Sandea Gsoell and the Team Behind Sandra’s Costume Asylum (Costumes and Cosplay)

Lets’ start today’s feature off with a question. When is the last time you (the reader) intentionally used your imagination? When is the last you purposefully chose to have some fun and not take yourself so seriously? This question may be hard for some to answer, especially in our world today where we’re we may not need very much imagination to get by because we’re always just a click away from any solid information we want. For many of us, we’re always on the go, so there’s no time for fun or silliness! However, our guests today desire to give adults, and their families, an opportunity to experience the enjoyment of stepping outside of our “norms” every once and awhile.

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Today, we’re joined by Sandra Gsoell, her business partner Samantha Glenn, and Sandra’s assistant Brandy McKenna. These ladies make up the team behind the award-winning, Sandra’s Costume Asylum. What exactly is Sandra’s Costume Asylum you ask? That’s a great question! The goal behind their work is to create quality clothes and costumes for all ages at an affordable price. They specialize in creating one of a kind cosplays (the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show). “It all literally started in a tiny basement all because Sandra had a dream, and it’s taken off!” Explained Brandy. Fantastic, now that we know a little bit about what you do, Sandra, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself? “This is my third time living in Elko. I grew up in California, but the first time I lived in Elko was because my car broke down here one day, and it was actually cheaper for me to stay and get an apartment and a job than replace my car. Again, after coming and going a couple of times, I came back to Elko in 2011 and have been here ever since. However, a few years ago, my house burned down. It was due to a combination of the weather and faulty electrical wiring in my garage door; it just took everything. I was working on the Costume Asylum from home, and I had all my work, every costume I had ever made, go up in flames. Samantha had just moved to Elko two months before it happened, with her husband, they were staying with us, and they lost all their stuff as well. There was a huge community outreach when people found out the house had burned down. Within an hour, we were all clothed, fed, and had a place to go. We were given four new sewing machines in the first month after the fire.  Other towns would never have come together for us the way Elko did for us.”

Way to go, Elko! Now that we know what it is you all do, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the overall vision behind the Costume Asylum, Sandra? “When a kid goes into their parents’ closet and pulls out their clothes to wear; they don’t care. They’re pretending to be mom or dad. They tie a towel around their neck and jump off the couch because they’re Superman. They’re a Ninja Turtle because they took a bean bag and put it around their shoulders. Grownups lost that somewhere. So, one of the reasons why I love doing this is in the thought that if I can help convince parents to stop being “adults” long enough to play with their kids, their kids have a chance to do things that aren’t going to destroy them in the future. And adults can remember what it’s like to play in the sand, get their feet dirty or play dress up. They can remember that life’s not all about the rat race or taxes. For ten minutes, you get to be whatever you want!” Samantha added to Sandra’s statements by adding, “there’s a lot of people who didn’t really get to play as children. Because of their circumstances, they had to grow up fast. Dressing up helps some almost learn how to play and have joy.” Sandra followed up by saying, “The company motto is actually, determination makes it happen. It’s about all the fact that you pushed yourself to do something that’s outside of your little box. It takes a lot of effort and courage even to do something called closet cosplaying which is when you go in your closet, pick something to represent a character, and then wear it in public. I don’t care how big you are or how short you are. I don’t care if you’re neon pink with purple polka dots; if you’re confident, if you’re happy, then be happy!”

Those are all significant things to help people strive for in their lives! What are you all currently working on now, Sandra? “My goal is to be finished with our current costumes projects by August 5th to be ready to be to be judged at the upcoming fan convention in Salt Lake City. We’re currently working on costumes from characters from Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Vertigo Comics, Game of Thrones, Capcom, and Super Mario Bros. We also do alterations and bridesmaids’ dresses.”

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See you at the next ComicCon, Elko!

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