I Used To Cosplay in My Free-Time, But Now, It’s Just Depressing


Image courtesy of Hope Smith

I’ve been part of the anime fandom for years. I enjoy reading manga and being involved in discussions about current anime and poking fun at my friends who liked the ones that “weren’t that great”, or went down hill (I’m looking at you, Sword Art Online fans!).

I also have been involved in the cosplay community ever since 2008, and I’ve always loved seeing people put in effort each year at the conventions. I was amazed at how someone could spend so much time on a cosplay, that I wanted to take a stab at it myself.

In the past 9 years, I’ve cosplayed many characters: Jack Frost (Rise of the Guardians), Nick Wilde (Zootopia), Danny Phantom/Fenton, Tadashi and Hiro Hamada, Bill Cipher, Dipper Pines, Sombra from Overwatch, Yuri Katsuki from Yuri on Ice, Sans from Undertale, Adrien Agreste from Miraculous Ladybug, Peter Pan, “Other Mother” from Coraline, Happy Tree Friends characters, Dark Link from Legend of Zelda, Kevin from Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Sock from the YouTube short Welcome To Hell, Nagisa Shiota from Assassination Classroom, Prompto and Noctis from Final Fantasy XIV, and more! I love to do a range of characters from different shows and video games.

Though, I have little money to spend and only so much time to put together a cosplay, I’ve found myself using clothing I already have in my closet to recreate a character. This is called Closet Cosplay (really original, huh?). I’ve been closet cosplaying for 8 years, and I only started getting sick and tired of it after seeing how much the community has thrashed my side-profession/hobby.

It’s really interesting how people will find anything to complain about, especially in a community that is supposed to have the nicest people. The toxicity of the community has pushed me over the edge multiple times, and it was only a few months ago when I decided it best for me to get out while I still could.

From body shaming to the minimal impact of one’s skin color, I find myself almost disgusted at the thought of judging a cosplayer by anything other than the level of craftsmanship they have. Even then, it is constructive criticism. It’s depressing to read about my community being so nasty to others within it, and I will not stand for it. I will back up the victim in any means necessary, because being shamed for cosplaying a white character, when your skin is darker, shouldn’t be reason enough to start a comment war on Facebook, nor say it to that person’s face.

I have a cosplay account on Instagram, and I’ve hardly touched it since summer because I didn’t feel welcomed in the community anymore. I am of African-American and Asian ethnicity. My skin is darker, but I will still get into any character that intrigues me.

I’ve been told, on multiple occasions, that I should stop what I love because I don’t look “exactly like Peter Pan”, or  I’m “too dark to cosplay Moana.”

I’m sorry; Since when do you run this account?

How people have the audacity to tell me to my face that I’m “too black to cosplay a Disney Princess, other than Tiana,” is beyond me.

I was a coward and ran away from what a lot of cosplayers deal with on a day-to-day basis. I’m sensitive when being critiqued, but strong enough to hold my own when it comes to something I love.

To the men and women who deal with people like this each day, I must say ‘thank you’. You deal with what I can’t, and that makes me no better than the people spewing hate your direction. but I will always stand behind you when the time comes.

Cosplay is meant for everyone. We’re all just a bunch of nerds who still play dress up!