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#28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Eighteen

Meet Jamilla (Black Bettie Cosplay) and Ashlee Doris (Nyx Wolff)

 

Cosplay of Jamilla (Black Bettie Cosplay) and Ashlee Doris (Nyx Wolff)

Can you believe it’s been eighteen days of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay? These daily looks have been a true highlight of the month! Today, we have two more cosplayers to feature, and we’re so ready to see what they have to show us!

Jamilla (Black Bettie Cosplay)

Jamilla (Black Bettie Cosplay) has been cosplaying for over 12 years! “I really loved making clothing as a kid and later I became involved in the theatre and acting.” They didn’t learn about cosplay until college and loved the idea of combining their favorite things: costuming and acting. You can check out their story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

Sometimes it’s just based on the right fabric and accessories coming along, or I get excited about a new show or game and decide to cosplay from it, or I have a group of friends and we decided on a cosplay idea together.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Yes, I’m going to be cliché and say all because they each have challenged me in different ways and helped me grow as a cosplayer. Whether it was improving on body paint with Lore Olympus cosplays, learning contouring to become Galo Thymos, or the craftsmanship that went into Riju or Hypnos.

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

I have so many, but I really look fondly back on the cosplay lingerie show a bunch of us did last year at Kumoricon. There were cosplay models of all sorts of body types, races, and gender identities. We were all nervous, but the creativity, support, and love for everyone was just so darn wonderful. It was an absolute blast!

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing, Hades, and catching up on my favorite animes (My Hero Academia, The Promised Neverland) and murder mystery shows.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

Definitely Galo Thymos, he’s such a positive guy. Also Taako because sometimes I just need a little sass.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

The universe of Howl’s Moving Castle (post all the events) seems rather pleasant and cozy. Plus there’s magic!

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

Sometimes I put my own spin to help me feel more like I fit the character. Other times I just see myself already, so I don’t really change their design at all. I don’t look like many of the characters I cosplay – but that is half the fun. More and more I like to incorporate elements that make the character look more like me – like my hair texture.

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Yes! How could you make me pick? That’s always so hard and it’s always changing as I make new cosplays. So while I do love the ones I featured they are more recent cosplays and I definitely have some older ones I adore just as much.

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

Oof. It’s so hard to decide what I’ll be doing. I’m trying to return to my old cosplans from 2020 and also revisit some even older pieces since well I have time now. While I wasn’t always focused on cons, it did help me plan my deadlines and figure out which projects to prioritize, so I’m a little lost this year.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Probably something very intricate like a Sakizou dessert series design or something from Trinity Blood. Just something with all the little details and elements that I can get lost in.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

My local cons of course, but I am been absolutely determined to make it to some east coast cons like DragonCon and BlerDCon.

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

TikTok has been really handy as well as some group projects I’ve done remotely with friends. It’s nice to feel like you’re involved in something together even if you can’t actually be together in person.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

It’s my favorite time of the year – and my birthday month. For a long time, I felt like there weren’t many Black cosplayers or even Black people interested in anime because I live in a very white area. But seeing all the talent featured every year shows me that I’m not alone and it’s just so awesome to see.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

I want to see Black cosplayers still included and supported by the media, sponsors, companies, etc. BEYOND 28 days – and not just the most popular or the ones who fit a certain type. I want to see Black cosplayers of all sizes, gender, abilities, etc. Cosplay is for everyone – let’s see that happen.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

Support Black cosplayers by looking at how your community handles racism, and who you promote and/or include as the face of your community. It’s not just seeking out diversity but also not allowing racist and hateful actions in the community. It’s reaching out to Black cosplayers or making sure they have just as much opportunity as others. And we also have to do away with this idea that cosplay requires looking exactly like the character as it’s harmful and goes against the whole idea of cosplay is for everyone.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Pick a character and do it – that’s the first step. There’s no right way to cosplay, so however you choose to become that character (purchasing a cosplay, thrifting, making it, using your hair, altering their look to fit you, etc), as long as it’s done respectfully, it’s going to be awesome.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

I’m looking forward to taking more time to work on my craft, stay connected with friends and keep things positive. And of course, maybe finish some old cosplays I’ve put off.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Ko-fi!

 

Ashlee Doris (Nyx Wolff)

Nyx Wolff as Maleficent

Photographer: Dancing Squirrel

Ashlee Doris (Nyx Wolff) has been cosplaying since 2014. She was inspired to cosplay after attending her first convention and seeing cosplayers for the first time. “I hadn’t known it was a thing till my first Otakon in 2009.” You can check out her story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

At first, I was afraid because I’m plus size and Black, especially since some of the characters I loved so much weren’t exactly like me. But in 2014 I was like, “Stop being afraid and just start!” Things can always be taken in or changed as I do them, but I needed to start. That’s how I decide to cosplay: find a character I like and start!

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Okay then, every one of them! It takes a lot to put on a costume and walk out of your hotel room and into public unsure of how you’ll be received. The time and money aspect, learning small skills that help improve my cosplay, or looks for closet ones mean a lot. With every level-up, I am happy and thankful.

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

Mostly ones with kids. They are so cute reacting to me in cosplay. Like at last NYCC I was Maleficent. Literally, a villain, and this little girl kept waving at me. I stayed in character which made her even more adorable when she came up and asked for a hug and picture (which I gave, of course, she was so sweet).

Nyx Wolff as Maleficent

Photographer: Dancing Squirrel

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

A lot of Animal Crossing and my reading list is so long.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

Sailor Moon and early My Hero Academia characters to see their growth.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

Mmmm maybe Marvel…but the insurance on things must be ridiculous.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

Yes, I put my own spin on them. One reason is for comfort, the second reason is that I like adding a bit of me to the look.

Nyx Wolff as Little Red Riding Hood

2014 (left) vs 2020 (right)

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Maleficent because relatable. Sailor Pluto because favorite Sailor Scout after Moon and Jupiter. Kyubey because of the reactions from Madoka fans.

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

It’s a secret. Maybe some ball gowns. Maybe so magical girls.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Princess Tiana. And Sailor Moon (the musical version).

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

Tiktok for a fun burst of creative energy.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

It makes me happy seeing us hype each other up and then having the world see it as well. And more amazing cosplayers get discovered and shared. It’s just a reminder of community even during pandemic times.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

More shares and more opportunities to keep flowing to a lot of our amazingly talented community.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

I do feel like smaller numbers get overlooked and that can be changed. As well as including disabled and plus size Black cosplayers in guesting opportunities more.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Just do it. Fear can stop us from so much. But like Miles said, “It’s a leap of faith.” Have faith and have fun.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

That’s all! Tomorrow is the second to last Friday of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay!

(Image: Jamilla (Black Bettie Cosplay) and Ashlee Doris (Nyx Wolff))

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)