Bella Diorio: Humans of New West

The Cosplay Universe

Bella Diorio (10th grade):

“Why I first started following cosplay accounts and getting into the cosplay universe I wondered, ‘Why would you put all that stuff on alone at home. It didn’t make any sense to me.’ Well here I am now, doing just that.

I actually am not super involved the cosplay universe other than just attending AX and hanging out at home. For a cosplayer, I am pretty cheap and if I can buy something instead of making it I probably will, but some people really go all out. I’ve seen some amazing things that people have done, some create incredibly elaborate armor and sew intricate designs from scratch.

Something I wish I had know before I started cosplay was the time it takes to create each costume, even if you’re buying most of the outfit. And the first time I really tried “cosplaying”, Terezi last year, I didn’t get the right face paint so it kept drying up and falling off and we didn’t get the wig until the last minute and couldn’t really style it (which is a really big part of most cosplays). So now I know the benefits to getting the fancier face paint and really planning and practicing before the last night.

I’ve learned a lot about makeup doing cosplay, though I still have so much more to learn if I want to keep going. Going into it, I didn’t  have any makeup skills and, even now, I don’t really wear makeup all the time and I barely ever put makeup on. So when I started cosplay, this thing that requires you to put on makeup, I had to teach myself how to do the makeup for the characters. Honestly, I’ve really been literally been faking it ‘till i make it.

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Halloween 2015 Calliope’s final design vs final product

Terezi Pyrope was my first conscious cosplay but if you want to get really technical, my first “cosplay” was in third grade when I realised that store bought costumes suck and I wanted to make my own (and by make my own I mean helping mom with maybe 10% of it). That Halloween, I went as Lavagirl. It was really only this past year that I got more into it again through social media and seeing other groups’ characters. I first really started getting interested in cosplaying just for Anime Expo 2015 and Halloween and slowly started doing more and more and doing more cosplay outside of cons just for fun.

I love cosplay because it is fun and interesting to see what you can really create and do. Most cosplayers have some sort group or followers and they can do different activities and meetups and shoots. Sometimes I wish I had buddies to do this with or people I could collaborate with but I’m not really at that point yet.

I will definitely continue cosplaying for a while. There are many things I want to do like Trickster versions of a few characters from Homestuck and Undyne from Undertale but those require a lot of makeup skills so I have to keep practicing at that. Who knows what other plans will come up later.

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Mabel Pines, Gravity Falls

I don’t really think cosplay could really become a career for me. It is more of a hobby. Well, unless you wanted to be a makeup artist or something. I don’t know. It’s really more like something fun to do.

This isn’t something that I do, but others do a lot; they do a lot of costumes of characters that don’t wear a lot of clothing or similar to that and some people get the idea that that is what cosplay is like that is the only thing cosplayers do. I was having a conversation with someone the other day and they were saying, ‘In cosplay most people dress up like sluts and stuff’, and I pointed out that yeah some people do wear revealing clothing for video game or comic book characters and so forth but that is not all of cosplay.


Grimdark Rose, Homestuck

For me, cosplay is just something fun to do, I guess. I love Roxy Lalonde from Homestuck a lot. I don’t think I have her face but the best thing about cosplaying characters from things like Homestuck (Welcome to Night Vale being another good one) is that there are little to no canon characteristics for the characters, meaning there are no confirmed or definite characteristics like height, race, shape, features, etc, and because of the fact that no one knows really what they’re “supposed” to look like you can look like anything and it will be okay. But other characters and media, where it’s obvious what they look like, it can be harder to try and fit that character (although it shouldn’t matter too much if you’re not the right height or race or at a high skill level because it’s about having fun not being an exact look-alike). Though for characters without concrete appearances, getting comments like “you’re my headcanon *character*”, which basically means “this is how I imagine this character looks, nice job” is pretty flattering.

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Roxy Lalonde, Homestuck

The difference between costumes and cosplay is that a costume can be a wide range of outfits for one thing and cosplay is more specific because you’re dressing up as that character, and sometimes people go to places in character or do shows and panels as that character- think like those people at Disneyland who are there as Disney characters and pretend to be that character) For example, during Halloween you might want to be a “witch” and you look up witch costumes for sale, there are many different usually generic takes on a witch but everyone knows “oh, that’s a witch” (unless you’re going as a specific witch, like Maleficent) and cosplay, though there can be different interpretations or outfit variations, is way more specific even with slight variation because it is a specific character.

Overall, it’s just a small side hobby at the moment, sort of like my art (though honestly art is more important right now and I’ve really got to work on that because that’s the initial reason I’ve been going to cons – to sell art).  I’m a little nervous about it being known to everyone reading the paper now because it’s a bit of a weird hobby in comparison, but to anyone who remembers what I’ve been doing for Halloween the past 2 years then it’s not like I’m hiding much at this point.


Rose Lalonde






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