The Cosplayer Feature is a series of interviews done by HappyCosplayer featuring cosplayers from around the world who would like to share their story. Two cosplayers are featured a week both here on my blog and on my Facebook pages: HappyCosplayer, JustCosplay, CosplayingCommunity
“May you be inspired by them!” -HappyCosplayer
Featured cosplayer: Johnnie Arrow!
Cosplay Page: Johnnie Arrow | Country: USA | Gender: Male |
Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?
Johnnie: I began cosplaying back in 2011 mostly because the person I was dating was into it and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out since I have always loved dressing up in costume because it gives you the opportunity to be someone else for a brief period of time and let loose and have fun.
Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Johnnie: My first day cosplaying now that I look back on it, was something I wasn’t truly prepared for. Everyone I met seemed so at ease with everything and I was kind of intimidated…never had I seen such a gathering of like minded people just embracing their inner geek/nerd without fear of reprisal because the impression that I got from society is that that was not the norm and was frowned upon to be different. But I learned that first day that it was truly ok to be yourself and have fun.
Happy: Would you consider yourself more of a seamstress or a builder? Johnnie: Well personally, I consider myself an amalgamation of the two, because I do a little of both with my own flair for the dramatic.
Happy: Is their anyone who really inspires you and why?
Johnnie: I would have to say my cosplay idols would be Knightmage, Brandon the shapeshifter, and Matches Malone, because they both emulate the type of man I want to be in and out of costume. They have both on multiple occasions demonstrated they put others above themselves with all the charitable works they do. They are truly and
inspiration which I aspire to follow
Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying? Johnnie: Unfortunately I have to say yes, and it happened on multiple levels. Most recently in regards to myself I was recently at a charity event and someone came up to me and said “wow you let yourself go arrow, your pretty fat”. I played it off and smiled because of where I was but it hurt a lot because I am very self conscious and weight has been a fluctuating battle for me. The outcome was that I have great brothers and sisters in arms that I can always count on and always have my back. So the one solace I take from this in particular is that in cosplay I have met some of the most amazing people that are not just friends but family.
Happy: Are there things you have learned through this hobby that you never would have guessed to have learned before you started cosplaying?
Johnnie: When I first started cosplaying I never thought in a million years that I would ever make a costume to the level that I can now, I usually just bought my costumes, not that their is anything wrong with that because to me cosplay is just that costume play and it doesn’t matter if you make it, bought it, or commissioned it… it is all about having fun. But I always wished growing up I could make costumes because of the inspiration my grandmother gave me growing up, she use to make all my costumes from scratch and I aspired to be able to do that one day. So to say I can is very humbling and I am greatly appreciative of all those who have helped and continue to be there for me when help is needed.
Happy: A lot of people get overwhelmed or ‘brunt out’ over time with this hobby called cosplaying. Have you ever felt that way, or do you feel like you ever would? What would you say to those that maybe feeling burnt out now?
Johnnie: Honestly yes I have felt burnt out with costuming and think that others have experienced it as well and there is nothing wrong with that. When it happened to me, it had gotten to the point where I forgot why I was even doing it in the first place. So I stepped away for a while to regain my focus and center and it definitely rekindled my passion for it. So I would tell anyone who felt this way that if it ever gets to where you no longer enjoy what you are doing then maybe just step back from it so as to gain a clear perspective and come back rejuvenated.
Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Johnnie: Personally the brotherhood of a family that would have never been in my life otherwise and also the chance to act and throw caution to the wind and embrace what makes me me
Happy: What is it about cosplaying you dislike?
Johnnie: Personally my biggest irritating thing that is becoming more prevalent is elitism and bullying because a lot of people use cosplay as a means to socialize and interact with others in a setting that makes them feel safe, and when these particular pet peeves of mine are demonstrated it makes others who maybe socially awkward feel uncomfortable because they are made to feel inadequate and not good enough. The world as a whole is a very judgmental and demeaning place and it’s not fair to have that permeate the cosplay community as well. Everyone should have the opportunity to be themselves in one arena or another to feel accepted.
Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?
Johnnie: It gives me the opportunity to be myself and to also make someone smile and laugh and it gives a sense of purpose to keep striving for bigger and better things and to never give up.
Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intently for the sake of cosplay?
Johnnie: Yes lol I think their is a piece of me in every costume I have ever made from the amount of times I have stuck myself with pins sewing or the most recent time I cosplayed dr. Frankenfurter when I wore 5 1/2 in platform heels and caused my feet to swell twice their size…but no matter how many times injuries happen, it ends up being all worth it for the opportunity to trip the light fantastic and to be a part of what made me… me
Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?
Johnnie:As a whole, I feel as though I have witnessed all those things mentioned in this question, but as a whole I feel that the cosplay community is very welcoming and accepting of everyone no matter where they come from or what fandom they strive to emulate because in the end we are all just looking to have fun and be accepted.
Happy: What are some of your favorite cosplays you have worn?
Johnnie: Well as my cosplay name dictates, I love my arrow cosplay because, green arrow is by far my favorite superhero because he does what he does without any “super powers” and shows what you can be capable of as long as you try. Also when the show arrow came out it further reinforced my love for the character. Also I love Being my original character of dr. Daredevil because he truly is the most fun to perform in aside from doctor frankenfurter from rocky horror picture show
Happy: Do you have a dream cosplay you would love to do one day? Johnnie: My dream cosplay would either have to be ryo of the wildfire from Ronin warriors because that was my first introduction to anime be it reminded me of power rangers and it was so immersive and made you really feel for the characters. And to bring it full circle, the green ranger is a very close second… Jason David frank is my childhood idol and would love to make this and meet him in it.
Happy: What was an amazing experience either in cosplay or at a convention that you will never forget?
Johnnie: The one that stands out was at genericon 2016 at rpi in troy new York where me and my fiancé cosplayed zidlar and satine from moulin rouge, where we performed a skit and from what I was told was that everyone for the most part was tearing up at the performance and we received a standing ovation. Definitely was an unbelievable experience and will never forget it.
Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Johnnie: I would say it’s a toss up between genericon, Albany comic con, and chase con because each bring a wonderful experience to the table and it’s not only a convention to me, it fees like home
Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Johnnie: That’s a tough one… it would be a toss up between wizard world, NYCC, or anime matsuri because it would give the opportunity to meet those who shaped my childhood but to also get to meet more people and showcase my craft on A much more grandiose stage.
Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying? How about future goals for yourself personally outside of cosplay if different?
Johnnie: Personally if the stars align right, my dream would be to be able to cosplay as a career because it is something I have a passion for and would love the opportunity to show it to the world…. also if I could do anything outside of cosplay would have to be nursing because helping people is something that brings me much joy and happiness. It is truly fulfilling to give of yourself and to sacrifice so someone can have a fighting chance.
You can find Johnnie Arrow at the following links! Please leave some love for him via a like/follow and so on and help continue to make the cosplaying community better by encouraging and inspiring others!
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