It is immensely important to cosplay regardless of your skin color or the character’s skin color because it really is about making you feel good and expressing your love for these characters. With much joy, may we present to you a cosplayer from Denver, CO: Aalis Danger, also known as Cheesy Cosplay!
Please introduce yourself to the readers.
I’m Cheesy Cosplay and I want to show the world that you can cosplay any character regardless of race or gender, they are after all fictional characters.
How would you define cosplay? What is your favorite part of it? What are your principles of cosplay?
Cosplay is simply dressing up as fictional characters. My favorite part of cosplay is learning the characters, embodying them, seeing a part of myself in them regardless of race or gender, and bringing them to life with my own personal spin. My main principle of cosplay is it has to be a character I relate to, even if it is more of my dark side as I have a thing for my villains and crazies.
What is a favorite cosplay memory of yours?
My favorite cosplay moment was when a follower told me that after following me for quite some time I gave her the confidence to cosplay herself.
As a POC cosplayer have you experienced any challenges? How did you overcome these challenges?
POC cosplay challenges? That’s a joke right? Every POC experiences racism no matter what path they walk, period. A cosplay can be perfect down to the last detail but still be called bad just because of the color of our skin. I’m doing my best to overcome it because I have a bigger mission and somebody coming from a place of ignorance isn’t gonna stop me, they are the least of my worries. I intentionally cosplay characters that traditionally are not portrayed as black to show the world that race doesn’t matter. Seeing other people’s fear of cosplaying outside of their race is the reason I started.
How would you encourage fellow POC to cosplay characters they love?
Just go out and cosplay the character you love. Always be respectful and honor that character. If anybody gives you crap send them my way.
What changes do you hope to see within the community in the future?
I’d like to see cosplay feature pages and conventions featuring more POC and not just in the designated appropriate days and months. People need to stop commenting “that’s a great Black or Latino version of that character”; just use the name of the character, race doesn’t have to come into it.
In recent years the “Cosplay is not Consent” movement surged from a need to safeguard the well-being of cosplayers at conventions – Have you ever felt hassled by unwanted behavior at one of these events? – If so, how do you fend off unwanted attention?
It doesn’t matter what path you walk as a woman, you will experience unwanted behavior and attention, and as a POC you get fetishized. These are just some of the unfortunate facts of being a woman. I hope we can teach our boys and girls to express their emotions better so this doesn’t continue. I believe it’s going to take people speaking up and being believed when they do so. Real action needs to be taken and men need to add their voices to help women in this fight. If you see something you should say something.
*All photos taken by Real Cheesy Productions, Cheesy’s in-house production company.*