Inspired by Disney and drag: How a Utah cosplayer constantly transforms her appearance

The many faces of Alaina Bastian. (Photo: Alaina Bastian)

You may have seen her at FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention and not even have known it. That's because 23-year-old cosplayer Alaina Bastian is a master of disguise when it comes to her own face.

Take a look at this video to hear Basitain tell her story of how she was inspired to become dozens of different characters and why she does what she does (kids play a big part).

It all started with the same innocuous comments Alaina Bastian was used to hearing: “You look like Orlando Bloom.”

A few years later and Bastian, a Utah Valley University Student majoring in illustration, has quite a prolific profile of photos and videos of her ever-changing appearance. You can see dozens of Alaina's photos in our gallery above or by clicking here.

Bastian has more than 10,200 followers on her Instagram and nearly 70,000 followers with more than 1.2 million video views on the popular app TikTok.

Bastain's inspirations for her complete transformations come from two very different places: Disney and drag queens.

The cosplayer often dresses up as Disney princesses such as Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Megara (Hercules), and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).

But, some of her inspirations come from the world of drag.

Bastian told 2News:

I really enjoy drag. By watching drag tutorials, they are the masters of changing their faces, they literally caricaturize themselves. That’s why my Ursula makeup was 100% inspired by Divine who was the drag queen who inspired Ursula, so there’s this whole chain of inspiration.

Bastian has also released a video about what to do with internet trolls and "haters" who respond negatively to her videos:

But when it comes down to it, one of the biggest reasons Bastian dresses up like princesses are for all those little girls who dream of becoming one. She told 2News:

A lot of the reason I do princesses is because of the little girls. Seeing kids’ reaction to princesses you get like one of three [reactions] where one; they’re so shy they’re just so afraid, ‘you’re not supposed to be real, what are you doing here?’ so they’ll be so, so quiet. Then you have the poor dears that actually are afraid, and it’s 'like it’s ok you don’t have to come see me it’s fine, Then you have the kids that just run up to you and give you a hug and you’re their best friend and you have been for years and they want to tell you everything. I think that’s one of the most beautiful that does happen. I get to have this moment with this child and they get to feel listened to, and important and then I feel listened to and important as well.

To get her cosplay just right, Bastian takes inspiration from her art, as she loves to draw portraits.

"When I’m drawing a portrait, I’m constantly looking, what makes you, you?" Bastian asks. "What about your nose, what about your lips, your eyes, or just the way your eyes crease? One of the makeups I’ve done is Loki from Thor. Tom Hiddleston’s very particular with his mouth movements, so it’s very closed, very much about the teeth."

You can watch the entire interview with Bastian (with questions edited out) here:

Bastian has thought about turning her skills into a business but says getting her degree is most important to her right now.

“I’ve been thinking about renting out my makeup services or wig styling it’s just that I’m in school right now and I’m trying so hard to get my bachelor’s in illustration at UVU," Bastian said.