The World of Make Believe: An Intro to Cosplay and My Four Year Journey


Beck Iannucci

Why do people cosplay?

Since cosplay, dressing up as fictional characters, has grown in popularity there has become an assumption that it’s only for likes and follows. For many, including me, it’s actually a coping mechanism. When I get too self conscious or stuck in a loop of negativity it takes me out of that headspace. It’s something that has kept me grounded and feeling safe. This is amplified when you’re cosplaying a character that you relate to. These comfort characters can have a huge impact. Because of how attached someone could be to their favorite character you shouldn’t be insulting someone’s cosplay. Remember that it’s not just for fun — it’s a coping mechanism — and the person might be going through a rough time. You don’t know what someone is going through and you have no right to comment on someone’s appearance. Be respectful. 

How do I get started? 

You don’t need a lot of money to start cosplaying. You can be the casual version of a character or hand make the costume with things you have around the house. For my Adrien Agreste outfit I painted on a shirt I already owned. That’s why it’s good to buy a pack of fabric paint because it allows you to cheaply work on projects. I also recommend buying a wig that you can use for a few characters for your first wig. My first one was blonde and I can use it for Tamaki Suoh, Adrien, and Alois Trancy. If you want a lot of freedom it’s something to think about. If you happen to have a lot of yarn, you could try and make your own wig from scratch.

Do I need to be cannon?

Absolutely not. The notion that you need to be exactly like the character is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with making your own interpretation of the character. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you want to make your cosplay as accurate as possible that’s fine, but it isn’t required.

Dealing with opposition. 

Not everyone will understand why you dress up and that’s okay. If you’re online don’t feel bad about blocking certain words and phrases. You are allowed to cut out negativity and rudeness for your own well being. This especially goes for TikTok because every so often a cosplay post leaves the cosplay side of the app and is met with hatred. It’s perfectly understandable that you don’t want to deal with those people.

My own journey.

I’ve found a drastic difference in myself from when I first started. Cosplay has allowed me to be vulnerable and helped me gain patience with myself. It happens gradually, but it’s worthwhile. Give it a chance, and you’ll see the benefits.