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I am generally a happy, go-lucky individual who absolutely adores and appreciates the loving support of my fans and nerds on Instagram, on TikTok, and in public at various conventions. The reason you need to know this before you begin reading this article is because I need for you to know that I, in no way, wish to deter the affection of those who like and appreciate what I do. That said, there are some things that need to be touched on about non-cosplayers stepping into the cosplayer’s world. I don’t want to sound negative, unappreciative, or, to put it simply, douchy at all. I just want to approach the subject of approaching cosplayers, because the truth is, many non-cosplayers (NC) no longer approach cosplayers or do so, well, in a way that may appear rude to the cosplayer.
So here are some good steps to follow when you just absolutely love a cosplayer and want to share your support.
1. We are human too.
This is something forgotten on many social media platforms and at various, over-crowded conventions. Many non-cosplayers may forget that we’re human and costumes occasionally malfunction. We’re not perfect and sometimes we need a break to hydrate, get out of parts of the costume to eat, or take a break to fix malfunctioning pieces of our cosplay. During this time, we don’t want to take pictures or interact with most of the general population because we aren’t in character. It is really appreciated if admirers would wait to ask for pictures, try to spark a conversation, wait to ask for hugs, wait to ask for character signatures, etc.
2. Unless supported professionally by an agent, many of us purchase, create, and design our own costumes.
This means that you need to respect our gear and ask before you try on a helmet, swing a weapon, or cascade a cape over your shoulders. We work really hard on our costumes and deeply appreciate your respect for them. We also appreciate your geeking out over them, but please keep in consideration how hard we’ve worked on them. While we understand the rush of excitment going through you right now, it also costs a lot of our out-of-pocket money and time to create what we wear to cons. Please don’t touch our stuff without asking first. Adding a “Do Not Touch” sign to our equipment would be offputting and deter many of those who would approach us.
3. On the note of always being broke, many cosplayers are on a platform where you can show your appreciation by pitching in a few bucks to support us.
In case it wasn’t iterated enough in my previous tip, unless supported professionally, generally, cosplayers are always broke. We love bringing as much content to you as possible via varous platforms, but we don’t have money trees in the backyard. It probably isn’t helped by the fact that the majority of us also don’t sleep much (especially while con-crunching,) and are heavily addicted to caffeine. Please feel free to offer support beyond appreciation for what we do and donate a couple bucks to our content on Ko-Fi or other platforms where we may have an account. If at a con, feel more than welcome to ask if we’d like a coffee or lunch. (It is also probably noteworthy that you should be persistent. We generally have a hard time accepting nice things provided by other people.)
4. While I haven’t looked up the stats on this, it should be mentioned that many cosplayers outlet themselves to escape from anxiety, depression, social anxiety, and other psychologically related disorders. Ask before taking pictures, filming, touching, hugging, etc.
This is very important in the world of cosplay. I, personally, suffer from social anxiety and have found I have a much easier time with outleting myself through getting into character. Many other cosplayers do the same to escape traumatic experiences, anxiety, depression, and other disorders by putting on their favorite characters and having a good time. Again, I don’t have actual stats to provide evidence to you, but it is just additionally being considerate and remembering that we are human too. Please, please ask before snapping pictures, taking a video, touching, hugging, or anything else that involves interaction. Furthermore, please also try not to be disappointed if we say no. It isn’t that we don’t like you, it’s that we love you and don’t want to become nervous, scared, etc. in our interaction with you.
If you have any further questions on interacting with cosplayers, please feel free to find me on Instagram at for_basts_sake and ask away!