Growing up, I was IN LOVE with the W.I.T.C.H. books. My face glowed with excitement when I crouched down near the bookshelves at Barnes & Noble when I was a tween, happy to see the first couple comic pages before diving into an exciting story of friendship, challenges, and magic. So, when I saw this OUTSTANDING Taranee Cook cosplay online, I was so excited. Everything about this cosplayer is sensational, and her W.I.T.C.H. creation was perfection, right down to the turquoise and green tights. On top of that, it is so wonderful to witness cosplayers supporting other cosplayers, and Petite Ebby Cosplay is definitely one of the most encouraging community members that I’ve seen! I am so happy that I was able to pick her brain a bit, so please enjoy this interview!
Black Nerd Problems: I’d love to know a bit about yourself! What is your life like?
Petite Ebby: First off, I’ve been cosplaying for seven years now. And I recently graduated with an undergraduate bachelors’ degree in Biology in December of last year. Right now, I am currently working as a Pet Care Associate at my new job. A quick description of my job, is to explain to pet parents about the animals we have at our store; give them suggestions or recommendations of our products to give to their pets, and help new pet parents with any questions or concerns that they might have with their new pet(s). With my degree, I want to become a Veterinarian Technician; or go to Graduate school to get my Master’s Degree in Veterinarian Medicine. When I am not working, I am usually working on cosplays.
BNP: Do you find that cosplay inspires you in your everyday activities?
PE: Yes, cosplaying has helped me gain more confidence in myself by interacting with cosplaying peers and outside of cosplaying.
BNP: How immersive is cosplay for you?
PE: When I finally choose a character or a certain design I want to cosplay as, I am overly excited about making the costume come to life. Some of the genres I love to cosplay, such as magical girls, include elaborate designs such as: dresses, armory, or fanart. Before I work on a cosplay I spend hours researching, looking for the materials and tutorials for the character(s). I start looking up materials and budgeting ahead of time because it’s very essential, especially as a cosplayer. I usually spend up to 3 hours a day working on a costume at a time, and sometimes more than that. That way I can get as much done on cosplay as possible. There will be times when I am stuck or frustrated at a certain part, I will just take a small break and work on another costume; or just figure out what I did wrong with my current project.
BNP: Have you ever received any negativity about your choice?
PE: I have received several negative responses regarding my cosplay choices and the way I change up the cosplay. A few years back [was] when I first saw Asieybarbie’s work on Tumblr. At the time, she’d made a few Sailor Moon fanart pieces, I loved her design; and especially she changed Sailor Moon’s hair to purple/blue. So, I decided to cosplay as her fanart version of Sailor Moon. While some people loved the look, others didn’t like it much as it wasn’t Sailor Moon’s real hair color and it wasn’t accurate. I cosplay as her version of Super Sailor Moon because I love the look and I love how she made it look more POC. Also, I’ve had people tell me that I am “n*gga Madoka” from the series Madoka Magica and “Black Kiki” from Kiki’s Delivery Service.
BNP: How does being a cosplayer of color impacts your art?
PE: It impacts my art deeply because as a Black cosplayer, Black cosplay representation does matters. I want to show Black cosplayers that they also cosplay as magical girls, princesses, and cosplay elaborate cosplays. I remember one of my followers told me that by seeing my cosplays it shows her that she can also be a Black magical girl as well. As a result, it really inspires me to continue to make better cosplays.
BNP: Does it influence which character you decide to portray?
PE: Yes, it does influence me a lot I want to cosplay as characters that catch my interest, and also people don’t hardly see as much. By doing this it shows new Black cosplayers that want to start cosplaying, and ones are a little discouraged about choosing certain characters, that they can cosplay whoever they want.
BNP: Do you have any goals for the future?
PE: I have a few goals for the future. One is to go back to school in the next year or so to become a Veterinarian Technician. Cosplay wise I would love to start doing more elaborate cosplays such as Sakizou designs, Sunset Dragon’s designs, dresses or anything that has a design that catches my interest. Another cosplay goal is to start making armory. I am still learning some basics of craft and Eva foam, so I hope to become better enough to start making armory in the future. Another one of my goals is to continue to spread cosplay positivity and inspire other cosplayers. I wouldn’t mind learning Italian either.
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