The love for cosplay is a cumulative experience, there’s never just one aspect of it that causes you to love it; it’s a combination of various aspects of ones self to create this crescendo that culminates in your journey as a cosplayer and for Chanel Williamson this was exactly the experience.
Over the weekend we spoke to Chanel Williamson aka Gap-tooth Cosplay on her cosplay journey and her adventures so far.
Her cosplay name comes from her most prominent feature which is the gap in her teeth which was a feature that was emphasized by her parents when she was growing up and something she loves. She chose that as her cosplay name cause she wanted something that was personal to her and not just a random name that had no relation to her personally. Chanel started cosplaying officially 3 years ago, she had always known what it was but never really knew how to get started; “I’ve always known what cosplaying was but a few years ago a friend of mine showed me how to get costumes and put together good cosplay pieces and that’s when I decided to get into it” she said.
Chanel talked about her love for anime and how when she was a lot younger she used to hide the fact that she watched anime from everyone around her, that love for anime mixed with her love for fashion and design is one of the main reasons she began cosplaying. When she first started cosplay, as with most cosplayers, she began with simple closet cosplay creating things out of what she already had in her closet. As she grows in her cosplay journey she has begun buying some stuff for her cosplay but also upcycling thrifted items to create the costume she wants while making a handful by herself.
The process of choosing the characters to cosplay for Chanel is based on her love for the character or the design of the character, “I love to choose characters that I love to cosplay but sometimes I come across a character with amazing design that I’d love to cosplay, even if I haven’t watched the show once I see a character I love I watch the anime to know more about the character before I embark on creating a design” she explained; Her favourite cosplay so far that she’s created is her Doll cosplay; she loves this cosplay cause it’s one of the few costumes she made herself and she’s very proud of the work and effort she put into accomplishing it.
One of the best parts of cosplaying to Chanel is the community that she has built and also the support she has received from other cosplayers in the community; she stated there’s a lot of difficulty in being a black cosplayer because of racism and people feeling like a black creator can’t cosplay certain characters but she’s received a lot of support from members of the community despite the very few who leave negative and hateful comments. Her family are a great support system for her cause they encourage her creativity as she goes through the process; her grandma even helps her dress up as she creates the costumes.
When the going gets though the though seek community, what keeps her going is the encouragement from her friends and people she knows; them seeing her work and encouraging her is one of the things that keeps her going. She also gets encouragement from taking up space as a black cosplayer and influencing others to know that they can do it.
Chanel is an amazing cosplayer based in Pennsylvania and someone that will be exciting to see grow in the community as she has so much creativity and vibrant energy to offer.
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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