When people start their journey as a cosplayer, it usually begins with just one reason or costume. It then spirals into a bunch of other costumes and experiences that eventually immerse you fully in cosplay. This turning point is usually a convention or a moment of seeing others do this thing you only imagined and realizing that it's genuinely a possibility after all. The more cosplayers I speak to, the more evident this pattern is; this situation is no different for Coco Cosplay, who has been cosplaying since 2006, almost two decades of cosplaying and recreating characters she loves. Star, most popularly known as her cosplay name Coco Cosplay, is an American cosplayer based in South Korea. Star chose her cosplay name solely because she wanted something simple and easy to remember; Coco was also a good representation of the fact she's a black woman.
Opposition is a good motivator for humans and goals they can achieve; this was the case for Star when she first began cosplaying. As a child, she loved and was entranced by the character Sailor Moon and always wanted to be her but being a black girl; she was constantly told she couldn't be that character or that character wasn't for her. For that very reason, she decided to do it and defy the boundaries they set for her. That was the initial push into cosplaying she got, but the most pivotal moment was going to her first Anime Convention in 2006 and seeing people of all races in the cosplay of their favourite character, and that was the final push and realization she had that there was this community of people doing this thing she could barely put into words.
Star is a firm believer in doing cosplay and making it you're own; with 90% of her cosplay costumes and props, hand made they allow her to make each costume hers in a unique way, "I'm over the top, and when I cosplay character, I like to add my own touches and possibly make the costume better, I like glitter and rhinestones so I'd add like two thousand rhinestones to what was a basic cosplay" she said. This freedom of creativity is something that store-bought costumes don't give cosplayers. "Most of these characters are 2D animations, so the costume may be too boring or not look flattering enough, so it's good to add your own spice".
Owing to her own experience as a cosplayer, one of her main motivations to keep going is the hope that someone sees her continuing on her journey and decides to keep going. "I hope someone sees me and keeps going on their cosplay journey. I'm not saying I'm trying to be a light bet; the mere act of my perseverance helps someone to continue on their own path", she said. She also talked about the difficulties of being a black female cosplayer and how people try to put you in a box and restrict you from cosplaying the characters you choose. Just the fact of her racial identity spurs hateful people to say horrible things about her as they try to gatekeep characters. This action is so common and most commonly targeted against people of colour, especially women, very evident, especially with the backlash that the new Disney Ariel movie is getting.
Through all this, she has a fantastic support system to keep her going, from her amazing family, who have encouraged her cosplay since she was a child, to the friends and cosplayers she has that help her through the tough times. Star is a 31-year-old English Teacher when she isn't out living her best Faery Princess Life, being born so close to Halloween, it seems pretty obvious that she would love dressing up; while other cosplayers go low-key for Halloween since they dress up all year, she loves to go over the top for Halloween also.
When asked what her favourite cosplay she's done so far, she referenced the costume of Sailor Moon, which started her on this journey as she recently recreated the cosplay to fit her current cosplay style. Her favourite cosplayers are her best friend Mega.Mite who does the most intricate cosplay costumes and is also as over the top as she is. There's also Yayahan, who is a detailed and complex cosplayer inspired by regality and vintage horror.
She continues to break the boundaries set before her in her cosplay journey; her next projects are for the cosplay group she joined during covid, where they create twists on classical characters that we know. Coco Cosplay is definitely someone that puts a unique spin on her work and is someone to look forward to seeing what more she will do.
About the Author: Oluwatobi Omotoso is a writer, content creator, Social Media Manager, and marketing strategist. She's an avid treehugger and lover of all things sci-fi. She has been compared to the Joker in personality tests, and her friends lovingly call her a Megalomaniac.
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