Cosplay: Why We Do What We Do featuring Jade Aurora
If you didn’t know, February 2017 is the third anniversary of the 28 Days of Black Cosplay hashtag started by Chaka Cumberbach to celebrate Black cosplayers. This hashtag movement has only grown and continues to spotlight the amazing work done by Black cosplayers.
It’s no secret that I love cosplay. I think it’s potentially one of the most creative and fun ways to express yourself. Every costume I do speaks to and of a specific part of my personality and I love the versatility and problem-solving required to fully realize an idea and every time I do it, I learn something new.
This hobby speaks to me in a way nothing else does. It speaks to many people differently, while simultaneously bringing us all together. I spoke with several cosplayers in my immediate network about why they do it and the impact it’s had on their lives. This time, I’ve taken the time to ask some cosplayers in my extended network what cosplay is for them.
Cosplay as therapy - Jade Aurora, cosplaying 7 years
“Cosplay is important to me because it is therapeutic. Throughout my adolescence, I had been bullied by my peers for my interests and hobbies. I was picked on for being a bookworm, an honor student, and for my Harry Potter obsession. In high school, I got so depressed that I contemplated suicide, and actually attempted it at age 16. My nerdy interests were my only solace. When I cosplay, it's like I can truly be myself and connect with people of the same interests, without judgment or ridicule.
If I could change one thing about the cosplay community, it would be to cattiness and just plain nastiness that I witness in the community: Bullying, racism, fat shaming, slut shaming, you name it. Cosplay is supposed to be about having fun and indulging in your fave fandom, and it seems people have forgotten that.”
More about Jade Aurora
In addition to cosplay, Jade is also a burlesque performer. Her admiration of icon Josephine Baker encouraged her interest in the art. She began taking classes 3 years ago, and now seeks to do it full-time as a Nerdlesque performer, a genre that ties cosplay and burlesque together.
Check out Jade’s Facebook page for more information about her and her work. She also has an Etsy shop called RoxyJo Creations where she sells her self-designed jewelry, artwork, and accessories. The store is currently being revamped after a year-long hiatus.