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: Transdorker Cosplay!
Cosplay Page: Link | Country: US | Gender: Male|
Happy: When did you begin cosplaying and what got you interested in the hobby?
Jake: I began cosplaying for Cons back in 2010 at OhayoCon, which became my first Anime Con to attend because of my interest in Japanese media. I got interested in cosplay around the same time when I got into Anime, which started with Naruto that made me explore other popular titles (like Fullmetal Alchemist, Death Note, Bleach, Inuyasha, etc.). We remember how popular Naruto as a franchise was back in the day and I always wanted to cosplay as the characters I loved in each show that caught my attention. My first cosplay was technically back in 2009 when I cosplayed as SSJ Goku for that godawful DragonBall movie that never happened. But Con-wise, 2010 was my starting point.
I don’t know where I heard the term “cosplay” but we both agreed to it. Thing is we had only THREE weeks before the con. I remember staying up the night before, hemming sleeves and sewing on buttons at about eleven o’ clock at night by hand.
Happy: What do you remember about your first day cosplaying at a convention?
Jake: Much like Gohan in DragonBall Z, I had like a bowl cut hair as a kid (never had long hair when I was a teen like the character was in the Cell Saga), and when I was between a late teen-young adult, I wanted my hair short. And I wore the suit for OhayoCon, but this time, I redubbed it as SSJ Adult Gohan because of my hair’s length at the time. I remember being thrilled about OhayoCon back then, and I do remember people mistaking me for Goku, but I still had a blast nonetheless.
I felt as if the more Cons I attended later in time (and still need to attend as well), the more friends I have gained thanks to these Cons because I was a bit of an outcast back in high school (long story), but thanks to these Cons, my life changed instantaneously the moment I set my two feet within the Cons I attended.
Happy: Would you consider yourself more of a seamstress or a builder?
Jake: It really depends on the character and my skills. I started out with armor out of cardboard and masking tape with my Optimus Prime cosplay back in 2010 (not the same one shown here), and when I worked on my Kamen Rider Gaim: Kachidoki Arms cosplay, I started using EVA foam and craft foam as my main sources.
But if we’re talking human characters like the Nostalgia Critic, Luke Skywalker, Yugi Muto, or even Naruto Uzumaki (all of which I did), then I buy those myself and modify pieces of clothing together cuz I don’t know Thing 1 on how to sew (yet). So I guess you could call me more of a builder when it comes to the armor.
Happy: Is their anyone who really inspires you and why?
Jake: I don’t recall being inspired by specific people when I got started, but I know a few people I have taken inspiration from, regardless of in the US or out, I have a plethora of people I support; like Eric “the Smoke” Moran, Knightmage, Chelsey Cosplay (the one who did Starscream, Link, Cloud, Kylo Ren, and so forth), Dancing Mad Cosplay, Kiss A Frog Cosplay, Queen Solaria Cosplay, and seveal others; including Dengs Isidoro as one outside-of-the-US inspiration for my Tokusatsu cosplays.
Happy: Have you ever-experienced harassment or bullying while cosplaying?
Jake: I had a few harassment/bully issues when it came to my cosplays, like in one of my photos for my Kamen Rider Decade cosplay, some foreign Facebook users commented on my weight cuz of both the baggyness of the suit and my actual weight back then; and no matter how many times I report the photo just for those comments on Facebook, the team STILL keeps it up on the page. And for my Kamen Rider Kabuto cosplay, every single solitary time I wore the suit to a Con (before throwing it away due to parts falling apart), people called me a Beetleborg, which became the Nostalgia Critic “Bat Credit Card” gag of my life… and it makes me livid just thinking about it as well.
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?
Jake: I guess it really depends on the person and how they think it’ll impact their life. There have been times where I was like “I can’t believe this is hard to do,” but I figured with time and patience, the better the results will be. Although I do relate to being on a time crunch at times like a lot of other people, but if I got the suit done on time, even if I missed out on one detail, I just go with what I got and hope for the best. Even though there were times where I was so tired in some of my suits (like my Optimus Prime Mark II cosplay shown), I literally crashed on my hotel bed once I took off all that armor because of it all adding weight to every part of my body.
If I were to tell people who were burnt out, I wouldn’t call them a bad person if they retired cosplaying for life; much like a movie, everyone has a different style of anything. But if they are feeling burnt out, I would say exactly what Shia LaBeouf told everyone on YouTube back in 2015.
Happy: What is it about cosplaying that you love?
Jake: What I love about cosplay is not only having people be fascinated by my work, but it is also another way of communicating with others who could have similar interests as you do, which definitely happened to me when I did Sentai cosplays and every time I do a Kamen Rider cosplay.
That and for those who wanna get into making costumes for plays or wanna have experience with film, it can be a starting point in their lifetime and can be several good references on a portfolio.
Happy: What is it about cosplaying you dislike?
Jake: Figuring out who to cosplay as and having to spend lots of money on materials.
Happy: Why do you cosplay? Why do you keep coming back to it?
Jake: I cosplay, not only for my interest in Japanese media, but I also do it because people want me to do it, people are doing it, and I continue to do it. With my skills, I figured it could be an inspiration to others who would be like “Oh dude, that’s so cool. How did you do it?” or other things like that, which coincidentally did happen on YouTube (channel not active anymore sadly) one time when I posted the process of my Decade cosplay back then, and he was making a Decade cosplay himself as well.
Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if I become somewhat big in the Tokusatsu community, then Japan (as well as other parts of Asia) could be watching my work and myself… but that can wait; I’m not in it for the fame at all, just for fun and friendship.
Happy: Have you ever hurt yourself accidentally or intentionally for cosplay?
Jake: During construction, yes, but only minor battle damage to me. While wearing suits, only in my Optimus Mark II and Faiz cosplays. My Optimus cosplay was made out of cardboard and masking tape, and it added weight onto my body that it made me feel achey for a few days. As for Faiz, I could barely see a thing in the helmet, I accidentally bumped into a wall and one of the eyes almost popped out (I was able to pop it back into place luckily enough).
Happy: Over all how would you rate the cosplay community as a whole?
Jake: It depends on the person the more you think about it; I think the community is welcoming, judgemental, and in competition with others if you were to combine every person in the community into one whole group. We all know how much of an elitist Yaya Han can be (despite her work being good, but she’s not that good of a person), we all flipped out over Rhett and Link doing a Top 5 Worst Cosplays video and unsubscribing from them after that video, and we all have people who focus on nothing but either perfection or just characters alone, there could be better people in the community from time to time. I wouldn’t say everyone is bad in the community (that would be a huge understatement), I just wish some people weren’t too salty or nitpicky in it. And trust me when I say this, all the people I support and have met before in the community are all about Cosplay Equality, as am I.
Happy: What is your favorite convention right now to attend?
Jake: I haven’t been to a whole lot, but I love MatsuriCon; the staff is friendly, the Con is well-managed (though the autograph sessions could be improved), and I always have a great time there, even if it’s a small Con.
To me, it’s the one Ohio-centric Con that follows the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I used to love OhayoCon, but ever since 2012 hit, things went downhill from there, 2014 was the absolute worst, and 2016 was (and is) my final rendition of OhayoCon to attend.
Happy: What is a convention you would REALLY like to attend one day and why?
Jake: I would love to attend ACen, maybe C2E2, YoumaCon, ColossalCon, Tekko, MetroCon, Nan Desu Kan, Star Wars Celebration, BotCon, any Con in Japan (or Asia), TsubasaCon, and several others.
Happy: What are your future goals with cosplaying? Jake: My future goals would be to continue my legacy as a Kamen Rider, improve my skills over time, and maybe get a career in the filmmaking industry to work on armored costumes (though I highly doubt that’ll happen). Outside of cosplay, I have a plethora of things to do that I wanna tone it down to three things: be successful, be happy, and don’t let my dreams be dreams.
You can find Transdorker Cosplay at the following links! Please leave some love for them 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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