comScore #28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Fifteen | The Mary Sue

#28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Fifteen

Meet Dana Michelle (Cactimichi) and xMugenYoruichix

Cosplay by Dana Michelle (Cactimichi) and xMugenYoruichix

Hello, fellow Monday-ners who are hopefully indoors to stay out of the blistering cold! We are now in the final two weeks of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay, but we still have plenty of cosplayers to celebrate throughout the remainder of the month!

Dana Michelle (Cactimichi)

 

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Dana Michelle (Cactimichi) has been cosplaying for about a year now, inspired by the fact that her friends are also cosplayers (that’ll do it for sure, lol). You can check out her story below!

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

Sometimes I’ll think up a character and just want to cosplay them!

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

I don’t know if I’m proud of them, I always feel like I’m lacking but I really enjoyed doing Dutchess!

 

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What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

I did a Steve Harvey cosplay out of the blue and I was doing it in my friend’s dorm room with a bunch of ppl hanging out. No one knew what I was doing but when they saw my face they laughed so hard and it was like the happiest moment we had since COVID.

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?

Omg, I’ve started finding random webtoons and just falling headfirst into them!! Maybe I’ll keep learning Kalimba too!

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

Definitely Zenitsu! I take his haori with me everywhere. I went home for break and was so upset that I left his sword at my dorm.

 

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A post shared by Dana Michelle (@cactimichi_cosplay)

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

Fairy Tail’s universe. I feel like FT is slept on, but I really like their universe!! Magic can be anything, it doesn’t have to be power-based, I could have dancing magic if I wanted! That’s so cool!

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.”

I’m a broke college pleb so actual cosplays are pretty out of reach for me. I like to improvise what I have and only buy things I’ll actually wear normally. Recently, I’ve been buying accurate (whatever that means) cosplays from companies and that’s a different feeling. But, seeing how someone else may interpret a character versus my own vision is always interesting.

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?

Uhh, Zenitsu! Steve Harvey and uhhh ASDFGHJKL Rosalina!

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

I started this year with Bolbi from Jimmy Neutron, and that was a TIME so we’ll see how things go. I’m just vibing right now.

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?

Totally random but maybe Wilt from Fosters, I’ll learn how to use stilts!! Then maybe a group of Animal Crossing characters!

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

I don’t know! I’ve never been to a con, but I’d want to go to one where my friends are there to show me around and help me navigate things.

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

It hasn’t been easy for me, I constantly feel down about my work or I get so busy. But my friends have been nothing but supportive and understanding, they’ve made me laugh and smile so much, I wouldn’t be here without them.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

To me, it means that the cosplay community has a long way to go y’know? We should be celebrated every day yet so many talented cosplayers are overlooked. We constantly celebrate each other, but when will the community as a whole also join in?

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

More than performative activism. I want actual collaborations and partnerships with Black creators, I want legitimate support. In a perfect world that would happen.

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

Be consistent with support. That’s really all there is to me.

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

People always say “do it” but there are a lot of downs to cosplaying and joining the community. I’d say do things at your own pace, try something out and see what works for you. It’s ok to not jump right in.

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

I’m reading for fun again! Also, I’m graduating, please wish me luck!!

TMS: GOOD LUCK! And congratulations!

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, and TikTok!

 

xMugenYoruichix

xMugenYoruichix has been cosplaying since 2011 (or 2012). She was first introduced to cosplay when she went to Anime Expo back in 2011. “It was such an experience seeing attendees make fictional characters come to life by dressing up as them. Like, it just felt like Halloween all year round.” You can check out her story below.

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

If I relate to the character(s) on a personal level, personality, body type that’s close to mine, design, or if I just really like them.

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

The Three Amigos from Samurai Champloo (Mugen, Jin & Fuu).

Photographer: SquareNoodles Film & Photography

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

Ahhhh when I debuted Alex Benedetto from Gangsta & I did the cosplay where she got clocked in the face & had a bleeding nose. People legit thought someone hit me in the face while I was walking around & I just kept getting stopped, so that was a fun one lol!

Another one was when I cosplayed Poison from the Final Fight/Street Fighter series a few years before that & was getting stopped & complimented like crazy & hearing of how girls who are brown/Black are afraid of cosplaying a character that isn’t in their skin tone or that doesn’t look like them & they would tell me I’m “brave” for it. I said, “Just do it. There are no rules to playing dress-up & just have fun.”

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?

Let’s see… gaming-wise MK11, Yakuza 0 & FFX-X2 (I recently got them but haven’t finished them yet). Might jump back into FF7R to beat it all over again, uhmmmm Street Fighter V, etc ( I have too many games I still need to beat & list)

Watching, well Samurai Champloo & Gangsta I watch religiously each time their anniversary comes up. Samurai Champloo turns 16 this year in May & Gangsta turns 6 in early July. So not only am I always hyped to binge-watch those shows all day, I’m always excited to shoot in my cosplays. Banana Fish I need to binge again. These are all my Top 3 Underrated gems. Also need to catch up to S2 of Fire Force. Same with the S2 of Fruits Basket (it’s been an emotional rollercoaster). Really love Fairygone but never finished the second season of that show. I sometimes will have a retro anime night super late by watching City Hunter (been looking for that for a while & found it on Crunchyroll), Slamdunk, & I saw Crying Freeman almost 2yrs ago, which was an interesting anime to watch. It’s about 6 episodes, I think? I enjoyed it. Jujutsu Kaisen I didn’t think I would get hooked on so hard (I need more of Sukuna). I get concerned about certain anime that are new & those that read the manga before they even get animated, so I waited it out for about a month & man… I wasn’t expected it to be THAT good & now I understood the hype for it. I binged S4 of Haikyuu!! in like 3 days so I’m all caught up with that (can’t wait for S5!). I have a HUGE list of stuff I’m watching, need to watch/get back into watching.

Reading, right now I’m reading a LOT of smut on AO3 LOL but I’m trying to catch up on My Hero Academia (it’s been hard dodging spoilers of Hawks), but I’m highly aware of Dabi’s real identity, because, well….. we all called it & knew it. I also need to get my hands on Final Fantasy XV: Dawn of the Future & two new books Stephanie Meyer released, which I didn’t know about. I know one of them is called Midnight Sun & I’m hearing pretty good things about it (I enjoyed all the Twilight books & movies & I STILL love the saga so much). I get shit for it, as well as other book series I will not name, but oh well hahah.

TMS: We actually talked about that Dabi reveal, too! It was a long time coming.

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

Canon & Fanon Hawks & Dabi (My Hero Academia) have been my comfort characters, especially during the pandemic when it broke out. I love both Canon versions of characters & Fanon versions of them because it gives me more of an idea of how they’d be like if they were real (*ugly sobs*) Worick Arcangelo (Gangsta) is also my sweetheart of a comfort character, regardless of his issues & being a broken person like I am. I also recently simped over Koutarou Bokuto (Haikyuu!!) & I disliked that annoying ball of anxiety since he got animated in S2 & I love the goofball so much. I just wanna hug him & talk to him about random things as well cuddle or something. He’s just a precious, annoying, loud-ass owl boy.

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

Oh man…… I’ve said Mortal Kombat for the longest.

But maybe either the Demon Slayer universe, Samurai Champloo Era, or maybe in Gangsta living in Ergastulum.

Samurai Champloo Era because, well, I could travel anywhere I want & make money as I go. I know it wouldn’t be easy being a samurai for hire, but it’d be interesting. Hell, I’d bump into Mugen, let him shoot his shot, & be his wife for life. I wouldn’t trade that chance for anything. He’d be a pain in my ass & I’d be a pain in his (I basically have his attitude, but my patience is on a different level than his.) We’d be a perfect match.

As for living in the Gangsta universe in the city of Ergastulum would also be an interesting take. For one, I’d get to meet Worick & Nicolas. Worick would be THE first to shoot his shot but he’d keep me at arm’s length & not open up to me. Yet. He’s been through some shit & I have as well. It’d take him some time. Like, a LOT of time to trust me enough to tell me about his past & so forth. He’d probably even take the time to teach me sign language if Nic wasn’t around to do so & I’d be best friends with Alex. I just love the absolute hell out of Worick, I’d die for that man. He just needs love.

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.”

Since I can’t exactly cosplay as a guy… gender-bending all day, every day! I’ll even have to change the design around to make them more feminine, but still have the same personality of the character. Same with the waifus.

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?

It’s definitely Mugen, by far. But I do love Ben Alex & Worick (I have stuff for Nic, but I didn’t get around to cosplaying as him because I had put so much stress on my skin, but it’s happening this year for sure!)

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

Some new ones may come & some I plan to bring back/redo! Zero Two, Bulma Briefs, Alex, Worick, Mugen, Jin, Fuu. Mai Shiranui from Fatal Fury/KOF is finally gonna happen! (Hopefully…) I gotta fix the cosplay a bit since I did purchase it from someone. I’m hoping to God to get SOMETHING of Tsukasa (AKA One Punch Lion Man) and from Dr. Stone done. Even if it’s just a simple costest, same with Sukuna. I have a list.

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?

Bayonetta. That’s a big one for me. She’s been on my list forever. I know I have some others I could name, but Bayo-freakin-netta.

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

SakuraCon, Katsucon, ColossalCon (both the summer one & the one in the East), Anime Expo (if they fix their shit), ACEN, San Japan, LVL UP Expo, & Fanime.

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

Minding my business & staying out of the drama that’ll happen on social media & so forth. Also, not befriending everyone, because everyone is not your friend.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

Representing Black cosplayers that don’t get the attention or exposure they deserve. I’ve seen so many talented cosplayers on Insta & it blows my mind that their work hasn’t been out there as much. They may have their reasons of why & most don’t wanna be “cosfamous” or just don’t have the time & have jobs outside of it, which I can understand. But their talent shouldn’t go to waste.

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

Cosplayers, big or small, keep sharing one another. Before I had lost my near 30K following, I was sharing diverse cosplayers as much as I could/can every week. I even made a day where I shared big & small cosplayers of color. I wanna do it again.

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

By using their platform to communicate with their followers & see the suggested cosplayers that they would like to see as a guest & not worry so much about their number following. I wanted to be apart of this one con (that I will not name) but they sadly said no & didn’t list a reason, but that didn’t mean I was gonna give up! I wanted to try again next year (but that’s when COVID broke out also).

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

HAVE FUN & COSPLAY WHOEVER YOU WANT. Also, take advantage of thrift stores! It’s the best way to get started & grow from there. Look up sewing lessons on YouTube, other cosplayers that have tutorials, etc. Also, ask friends who you trust for advice on whatever it is you need.

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

My bag getting bigger, my peace, & my sanity.

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!

You can find everything right over here!

That’s all for now, see everyone tomorrow!

(Image: Dana Michelle (Cactimichi) and xMugenYoruichix)

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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)