We had the good fortune of connecting with Shanae Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shanae, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I decided to pursue and cultivate my cosplay career because back I’ve been around some form of art my entire life. Yes, in school we all have to take art class right? But in the fourth grade my art teacher decided to put me in Gifted and Talented art class. I honestly had no idea why but she saw something in me that needed to be let out. For the rest of my years of school up until I graduated highschool I was in some art class be it Photoshop and digital imagery, photography, shop class, and more. Once I became an adult I started seeing people in costume around my city at certain times of the year, then I’d hear people I knew going to these conventions and I decided to go to party city, get a wig and finally attend one back in 2016. I was welcomed and amazed by so many people with my same interests and that was it! I dived head first into Cosplay. I would like to say alot of mt cosplays are based on the things I enjoyed watching or playing as a kid. From Mortal Kombat down to Dragonball Z or X-Men the animated series. What keeps me going is always wanting to push the limits whether it’s a male character or not even if it means changing my identity completely I always want to see what my talent can accomplish.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What I believe sets me apart from others is I don’t want to just do something or a character because it’s the most popular. Yes Batman maybe the leading role but what about two face? He was a great villian as well! I also grew up with hearing the motto from a male and woman saying “Anything you can do I can do better”, I don’t for one second think I’m better than anyone at all but I do not believe that my gender alone places me in a box to just be one thing. Therefore if it means putting on a wig, placing on a prosthetic or having someone commission pieces of a suit or props for me that’s what I will do and not only does it help me and my cosplay but we can now network and share their talent and it just continues to grow the community. Nothing in life is easy, some days you start something and you hate it and you want to throw it away but on those days I just step back and come back to the project when I’m in better spirits but also dealing with the general public is not always easy. You either get hate from racist people telling you the character your cosplaying isn’t black or hate from other cosplayers just jumping on the bandwagon. Sometimes if can remind you of high school but if I can tell you anything, it’s this, in life your always going to be met with adversity. At work, at church, at the barbershop or salon, maybe even at the grocery store, but all of those adversarial moments will depend on how you respond. Once a tree gets off the ground and begins to grow, the weeds around it won’t even matter! If the world really needs to know my story it is simply that I am the rose that grew from the concrete, I have faced alot of trials and tribulations but I REFUSE to stay in the victim mentality, I changed from a victim to a victor. I am not defined by my past or my pain only my growth and I strongly believe the world See’s that. On a almost weekly basis I get the messages asking for my cosplay help in developing cosplays for others or just life in general like “how did you rise from crippling depression and still have the willpower to continue cosplaying”. My role is to show others how mountains can be moved.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If any of my friends came up to visit first off I’d love them to stay with me, not only do I have the room but I believe the aesthetic of my home is soothing versus staying in a lifeless hotel in a place you never been before. My favourite place to eat would be a place called Papermoon Diner, not only is the food great but the atmosphere is amazing. We also have a few good malls like Columbia Mall & Arundel which has not only a ton of stores but also Dave and Busters to Main event so there’s gaming down to bowling. If they wanted to we could organize a cosplay shoot, I know tons of photographers and places to shoot as well from fells point to fort Washington park.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First off I want to shout out all my amazing core close friends @comrade.america @parker.projects @hellspawned_cosplay @nelliceus @absolutelyaisha @hero1cosplay @garliegar & @dianathegreat because I truly wouldn’t be who I am without their love, support & encouragement. Id like to thank my Podcast family @Headnerdsincharge for giving me the platform and the voice to be who I am while helping me grow. My lovely boss @gadgetsandgeekery for making me brand ambassador of her brand of Anime clothing @everydaycosplaycollection, My life partner, my family and friends outside of the community and to You guys at Shout out Atlanta for giving me this opportunity.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blk.unicorn_cosplay/?hl=en

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/BlkUnicornCos

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/BlkUnicorn_Cosplay-113412980020302/

Image Credits
@jayleephotography @biggoldbelt @comrade.america @eyesofh_photography

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