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The Importance of Cosplay and Why You Should Try It.
   
I've been sitting on this article for about a year, I started it right after i went to PAX EAST 2015, and never got around to posting it. Attending my first convention back then solidified my beliefs and love for cosplay, and so here it is

Cosplay is an outward expression of passion, respect and love for your favorite movie, game, TV, anime or comic character. It is a live tribute to a persona, fictional or real, that had a massive impact on your mind and soul.
It is turning your wildest dreams into reality for a brief moment. There are very few feelings in the world that equal being literally in your hero's shoes. It is pure empowerment.

Contrary to what is sometimes portrayed in media, cosplaying does not have any restrictions. It does not adhere to traditional beauty standards or what society deems an acceptable body type.  It transcends long established criteria associated with classic modeling, It is one of the only art forms that is blind to color, race, shape, gender or sexuality. Anyone, can truly cosplay anything they want.

It is a formidable force that unleashes your creativity and inspires you to produce things you would never think of in your day to day life.


Pax East 2015 - Photo by Sara Croft

Cosplay is way more than just facebook likes, competitions and popularity contests. It's about building and nurturing communities, being with like-minded people and forging bonds that last for life.


If there is no cosplay group for the franchise you love , then take initiative and start one, if you build it, they will come.

 


Pax East 2015 - Photo by Xbox/Crystal Dynamics at the Tomb Raider Cosplay Meetup

Pax East 2015 - Photo by Xbox/Crystal Dynamics
I've been blessed with many friends that I met through the Tomb Raider Cosplay community. I'd like to think I've made family members of most of them. Some of us have known each other for more than a decade. 

We have unbelievably diverse cosplayers from all of walks of life and regions of the world. Many are males portraying male versions of Lara Croft, and some are male and female cross-dressers. Some are disabled but still have the courage to cosplay. 

It is a beautiful thing to witness. The fact that they feel safe enough to share themselves within the community is a true testament to how accepting and loving cosplayers can be.
Cosplay is also largely about escaping your everyday routine. Let's face it, most of us have regular nine to five jobs, that are not that exciting. This can give you a well deserved break from the monotony.

This hobby is also an amazing confidence booster. Many friends have told me that their self esteem was non existent before they took on cosplay.

Many have also said that it was a good health and fitness motivator. Even though they don't feel the need to bulk up or slim down for the character itself.  It inadvertently made them want to exercise.
Since exercise is key to good mental and physical health, they inevitably feel better about their self image.

 


*An incredible Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones, i could not believe my eyes!* Pax East 2015

*Gorgeous Samus Aran*
Pax East 2015
Dressing up has always been a huge part of conventions, so it can also be great for meeting local fans of same interests.

It has an incredible power to bring people together, you can walk right up to someone in a costume, discuss that character with them. Most are also very open about sharing their costuming tricks and tips. so ask away!
One more piece of advice I'd like to share is, do not envy or try to keep up with the people who have weekly photo shoots and  thousands of followers, (also known as cosplay celebrities), most have been at it for many years, worked extremely hard, and have made cosplay their job which is so wonderful!, but it is understandable that it can be a little intimidating to the average cosplayer.

Don't be discouraged. Your self worth definitely shouldn't be tied to how many followers you have. If you want to do this, it has to be because you adore the character you dress as. Not because you feel the need to compete. 

*Fear inducing Master Chief! absolutely awesome!*
Pax East 2015
Also, don't break the bank looking for the perfect props or clothes. It can get really expensive so be careful.  you really don't need to have the best costume when you're just starting out.
Give yourself time to develop crafting skills that will save you money in the long run by learning from every available source there is, online or otherwise so do your research.

*Sara Croft with amazing Fallout-New Vegas Cosplayers* Pax East 2015

*Tomb Raider VS Star Wars Showdown*
Pax East 2015 - Photo by Xbox/Crystal Dynamics at the Tomb Raider Cosplay Meetup
Finally, cosplay needs to be about one thing, Fun. when it stops being fun for you, it won't be long before you stop altogether. So make sure you do what makes you happy in this short, brutal life.

It truly is imperative that we as cosplayers, know that fun should be our main priority when it comes to costuming. 

Thank you for reading thus far, I'm always finding articles that are more or less negative sometimes but i really wanted to show you something positive, Perhaps even inspire you to join the millions of cosplayers in this unusual yet exceptional hobby.

 


Pax East 2015 - Photo by Xbox/Crystal Dynamics at the Tomb Raider Cosplay Meetup