First name and last initial: Sarah F.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Massachusetts.
How long have you been cosplaying? 7 years.
Which characters have you cosplayed? Petra Ral (Attack on Titan), Xion (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days), Yandere-Chan/Ayano Aishi (Yandere Simulator), Inori Yuzuriha (Guilty Crown), Yang Xiao Long (RWBY), Mami Tomoe (Puella Magi Madoka Magica), Hanayo Koizumi (Love Live! School Idol Project), Hiyori Iki (Noragami), Megumi Tadokoro (Food Wars!), Kumiko Oumae (Sound! Euphonium) — and many more!
What inspired you to start cosplaying? The first introduction I had to cosplay was back when I was twelve years old. As a child, I was fond of many series (Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Ojamajo Doremi, Pokémon, and many more) yet never knew that something such as cosplay existed — until one day when I was browsing on YouTube. I would watch many masquerade videos, cosplay vlogs, cosplay skits to the point where I was determined to create my own cosplay. I was heavily influenced by cosplayer TwinFools and his cosplay group, Fighting Dreamers Productions along with the now disbanded cosplay group formerly known as Parle Productions. Thanks to the influence of these groups, I saved up money, worked on my first cosplay and attended my very first anime convention: AnimeBoston.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I am currently a high school senior just about to enter my freshman year of university. I am a future Media & Communications student planning to spend my next four years at Johnson & Wales University. Aside from school, I also tutor students in math and science with special needs. I play the flute and piccolo and have been since I was 8 years old, and I just decided to join the chorus program in my current school this past year (which was a huge influence on my decision to cosplay Kumiko from Sound!Euphonium!).
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? The biggest challenge I’ve faced out of the many cosplays I’ve done would be Mami Tomoe from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. She was one of the very first “big” cosplays that I’ve ever brought upon myself, and as a sophomore in high school at the time relying on sewing tutorials and the help of my mother, I’m surprised I managed to do it. I wasn’t confident in the first version of Mami that I did, and this year, for AnimeBoston 2017, I decided to change it. With more experience, I completely revamped the entire cosplay, styled a wig with proper drills, and improved my make-up skills to produce a cosplay that I’m very proud of. As for rewards, it would probably be the fact that I met and made so many friends out of the cosplay community. I spent the majority of my school years as a target for bullying, barely had any friends and spent a lot of time in the hospital due to the stress of loneliness and my peers spreading false rumors about me. It was thanks to one person (who is a very dear and close friend to me to this day) who was in the senior class when I was a freshman who helped me break this shy bubble and be myself. Through her (and her sister), I was able to meet many other individuals who share the same passion as me when it comes to cosplay. Forever, the friends I have now will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart; they’re my cosplay family. To have a loving cosplay family is the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever received from this hobby.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. If you think someone will judge you for dressing up as an anime or video game character, don’t worry. There’s a huge community out there to back you up and support you. People cosplay for themselves — do not let what others’ think stop you. Make sure to budget your money as well. Cosplay is a VERY expensive hobby to participate in, so many sure to limit yourself and make sure you can afford spending around $60-$120 for a cosplay, or even over $400 for a convention.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? Respect, for sure. There are a lot of “con-horror” stories that I hear coming from a variety of conventions that take place throughout the U.S., and most of them revolve around the concept of respecting one another. Not just does the phrase “cosplay is not consent” apply to this, but cosplayers being judgemental towards others over how they make their cosplays. Over time, people will learn and improve what they’re not good at. It may not be what you want or expect, but a lot of people put a ton of hard work into their cosplays. Respect and showing your support to another cosplayer is what a good cosplayer, or even any person, would do. After all, the cosplay community is meant to support each and one of us — we’re a family. A family doesn’t talk bad about a cosplay they don’t like.