There is a lot more to being a Cosplayer than meets the eye.
I’m a Cosplayer. Outside of the cosplay world the usual reaction I get when I tell people about this double identity is one of misunderstanding. Even sometimes nerves. This is a world many people don’t know, and they don’t understand how to take in that information. If you haven’t tried it how would you be able to relate? Well, lets explore.
I often ask my cosplaying friends how they got started and I usually get very different answers. Generally all revolve around a passion for the sci-fi / fantasy world, and they have a desire to creatively show what they’re passionate about.
Here are a few examples from Cosplayers in the Melbourne area.
“Cosplaying allowed me to enjoy conventions on a different level. The funny thing is that people refer to me as the characters I cosplay, instead of my actual name.” – @frejr001
“Cosplaying is more than just suiting up as your favourite character. it’s feel a strong sense of belonging to a non-judgmental and ACCEPTING community, which is terrific, and is something that is greatly needed in todays society.” – @nonlikeanthonygabb
I have always been a fan of all things pop-culture. When I first Cosplayed I instantly connected with the people I met through sharing a common interest, particularly Film, TV and professional wrestling. Cosplaying has really opened doors for me in terms of furthering my acting and performing career. I have also since banded together with those in the Cosplay Community who are interested in leading a fit and healthy life, we regularly get together for Cosplay fitness training sessions in Docklands Melbourne.
As for Cosplaying particular characters, I have almost entirely limited myself to “Thor” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am looking to broaden my horizons with the characters I Cosplay, and I welcoming anyone’s suggestions. I’m often told I could cosplay Star Lord and I guess if I was to cut my hair to Cosplay Thor in “Thor Ragnarok”, I could certainly do Peter Quill too, or maybe just find a good wig. –@thorofoz
“As a cosplayer I am able to put my own creative spin on a costume by adding or changing elements by switching the gender, making it steampunk. I love being able to add a bit of my style into a well known character.” – @venakaracosplay
I’m comfortable in my own skin because of cosplay. I used to hate that I wasn’t girly enough or had features that didn’t fit into what I thought it meant to be female. Now I cosplay Anime guys. I’ve embraced my androgyny. I love that my features can swing over to the pretty boy column and that has fed into my life outside of cosplay as well. All around me in the cosplay world I see people exploring their gender boundaries and I it brings me joy. I’m comfortable in my own skin because of cosplay. – @therealzenny
Being a Cosplayer can be tough gig though.
It’s one filled with tireless nights. You have to make sure the cosplay is perfect. The night before a convention can be exciting and drive a bit of anxiety too. At conventions Cosplayers compete and can have their cosplay critiqued by professionals in the industry.
Iris Tang produced this Comic-con winning Baby Groot entry at the Melbourne Comic-con this year. Just look at those eyes! Can you imagine the effort and the hours that went into this?
Really, it’s about bringing your character to life.
Cosplayers will re-read the same comic to make sure they have their story straight! They want to be as accurate as possible. This means endless trawling through digital content, fan sites and forums to find the smallest puzzle piece to build the character up.
The countless times I have seen the same movie for scene references….please note this has never been against my will, as I have gladly seen the same movies more than once.
Cosplayers need to get social. I mean really get social.
Cosplayers also need to make a name for themselves on social media, producing and publishing content. It’s almost as if they have to become a media publisher themselves these days, and the better the content, the quicker the communities grow.
For many, cosplaying is a passion, but this passion also grows, sometimes into a small side business. You can be asked to be in shoot sessions with professional cosplayers, photographers and required to produce interesting content for other peoples, and brands social media pages.
Cosplay, is now a valid career option to bring in some extra cash, and the real pros can earn a living.
Cosplay in Australia
Australia hasn’t even seen the full impact this industry can have yet, but the communities particularly in Melbourne are some of the fastest growing in the Cosplay arena.
With the talent that we’ve seen working with Cosplayers at Digital Fox, we think Melbourne could soon become one of the Cosplay centers of the world, and will support this growth however we can – and love every second of it.