Cosplay 101: Pressure

Black Canary Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. But how far should you push yourself? For most of us, cosplay being more than a hobby is a distant dream. We can’t all be Jessica Nigri.

Despite the fact it’s meant to be fun, however, I do see a lot of cosplayers putting themselves under major pressure. With the internet, and cosplay Facebook pages, it is possible to become ‘cosplay famous’, but it also makes it very, very easy to make comparison with other cosplayers. We see them announcing guest bookings at conventions and wonder why nobody ever asks us. We see them getting adoring comments and wonder why our costume doesn’t inspire such devotion. We see them churning out a new costume every week, and spend an hour staring at our own bank account trying to find some spare cash to buy piles of worbla and LED lights. We see them with 30,000 likes and feel bad about our own numbers.

In a word? Don’t. Cosplay is meant to be fun. Agonising over success sucks all the joy from it. It’s also impossible to know how that other cosplayer got where they are. For all we know, they emailed 100 conventions before getting that one booking. They could be spending hundreds on Facebook ads to get those likes and those comments. Maybe they’re turning out costumes so fast because they’re wracking up some wicked credit card debt to buy supplies. Or maybe, they just have a bigger salary, or more time, than you to spend on these things. It can be tough, but not letting it get to you is important.

The best cure is to focus on you and your work. Mute those pages that make you feel crappy about yourself. Don’t go and look at them. There’s a drag saying; don’t get bitter, get better. If you think you deserve more success, the only way to get there is with some real hustle. Concentrate on creating the best costumes you can, and work hard on pushing your public profile. Get over your insecurities and make sure you’re posting content on social media every day. Be brave and a bit a cheeky and reach out to those booking cosplayers for events. That’s allowed. Make a polite enquiry, letting them know you’re interested in their event. You never know what might happen.