I love cosplayers. I know I say this a lot in my work, but it doesn’t make it any less true the millionth time I type it. Every bit of fabric worked with, wig molded, and faces painted, us cosplayers are tuned in to how much care and devotion this hobby is given. I was minding my business once again, probably doom scrolling when, on my timeline, I see the MOST BEAUTIFUL, Anthy Himemiya (Revolutionary Girl Utena) cosplayer to ever grace the internet. It was like a burst of light in the middle of so much uncertainty. The dress was straight out of any princess fanatic’s dream. Gorgeous layers of pink, like petals from an elegant rose, ready to float along the Gaylord’s marble floors. Like a blessing of some sort. I am so happy I was able to interview them, so please enjoy the following insight from CocoaSugar Cosplay!
BlackNerdProblem: Please tell us about yourself! What’s your origin story?
Cocoa Sugar Cosplay: I’ve had a love of costumes for about as long as I can remember, and have always been drawn to fantastical stories. Both my parents enjoy nerd culture, so growing up watching superhero cartoons, reading fantasy books, and wearing costumes were commonplace. Oftentimes, my family would join in the fun! I attended my very first convention at age 7 with my dad and was dressed as the yellow ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I don’t remember much about my experience except I how proud I was of my costume. I had the full suit, head to toe, with the boots and helmet as well. I think that cemented costumes as a passion for me, although I didn’t really get into it until much later.
My educational path led me to pursue a degree in the arts, with a concentration in Graphic Design. It was around this time that I attended my first Otakon with my sister (@annalicosplay). I had such a great time there and the first thing I wanted to do was plan out a cosplay to wear for next time. That was back in 2008, and I haven’t stopped since, using each cosplay as an opportunity to learn new skills and connect with the fantastic community of creators and artists.
BNP: Why did you get into cosplay? What do you love and hate about the community?
CSC: For me, cosplay allows me to flex some of my creative muscles that I don’t always get to employ in my day job (I do work in a creative field, but it’s a different skill set that I get to use there). I like picking cosplays to build that allow me to learn at least one new skill each time (working with certain fabric types, finishing techniques, using a new tool, etc.). Overall, I’ve had really good experiences with the community – the majority of the people I’ve met are really kind, talented, and creative folks. It’s awesome getting to meet up with people at cons and photoshoots, and just nerd out with them about cosplay and our shared fandoms.
Of course, as with anything involving humans, there are those who seem to make it their mission to ridicule and tear down others. This is compounded when you are a Black cosplayer like myself, as you also have to deal with racism in the community on top of everything else. What I’ve appreciated seeing recently is the backing and show of support from others in the community that racist behavior won’t be tolerated. Regardless, I love what I love, and I refuse to let small-minded people discourage me. It can definitely be hard sometimes, but I surround myself with people who love and support me and what I do, which helps tremendously.
BNP: What have you noticed about the intersection of fashion and nerd culture?
CSC: I just love how accessible nerd fashion is these days! Back when I was a kid (and oh man am I dating myself!) I distinctly remember not broadcasting my ‘nerdiness’ because I was teased for it. I remember the moment I found a girl in my class hiding a Sailor Moon notebook – and we had a secret bonding moment when she found out I was a huge fan too. Now, I can go into mainstream stores and buy clothes and merchandise with just about any fandom I want on it. You can even get them in stores like Target. Things like Comic Con and cosplay have become more widely known, and I think it’s great! It allows people to just be who they are and connect with others who love what they love.
BNP: You have a team of five to help save the world; who are you picking
CSC: Ooh that’s a hard one. It would depend on the type of situation that the world was in (is it something like aliens? perhaps a large-scale disaster event?) I guess I’d pick Black Panther for his individual powers and having the backing/technology of Wakanda, Shuri for the same reason, All Might in his glory days, Captain Marvel in case it’s a space issue, and Saitama from One-Punch Man since he could 1-hit-KO anything at this point.
You can check out CocoaSugar Cosplay’s social media accounts below to see more great cosplay.
Cover Photography Credit:
Anthy: @fxdandy, design by @dessi_desu