First name and last initial: Rossi B.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Washington D.C.
How long have you been cosplaying? Three years.
Which characters have you cosplayed? Black Panther, Nick Fury, Jedimaster Mace Windu, Outlaw (British Punisher), and Deadshot.
What inspired you to start cosplaying? As a long time comic book collector and fan, I’ve always loved these characters from an early age. The heroes were created to represent us at our best, and the villains are us at our worst, what we all could be or what we all could become. The morals of these stories definitely resonated with me as a young kid growing up in an inner-city environment. So when I started seeing my first cosplayers at various conventions), I was fascinated at seeing my childhood heroes represented so beautifully in person. I was hesitant in putting on a costume myself for various reasons: I was too old, it was too nerdy, I was not in hero shape, etc. etc. Then I kept seeing more and more cosplayers my age and older get into it but the heroes I grew up reading and wanted to see myself were barely represented (Luke Cage, Black Panther, Falcon). I showed a pic of Fred Holt as Nick Fury, whom I didn’t know at the time, to my wife and she said, “You should do that!” So I did my first cosplay (with her for moral support), and it’s been a roller coaster of fun ever since!
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? In my secret identity, I’m a mild-mannered IT government contractor. I also provide some IT services and support to a few local churches and schools in low-income areas. Cosplay has provided me with more opportunities to support various charities, hospitals and the military through sponsored cosplay events for kids, which I am honored and humbled to be a part of. I strongly believe that children need to see and believe in heroes now more than ever and that they can be those heroes for others if inspired to do so!
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? The biggest cosplay challenge for me is that I have so many ideas for new costumes/characters but limited resources (money, time, skill) to actually bring my ideas to fruition. I don’t sew, so I have to outsource many of my ideas for costumes and props. It has made me very resourceful by making me think of more creative and less expensive ways to create the looks for my characters. One of the rewards for me is seeing the look on kids’ faces (and adults’) when they come up to me and ask to take a pic with them. Or when I know I represented a character to the best of my ability, as I am in most cases my worst critic. Most cases, things/details you may think you missed because of whatever reason don’t even matter when that one kid says to you that you are their favorite superhero.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? If you are thinking of getting into this crazy cosplay life, make sure you know why you are doing it and manage you expectations accordingly. Don’t compare yourself to others but rather let them inspire you to do the best you can. Everybody’s skill level is different so know where you are strong. It’s OK to ask for assistance from others. There is a whole community of creative, resourceful and talented cosplayers out there willing to assist a newcomer or cosplay vet who just needs help with props, sewing, or even a link to a great costume/prop site.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? I believe we as a community need to be more accepting and less critical of others in this hobby. We’re all doing it for different reasons so we should focus on what makes us happy individually and leave others to do the same. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, getting together with my cosplay fam and enjoying these characters that have brought us so much joy and inspiration!