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Top 10 Myths About Cosplay That Everyone Should Know

You may want to send people this list if they aren't familiar with cosplay.

Cosplayer Featured: Kydrasaur. Photography by Magic Missile Studios
Cosplayer Featured: Kydrasaur. Photography by Magic Missile Studios

Cosplayers are a great community that may be a bit mysterious to the outside world. Sometimes because of this, myths start to circle among people who may not be in the community. Today we’re going to bust a few myths about cosplayers for people who may be a little less familiar with the hobby.

10. Dating A Cosplayer Is Glamorous

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Cosplayers: JusZCosplay & Sean Fewster. Photography by SFX Images

Cosplay looks great on camera and the idea of dating cosplayers can seem that way from the outside. However, most of the time, our partners may end up carrying our bags at a convention while we take a snap or hear us crying on the floor before the convention while we are attempting to finish a costume. Cosplay is a great hobby to have your partner involved with however it isn’t always as amazing and glamorous as it might seem.

9. Cosplayers Make Money

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Most cosplayers will be doing cosplay as a hobby when they dress up at events and meet up with the community. A common misconception is that all cosplayers have some sort of financial gain from crafting and posting content online. However, most of the time, we just do it for fun! There are some of us that do make money either online or when we are hired by brands and conventions, but we aren’t all in that position and for many of us it isn’t a full time occupation.

8. All Cosplayers Make Their Costumes

Cosplay is dressing up as a character and going to an event/photoshoot where you can wear the costume. Cosplay commissions is a common business for a lot of cosplayers wishing to make some money from cosplay. There are entire businesses centralised around the idea of selling costumes as well.

The only time where you MUST make your own costume is a competition. Even then, some skit-based events don’t require the costume to be made. Making your own cosplay is awesome, but it doesn’t make you any more of a “real” cosplayer than those who bought their costume.

7. Cosplay is a Kink

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Cosplayer: Cora Berry. Photography by Zeldario

That just sounds impractical. Some costumes can take a long time to get on and off, some also require assistance from others in order to do so. To use in that setting honestly, just sounds exhausting. In some circles cosplay and costumes are considered a kink and there is nothing wrong with that. However, that costume we’ve worked on for a couple of months this year that we are wearing to the convention that takes an hour to get off? No, probably not going to be doing that.

6. Cosplay Is Cheap/Expensive

We see costumes in party shops and sometimes outsiders from the community can assume that cosplay can be cheap. Seeing some of the costs stack up from other cosplayers can make it seem expensive.

If you buy costumes from a party shop or in some online stores, it will be affordable. You can also do cosplay cheaply or if you use your resources correctly, such as second-hand stores as one example. However, making an elaborate screen-accurate costume from scratch is not a cheap hobby.

Most cosplayers have had a situation of being asked by friends, family or strangers on the internet to make an elaborate costume for the same price as one that is mass produced. For a cosplayer or a specialist commissioner however, this may not be possible. Majority of the time anyone you commission to make a costume will be an individual making a custom-tailored costume just for you, it’s very different from a mass-produced costume you might find online.

5. Cosplayers Do It For Attention

Sometimes, especially online, cosplayers get accused of cosplaying only for attention. When really this isn’t the case. Sure, it’s great when someone recognises your costume and gets a photo, but a lot of that excitement comes from finding someone just as passionate about a game/anime/comic that you are. Sometimes it’s simply gushing over the craftsmanship of a costume and sharing a hobby with another cosplayer.

Cosplay is a medium that helps break down barriers and is a great way to start a conversation with people who are interested in the same things you are. It’s easy to start a conversation about something you love when you can immediately tell they are into it based on the costume they are wearing.

4. Cosplayers Should Only Cosplay Characters They Look Like

Unfortunately, there aren’t many/any people who will perfectly match the physical attributes of a character. Most of them are 2D and that’s an impossible beauty standard no one can live up to. Sometimes we are blessed with similar features to our favourite characters or sometimes we are talented in the world of makeup and that helps us transform, but it’s rare we look like the fictional character we are attempting to portray.

Cosplayers often get pressured to portray a character perfectly, and if they don’t, they aren’t a “true” cosplayer. This is simply untrue. No matter what race, size, age, cosplay comes in many forms and should be celebrated.

3. Cosplayers Make A New Costume Every Convention

Cosplayer Featured: Kydrasaur. Photography by Magic Missile Studios
Cosplayer: Kydrasaur. Photography by Magic Missile Studios

A lot of Cosplayers have fallen into this trap at one point or another. Costumes take a lot of time, energy and dedication to create and put on for an event, not to mention it can get very expensive after tickets, flights, accommodation etc., Expecting a new costume every event isn’t realistic and can cause some serious long term mental and financial problems if not managed correctly. Cosplayers like to create costumes for a convention, it gives us a deadline to work to and motivates us to complete a costume. But we don’t always make a new costume for every convention.

2. The Cosplay Community Is Full Of Drama

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Cosplayer: Henchwench. Photography by SFX Images

Cosplay is like every community and most communities will come with their own unique gossip or drama. Many cosplayers will see a bit of drama occasionally, but it won’t be any more than other communities. As communities grow to a certain size these are more frequent, but drama can happen in your D&D group of 7 people, drama is bound to happen in any community. The great thing about Cosplay is there are an extensive number of online communities and events we can be involved in from every corner of the world. If one community doesn’t work for us, there are plenty more we can join until we find one that shares the same views, ideals and opinions we can fit into.

1. Cosplayers Know What They Are Doing With Every Build

When it comes to crafting, some of us remain cool and collected in the face of new projects. Some of us simply cry into a pillow the night before an event. Most of the time, costumes designed for characters in games, comics and anime don’t walk on the side of logic or basic physics and there aren’t always tutorials online or templates we can work from to make costumes.

Many cosplayers will have costumes that are in the “corner of shame” of incomplete projects either from loss of interest or it’s beyond our ability at that point in time. Most of our talents are learned from others in the community, YouTube or from a forum from back in 2008. Any other time we can’t learn from these sources we are making up our own methods as we go.

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Cosplayer: Morikyou. Photography by Mumei

In the end, we are a group of fans that literally wear our fandom on our sleeves. We’re not much different from regular pop culture fans other than the fact we like dressing for the occasion. We hope this has cleared up some of the rumours around Cosplay, and helped you better understand the community.

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About the Author
Michelle Krikowa avatar

Michelle Krikowa


Cosplayer of 10 years, Writer and former Content Coordinator for ReedPOP, Michelle "Cora Berry" Krikowa has worked with cosplayers and companies from around the world, helping them grow and connect with the wider Cosplay community. Coming from a unique background she has a diverse perspective she's excited to share with everyone.