Feature Friday: Pros and Cons Cosplay

Pro is cosplaying Lil and Con is cosplaying Phil

Name: Pros and Cons Cosplay (she/her)

Age: 30s

G/S Identity: Women

Occupation: Cosplayers, Event Planners, DEI Educators Cosplay construction, DEI policy creation, Cosplay Event organization.

Brand: Pros and Cons LLC

Socials: Facebook, Instagram

In keeping with the spirit of who and what NerdyBebop is, the following interview will be getting to know the humans behind the art, Pros and Cons Cosplay.

NB: What do you do for self-care?

Pro: Self-care looks different for me depending on what’s going on. Sometimes I just need to work to get the thing done so I can stop agonizing over it, or sometimes I take time away to just not think about whatever is stressing me out. I also find lighting candles and meditating is hugely beneficial for me personally. Also, gotta give a shout out to therapy!

Con: I play video games, watch YouTube videos, and sometimes plan weekends to feast on fancy food. It’s a good way to pamper myself in a way that doesn’t require a lot of mental energy. We both work full time jobs in addition to our cosplay activities so it is nice to do things that require low brain activity.

NB: What movie/TV show/book/anime/etc. changed your life and why?

Pro: The Gundam fandom really changed my life [haha]. I had no idea how interesting and complex animation could be until I watched Gundam Wing for the first time. It was a spiral into building models, and watching more Gundam series after that. I have such a love of the franchise!

Con: Life changing games would probably be the Final Fantasy series. They’re just ridiculously fun, overly complicated games that have inspired a lot of our cosplays. I’m not sure I take all that much real-life inspiration from fictional media but I really enjoy escaping through fandom though.

NB: What is your guilty pleasure?

Pro: I won’t copy Con and pick K-pop (though I love it so much). I will say I’ve been reading an absurd amount of fan fiction lately. I will also binge the heck out of cake decorating videos.

Con: K-pop! It’s so entertaining and it’s hard to pick out exactly why, but aside from some of the obvious cultural appropriation issues, the genre and medium itself is just really entertaining!

Pro is cosplaying Inuyasha and Con is cosplaying Sesshoumaru

NB: Who or what inspires you to do what you do?

Pro: I LOVE to create things. There’s something so immensely satisfying to create something with your own hands out of raw materials, especially something that’s wearable. It’s just so great to walk around in something you’ve created and just sit back and say “yes, I made this shiny beast.”

Con: The best part is the research phase. I love thinking of cosplays and how I will execute them. I’m somewhat competitive, so I like thinking of ways to create a “wow” factor. When we aren’t competing, I’m driven by creating spaces for more marginalized communities, so people feel comfortable with their full selves shining through, without fear of discrimination. That’s why I like creating cosplay contest rules and providing some DEI related programming.

NB: If you could be known for one thing, what would it be and why?

Pro: I’d like to be known for being a talented crafter, who cares deeply about the experience of others. Cosplay is such an awesome way to connect with people and learn; I love being a part of it, and hope I’m known as someone who has made someone else’s experience with it more positive.

Con: Maybe someone who puts as much effort and love into their cosplays as they do into the community they are a part of. I like making, and I want others to feel safe and included while they create things too!

NB: What’s one song that you can listen to when you’re having a bad brain day and it makes you feel better, and why?

Pro: Obsession by Exo is so great. I was in a really good mood when I heard it for the first time, and it brings me back to that moment every time I hear it.

Con: I’m a huge EXO fan, so I listen to “Monster.” It’s a bop first of all, and they lyrics allude to someone being obsessed with you–“Even if I die, I’ll live forever in your heart.” Almost like a vengeful ghost? It’s weirdly empowering [haha].

Pro is cosplaying Weevil and Con is cosplaying Rex

NB: What advice or tips would you give to your childhood self?

Pro: Childhood me was nothing but anxiety and stress and perfectionism, and I let the smallest things get to me. I’d tell younger me that I really need to focus on the important things, let things go, and most of all, appreciate mistakes.

Con: You were not put on this earth to get good grades and solve everyone else’s problems. You have to do good things for you too!

NB: What is something about your community you wish you could change?

Pro: The community is largely accepting of most identities, but it also has this sort of rose-colored glasses approach to marginalization. Cosplay doesn’t erase the very real issues of marginalization, and I think sometimes non-marginalized cosplayers forget that.

Con: The discrimination, hands down. Marginalized communities face these issues in every aspect of life, and it’s frustrating that it bleeds into cosplay too (even though it’s not exactly surprising). We could be free to create without pressure or fear.

NB: Who is someone, without a shadow of a doubt, you would SIMP for? Dead or alive.

Pro: The only thing I simp for is big, fluffy hoodies and sweat pants. No human could ever beat them, dead or alive.

Con: Honestly no one, but if you brought me fondue I might give you a hug [LOL].

This one is my favorite! -Ashley

NB: Is there something you regret doing, or regret not doing, and how does that inspire you today?

Pro: I realized very recently that I have a lot of difficulty relaxing, and enjoying the process. I was working on a costume that I was stressing out about recently and Con literally had to tell me “who cares if you mess this up? This is an opportunity to have fun and try something new” and it never even occurred to me to just enjoy the mistakes, the trials, and the learning. I think about that conversation a lot now, and I will say I’m having a lot more fun with projects I am learning to do.

Con: I wish I had pursued becoming a Japanese interpreter a little more strongly earlier in life. I did it briefly for a few months and it was both the most difficult thing I had ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. I stopped practicing so while I’m not where I used to be; I’ve recently been hitting the books again.

NB: If someone wants to do what you do, what would you tell them?

Pro: DO IT! Have fun! There’s so many opportunities out there, and you never know what you’ll stumble into. Don’t be afraid to try the new thing and put yourself out there!

Con: Go for it! There’s no real road map for doing any of this, so just do your research, talk to the people, connect and get involved!

NB: Favorite quote/motto that you live by.

Pro: Seek first to understand, then be understood.

Con: Do what gives you joy.

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