Pros & Cons Cosplay
Name and Social Info:
Do you run a business you'd like to promote or do you have one in mind you'd like to lift up?
We run several cosplay and diversity equity and inclusion programs including POC Creati-Con, a conference for POC creatives to network, and connect on topics surrounding our identities and content creation and Stop. Drop. Cosplay, which is a closet-cosplay event where contestants put together costumes in a short amount of time for prizes. We'd also like to boost the POC Cosplayers Facebook Group, Black Cosplay Boosters facebook page, the Cosplay Contest Support Group, Cosplay Contest Runners Assemble, and Sheprop! All are great places for marginalized cosplayers to get together and learn more about various aspects of the cosplay community.
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
Juneteenth is a celebration that many of us weren't even aware of until adulthood. It wasn't something taught in schools--an ironic reminder that Juneteenth celebrates the day that news of slavery ending was delivered to Galveston, Texas, in 1865, a whopping two and a half years after the official emancipation proclaimation was made. It is an incredibly important day in history for Black people, and we use the day not just to draw attention to the moments when we are in pain, or when the ugliness of racial oppressive systems are in headlines in the news, but also the joyful elements of Black culture: our achievements, our contributions, our creativity, our triumph, and heck, even our mediocrity. We are people that have a variety of interests, pursuits, hobbies and stories. We personally take the day to celebrate all that Black people have to offer. We think non-Black folks should use the day to reflect on how they can bring down oppressive systems so we can vibrantly live without that constant reminder of racism and oppression.
What made you start sewing/cosplay?
We played dress up quite a bit as kids, and have always been pretty crafty. We officially started cosplaying to attend a convention back in 2005 or 2006, thinking you had to cosplay if you didn't want to look weird. That obviously isn't the case, but even though those old cosplays were pretty busted (We were both Kaoru Kamiya from Rurouni Kenshin--part of that costume was made with a pillowcase and an absurd amount of safety pins) they went over well, and we dove deep into the hobby!
What advice do you have for creators just starting out?
This is advice we'd like to give Black cosplayers in particular who are circling the drain about starting. It is an incredibly fun and fulfilling hobby! Don't worry about not getting your costume right on the first try, and definitely don't worry about whether or not you have the canon body of the character you are trying to recreate. Cosplay characters that you like, costumes that you like, and don't be afraid to put your own spin on it! Cosplay is about creatively expressing your love for characters and costumes. The amount of fun and joy you can get out of cosplay overshadows the negativity you might get.
What is your favorite sewing tool you use daily? Favorite fabric?
Pro: Wonder Clips because they are great for thick fabrics and it is far less painful trying to relocate wonderclips than it is looking for the pins I've inevitably dropped! My favorite fabric is suiting. It's versatile, comfortable and is pretty easy to work with.
Con: The seam ripper. It is a weird choice for a favorite tool because it means I probably borked something up, but it's so useful! Also when they're too dull to rip seams anymore...I use them to open mail haha. My favorite fabric is velvet. It feels so nice to the touch! It's a pain in the butt to work with sometimes, but the end result is worth it.
What is your favorite Arda Wig? Why?
Pro: The Kelly! I love the cut, and the color options are so cute. If I could get away with it at my day job, I would wear it every day!
Con: Jareth! I do most of the wig styling for our duo, and the Jareth makes spiking really easy. It's a great wig for doing weird styles.
What do you love most about cosplay? What do you wish you could change?
We love bringing characters to life. We tend to pick costumes that are either really fiddly and have a lot of details like Sakizo designs or Final Fantasy, or costumes that are nostalgic and fun like the Rugrats and Thundercats. We love the crafting element of cosplay, especially when we get to try new materials or new techniques we've picked up. The elements of the cosplay scene we'd like to change would, hands down be the discrimination. Cosplay, just like any other community also has its issues with discrimination against marginalized groups. Since we're talking about Junteenth, racism is definitely still a problem, including flat out having people devalue your creations just because you don't look like the source material. Raceface is also still an issue. Sadly cosplay is not immune to the problems we deal with in regular ol' society.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Pro: I would own an art supply store. I love crafting supplies, and owning a business would allow me to hoard them without keeping them in my house.
Con: I'm so passionate about making cosplay contests inclusive and fair that if such a job existed that paid me enough to leave my day job, I'd love to do it full time! That, and I'd have pursued Japanese interpreting. I got a great opportunity to do so right out of grad-school, and while it was extremely difficult, it was such a rewarding experience. I've lost a lot of my speaking ability, but if I could do it over, I'd do both!
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
Pro: I would bring my phone. None of my vacations are complete without aimlessly scrolling through pinterest.
Con: First of all, I am very indoorsy so I would bring a private jet to go home immediately haha. If I can't have that, I'd pick my laptop with an internet hotspot.