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Ask Ani-Mia: First Time Cosplaying, Money, and Quarantine Cosplay

This week's advice includes showing off cosplays in quarantine, money management, and more!

Ask Ani-Mia

Hey there cosplayers and cosplay enthusiasts. Welcome to Ask Ani-Mia, a running advice column where you can ask questions on any topic that may be cosplay related and get an answer. Hopefully my years of cosplay experience can help shed some light on questions you may have been dying to ask but for some reason or another haven’t. So let’s get started.

Hello Ani-Mia! I am doing cosplay for the first time this year and am really nervous. What things should I do to make my first time cosplaying a success? Do you have any tips or so? Plus, what was your first time cosplaying and what got you into it? - Phil

First cosplay! That’s so exciting! The easy answer, all you have to do to make your first time cosplaying a success is to love your cosplay and have fun with your friends or make some new ones; but, I can give you some tips to make it even better.

Test run your cosplay first. You could be wearing your cosplay the entire day so make sure it’s comfortable for you to move around in and if not, fix the issues or incorporate break times during the day so you can rest. If you have a particularly large or cumbersome costume, find some friends who may be able to walk with you and help you navigate the convention floor.

Check convention websites or social media to see if there are any meetup groups that work for the cosplay you are wearing. This is a great opportunity to make new friends who obviously love the same thing you do.

Honestly, I went to my first anime convention and seeing other cosplayers having fun in costume is what got me into it. I really wanted to just be one of those happy go lucky cosplayers at the convention having fun with their friends and enjoying the event together. I was incredibly shy at the time and it was a great way for me to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. I haven’t looked back since and really feel as though cosplay gave me a boost in confidence.

Dear Ani-Mia, I have a friend who works really hard but spends all her money on cosplays and conventions and then worries about not having money all the time? What can I say to her to help her with her money problems? - Anonymous

Cosplay can be such an expensive hobby. Besides just the cost of the cosplay itself (especially when you add in wigs, accessories, and makeup); the additional costs of attending a convention, even a local one, can add up surprisingly fast. Going back to my first sentence, cosplay is a hobby. At no time should someone put aside needs like rent, food, health secondary to their hobby.

There is always going to be another convention to attend in the future and skipping a year to ensure you have a place to live or food to eat, is nothing to feel ashamed of. And with social media, cosplay groups and websites; showing off cosplays online can be just as effective as showing it off live at a convention.

Saving money on cosplays is also easy to do, especially online. If purchasing cosplays, check to find them used on eBay, Facebook groups, Etsy and even reselling apps like Depop. With a little thinking outside of the box, cosplays can be constructed cheaper with recycled materials from thrift stores or even disassembling old cosplays you won’t be wearing anymore. But before you disassemble, make sure you get the most use out of your cosplay. Some cosplayers feel the pressure to constantly create something new without wearing it twice or more. This is absolutely unnecessary and with how much time and effort goes into a cosplay, why not show it off as much as possible?

Try and talk to your friend about some money saving techniques and possibly how to budget out her cosplays and convention expenses. With creative thinking and proper planning ahead, she can find ways to fit cosplay into her budget without straining herself; but she may also has to accept that she has to make the responsible choice sometimes of life over hobby.

Dear Ani-Mia, With everyone on quarantine right now and no conventions, how can I find ways to show off the cosplays I made? – Amanda T

Perfect timing for this question!

Social media is the most obvious way but there are so many outlets online. Searching on Facebook and Instagram can turn up a number of groups and pages dedicated to sharing the work of cosplayers, many of which will have information on how to submit your photos for posting. Reddit is a fantastic resource in getting your photo out not only to the cosplay community but possibly those outside of it.

Many conventions that have been postponed or cancelled have begun running online cosplay competitions or masquerades to fill in the gap. As well, a number of online conventions are beginning to pop up, many of which are looking for cosplayers looking to lead online panels. These are all great opportunities to not only show off your cosplay but also knowledge you may have on the subject.

And in a shameless plug, you can also submit photos to Cosplay Central for possible publication.

If you have a question that you’d like to have answered, feel free to send it to askanimia@gmail.com. Make sure to include your first name and last initial or let us know if you’d like to mark the question as “From Anonymous”

About the Author
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Ani-Mia has been cosplaying since 2008 and her love for video games, comic books and anime are reflected in her wide variety of cosplay costumes. She has been a cosplay guest at over 150 conventions across the globe as well as judged championship cosplay contests, appeared in both online and print magazines as well as television appearances. She’s also the Cosplay Writer for Otaku USA Magazine, the premiere print magazine about anime and manga in the United States, and an official video host for PreviewsWorld catalog and Sapphire Studios.