Thursday, July 3, 2014

Secret Cosplans

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions for my social media accounts. I found it to be somewhat overwhelming, because suddenly people are asking me things about makeup, fashion, music, my opinions and so on. I want to thank all of you for the support and love and I'd be happy to answer any question you have for me.

I particularly wanted to write a lengthy blog post about this one question that I've been getting for quite a long while now, simply because I think that most cosplayers should be aware of this and that this somehow addresses an arising concern in the cosplay community.

"Why do you keep your cosplans secret?"

First of all, for those who don't know, I make it a point to keep my cosplans secret from the public. I drop hints (for example, photos of the costume/shoes/wig) but I never really announced the character straightforwardly. I only do announce the character about a day or two before the actual event. You may think that I'm doing this to keep people guessing or just for the element of surprise (at first, it was but not anymore), but I actually have good reasons for doing so.
(Just a little notice: Almost no one knows about this because I really kept this to myself all this time. I didn't want to share it for personal reasons, but now I'm ready to talk about this issue. Let's go!)

Story-telling time!
About a year or two ago, I cosplayed the Matryoshka version of Megurine Luka. Luka is one of my all-time favorite Vocaloid singers, and I really loved how she sounded in the song 'Matryoshka' so I searched up a reference photo and cosplayed her.

Weeks before the event, I was busy preparing for my cosplay. I bought my pink wig and trimmed it (although unskilled), I had my jacket made and I was hitting the malls for crazy shoes to match. I was really getting excited for it, because I really had a feeling that it would result in a good turnout.

About a week before the event, a friend from Facebook sent me a private message and asked me if I was going to the event. I was really excited so I said, 'yeah!' She said she was going to the same event as well and asked me who I was going to cosplay there.

Of course, I honestly answered that I was going as Luka. There was a few minutes of silence between us before she replied with a message, saying that she thinks that Luka doesn't suit me. She said that I would look better as Rin or Gumi.

(I would love to post a screen-capture of the conversation we had, but that was in my old Facebook account which is collecting virtual cobwebs right now and I really don't want to visit that account anymore.)

Anyways, what she said broke me internally. I just replied with a mundane "ahahaha" but inside, I felt really disheartened. I took her words to the heart and somehow, it affected me for days. Everyday, I would imagine myself as Luka and because I believed in her words so much, I didn't feel like cosplaying Luka anymore because my gullible self believed that I wasn't suited for her.

Despite my doubts, my Matryoshka cosplay still pushed through. I was really surprised because I managed to do my makeup surprisingly well, I didn't feel nervous and I received a lot of good feedback in the event itself. When my photos were shared over Facebook, a lot of people commented that I looked good in the cosplay and a lot of photographers in the event told me I looked really good.

You're probably curious about how it looked like. Here's a photo, shot by Jalmonte Photography.
Ever since then, I didn't want to share my cosplans with anyone (except for a few photographers, close friends and cosplay groupmates) Simply, because I didn't want anyone else's words to put me down anymore.

I realized that you'll never be able to please everyone. Someone will always tell you that the character won't suit you, or any other form of unhelpful criticism, but you shouldn't care. I probably sound like a mean girl for saying this, but who cares about what they say? I decided that I will cosplay whoever character I want, regardless of what other people might think. This kind of thinking has helped me ever since because up to now, I still get a lot of negative comments but it became easier and easier for me to ignore them.

Lately, I've been witnessing a lot of cosplay hate in social media. I think that constructive criticism is a good thing, but some comments aren't really 'constructive' anymore and are downright nasty. I feel really bad because as someone who had similar experiences, I don't think anyone deserves to receive such painful words.

I've been cosplaying for three years now, and even though I'm not exactly a 'veteran' in cosplay, I believe in cosplaying the character we really want. Who cares if you're not tall enough, or not sexy enough, or simply not enough? I see the joys in cosplaying when people enjoy being in the character they adore, regardless of aesthetics. To me, that is the essence of a "high-quality cosplay".

I know I hardly make any blog posts like this, but I just really want to share this with all of you to let you know that there are such ugly things happening in the cosplay community. It would be wishful thinking of me to think that we could eradicate cosplay hate completely in one night, but I'm hoping that little by little, we'd be able to lessen these cases. I don't know every single person in the community, but as a fellow cosplayer, I do care for each person's mental health and well-being and I want each cosplayer to enjoy this hobby to the maximum without anyone or anything holding them back.

If you, dear reader, witness any sort of bashing and flaming on any social media, I advise you to put it to a stop in any way you can. Anyone can be a victim of this kind of bullying, and I believe that one good act could lead to another. Let's all contribute to making the cosplay community a better place.

If you've ever received such unhelpful comments and downright bashing and bullying of your cosplay:
As a person, I believe in doing what you love and loving what you do regardless of what other people might say or think of you. As long as you love that character, go for it! There's no harm in trying.

I would love to hear your voices out about this issue in the comments below! Got a story or experience to share?

Thank you for reading. Bye-bye :3
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