First name and last initial: Ashleigh P.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? I was born and raised in Boston, MA.
How long have you been cosplaying? Hmm…if I really had to think of it, I’d say for about nine to ten years.
Which characters have you cosplayed? You want the whole list? Anthy Himemiya (Utena), Sakura (Cardcaptor), Nani (Lilo and Stitch), Celty (Durarara), Sailor Pluto (Sailor Moon), Amateratsu (Okami), Rei (Neon Genesis) and Scathach (Fate/Grand Order), to name a few~
What inspired you to start cosplaying? What really inspired me to cosplay was the dream of being a better artist. Weird, possibly. Watching anime and reading manga just matched so well with my personality that I thought expressing myself to draw it would make me feel more included. But after awhile it wasn’t enough. My best friend and I were in a store one day just checking out new releases–mind you this was back in like ’09–and this guy that worked at F.Y.E came over to us. He noticed, you know, my black Demonia boots and colorful hair and was like, “Oh you guys into anime and Manga?” We’re like heck yeah and then he asked, “Oh! Great you guys go to Anime Boston?” Our faces literally went blank. He then explained to us it’s a convention right down in Copley all about anime and manga and that we’d be in for huge surprises. After buying whatever it was that we went for, we went home and started doing some real research, even more than school work. So I start looking through the site I’m like this is beyond cool; I’m just being blown away. I read on about a Masquerade they do every Saturday night. To jump ahead the both of us are seated just looking at people profusely dressed up and watching the stage and every skit and performance just made me want to jump out of my seat and do the same~ And then I realized I was missing a crucial part. I wasn’t in cosplay…yet!
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? Oh man… This may seem like a list as well but I’m a full time student, a daycare teacher, but also do martial arts and tennis. Enjoying all types of music but more so now K(Korean)pop and a friend and I spend a lot of money on concerts whenever they come to the US. To play into the Kpop business aspect, I’ve been working with SIVA GROUP and helping them promote to come to America and getting the information out to other fans in Boston and New York, anyone that follows me on social media.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? Can I split this into two answers? A cosplay that I’ve had the biggest challenge with would of been my Anthy Himemiya cosplay. There was so much fabric I bought to add onto the train and it was so much. It got so dirty as I went around the convention; in the end the gown was destroyed beyond repair. -Tear drop-
Best Reward: Just somehow educating people and children that you’re never too old to enjoy doing what you want to do. Before my Anthy was destroyed, this little girl and her parents came up to me and asked me for a photo: “She really wanted to take a picture with you, princess.” I couldn’t deny her that. Then there was the Japanese festival where I cosplayed CardCaptor Sakura. This lady came to me behind her daughter’s back and asked me and my friends who were also cosplaying to sing her happy birthday. We were all happy and willing to~ With a Dunkin Donut with 1 candle placed on top, we sang wholeheartedly to the girl and made it all about her rather than us in cosplay. Just those moments alone are rewarding enough for me~
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? The best advice is learning advice. Your first cosplay will not be your best. You will always have room to grow and more time and energy; you’ll learn to build time management, and everything you thought you would never use for school, you’ll use to cosplay. I was surprised too. I thought, “Oh I’m not going to need that for this,” but with more persistence and the mistakes I made, I realized everyone is going to go through that. They’re your steps to becoming a better cosplayer. There’s no ladder with one person being the very best; it is how people perceive you and how you perceive yourself.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? To accept other people into the cosplay community. They say they want to expose cosplaying and animation and manga to people but then shun them away once they put their feet in the doorway. Then there are problems in the community itself, where people of my skin tone are being tormented for enjoying the same shows and games as everyone else. Cosplaying was originally a place where people could safely come together to enjoy, bond and create relationships with people. If we can’t fix these problems within our community, then there’s no way we can fix the outside problems.