They ask you, who is your cosplay role model. It’s hard for me to singularize one. I think of a role model as someone who has greatly influenced me in so many positive ways – the people that keep me going even after ten long years in this hobby. When a self-proclaimed geek girl gamer blogger counterpointed that they’ll take a Paris Hilton type – someone who’s shallow and will allow themselves to objectified – as a role model, I often question what types of personalities are now being seen as cosplay role models. I was never one to view celebrities or celebutantes as role models. I like the people who are in my world, the world I’m familiar with and the world that raised me to be who I am. This goes out to the people in my neighborhood.
Claudine Roselle Puente. This is the woman who showed me how to sew the right way. After taking a class at San Francisco State and only learning how to iron, she’s the gal who got me to the Mission District to find fabric for Rei Hino. She taught me everything I needed to know about doing it right.
Hanyaan. She may have a bit of fame now, but like Claudine, she actually took a weekend to teach me how to sew a day dress. She admired the fact I was willing to take up challenging projects and not to stagnate. Someone who pushes you to move your skills forward is someone worth keeping.
Jessica C. I was lost in the Boston cosplay community. Whovians hated on me for liking Rose. DC cosplayers – boys and girls – thought I was a “fake geek girl.” She saw that I was looking for friends in Boston that were into cosplay and old school anime. I never met anyone in the cosplay so friendly and was willing to introduce me to others people in the same boat. I was not sure if I was going to fit in with the Boston cosplay scene, but now, I feel like I’ve found some cool people. Moving is hard. Adjusting is hard. Finding friends is the biggest challenge in any move.
Karisu. AKA – cosplay.com. If I can look this good after having two kids and still be as active in the cosplay scene, that would be awesome. Karisu was always supportive of me. However, what I always liked about Karisu is that she had very strong opinions and stood by them. She looked about cosplay.com with a mother’s love and scrutiny. I miss seeing her posts because she really kept the community in line. She reminded us that cosplay was fun, not for fame. The cosplay world needs someone like Karisu now because I see rambunctious high school cliques in a race to fame; people forgot what it was to have fun. Karisu was a beacon in all of that.
Jennifer B. You know, I’ve only known Jen for a few months. We’ve met at a cosplay get together a month before I moved to Boston. It was at a time when I was slowly feeling jaded about the cosplay community. Jen made me believe that the SoCal cosplay community is still worth saving. Jen runs Infotakus and they do get togethers in Little Tokyo. I used to think fan run cosplay events in Little Tokyo were just a weaboo-thing-that-makes-everyone-look-bad, but no. We’re only young once. Sometimes, we need to be who we are and rock it out. Not only that, Jen is one of the few people in the SoCal community I know that wants to further her education. I hope she brings cosplay zumba at upcoming anime cons in Los Angeles!
Mikarin. I’ve met Mikarin in passing a few times, but I really got to be more acquainted with her at the same event that I met Jen B at. I’ve always seen her perform live at masquerade halftime shows and she’s always had a lovely voice. What I like about her is that she’s very welcoming to have people cosplay with her. Despite her community status as a local chanteuse, I felt unwelcomed in mega cosplay groups formed in LA. My only regret is that we weren’t able to do Umineko at Anime Los Angeles, but I hope one day to be your Rosa. Knowing someone who is very inclusive is refreshing and I wish this was more commonplace in cosplay.
Cherry Tea Girl. I’ve known her since I was involved in the Bay Area cosplay scene when I was a student at San Francisco State. She was always bubbly and always wore a smile on her face. I admire Cherry because of her positivity. Cosplay usually has a 50% chance of negative cloudy skies. No matter what, I’ve always seen her always cheerful. Plus, it’s always heart warming to see Christmas cards. Thank you for introducing me to iDolm@ster! My (cosplay) life will never be the same.
Mandy Mitchell. A long time veteran of cosplay, both of us have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of cosplay. We have a long list of war stories from conventions and competing in masquerade that we could pen a novel on it. Mandy has always been there when we have those “we’re getting old!” kind of feelings. It’s good to know that a few good veteran convention goers are still around. It’s also good to know that there are still many of us who feel that cosplay is an art, not dressing up like a cheap hooker on Sunset.
Darcy D. Speaking of cosplay veterans, I find it interesting that Darcy and I have known each other since 2003, but never really had a chance to get to know each other until moving to New England. We seem to like the same characters – Nurse Angel Ririka and Ayaka Kisaragi – to name a few. What I do admire about Darcy, like Cherry Tea, she’s always positive and is very cheery. She’s had panels on what cosplay was like 10 years ago and how much it has changed. I really think it’s important to have those “looking back” panels because it just goes to show you how far this hobby has gone.
And most of all, the kids that keep on going. The cosplayers that stay with the hobby despite all the drama, but they live normal lives outside of it. I admire the cosplayers that have made a lot of awesome progress in their lives – they’re doing what makes them happy or at least on the road to doing so. Yet, they still can enjoy an otherwise totally otaku hobby – the art of dressing up as our favorite characters. Cosplay takes time and money. To balance it out with our real lives and to not give up, that’s an amazing feat. It’s important to still understand that cosplay is a hobby, and that our real lives are our real lives.
Most of these people may not have a facebook fan page. Most of them probably don’t care about having followers. Some of these people you may not know. However, the point is to recognize the positive people that keep us going in our hobby. We all have people like that. We all have people that inspire us to keep us going even when we have days when we want to quit. They may not be the popular ones that sell autographs or have guest status at a small con, but these are the people worth having in our lives. Who’s your role models in the cosplay community?