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Cosplay is something I've been in love with since 2014, and I don't have any plans of stopping anytime soon. Seeing cosplayers on social media and in person shows me that we're all unique and talented. Whenever you post a picture of your cosplay, you're flooded with likes and fantastic comments. However, with the good comes with the bad. You cosplay as your favorite character and suddenly, someone comes in your comment section on your social media page and says, "You look nothing like your character" or "So and so character is this race. Why are you doing this character?" I can remember someone saying this to me at a convention called the Art Pop Comic Expo in Springdale, Arkansas back in June 2017.
It was the second day of the event and I was dressed up as Billy Cranston. I had the blue shirt, overalls, blue Chucks, and Power Morpher; basically, I was looking the part. I was going to suit up as the Blue Ranger that day, but the con didn't allow helmets because of safety reasons. One of my friends was making my helmet for me at the time. It wasn't complete yet and I decided to not suit up because it was 90 degrees out and didn't want to come to the event drenched in sweat. So, this man saw my cosplay and proceeded to ask me about it. He was impressed by it, but he went on to ask if I had a Power Morpher and I said,"Yes."
The next thing he said was unexpected and caught me off guard: "Wasn't Billy white?" I replied that he was, but also said that there was an African American actor who played Billy in the movie, Power Rangers. Overall, this man liked my cosplay and I didn't take offense to his comment about Billy being white. He didn't come across as disrespectful at all. Other than that, I enjoyed the rest of the day at the con.
Most people assume that you have to be a certain race, have a certain body type, and hairstyle in order to portray a character that you love so much. However, those things are not required in order to be a great cosplayer. There's a good side and also an ugly side to cosplay. There have been times that I would see miserable people online bullying cosplayers for not looking exactly like their character. I've defended many cosplayers, male and female, who were chastised for their cosplays and were being body shamed online.
We should all appreciate one another and not put each other down. At the end of the day, we're all amazing and talented in our own ways. Never let the naysayers bring you down or make you feel less of a person. Misery loves company and the ones who are trying to degrade you are just jealous that you're doing well. You know who you are and as long as you love your cosplays, that's what should matter most. Cosplay is about having fun and loving what you do. All cosplayers should have that mindset every time.
Cosplay vs. Character: Part 2
I'll continue to cosplay, regardless of what people think about me. I'm not the most handsome cosplayer in the world, but I know that I can be any character I want. Perfection is something that I never focus on when planning and doing my cosplays. Love the skin that you're in and make no apologies for it. Always be confident in yourself and have a positive attitude at all times. Be glad that you have haters because they envy what you're doing. Happy cosplaying, my friends!