I love seeing parents cosplay; just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you have to pack up the cosplay. I am happy to introduce Mizz Kabala, a hardworking and talented cosplayer in the UK!
Please introduce yourself to the readers.
Hey there, my name’s Miri Kabala aka Mizz Kabala, I live in London, United Kingdom and my heritage is Congolese. I am a mum of two daughters and a son on the way, I’m also a wife to my awesome man.
How would you define cosplay? What is your favorite part of it? What are your principles of cosplay?
Using creativity to interpret a character in your own vision. My favourite part of Cosplay is seeing many different versions of the same character and how other people interpret them. And the end result of developing my own characters. My principles for Cosplay are Fun, inspiration, transformation and challenging myself.
How do you go about choosing characters? How do you go about getting into character? What’s the process you go through?
I get a sudden rush of inspiration, sometimes from nowhere, other times from a show or film I’ve recently seen, other times I just want to try something different. I get into character by researching their origin story and background. Then picture how they’d be if they were me. I’ll watch YouTube [videos] on the character and facts about them and their movements and expressions. Being a dark skin black woman, it can be challenging to get the right makeup and body paints that really pop.
What has been one of the coolest things to come from cosplaying?
Interviews like this, seeing people’s reactions towards it, and seeing how much I can push myself. There are times I’ve been discouraged but I’ve pushed through and been happy with the final result. Doing Cosplay pushes my creativity and I love trying new things to develop myself.
Next to the actor who portrays a character you cosplay, is there a member of the production you’d like to meet? Please list both actors and production (director, writer, composer, animator, etc) if you’d like.
I’d love to meet Ryan Coogler who directed Black Panther and also Chadwick Boseman, the legendary Stan Lee would have been a dream to meet. R.i.p. Stan. And of course Jon Berthnal who plays the best Punisher in my opinion.
As a POC cosplayer have you experienced any challenges? How did you overcome these challenges?
Yes, because I am based in the UK, I have noticed that there is a lack in numbers of Blerds aka Black cosplayers. And I find my posts on the UK cosplay groups can be overlooked or not accepted by the admins especially on Facebook. Also getting the right makeup, paints and sometimes even materials can be difficult as the cosplay scene although growing is small here in the UK. Knowing that I have a purpose I will search far and wide for the resources I need and materials, I’m even contemplating getting a 3d printer to help design items. I’m also researching colour palettes to match my skin tone.
How would you encourage fellow POC to cosplay characters they love?
I would tell them firstly to do it for themselves and to enjoy the experience and creativity. It is like a form of therapy where you can play out another character or person for that time, and let the worries of the world go for even just a few hours. I use it as an affirmation that makes me feel good and that is what everyone should do. That sense of satisfaction when it’s all done whether it’s taken weeks or days or hours to accomplish. It’s about self love.
What changes do you hope to see within the community in the future?
Ignorant people should see beyond race and allow everyone to cosplay who they want, without questioning the authenticity because of the race of the character or their physical size or build. Basically for there to be no discrimination on appearances of anyone doing Cosplay. It should be fun and exciting, and not an opportunity to body shame people. I hope the community grows and grows and more people will feel comfortable dressing up and cosplaying whoever they want. I would like more support for mental health within the community as it can help people with confidence, anxiety and overall feelings of self esteem.