There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cosplay, and that's something that becomes even more explicitly clear with every cosplayer I talk to. In the course of the week, I sat down with Tricia Mpisi to speak with her about her cosplay journey and her inherent love for movies and films. We started our conversation with the basics of getting to know each other; Tricia Mpisi is a South African Based Congolese Actress, Screenplay writer, and Cosplayer.
She initially began cosplaying for fun the Halloween of 2017 and quickly realized that this was something people did on the internet. "I initially started cosplay just for fun and realized a while later that there were people on the internet who also did this and enjoyed it," she said. Tricia liked the creativity of it, so she began her cosplay journey.
"While I initially started cosplaying for fun, along the line, I realized that a lot of the characters cosplayed didn't represent or show women like me, " she explained; representation is essential in every aspect of life; it helps people feel seen. "Black women, not just black women but specifically dark-skinned black women, were rarely cosplayed and had even fewer characters, so now, besides having fun, I cosplay to represent people and characters that look like me." She talked about how important representation is and that she's happy that stories like that are finally being shown in mainstream international media
"CutiePieSensei is definitely one of them, and there are also a lot of South African cosplayers on the list but I get my biggest inspirations from the Instagram page Black women in costume, the showcase the immense world of black women cosplayers," This is what she said when asked about her biggest cosplay inspirations, and indeed these are all highly inspirational cosplayers, especially the likes of CutiePieSensei who have turned cosplay into a business. Tricia considers herself to be an amateur cosplayer because most of her cosplays rely on what she already has in her closet, only buying external items for comic cons and other events. Still, in my opinion, given her meticulously curated cosplay list, it's ingenious the number of characters she's been able to replicate with just everyday clothing items she owns.
In all the excitement and fun that comes with being a cosplayer, Tricia says the best part of being a cosplayer is the community there's this sense of understanding and shared love for characters that all cosplayers have, she recalled the 2020 lockdown get-ready with me challenge that she was invited to do and how it felt amazing to be a part of this large community of creators from across the globe. As an actress and cosplayer, storytelling is a passion that Tricia holds very dear "One thing that keeps me going when it comes to cosplaying is the important stories that need to be told. I'm someone that loves African sci-fi and Fantasy, and I feel those stories aren't told enough; I want to be part of the people that tell these stories," she explained.
While talking, we shared a moment about our parents, and she expressed that her parents were somewhat confused when she began cosplaying, but when they saw how much she loved it, they became more supportive of her cosplay.
I've concluded that certain things are universal languages, and to a large extent, cosplay is one of those things. The shared joy of understanding or loving certain characters to the point it moves you to dress like them is something we can all understand because in all aspects we all have our favourite characters that we stan to eternity for. I asked Tricia what her favourite cosplay was: "My vanity will make me say Blackfire from DC's Titans because the actress that plays the character commented on how she loved the cosplay. But vanity aside, it's like asking me to pick my favourite child; it's difficult cause they're all an important part of my growth," she said.
Tricia Mpisi, while having acting and screenplay as her first love, became a cosplayer before becoming an actress. I joked that she picked up the role before the role picked her up, which resonated with her because each path is similar to the other in the way she would be playing these characters. She's purely a sci-fi girlie when it comes to her cosplay, not leaning towards anime-centric content that is also prominent in the cosplay community.
Overall, Tricia Mpisi is a fantastic actress that is going extraordinary places not only with her acting but also in her content as a cosplayer. Her focus on the lesser told stories and inclusion of dark-skinned women and girls is something that I find incredibly inspirational, and I can't wait to see what else she does in future.
Author’s Bio: 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's been compared to the Joker in personality tests, and her friends lovingly call her a Megalomaniac.
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