laying around?
GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Sondheimer:
Hubs does a lot with craft foam and cardboard, a bit with wood. Mine, as above is, “whatever’s around.”
GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small-scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Sondheimer:
Not yet. I’m sure the kids will want to when they’re older, but for now, we stick to LEGO or cardboard and washi tape.
GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
Sondheimer:
sondheimer-renfaire
Photo by Shiri Sondheimer.

Let them choose. Even if it’s not the fandom you would pick, have them take the lead. They’ll have more patience and more fun. It isn’t so much about the product as the process and the time you get to spend together.

GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it,” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about (each person can give an answer)?
Sondheimer:
Family aggregate: Books. Comics. Drawing. Maps. Stickers. Minecraft. Funkos. Star Wars. Marvel in general. DC in general. Coffee. Baking. Animals. Washi tape. Building stuffed animal habitats. Tattoos. Dinosaurs. Dice. RPGs, card games, and board games.
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Sondheimer:
sondheimer-wintersoldier
Photo by Shiri Sondheimer.

Halloween is the next big thing for us. I’m hoping to go to ECCC this year, and I’ll do Shiro and Winter Soldier, possibly Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman if it happens. We’re always dressed up at our local on FCBD as well.

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