Our March Bombshell of the Month has it Made in the Shade!

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Bombshell 202003 Shady Haze

Every month the staff at Critical Blast combs the cosplay community for up-and-coming cosplayers who deserve to have a broader audience for their work, taking into account not only costuming skills and spirit, but also how they use that ability in service to others. Through this, we've not only met some talented cosplayers, but also some fine human beings.

Our newest cosplayer caught our attention with her unique ability to portray characters of different genders, pulling off male and female characters with equal alacrity and skill. We had to share with our readers her talents at both costuming and modeling our favorite heroes, and we believe you will be as impressed as we are.

And so, dear readers, we at Critical Blast are pleased and proud to present to you, our...

 

Critical Blast Bombshell, March 2020

Shady Haze


Talon Dick Grayson (DC COMICS)
photo credit: @erikwphotography

What is your interest in cosplay?

I started back in October or November of 2017. I went to my first convention prior to that since I won tickets. I’m a collector of comics and figurines, so I didn’t even know what cosplay was. As soon as I went to my first con I was like, “Whoa! What is this? Why are people dressing up? I wanna do this too!”

So I took an interest in doing so. Why not combine my love for nerdy things and take it up a notch and cosplay!

How did you get into cosplay, and what was your first cosplay experience?

My first cosplay experience was truly Baltimore Comic Con 2017. I was beyond stoked to attend it and I had no skill in my cosplays. I made a homemade Scarlet Spider suit and my first Nightwing. At first I was super nervous, but then I realized everyone was there to have fun and hang out. I made a couple new friends and got some photos taken. My favorite part was being a cosplay model and getting photos done.

How has your cosplay evolved since you began?

Man, it has evolved a lot! I started out not knowing anything to knowing a bunch. I started learning foam crafting in 2018, and I’ve improved since then. I also saw that cosplay was competitive, so I had to use my social media skills and learn to build a brand of my own. 

I’m known for genderbending and cosplaying my favorite male characters. And everyone asks why do I cosplay them? I give the same answer: I want to marry them! Haha. But I’ve done a version 2 of Cyclops and you can see the difference of skill set. I’ll share photos so we can see how I’ve improved. My favorite skill set has to be foam, since that was my first learning experience back in 2018, and I must say it’s better now than 2 years ago.

I actually have another account called @thatshadyhsquad where I host cosplay meet-ups and photoshoots for my friends and for new friends. This is another way to give back to the community and keep it growing.


Superboy (DC COMICS)
photo: tnguyenphotos

What is your "secret identity" outside of cosplaying?

I’ve always been a creator my entire life. I work as a Creative Project Manager, and that entails social media as well.

What kind of social or charity activities do you get involved in with your cosplay?

So like I said my other cosplay account is about community. I host meet-ups, hangouts and con plans there. I like to include everyone in the area and beyond. I’m all about having fun in this cosplay community. I plan to include charity events this year as well so we can do more.


Cyclops (MARVEL COMICS, X-MEN)
photo: (left) Michael O. Howard, (right) @g28646

Do you make as much of your own costume as possible or rely on purchased materials -- and is that important overall to cosplaying? 

My base suits are actually sponsored by ZentaiZone. I make my own accessories out of foam or get them 3D printed by a friend, and I build it, sand, paint, etc to make sure it’s accurate and to my liking.

What's your favorite cosplay, your "go to" look that you just love to put on and act out?

SUPERBOY. It’s super canon for me (I know I gotta stay humble!) but he really is my favorite to wear. Super comfy but also it fits my personality. A close second is Cyclops. I love Cyclops, he’s my favorite character of all time.

Where can people go to find you online?

Facebook.com/ThatShadyHaze: I also have events listed there for cons I’m attending in the future and also cosplay meet-ups I’m planning this year. I also post exclusive first looks.

Instagram.com/thatshadyhaze is my main account and my second account is instagram.com/thatshadysquad

BONUS

It's not all superheroes -- Shady also pulls off a pretty decent and very underplayed Disney character! Check out her Esmerelda, from Walt Disney Pictures THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (photo by @tnguyenphotos).