By Lauren Biasi
Photography by John F Sheehan Photography
The Cosplay Community is an ever-growing community. Where fandoms meet, performers and artists show their skills, and, bit by bit, introverts take the opportunity to find ways to express their love and devotion to characters that have made a connection and impact in their lives.
We asked a handful of Cosplayers to come pose for use and got to talking with them.
When asked what they love about Cosplay, everyone had a similar answer: They love the ability to portray a character that they connect with and that means a lot to them. They love getting creative, putting the pieces together and getting to stand in their finished work. Many who came out that day ARE introverts, and state that Cosplay allows them to step out of their comfort zones as the characters they love so much.
Priscilla (@Cosmocatcosplay IG) said “When I’m in character, people don’t need to see who I actually am- they see who I’m pretending to be, and for a moment they join you in that world.“
Brian Ferguson stated, “It allows you to be creative and you get to play that role a bit. You get that recognition when you are with other fans. You make friends, and you have fun with strangers in ways you never would.”
Gabriella Viera (@Riellamoon IG) voiced- “I love that it gives you the chance to express something in a different view point. As a woman of color, I feel under-representated, so seeing something from my viewpoint in real life is really inspiring, whether it be by another cosplayer or making my own vision come to life is really gratifying.“
However, every rose bush has it’s thorns.
Cosplayers come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and in a community where many of us spent our grade school years being teased for the books we read, the games we played and the cartoons/movies we liked, many are attacked from not just the outside, but from within.
Many have their own insecurities about their cosplays
Kim Warshauer (@tsakiacloset) expressed that she gets nervous about her cosplay pieces and how accurate her cosplay looks. She has had a friend tell her that her work wasn’t good-so it has made her double guess herself.
Emily Gilbert (@Yaboi_gilberto) told us that she has been teased about not having the
money to buy or make cosplays, so many of her creations are “closet cosplays”
Priscilla of @cosmocatcosplay told us that she’s always nervous about not being up to standards, and opened up, saying she can get nervous in a public setting, since she has been teased about her voice and being “too loud”.
Anne Marie of @nianyanyan (IG) cosplay claimed that she also feels insecure about buying, and not having made anything on her own, “… soI don’t feel like I’ve put a lot of work. But I’ve been working on my craftsmanship to be able to make some things. I just feel insecure , because I want to be able to make it my own.”
She also said that she gets a little insecure because she has been told that she doesn’t look like the character due to her curves and weight.
Emily Gilbert also voiced her insecurity about not being the tallest or the skinniest person saying the worst thing someone can say is “this person does this cosplay better than you”.
Gabriella said, “I feel like every Latina gets insecure about her weight and curves. I’ve definitely had the name “thunder thighs”- which hits close to home, especially when it’s a name about something that you have focused on. There also have been more vulgar things that have been said to me by small minded people.”
Bri Ann of “Dark Seduction Cosplay” (@staticseductioncosplay IG) told us that she tries to get herself out of her comfort zone by wearing cosplays that show off areas that she isn’t the most comfortable about. Other times, she finds herself doing what is necessary to cover or slim those areas.
When asked “what is the most upsetting thing someone may have said to/about you?” Bri told us about a specific situation: “My friend posted a pic of us as Misty and Ash and someone commented ‘It looks like Misty’s ugly cousin wanted to be her and tried’ and people were liking it and commenting in support of it, and it was incredibly hurtful.”
But bullying and body shaming is NOT exclusive to the female form.
Geek-E writer Tim Biasi (@timmybones723 IG), who is naturally tall and thin, is no stranger to unkind words, commonly being told to “eat a burger” as if that will change something. “People like to point out that I don’t look how I ‘should’ as if that’s news to me.”
When it comes to cosplay, he enjoys finding the perfect pieces to put his cosplays together (which can also be a challenge). He get’s insecure about people pointing out how “ridiculous” he may look, or attacking his form.
Brian Ferguson was born with a birth defect. His arms are two different lengths, his pectorals are different and one hand isn’t fully formed- so he has to consider his physical limitations when he is creating his cosplays (although that is what makes the challenge exciting).
To him, he thinks outside of the box and considers “what can I do, that maybe someone else can’t?” With that, he looks into cosplays where he can get creative with his hand. He was born this way, so he has dealt with being very different his whole life- however it has shaped who he is today, “and there’s definitely a strength that comes from that.”
So with all of this, in a community as small and tight here on local Long Island, comes the message that Geek-E stands firm with:
No matter your shape, size, race, or religion
COSPLAY IS FOR EVERYONE
We need to stand together and share our knowledge, skills, and love of the fandoms, that we have been criticized for by people who don’t share the same interest.
Stand together and be Cosplay Positive.
A Special “Thank you” To Sole Pilates Studio in Huntington for letting us use the space!