While they may be a hit with fans, cosplayers are doing it for themselves | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


While they may be a hit with fans, cosplayers are doing it for themselves

“This is about having fun. If anybody tells you otherwise, ignore them because their opinion doesn’t matter.”


No woman in the geek community is held to a higher standard than one who cosplays. Regardless of who approaches asking for her to pose for an obscenely strange photograph during a comic con, the expectation is — she must be kind, her costume must be accurate, and above all, she must be tough.

During the Wizard World Comic Con at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, last weekend, a slew of traveling cosplayers sat at the official event cosplay table, signing autographs and talking with fans. In addition, they hosted and participated in many of the different panels and events happening throughout the weekend, all while dolled up as their favorite characters.

Princess Morgan, a cosplayer from Cleveland, spent the con chewing peppermint patties, attempting to fight off feelings of nausea brought on by an oncoming cold. Her mom, whom she brought with her, would occasionally pop in to the cosplay booth and check on her daughter, fix her wig or makeup, and then pop back out.

Morgan Paige, a.k.a. Princess Morgan, has been cosplaying since she was 15 years old. She said she fell in love with cosplaying after attending her first comic con with some of her cousins.

“Cons were places I could be myself, so I continued going to them and dressing up,” she said. “About a year ago, I was going through some stuff in my life and decided I wanted to channel that into something creative. So I made my first costume by hand, and from there my career in cosplay took off.”

Yuffie Bunny, another certified cosplayer, echoed Princess Morgan when she said that attending cons allowed her to be herself without being judged or made fun of. In fact, it made her even more friends.

“I was finally able to meet people who were into the same things I was into — anime, video games, comic books, Japanese culture and geek culture in general,” Bunny said. “At the time, in the early 2000s — during my time in high school and middle school — it wasn’t something people shouted from the rooftops about. We sort of kept it hush-hush.

“I had so much fun meeting people, talking about costumes, and I started making my best friends through cons and cosplay. My fiancé and I even met at a convention.”

While cosplaying is something that can bring a lot of positivity into one’s life, it also makes the people involved a target for a lot of cyber negativity. Most of the comments or messages cosplayers receive have to do with body image, something that Bunny said isn’t easy to hear or fix.

“Nobody is ever happy,” she said. “I used to have people say things like, ‘Oh well, you look like a guy, or your cleavage isn’t enough for this character.’ I just told myself that I’m going to work with what I got. It always hurts a little bit. … You just shrug it off because you know that there are a lot of people who love you and appreciate you for what you do. People on the internet with negative opinions don’t matter.”

Mogchelle, an internationally known cosplayer and official guest of Wizard World, said that she chalks up any negative comments she receives as a lack of common courtesy. As a woman who works a full-time job as a software programmer, is a mother of two and is in a relationship, she says she just doesn’t have time for that sort of negativity in her world.

“I have my brainiac side and my creative side,” Mogchelle said. “This is my stress relief. I’ve seen that bullying has been a lot more common, but it’s all online. If it’s online, I can brush it off and move on with my day. I’m going to have fun with it.”

Paige added that those who think cosplay is about a perfect costume, having a perfect figure or looking just like the character they’re emulating, are wrong.

“When you’re anybody on the internet, you’re going to get negativity,” she said. “This is about having fun. If anybody tells you otherwise, ignore them because their opinion doesn’t matter.”

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