"Cosplay to me is a creative outlet, a way to express myself," Ezii Jude said as we talked about her love for cosplay. Despite just beginning her cosplay journey Ezii Jude is someone to watch; Avatar inspired her first costume, teaching her the important details of the art of cosplay. The garnering interest of Nigerian Youths in all things Nerd Culture has helped develop the interest of individuals in sub-cultures of Nerd Culture. Ezii Jude is a short form of her full name Duruoma Jude Eziamarachi.
When asked about her inspiration for taking up cosplay, she cited the 2021 Nerdwork Comic Con as what solidified her as a Cosplayer; it was the breakthrough point that made her decide to take up cosplay completely after learning bits and pieces of the skills she implements as a Cosplayer. Her Costumes are handmade, except for a few looks, which were online purchases allowing her to implement some of the skills she learned during the lockdown.
"Since I was a kid, I always wanted to do what most people couldn't or wouldn't, always wanting to make my own lane", Said Ezii on why she's inspired to do what she does. She likes to take the road less travelled when it comes to things she loves, doing things her way, and being true to herself.
With the current state of Nerd Culture in Nigeria, it's harder for the older generation to understand what it is and how it works. It's interesting to see how supportive her mother is of her cosplay, helping her daughter cosplay better and make better costumes encouraging her to go the extra mile.
For Ezii, the best part of cosplay isn't the costumes or the events; it's the community of friends and family she has created along the way. She referenced a group of cosplay creators that she's a part of and how they help each other through kind words, education and general support through the struggles of being a cosplay creator in Nigeria.
On the days that she struggles and feels like giving up, she turns to the community of fans and creators that support her and keep her going. "Sometimes it's hard to keep going, and when I feel like giving up on it, the community is always there with words of encouragement; when I think of how much they love what I do, I can't help but remember why do this" She commented.
Contrary to popular belief, Ezzi isn't a fan of anime; she watches a few, but she's not crazy about it; that's why her cosplay isn't anime-centred, but about other things of interest to her, like her very first cosplays were things related to Avatar.
One of the best things about being a cosplayer for her is meeting up with other cosplayers at events, especially those within the community she's a part of. She stated, "I went to the last Amine Fest in Lagos, and most of the people in the cosplay community were there; it was amazing seeing all of them again because we don't get to do it as often scattered across the country." She truly cherishes the community she's a part of and appreciates meeting others in this community.
Besides being a cosplayer, she's a fashion influencer and a K-girl facilitating Nigerian-Korean relations. "I've noticed that Korea and Nigeria have a lot of similarities, and we've developed relationships with them due to this, so I started a brand to help facilitate this relationship," She remarked.
The 22-year-old cosplayer started the Koreazy Girl Brand to facilitate this relationship between Korea and Nigeria; they also Created the first strictly K-pop crew in Nigeria and hope to do a lot more in future.
When asked her favourite cosplayer, she said, "Hands down Kamui, she's the kind of cosplayer I aspire to be; her content is topnotch, what I like to call upgraded cosplay, very high class, and it's all self-made, which makes it so amazing." As for her favourite cosplay, she loves her Azula costume because it’s one of the first she did.
It's fantastic to see all the things she does for the love of her art form; she's happy to be going back to Nerdwork Comic Con again this year to experience more of the Nerd Community; when asked what to expect, she said to be on the lookout for her that it'll be a surprise. I look forward to seeing more of what she pulls out of her box of tricks.
IG: Ezii Jude
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.