We talk a lot about cosplay around here, and we love to bring you albums full of some of the coolest, weirdest, and most creative cosplays around. Of course, while it’s awesome to draw attention to the awesome costumes we find online and spot at cons, cosplayers pour so much of themselves, their time, and their energy into each ensemble that it seemed almost wrong to not talk with the person beneath. For those of us outside of the cosplaying world, the entire concept can seem incredibly intimidating and enigmatic. As an introduction to this awesome space, we’re going to talk with a few rising stars within the community that you need to know about.
We are incredibly excited to introduce you to the fantastic cosplayer, Mia Moore. Having started only a couple of years ago, Mia has gained some renown through her style as well as her tutorials to help bring beginners into the fold. This writer and cosplayer strives to prove that geekery is for everyone, and that’s why we’re honored to have her for our first interview.
G&S: What first got you interested in cosplay?
M: I went to anime conventions for years before I started cosplaying myself. When you’re a nerdy teenager who feels alone in what they like, going to a convention is like going home. It’s a really magical experience. I loved seeing all the cosplayers — all these people so passionate about something, that they created a replica out of nothing. I immediately knew I wanted to get involved, but didn’t really take it seriously until several years after.
G&S: What is the hardest part of cosplaying for you?
M: The hardest part of actually making the costumes is my limited skill set. I’ve learned plenty since I began cosplaying, but I’m still a total noob at things like sewing and prop building, so it’s always a new challenge every time I make a costume.
The hardest part of being a cosplayer in general is probably keeping motivated. Since most conventions I attend are in the summer, I’m much more motivated to work on cosplay during the summer. That means I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on more complicated costumes. Consistent motivation is a skill I’d love to master.
G&S: What are the three most essential things to have with you when cosplaying at a convention?
M: 1. In the room, I keep extra supplies, like safety pins or hot glue, in case something breaks.
2. A purse to carry around, preferably one that matches the costume, with my lipstick for the costume, eye drops, etc.
3. A cosplay handler! It’s great to have a friend with you to carry your purse when you’re asked for a photo, or check to make sure your costume is laying right.
G&S: What’s the worst cosplaying advice you’ve received?
M: Any advice about cosplaying to fit your body type, skin tone, height, etc. is bad advice to me. Cosplay isn’t about creating an exact replica of a fictional character, and nobody is limited in who they can cosplay by their physical appearance.
G&S: There can be a lot of judgey attitudes between cosplayers who sew their costumes, cosplayers who buy their costumes, cosplayers who commission their costumes, and cosplayers who cobble a costume together with existing stuff. What’s your take on that “rivalry”?
M: As much as I love the community aspect of cosplay and all the friends I’ve made through cosplaying, I have to admit that there are people out there who will judge how you cosplay. In my experience, a lot of these people aren’t cosplayers themselves — it’s a lot easier to criticize someone if you don’t realize the effort and courage it takes to cosplay. I’m all about cosplay being for everyone, whether that means buying a costume or making it from scratch or something in between. Everyone enjoys cosplay for a different reason, so it doesn’t make sense to apply your own standards to everyone.
G&S: What is the biggest mistake see new cosplayers frequently make?
M: I don’t know that I would use the word “mistake,” necessarily, but I think the most important thing that a new cosplayer can do to ensure they have a good time is making sure they are comfortable! That can be anything from cosplaying a character who wears clothing you’re already comfortable in, to picking the right undergarments to make you feel your best, to making sure you’re not wearing 10 layers in the 100 degree heat. Comfort is key, and without comfort, it’s hard to be confident.
G&S: What are some of the best things you’ve learned about yourself since you started cosplaying?
M: Cosplaying has helped me get past a lot of issues I’ve had for years and years, especially body dysmorphia, eating issues, and a general lack of body confidence. There’s something about discovering an ability to create something that gives you a new way of finding value in yourself. I also think that the transformative aspect of cosplay helps you see yourself as the characters you want to embody, and you realize that you have the qualities that your fictional idols do. When I dress as Daenerys, I feel like a powerful queen. I see her abilities in myself, and I can translate that to my daily life.
My biggest transformation is definitely in my own level of confidence, but I’ve also gotten more and more involved in the geek community, online and offline, through cosplay. Without this hobby, I probably wouldn’t be blogging, podcasting, hosting panels at conventions, and meeting friends on social media and at conventions. For further reading, you can check out the post I wrote about Cosplay & Self-Esteem.
G&S: Where can we find you online?
M: I’m on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch as xoMiaMoore. I blog about style, cosplay, and living the geek life at xoMia.com. I also run a blog all about becoming your own superhero — Superheroesque.com — and co-host a podcast about geek news and lady issues called Fake Goth Girls.
Thanks so much to Mia for taking the time to talk with us. What are some questions you’ve always wanted to ask a cosplayer? What cosplayer would you like to see us talk to next? Let me know in the comments!