WitchParfait Cosplay is fierce. She’s confident. And she’s not afraid to push to break the stigma of cosplay as being only for “ideal” shapes. Plus-size? More like extra awesome!
What got you interested in cosplay?
“Well I never had even heard the word cosplay until a friend explained it to me in middle school. Back then cosplay in Arizona was still a very small and close-knit community. The local comic book shop held monthly ‘Anime Fests’ and my interest bloomed from there.”
Do you make your own costumes or props?
“Being a plus-sized cosplayer, it’s a necessity for me. At a size 20, I am not your average sized cosplayer. I am very particular about getting details and materials just right. The same goes for my props. Usually I work a lot with PVC’s, LEDs, and foams, but recently I am getting into working with Worbla and Thermoplastics.”
I hear you on the plus size. I’m about the same size and am working on something of my own for next year’s Phoenix Comicon. How did you learn? Is it mostly trial-and-error or have you taken any sewing/crafting/art classes to hone your skills?
“Like everyone else I started from the bottom; an angsty teen in the basement with an old Singer machine or dressing like Sailor Moon for Halloween. But sewing used to terrify me because of how confusing patterns and everything seemed. I learned by watching others. We never had much growing up so my adoptive mother used to make us skirts and dresses from scratch. Watching her I learned more and more until I developed my own craft. I still want to take classes someday to get better though.”
What are some of the characters you most like to cosplay?
“I will always love cosplaying Avatar Kiyoshi from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Garnet from Steven Universe. I have a thing for being the strong, confident women and emulating myself through them. I can’t explain the empowerment, honor, and pride I had while being on stage in the masquerade as Mikasa from Attack on Titan for Phoenix Comicon 2014. Becoming a character you love and admire so much is just the best feeling in the world.”
How has the cosplay community helped you to become the woman you are today?
“To be fully honest, the answer to that question is bittersweet. I haven’t always been this confident about myself, my craft, and my size. I have been bullied and shamed for cosplaying for every reason from my size to the color of my skin. But above that I have met some of the most amazing people in the community, and it’s those beings and experiences that have kept me going, built me up, and encouraged me to keep doing what I love no matter what. In life that has given me the courage to love myself, be happy and confident. This is more than a hobby, it’s a culture. A lifestyle. And it makes me happier than anyone could ever know.”
I’m glad you were able to take so much positive from what has been so negative! Do you think there needs to be more advocacy for less “body shaming” and more positive attitudes when it comes to cosplayers who don’t fit into a certain “ideal” image?
“Certainly. There needs to be more acceptance and understanding than anything. At the end of the day we are all playing dress-up as our favorite characters, so everyone should understand that we are all in this together. There has been so much animosity in the community over the last few years. As soon as we stop that and embrace respect and acceptance toward one another, we can re-shape cosplay culture in America and beyond. That starts with encouraging and supporting one another. Not putting each other down. We should lift each other up. Cosplay is for everyone.”
What is your favorite part of the cosplay creation process?
“Being able to stand up, take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at this detailed, wonderful, intricate creation forged from sleepless nights, bandaged fingers, blood, sweat and tears – and think ‘Wow. I did that.’ You know, most cosplayers don’t give themselves more credit. In TV shows and huge movie productions we see these awesome epic outfits and costumes created by teams of seamstresses and coordinators. We do the same thing but as one person and in the cramped spaces of dusty basements and dorm rooms. Cosplayers are amazing.”
That’s an incredible message for our readers. Thank you for that. I know that plenty of our Talk Nerdy con-goers will find that uplifting!
“My pleasure! It’s the truth!”
Now for the question that makes this “Cosplay Closet Essentials”: If you had to pick the three most essential items for a cosplayer’s closet or workspace, what would they be?
“The glue gun, the sewing machine, and a pillow for screaming into. Trust me, you are gonna need that last one.”