Cool Girls with Tag: cosplay

Riley Silverman

Riley Silverman HeadshotName: Riley Silverman
Age: 36
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Occupation: Comedian/Writer

Riley Silverman is hilarious. This writer and comedienne extraordinaire has been slaying stand-up for over a decade, and making audiences laugh, ponder, and get inspired through her wordsmithing gigs and outspokenness.

Growing up in an Ohio suburb, Riley wanted to be an inventor, generally speaking. “I just wanted to [be] someone who could think of impossible ideas that could then be a reality. Like time machines and stuff like that,” she says. “Once I learned how hard science actually was, I shifted gears toward performing and writing, and never really left that.”

By the young age of nineteen, Riley was hitting the open mic scene. “I wasn’t even sure I’d be allowed into the club because they had a 21+ policy for customers,” she recalls. “It was my dream for most of my childhood, to be a comedian, so it was just kind of a thing I knew I had to do.”

Riley Silverman Stand-up Comic and WriterAfter years of making a name for herself as an active comic, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her goals. She’s been relentless, releasing a comedy album, Intimate Apparel, writing for a MaxFun podcast, and even being featured on a show that presented the diverse range of female comics living in LA.

After being an avid listener to MaxFun podcasts, and even getting guest appearances on some of their shows, she had the opportunity to apply for a writing job at International Waters, a show of their’s that is a UK vs US comedy panel. She got the job, and one year later was promoted to head writer. Every month Riley writes two shows alongside a British writer. “Mostly it’s a lot of notes to each other over email and in Google Drive due to the time difference,” she explains.

All of this isn’t to say that the life of a star has been all puppies, kittens, and rainbows for Riley. She still fights against transphobia, and the pervasive closed-mindedness of some fellow citizens of the Earth. “I still struggle every day with people not seeing me for who I am and it’s hard not to internalize that over time.”

But, not one to battle silently, Riley puts money where her mouth is. Whenever she gets a chance to be a part of a benefit show or a project where she gets to select a charity, she picks Trans Lifeline.

“I managed to raise over four thousand dollars for them last summer the day that Donald Trump announced his plans to ban trans service members for the military,” she says. “I was just angry and feeling helpless and I figured a lot of other folks were too, so I just was like “Well this is the thing I can do today.”’

When she’s not hitting the stage with her stand-up, writing for International Waters, SYFY Fangrrls, or any other of her numerous projects, she’s stepping out of the TARDIS. “I got pretty into cosplaying the last several years, especially for Doctor Who,” she says. “I’m slowly working on making a female version of every previous Doctor for cons and stuff, but since they also cast Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor, I’m shifting gears just a bit and working on nailing her outfit as close to screen as I can.”

So what does this wordsmithing, time-traveling comedy champion have to advise other young people wrestling with their authentic identity or trying to climb the ladder from a creative foothold?

“I think very few things in life are forever, even when they seem like it, for better or for worse. Know that nothing bad has to last, you can find ways to get out of bad situations, but also know to appreciate the good stuff while you have it and not take it for granted either.”

Some great advice from Riley Silverman, who we think is a very Cool Girl!

Megan C. Valentine-Shafer

Name: Megan C. Valentine-Shafer
Age: 25
Location: Chicopee, MA
Occupation: Licensed Pharmacist, Recent Graduate and currently Job Hunting.

Chicopee, Massachusetts native Megan Valentine-Shafer has always been creative and compassionate. As a child, her mothers fostered her imagination. One of her moms in particular crafted and included her daughter in her creative pursuits.

“Some of my favorite gifts and experiences with her involve either something she made, or something that I helped her make, including things like a wonderfully hand-made dice bag from my table top games, and a quilt made out of my old band t-shirts,” Megan recalls.

As a student, Megan became intrigued by the idea of assisting others, especially in the medical field. But once she figured that out, she also realized her peeves.

“Part way through high school, I found that I really wanted to help people, and that I was interested in going into medicine of some kind. An issue arose, though, when I discovered just how squeamish I was,” she explains. “This lead to me realizing that most of the “well known” medical professions weren’t for me, because I couldn’t handle seeing the sight of viscera.”

But this feisty student didn’t let her dream get discarded. In her junior year, her chemistry teacher also worked as a pharmacist. “It was at that point I realized I had been overlooking a major part of medicine. It was like the angels sang out in an immaculate chorus, that “This is it! This is what I was meant to be! I can help people, and not feel sick to my stomach!”’

Recently Megan graduated school and became a licensed pharmacist, but in spite of the image of a white coat and a smile, Megan’s other identities get a chance to come out and play when she partakes in one of her favorite hobbies: cosplay!

“The summer before I started college, and I went to my first nerd convention, Connecticon. At this point in my life, I hadn’t realized cosplay was an actual thing people did, for fun, and I fell in love with it the moment I stepped through the doors.”

Seven years later, Megan has been cosplaying at almost every con she’s attended, dressing up as characters such as Theresa from the “Fable” video game series, Tsukimi Kurashita from “Princess Jellyfish,” Chiaki Nanami from “DanganRonpa 2,” a blue-team Engineer from “Team Fortress 2,” and the dessert witch “Charlotte” from the series “Puella Magi Madoka Magica.”

Although Megan is currently job hunting in an area that is competitive, and her resources are limited due to this as well as her student loans, she remains optimistic. She’s already writing a list of “to do” cosplay characters for when her financial situation is a bit more flush, and the best part of all is that she’s not doing it alone!

“I also fell in love with my fiance over cosplay, who supports and does this with me as well! We’ve been together for a little over 5 years now.” (Fiance not pictured below.)

Beyond her search for a job and her creative pursuits, Megan keeps her sensitivity and her perspective. To other young women, she offers this advice:

“Keep your aspirations high, and your passions strong. Even if those passions aren’t conventional, or may not be something “feminine” or “ladylike,” keep them as strong as anything, and don’t let anyone get in your way. The world today can put up barriers, make things seem impossible, make goals seem unattainable; keep at it, though. Keep plugging away, at your own pace, so that one day, your dreams will become reality. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.”

For her cosplay creativity and pharmacy prowess, we think Megan Valentine-Shafer is a very Cool Girl!