GlaDoS: My first “official” cosplay

My first “official” cosplay was GLaDOS from the video game Portal, which I wore to Montreal Comic Con in 2013 – marking my 10th cosplay anniversary. While I had been interested in costuming since my teenage years, this was the first costume I specifically made for attending a convention, making it my first true cosplay, in my opinion, despite having made other costumes in the past.

Over the past decade, while I have made mistakes, I have also made significant progress in my cosplay hobby. Despite my errors, I am proud of the many things I have done right.

For my GLaDOS costume, I put my own spin on the character by creating a “human” version of her, which was uncommon at the time when cosplays tended to be screen-accurate. This unique take on the character unintentionally made me the center of attention.

The costume was also designed with lighting, but ten years ago, this was not a common feature in cosplay and wearable tech was a novelty. To achieve the glowing effect, I used glowsticks instead of EL wire or fibre optics as they were more readily available than the LEDs we have today. I cracked the glowsticks and slid them down the clear tubes on the arms of the costume, which created a super cool effect. Since I only needed the costume to glow for the day of the convention, I swapped out packs of orange and blue glowsticks every 4-5 hours. The result was impressive, with the bonus of no bulk battery pack to hide.

Finding novelty contacts to match my GLaDOS cosplay was a challenge, and I ended up purchasing robot-styled ones from C&C Cosmetics, which has since relocated to Chinatown in Montreal. Nowadays, it’s much easier to order whatever contacts you want online, but for many years, I was obsessed with getting every detail perfect, even if it meant suffering for the look. However, I have since learned to prioritize my comfort and well-being over accuracy. I no longer care if my eyes are the correct color as I know I can always rely on Photoshop to achieve the desired effect. My eyes are happier for it!
I made some mistakes with the GLaDOS cosplay as well. For instance, the tubing is sewn permanently to the bottom of the dress, which makes it difficult to wash. Looking back, I realize that I should have made the tubes detachable to make washing easier. Nowadays, I always aim to make my costumes as washable as possible, and it has become a standard practice for me.

That day, GLaDOS garnered me significant attention, and the rush I felt from it sparked an addiction to cosplay that drove me to continue creating. A decade later, my passion for the hobby remains strong, and I anticipate that I will continue to produce cosplay costumes until there are no more conventions to attend.