We live in the age of heroes. They grace our television screens, their soundtracks fill our iPods, and we binge-watch their fabulous Netflix television shows. We love to criticize, analyze, and envy these seemingly unstoppable works of fiction. So what do we do in a world without the X gene? Without exploding particle accelerators? Who are our heroes now? Does such a concept even exist in such an ugly, corrupt world?
I went a little deep there.
The truth is, our heroes come from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures. They may not have heat vision, but they do have the ability to conjure something even greater: Hope. Representation, especially visible representation, is incredibly vital in demonstrating what raw humanity is. You may have seen a person wearing a Hijab cosplaying as good ‘ol Captain America on the internet. I had the immense honor of interviewing this cosplayer, who goes by the name of Hijabi Hooligan. Please enjoy.
Black Nerd Problems: If you could brunch with any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Hijabi Hooligan: I’m not much of a brunch person to be honest. I’d much rather go for a meal and a day out with someone fun, so I’d probably choose Peter Parker (Spider-Man) as he would be super fun to hang out with and he makes me laugh!
BNP: Please tell us about yourself!
HH: My name is Dania, I’m just a regular girl from the North East of England with a crazy life as a hijabi cosplayer! I’m currently studying Pharmacy in university, and outside of that I love to keep active and be creative in everything I do, which is why I enjoy cosplaying so much!
BNP: You’ve been making huge waves on social media lately with your stellar Captain America cosplay! I know for me personally, you’re a huge inspiration. Seeing People of Color shine the cosplay community is so wonderful, especially amid the rampant racism and sexism. Why cosplay that character?
HH: Thank you so much! It has been pretty amazing! I chose to cosplay Cap purely because he’s a character I love and who’s look I really loved as well! I’d been looking to do an Avengers character and Cap immediately stood out to me because of the bright colours in his costume!
BNP: Do you feel as though there are ways we can make room for more representation in the cosplay community?
HH: I feel like most areas have been covered in cosplay, as it’s just a vast and diverse community! I think we cosplayers should continue to do what we love and we should just support each other!
BNP: What does cosplay mean to you?
HH: Cosplay to me means many things. It’s freedom from the stress of normal life, and to some extent it allows me the opportunity to live vicariously through the characters I cosplay and that gives me more confidence to talk to people and have fun! Cosplay for me also means making a statement. I am a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman, and there is a lot of stigma surrounding the hijab. I want to show people that choosing to cover up does not deprive me of anything that my fellow women have — I can still have fun without compromising my faith!
BNP: Do you have any goals for the future?
HH: I really want to start travelling, both for conventions and for myself! I’m fascinated by the beauty of the world, and I would love to see more of it, meet new people and hear their stories. I’d also love to see the incredible cosplays people bring to events around the world, and show off some of my own!
Les Scott Aston