Carter’s Cosplay Corner: Becoming Peggy Carter

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FROM THE DESK OF AGENT PEGGY CARTER OF THE STRATEGIC SCIENTIFIC RESERVE

My dear friends,

Welcome to my little corner of this fine website which celebrates the Marvel universe in all its various forms and the fans, because that’s why we’re all here together.

This is where I get to talk about something that has become a real passion for me in the last few years — cosplay.

Deciding to cosplay for the first time can be daunting and even a little terrifying. For years, I watched with envy as friends of mine dressed as their favorite characters as I continuously talked myself out of it because I felt too fat, too old, and too unskilled to do what they were doing. Who was I to enter that world?

In 2010, I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, and the couple years that followed were some of the darkest times of my life. I found myself spending more and more time getting lost in my fandom as a way of escape. It was at New York Comic Con in 2012 that I got my first taste of cosplay. It wasn’t much. I wasn’t even a character. I just wore a Hogwarts robe that I had bought because I thought it would be fun to walk around with my friend who was dressed as Professor Snape.

I had a few people take my photo, and it was mostly when I was with my friend, but I had the time of my life!

It didn’t matter how old I was or what I looked like. People seemed to just be happy to see the fandom represented.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Shay.
With friend, Kimberly Shay, at New York Comic Con in 2012.

From there, it was simple step to the left. If I put a wig on with that outfit and added a prop or two, those simple robes became a character.

And a new hobby was born.

Even before that, I had always wanted to cosplay someone in the Marvel universe. But it was deciding on who that person should be. I recently found this post on my Facebook:

“I know this has been done by better cosplayers, but I’m kinda thinking of Peggy Carter. I really want to do a Marvel character, and I quite like her. This is within my skill level, and I think I could pull it off.”

I had a few encouraging notes from friends, and I decided that she was the one. And thus it began…

There was no Agent Carter TV show at the time. There was her appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger and the Agent Carter one shot. I had a few looks to choose from, so I started with her military look from the Project Rebirth scene.

Hayley Atwell in Captain America: The First Avenger
Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter in the Project Rebirth scene of “Captain America: The First Avenger.”

Suddenly, I was knee deep in research about Ike jackets and victory rolls and finding how to get SSR pins. I found myself doing crazy things like dyeing a wool jacket for the first time and buying vintage military ties. It was an adventure putting that outfit together.

More than that, I got to really know who Peggy was as a character. I went from “quite liking” her to pure adoration. She wasn’t a damsel or just a love interest. In fact, she was there training Steve Rogers, the man who would become Captain America. She was one of few people who saw value in him before the rest of the world did.

Even after he transformed into a super soldier, she was there right along side him fighting the good fight. She never backed down, never gave up, and never saw herself as less than the men around her.

Agent Peggy Carter was more than 1940’s bombshell with red lipstick and a gun. She had depth. She was a woman who could be tough when needed, but also good-hearted. She was smart and took risks. She was a woman of worth.

I remember walking in front of the Anaheim Convention Center and being called “Peggy” for the first time. It was the first of many “dances” with a Captain America, and I saluted for the first time since I was discharged from the Army.

I made new friends that day.

But there was also a lot of awkwardness. I wasn’t used to having my photo taken and wasn’t always sure how to pose. It was uncomfortable when photographers expected me to know what to do and I didn’t know myself. I also wasn’t always good about trigger control when holding my prop gun.

Photo by Estrada Photography
Long Beach Comic Expo 2014. I had no idea what to do with my face… or my trigger finger. Photo by Estrada Photography.

It took some and practice and a little more research to really learn what to do (and not to do). Truth be told, I’m still learning.

I’m hoping to use this little corner of The Marvel Report to share some of these things I have learned, am still learning, and any bumps I have along the way.

I want to share what a joy cosplay can be.

When I started, I didn’t know many people in the cosplay community, but I kept doing it because I loved the thrill of hunting the pieces and putting it all together.

Now, I have a family of friends, a generous and supportive community, and I answer to “Agent Carter” and “Peggy” almost as regularly as my own name.

Agent Carter Cosplayers
With the “Agent Carter” Cosplayers at Dragon Con 2015. I went from being alone in cosplay to part of a family.

Marvel is YOUR universe. That includes cosplay. I look forward to this new adventure with you.

Always remember your value,
Julie

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