Name and Social Info?
    My cosplay name is Whodigiya or ChocoFox. Most of my social information is under Whodigiya (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), although I share a cosplay Facebook page with a friend called, "The Legendary Duo!"

    Do you run a business you'd like to promote or do you have one in mind you'd like to lift up? Tell us about it!
    I don't have a business of my own to promote, but I'd love to promote my friends over at Sorbet Jungle. They make incredibly cute plush animals and apparel. I've actually made it a habit to give one of their products, the croconana (exactly as it sounds: a crocodile + banana), away at conventions. I like to give them out, because they're always smiling and I know we can't always smile, but I hope the people I give them to can look at them and find it within themselves to smile as well. I encourage everyone to check out their shop online or if they're vending at an event!

    What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    I actually really enjoy my current occupation, but if I could attempt another I'd probably want to go and work as a volunteer coordinator at the USO. I volunteered with that organization for over 1300 hours while I was in Afghanistan and I really liked how I could listen to and help others relax and be themselves in a safe environment.

    What made you start creating/cosplaying?
    I started cosplaying, because I wanted to for a very long time and the opportunity arose when I turned about 28. It gave me the opportunity to really express the joy I feel about the things I like AND it allowed me to meet others that felt the same way. On top of that, it allowed me to act out as various characters by developing new skills or using the ones I had. Everything from freestyle rap to martial arts to promotional commentary!

    What is your favorite tool you use daily?
    I don't actually create my cosplay; I commission almost all of it or just put costumes together by buying individual pieces. I suppose, given that, my favorite tool is my smartphone. I've been able to connect with many talented individuals who've helped my cosplay dreams come true as well as find all the necessary components I need to put together new costumes.

    What is your favorite Arda Wig? Why?
    It's gotta be my Blue Steele in Spanish Brown, because it's so versatile and I wear it for two of my favorite costumes, Kim Kaphwan and Syo Kirishima. I also plan on using it for more costumes in the future!

    What advice do you have for creators just starting out?
    One thing I hear a lot from people just starting to cosplay, specifically other black cosplayers is, "I don't want to do it, because I'll be harassed online." The reality is if you choose to post photos of your cosplay online and you choose to do a character who is not your ethnicity, some people might talk. The other reality is that they're going to talk regardless costume or not. We live in a world of inequality. Just being alive is enough to garner vitriol from people who know nothing about you. Don't let that keep you from things that might make you happy or help you cope with how difficult life can be sometimes. Grab on to the things you love and express them as passionately as you can, however you can, whenever you have the opportunity. My only other piece of advice is cosplay what you want. Even if it's something you think people won't know... if you enjoy it just do it!

    What do you love most about cosplay/creating? What issues in the community do you wish you could change or bring awareness?
    The thing I love the most about cosplay is sharing that passion with others or even encouraging others to participate who otherwise wouldn't. King of Fighters doesn't get that much love in some spaces, so it's really cool when someone sees me and we can all geek out over the series. An extension of that is I really enjoy meeting new people and making new acquaintances all over the world. Something I'd like to bring awareness to is comment moderation: if a big-time company or influencer reposts a POC cosplayer... MODERATE YOUR COMMENT SECTION. It's scary for us when we get reposted, because we know we'll probably be harassed. If you're going to support us, make it known—take a stance! It's not enough to just post us up and leave us to the piranhas in the comment section. Flag the comments, respond with disapproval, and stand up for the marginalized few who just want to enjoy their hobby like everyone else.

    What does Juneteenth mean to you?
    Juneteenth means truth in history to me. I hadn't even heard of the significance of the date until I was an adult. It feels like every day more information is revealed to have been whitewashed from history and there's an initial pushback against it, because it seemingly "goes against" what some of us were taught growing up. Much celebration of marginalized history comes with struggle. A lot of our achievements were watered down or hidden. I'm constantly hearing about new things. I suppose that Juneteenth, to me, is a reminder that we may be free but there's still much of our history locked away. I look forward to learning about and hearing more news about the history that was hidden.

    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?
    That's tough... I actually do island hop for work; I know one thing we needed when we got stuck somewhere was a satellite phone. I'd definitely like to be able to call home to let my parents and friends know I'm okay. Outside of that... Provided food, water, and shelter weren't an issue, I'd probably need my emergency battery to charge the phone. True story: a scenario like this (but definitely not as serious) happened to me back in 2021.


    Cosplay: Yashiro Nanakase from King of Fighters. Wig is from Arda (styled by Sayakat Cosplay) and the costume was made by Fabrimancer. Photo credit goes to Adam Samaze

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