Cosplay: Why We Do What We Do Featuring Megumi Chan
If you didn’t know, February 2017 is the third anniversary ofthe 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.
Today’s spotlight is on Megumi Chan.
Cosplay as healing - Megumi Chan, cosplaying 7 years
In her own words...
"Cosplay means so much to me. Not only is it about dressing up as your favorite character and learning some new skills, but it helps people, especially at dark times.
I discovered cosplay around 2006, but didn’t jump into it until 2010. The reason why is because I had very low self-esteem due to the severe bullying I went through. I was bullied a lot from pre-k until the start of high school for my size, my dark skin (even though my tormentors and the majority of my class are Black), and also because I have dyslexia.
Growing up, I didn’t have that many friends and was always a target. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. Fortunately, the bullying stopped in high school and I was able to make some friends, but I still had very low self-esteem and I always thought that I don’t deserve to be alive.
In my senior year of high school, my friends convinced me to cosplay. We went to NYCC/NYAF in 2010, which was also my first convention. I was Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. I bought the outfit online, used a black headband instead of the yellow one that she wears, and I used my own hair instead of a wig. I was so nervous, because I thought I would be made fun of because my skin color and my size, but everyone there was so nice and welcoming to me. People were like “Omg! You look amazing as Haruhi!”
I was able to make new friends and I did the Hare Hare Yukai dance with some people lol. I had a wonderful time and thought “I need to do this again!” Years later I’m still cosplaying and I will never stop. To be honest, if I didn’t join the cosplay community then I wouldn’t be alive today doing this interview. It may sound silly to some people but cosplay really boosted my self-esteem and it saved my life. I’m so happy that I finally found a place where I belong.
The one thing I would change is the “diversity” in this community. I love this community and it helped me so much, but unfortunately the diversity in this community needs some work. There are so many amazing POCs, male, and plus-sized cosplayers! We work very hard on our cosplays, but when you type “cosplay” on Google, you only see White and Asian female cosplayers being featured and praised. Most places don’t feature us and some photographers refuse to shoot us because we’re “too dark” or “too fat” or some other lame excuse. Because of this, the audience thinks that there’s not that many of us out there and that you have to be a certain way to cosplay. Some are afraid to cosplay because they feel that they’re not “light enough” or “thin enough” to cosplay. If more places feature more POC, male, and plus-sized in sites, pages, and even as guests in conventions, then it will show people that you don’t need to be a certain way to cosplay and hopefully will help people to join in this community. Featuring us once in a blue moon doesn’t count. We need to be featured a whole lot more in this community."
You can find out more about Megumi on her Facebook page, Stardust Megu.