Every couple has their “thing.” Whether it’s binge-watching ‘The Office’ multiple times a year, hitting every restaurant featured on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,'' or dressing up as an array of characters from everything from movies to video games. The latter is obviously why we’re here today. Although, I could talk a lot more about that whole Office thing. Alas, the couples that cosplay together, slay together and it was such a pleasure to get to talk to cosplayers who happen to find their cosplay counterparts in life who’ve helped them in a myriad of ways.
Now, none of this bunch of cosplayers got their love of costumes from their partners. Nope, everyone you’ll meet within the confines of this piece was drawn to the creative hobby long before their partner came into their life.
Danny, who met Carter on a school trip to DC when they were teens, has always loved dressing up. So much so, they even talked and showed off their ‘Star Wars’ looks to Carter the day they met. Fate works in strange ways because they’d later learn their parents had been friends since they were wee babies. Like Carter, Charlie Rocket also grew up in love with costumes. However, unlike Danny and Carter, Charlie and JJ met when he slid into her DM’s for some cosplay advice.
Asia and Alice sort of came together based on help as well as they met at university when Alice was looking for someone to create an attraction about cosplay. “The funny part for me is that I have seen Alice on the stage before meeting her personally. I didn’t know it was her! I had no idea that I was watching my future wife’s show,” Asia said in recalling their past run-in.
Speaking of stages, Daisy and Imriel are our only pair today that met at a convention. “We met during the Italian World Cosplay Summit qualifying round in Rome, where I was judging and she was in the audience,” said Imriel. Daisy added, “We started talking about our [cosplay] project for the World Cosplay Summit selection way before dating!”
It’s great that none of these couples seem too off-balanced in their interest or passion for cosplaying. They all brought one or both elements to the table in their relationships from day one - for the most part and once sparks flew, it didn’t take long for many of them to dive in and start planning their cosplays together. Well, actually for one couple the couple cosplays started before they made anything official. “We even cosplayed pairings just as friends for quite some time. I would say that it kinda helped us to create a relationship after,” said Alice.
No matter when they started down their own rabbit holes of couple cosplay, they’ve all sort of found the lane they love to travel most. Danny and Carter aren’t opposed to doing other pairs but have found Rey and Ben Solo to be their favorite since starting. Danny admits that “Disney is always a big deal,” while Alice and Asia both have a soft spot for Bubbline, “On some level, I associate Princess Bubblegum with Alice and I love hers and Marcy’s energy and aesthetics,” noted Asia.
I wondered how Asia and Alice navigated the couple's cosplay landscape as an LGBTQ couple when the representation isn’t always as common in the pop culture realm. Alice said a few years ago she didn’t feel represented at all but that has since changed with several LGBTQ couples appearing across the board.
Asia added, “If we like the characters, their story, designs, and ideas for a photoshoot we can truly cosplay anything. But being a part of the representation, being an LGBTA+ person, and having a possibility to portray characters that also represents - it gives extra joy.”
Making a pathway to be their own representation is just one of the ways Alice and Asia have been able to create more than just looks with their cosplay. Being able to flex their imaginations together is just one of the many gifts they’ve gotten working together over the years. Cosplay has led them towards photography and video editing. As for Charlie and JJ, Charlie says they do everything together and share so many interests, a big one - aside from cosplay - being music.
So does the couple that cosplays together, stay together? I wondered how their current relationships stacked up against any part ones where maybe cosplay wasn’t such an integral part of their shared interests. Daisy had dated a cosplayer in the past and it didn’t work out because something was missing, “Creating together is something that helps you get closer IF there’s a strong connection, trust, and true love for each other and for cosplay.”
Her partner, Imriel added their take, “I can’t really say if art makes couples stronger, but whenever I tried to date someone who wasn’t a cosplayer, it never lasted more than a few weeks.”
Charlie did her own thing for some time before JJ entered the picture and noted just how much commitment it can take to be part of a cosplay couple, “Whenever you do any project with another person it takes a little extra work. You are now scheduling for two, planning for two, and depending on another person to be on the same page as you.”
That’s one of the reasons I assumed cosplay couples would be tighter and have, well, more of a commitment to one another than couples who don’t have any creative projects on the line. Cosplaying takes up a lot of time. So much so, it does make being in a pairing that does it together an even bigger commitment. “Especially when the other person relies on you for making certain parts of the costume or also performing on stage together,” said Daisy.
It’s clear these cosplayers are as great separately as they are together, and because of that, I wanted to know if they could share some do's and don’ts for the couple cosplay craft, and advice for those who have been thinking about cosplaying with their significant other but weren’t sure how to get it going.
Personally, Danny and Carter don’t hold hands when they cosplay if they do not ship the couple. Danny said that’s mostly a little inside joke they share, but they did want to make other convention-goers aware of a major don’t when approaching cosplayers, “I love the cosplay community, but some people can be really awful in terms of respecting those boundaries. For example, people wanting to take romantic photos with either of us.”
Other than respecting others, Danny said the best thing a couple can do is have fun with it and “never stop communicating with your partner.”
Charlie echoed the importance of communication, and said, “Don’t expect your cosplay boyfriend/girlfriend to make everything for you!” That falls in line with knowing one another’s boundaries and talking about them. This is something Alice and Asia noted was key to their relationship both cosplay and otherwise.
“We know what our goals are in terms of cosplay, and we agree on what we want to accomplish,” they said, adding, “You don’t have to have the same goals to support one another in accomplishing your own, but helping each other to self-actualize and follow your own unique goals is a really important part of partnership.”
They also said Halloween is a great time to try out a couple's costume to see how it goes. As for Daisy and Imriel, they don’t have any dos and don’ts when it comes to their cosplay, but said it’s all about trust when going in together, “Cosplay can be really stressful, right? Especially when you’re crunching to finish everything on time or when you compete on stage, and if you cosplay as a couple that stress becomes a burden to share with your partner. If you find the right balance among yourselves, if you learn to become a team, that’s what will turn the stress into a challenge you can take on together.”
Cosplaying is a hobby you can do alone, with friends, or in this case - with a partner, and if our couple cosplayers have taught us anything today it’s that finding someone as passionate about the craft as you are can make all the difference. Just keep those lines of communication open, don’t expect them to do everything, and as always - have fun with it.