Cheelai from the Dragonball : theflyingcosplayer

As someone who is a curly cosplayer, meaning I try to incorporate ethnic styles and curly hair whenever I can, I always wonder if people will understand and accept the overall message that I am trying to convey. They usually do and I’ve been told at many cons that it makes them proud to know that you can still be yourself although you’re embodying another character

Using body paint is always hard on darker skin so that was probably the hardest thing for me. Usually I use arm and leg sleeves from @welovecolorscosplay so that I only have to paint my face, however they did not arrive on time so I actually had to paint my entire body which I had never done before. I’m a huge fan of the Mehron paints for my cosplay. I’ve learned that it is easier for me to paint myself white as a base coat or another color that complements my target color first to get that really bright finish. All of the rest of the costume was constructed out of a leotard from Amazon.

My first convention was the San Diego Comic Con in 2015 or 2016, and I never knew that cosplaying was a thing. So for my first con to be a convention of that size was quite overwhelming. It was really intense and intimidating because I immediately knew I’d love to do this, but I knew I could never be able to make a 6ft Ursula that looked like something an imagineer made at Disney world or some of the other extraordinary cosplays I’ve seen. But afterwards I went down the Instagram and tumblr rabbit holes of the cosplay world and came across @kieraplease, who cosplayed Garnet from Steven universe as well as @shellanin who cosplayed Vegeta, both in curly cosplay styles. Those two images are what made me decide that this is what I really want to do, and I’ve been cosplaying and pretty much doing cons every month since then.

Through cosplay I have learned how to be unapologetically true to myself. I’ve learned how to not be afraid to be me 100% of the time and do what I want. I have so many friends that don’t understand it, but I’ve gained so many more who are supportive and look up to me because the energy that I put out is contagious. I’ve become more open and free. It may sound crazy but cosplaying has truly been therapeutic. It’s helped me to work through a lot of trauma that would have continued to be buried deep down. Through cosplay, I’ve been invited to schools to speak and have taken kids to small scale cons as a way to help them find themselves, and I never thought any of this would be possible.

The most influential people in my life are Assata Shakur, Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, and Angela Rye. These ladies are forced to be reckoned with and have shaped the way I view and do many things. A key quote from one of them is “being a troublemaker pays off because trouble making creates change”, and this one quote has impacted me so much that now, whenever I question a decision or feel indifferent, I refer to it to decide how to proceed.

My greatest struggle is becoming Instagram famous. (kidding lol) My greatest struggle right now is self realization, acceptance, and fear of failure. I’m 27 and still struggle with the notion of “what I want to be when I grow up”. I miss out on many opportunities because of my imposter syndrome. I don’t feel like I deserve much of the credit that I get, so I don’t do or seek out many things that I know I am very much capable of. It’s easier for me to fail knowing that I didn’t try rather than giving my all and failing.

For anyone out there interested in cosplaying, but are scared for any reason. I’d say just do it. There’s no right or wrong way to cosplay, it’s ok to cosplay the same thing as someone else, and most importantly it’s about being yourself and having fun. Don’t let anyone stop you.