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About Miss Chezza Cosplay
Miss Chezza is a Canadian cosplayer and Twitch Affiliate based out of Edmonton, Alberta. A half-British, half-Chinese ex-pat from England, Chezza began cosplaying in 2014 and has since been featured in magazines, calendars, and newspapers, has hosted cosplay segments for Shaw TV, and has been a cosplay guest and judge for a number of comic and anime conventions. She primarily cosplays strong female characters from video games and anime and streams role-playing, adventure, indie, and other various games on Twitch.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I used to run a digital pop culture magazine, so I became familiar with cosplay and local cosplayers in my city through interviews and events. When I finally attended my first convention, I decided to give cosplaying a try and bought a Silk Spectre II (The Watchmen) costume for the event. It was terrifying and exhilarating and from that day on, I never looked back.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Cosplay is a little bit of both for me. I don’t see myself becoming an internationally-recognized famous cosplayer, by any means. But I see it as a part-time job/hobby through Patreon, guest appearances, and the like. It makes me take it more seriously than a hobby, which I prefer–I don’t do things halfway. Ideally, I’d love to make a career based on cosplaying, streaming, and writing for the pop culture community. Maybe one day!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I make the majority of my cosplays from scratch, with the odd closet cosplay and very few store-bought ones. I have nothing against buying them! I just prefer to make mine so that they fit better and so I can be more creative with the cosplays I make.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
An armour-sewing combination build will probably take me 20-40 hours total, but it depends on the complexity and the amount of time I have available. I made Aela the Huntress in 3 days, but that was over a weekend where I worked on it for at least 20 hours. As a contrast, my season 3 Daenerys Targaryen took about a month, but that was with only a couple of hours on a night after being at work all day.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Every new complex build I create becomes my favourite! At the moment, I’m really proud of my Aela, simply because I managed to put it together in 3 days. And because I’m on a Skyrim kick right now.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
There are so many! I remember every time a fan recognizes me in public or at a con. One of the first times it happened, I was at Calgary Expo just walking the hall and a small voice behind me said “Miss Chezza!” It was a young guy who was quite shy. I was in shock that someone recognized me. He was lovely! Also, being a guest and cosplay judge for a number of Edmonton conventions have been some of the highlights of my cosplay career.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love them!! I often do group cosplays with my fellow local cosplayers, such as Nica Stone, Catherine Banman, Alana Waffles, and Picklesbird Cosplay.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m currently making a bunny version of Chun-Li for my Patreon (my patrons call it Bun-Li, lol). And then I’ll be making an armoured Sailor Mars for a group for Animethon this summer. On the DL, I have some fun stuff for Patreon in the works, including some sexy Scooby Doo and Harry Potter cosplays!
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Body positivity and sex positivity, hands down. Cosplayers should NEVER shame other cosplayers for their body type, whether they’re underweight, plus-sized, curvy, athletic, thin, or other. Likewise with sex positivity–if men and women feel empowered with boudoir shoots and sexualizing characters, then that’s their choice. I just want people to have fun with cosplay, feel good about themselves, and support others. Especially women–we need to understand that it’s fine to feel comfortable in our bodies, no matter what the size, and to do what makes us feel beautiful.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Strong female characters, definitely! I cosplay characters from comic books, anime, and video games, but if they’re strong, sassy, fierce women, so much the better. I think it’s important for women to be intelligent, independent, and powerful, so those are the kinds of characters I tend to gravitate towards.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I always procrastinate with crafting but when I get around to it, it’s one of the most therapeutic things in my life. It’s nice to throw on some music, make a cocktail, and focus on one creative thing for several hours at a time. That being said, I LOVE the first time I wear a complete cosplay with proper makeup. It’s an amazing sense of accomplishment.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Most of my fabric and crafting materials I buy from local stores like Michaels and Fabricland. I take to Amazon and eBay quite often for small pieces. And wigs are usually from Arda, although I buy the odd Amazon one if funds are low.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Being taken seriously as a person and as a cosplayer. Again, I’m a huge supporter of fierce femininity, which means that I support and enjoy sexy cosplay and sexy shoots, but I also am an ardent advocate for intelligence and respectability. A lot of people don’t think those things go together and I’m working towards changing that. Sure, I have cosplay pictures that show a lot of cleavage and are of a sexier nature. I also have a Master of Arts degree in English, I’ve written two dissertations on John Milton, I’m an award-winning communications and marketing professional, and I’m a published journalist. Women can be smart AND comfortable with their sexuality AND respectable. It’s possible, trust me.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve certainly had to learn time management, since working full-time, cosplaying, and streaming can take its toll. I’ve also learned how to appreciate beauty and talent on a greater scale and to be more inclusive of all people.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Be supportive, not competitive. It’s fine to use other cosplayers’ achievements as motivation to improve your craft. It’s not fine to directly try to compete with others and to be vicious because of jealousy. We’re all in this for love of the hobby, so don’t be a dick.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It’s gotten more mainstream since I started, which wasn’t even that long ago (four years). Which is fine and good! People don’t look at me weirdly when I say I cosplay anymore. The more people know about it, the more opportunities people have to enjoy it as a hobby, so I’m all for awareness and growth.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Most people would probably say armour builds, but I’d want something with a lot of rich, embellished fabrics. Like a Yaya Han-style Chun-Li or something similar. Maybe a Marie Antoinette 18th Century gown.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Nah, bro. If I need it, I get it.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay is freeing. It’s a way for me to be creative and put myself out there. It’s also a way for me to express my personality to the world and I love that.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Cosplay itself is pretty mainstream now, but the community is fairly small. I see it becoming more inclusive as it grows, with a number of different sub-communities growing out of it.
What is your favorite con to attend?
I’ve only been to local ones, but the Calgary and Edmonton Expos are always my favourite!
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
There are so many of them. Jessica Nigri, Ivy Doomkitty, Joanie Brosas, Alyson Tabbitha, and Holly Wolf are all some of my favourites.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I hope so! I posted a picture a while back that said something about how “cleavage doesn’t negate intelligence” and I received a lovely message from a fellow cosplayer who was also doing a master’s degree at the time. She was struggling with respectability and embracing sexuality, too, so she thanked me for showing her its possible to have both. I really want people, especially women, to embrace their bodies and their minds through things like cosplay and discussion, so if I’ve inspired at least one person through my words, then it’s worth it.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Ask first! Other than that, as long as you’re respectful, anything goes. Cosplayers are just regular people, so if you see one in real life or at a convention that you’d like to talk to, just be polite and go introduce yourself. We’re all very friendly!
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
Sometimes I do lewd shoots, so naturally, I get some lewd comments. I try to push it a fair amount, but I think it’s important for my fans to know that I’m an educated, hard-working woman. It can be too easy to make assumptions about women from a sexy picture posted on Instagram and it shouldn’t be that way. People can appreciate a woman’s body while also being respectful and not making assumptions about their character.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
If I felt like I wasn’t taking enough enjoyment out of it anymore, I’d stop or at least take a break. I need to be happy doing this. If I’m no longer happy, that would be a reason to stop.
You can follow and view more of Miss Chezza Cosplay here
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