Cosplay has become quite the spectacle at cons and with aid of the internet and TV shows such as Cosplay Melee, your every day person is learning about this world. I say world, because there is SO much involved with cosplay but it is still something accessible to all. In this series, I talk with cosplayers of all levels and ask them what got them started, what they have learned, and much more. Welcome to Cosplay Decoded. I hope this series inspires you to try cosplay if you haven’t yet, continue your cosplay journey if you are a regular cosplayer, and generally learn more about this awesome hobby/lifestyle.
What is your occupation?
I am an actress, model, dancer, and I also work as a party princess.
What got you started doing cosplay?
Ever since I was little, I loved dressing up like my favorite characters and I used to sing and dance around the house. As I got older, I got into various fandom which got me interested in one day attending conventions like San Diego Comic Con where I often saw so many talented cosplayers featured in the media. I got the opportunity to attend my first con, Anime Expo, and made the decision to cosplay for the first time. The rest is history!
How long have you been cosplaying?
About 3 1/2 years.
Have any of your hobbies/occupation added to your cosplay?
Being an actress, model, dancer, and a martial arts student, has definitely influenced my cosplay. I think all the skills I have learned from my work and hobbies have helped me bring the characters I cosplay to life.
Do you make your outfits or do you have them commissioned?
I usually get my cosplays commissioned with the exception of a few, like my Lana Kane cosplay, where I purchased items found from different stores and also used pieces that I already had in my closet.
What has been one of your favorite cosplays?
This is always a difficult question because I love every cosplay that I do. I think if I had to choose from my most recent cosplays I would say Princess Kida from Disney’s Atlantis the Lost Empire.
Do you ever cosplay with your friends/significant other?
Yes I have cosplayed with friends! I even have a few partner and group cosplays planned for upcoming conventions.
What has been one of the best benefits from doing cosplay?
I would have to say the opportunity to make new friends. The thing I love most about cosplaying at conventions is the fact that you meet so many people from different walks of life who share your love for comic books, anime, or other fandom. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think I would have met many of my close friends if we had not met while I was cosplaying at a convention.
What would you say to someone who is never cosplayed but wants to?
Don’t be afraid to just go for it! I love the quote, “The hardest thing about the road not taken is that you never know where it might have led.” If I had not conquered my fear initially of cosplaying in front of experienced cosplayers, I would have missed out on all the amazing opportunities and fun memories I have experienced. As I mentioned before, I probably would not have met a lot of my close friends over the years if I had not taken that chance.
What are your top three suggestions in regards to cosplay?
First and foremost, the most important thing is to have fun! Additionally, try to come up with a list of cosplays you would like to do then organize the list according to your budget. I find this allows me organize the cosplays I can put together in a year and not stress about over spending. Lastly, I would emphasize the importance of not comparing yourself to other cosplayers in the community. Cosplay is a form of self expression, it is not about whether or not your cosplay measures up to anyone else in the community.
Somewhat of a follow-up, what are some things people take for granted that they should remember?
I briefly touched on this in my previous answer but I think people take for granted the opportunity to enjoy themselves while at a con. It is so easy to get stressed when a convention that we sometimes forget to have fun. Every year, I try to make time to explore the floor, check out a new panel, or even say “Hi” to someone I have never met before. I do this so I can remind myself of what is really important and that is making fun new memories!
Have you personally ever experienced any negativity for doing a cosplay?
Unfortunately, I have experienced negativity for doing certain cosplays. However, I choose to ignore the negativity and stay focused on doing what I love to do.
Generally, the cosplay community is very supportive but it can also be very judgmental about people not looking like a character. As a person of color, have you ever experienced anything like that?
I have experienced this before in the community. I was once told I was not “black enough” to cosplay Storm from X-Men. As a cosplayer of mixed ethnicity, I have had to come to terms with the fact that there will be individuals who will have negative opinions about the characters I will choose to cosplay. Instead of feeding into that negativity, I choose to encourage and support my fellow cosplayers. We can really make a difference in our community if we work together to help promote the acceptance of diversity in cosplay.
What would you say to someone who is nervous to cosplay a character they look nothing like?
Cosplay is a form of self expression. Even if someone looks up the definition of what cosplay is, you will discover that it is defined as the practice of dressing up or pretending to be characters from comic books, TV shows, anime, etc. Nowhere is it written that you have to look like a character’s doppelganger. Never be afraid to cosplay whatever character you want because it’s all about showing love for your favorite characters and having a great time doing it!
What cosplays do you have planned for San Diego Comic-Con?
I am very excited to be bringing a new version of Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy to SDCC! I will also be bringing a few fun Disney Mashups along with a brand new cosplay from Game of Thrones.
Where can people find out more about you and your cosplays?