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Confessions of a Curvey Cosplayer – That Moment

As I contemplated this topic I realized that this isn’t just a curvy cosplayer issue. However, I am going to write it from a curvy cosplayers protective because that is the only perspective that I am personally familiar with.

So, even though I’m writing about curvy cosplayers, I think everyone deal with it in this issue in some way, shape, or form.

Today I’m going to be talking about a moment that I think a lot of cosplayers experience, but I’m not sure because nobody likes to talk about it. It’s one of the darkest sides of Cosplay, because it is all about personal insecurities.

That Moment

Your cosplay that you’ve worked so hard on is finished. I’m taking that moment you take the first look in the mirror, or see the first picture and instead of seeing something absolutely amazing that you spent so much time and money on, all you can see is the fact that you are much bigger than the actual character.

Remember I said I was going to be writing this from a curvy perspective. It’s not exclusive to being bigger. You could be smaller, taller, have a long face, have a round face, have a different nose…it goes on and on…

The point is you look at the picture and no matter what you do, you don’t look like the character.

I’ll never look like that

One of my favorite characters is River Song. She is absolutely amazing. While she’s not as skinny as an anime character, because she’s a real person, she is a lot smaller than my bone structure would ever allow me to be. Even at my skinniest I would never have Alexa Kingston’s waist size. Now I will admit, I’m not at my skinniest. But it’s quite dangerous to fall into the trap of wanting to be skinny so you can look like these characters.

I am currently working on getting to a healthier body weight. It’s always a goal, and some times I do better than other times. I’m a real person was real life stresses and unfortunately one of the ways that I deal with them is I eat.

But I’ve come to realize they can’t lose weight just to look like the characters. Because no matter how skinny I get, my personal body type is not going to look like an anime character. That goes for most normal non-surgically altered people on the planet. It is a trap that is set up to fail from the beginning.

So what do you do

Part of it is recognizing that you want to look like that, but you never really will. A lot of people can’t change what causes this moment for them. You can’t just make yourself shorter. You probably shouldn’t surgically alter your nose to look like a specific character, unless you never plan to play any other character. Just like those things you shouldn’t try to alter your weight to fit a specific character.

Accept it

One of the reasons why cosplay has been so good for me is because it is helps me accept myself and my beauty at a lot of different sizes. When I started cause playing I was significantly lighter than I am now. If you look at my cosplay pictures closely, you can tell that I fluctuate quite rapidly in weight. It’s not as obvious as it is for some people because my body carries weight very well.

Focus on what is like the character

There are a lot of different ways to use makeup and costuming to alter your appearance so you look more like the character. So the way that I get past this moment, in the way that I think most people get past this moment is by focusing on what is like the character. Compare a side-by-side and look at how many things are actually are similar, and celebrate those.

Reality Check

Another thing that has helped me through this is looking at backstage photos or photos of the actors in their costumes later. Even the actor doesn’t look exactly like their character does in the movies. For example, I belong to a river song cosplay our group. This group is amazing and they get these costumes down to precise detail. One of the biggest issues with that is when you can’t get photocopies of the actual costume and you only have to go on screenshots. There is one specific costume in peace that they were discussing the other day, and it has at least three or four different colors in the episode.

No cosplay is ever going to be exactly perfect because the costumes themselves are not perfect. Even when a character is drawn there are always differences.

And so…

I wanted to write about this topic because I feel like everyone experience has this moment at some point. I think the important part of this moment is to look at it for what it is. The desire to create something fabulous and precise. We just have to make sure not to get so caught up in this desire that we feel badly about ourselves or our work.

Because, as I always say, cosplay is about having fun.

Please note, these are only my opinions. I have included external links that I neither own nor do I have any control over them. 

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  1. Mallorie April 26, 2019

    I agree with this and I love that you aren’t shaming cosplayers who do get surgery. I think it’s especially rough for cosplayers of colour who want to cosplay anime characters that don’t have bodies or skin tones like them, and when there are black anime characters they are usually very stereotypical and sometimes racist characteristics. I struggle as a fat person cosplaying skinnier characters but I know others have it harder and hearing people discuss how hard we all are on ourselves trying to reach an unattainable goal of perfection is very reassuring and reminds myself not to get too caught up in it.

    • Iso Rivers April 26, 2019 — Post Author

      Bodies are a very personal thing and people make decisions for lots of different reasons. We all should support and not judge each other.

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