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About Chuggey Art and Cosplay
My name is Mel aka Chuggey Art and Cosplay. I’m a 22-year-old dispatcher from New Jersey who has been cosplaying since 2016.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I have always sort of been into cosplay, I loved playing dress up as a kid. and now I guess I play dress up as an adult.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I mainly cosplay for fun now but I would love to turn it into a career one day. I love cosplaying and it would be great to be able to do what I love full time
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I do a bit of both. I prefer making my own things but if I can’t make it myself I usually end up buying something similar and modifying it
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends. some things take a weekend to make, others can take 6 months
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Raven, hands down. she was my first official cosplay and now I have been cosplaying her for nearly 3 years. she has to be one of my most polished cosplays since I had years to improve it
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I remember when I went to see Teen Titans Go To The Movies dressed as Raven with my fiance dressed as Beast Boy. It was so much fun, and we even brought stickers for the kids there. the staff even wanted to take a photo of us for their page, and we almost caused several car accidents because of people gawking at us from their cars when we drove back home
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I have never done it before but it sounds like it can be fun and a great experience to make new friends and meet new people with similar interests
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Right now I’m working on x men evolution rogue and brushing up my Widowmaker Noire for Katsucon 2019, Menat, trunks, and brushing up Urbosa for summer cons.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I see racism (including race facing), body negativity, and elitism happening in the community. It has made many people quit cosplay and caused some serious damage to their emotional and mental health. It’s very sad to see because this community should be uplifting other cosplayers, not bringing them down. I have seen people get slandered online because someone stole their photo and reposted it in a meme page so people can tear them to shreds, calling them slurs and such, and making fun of their weight. It hurts people to the point where they feel like they can no longer enjoy the hobby they love doing. And just because some cosplayers are more popular does not mean they are a good person. They have mocked and belittled other cosplayers as well. Some people have just started cosplaying, others aren’t cosplaying to be accurate either, they’re doing it for fun. We need to remember that at the end of the day cosplay should be fun, we shouldn’t be hurting people because of how they look, and as a community, we should be uplifting each other and be respectful of each other, but that’s also a thing called common decency.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Moody goth girls, strong women, villains, and/or LGBT characters. can you already tell I have a type?
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
I really love putting on the final touches and getting photos of my work taken. it’s so satisfying seeing everything put together. It’s the cherry on top for me.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I go to Joann’s, thrift stores, or Amazon. You would be surprised at the good things you can find at a thrift store
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Learning new things, which requires a lot of trial and error. I’m not a very patient person so that is a very difficult thing for me to do. I always want to do things right the first time, but that’s not going to be the case most of the time sadly. The crowds at cons can overwhelm me a bit as well due to my anxiety. I try to focus on one thing so I don’t tense up or get too nervous.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Learning to not take myself seriously and to not be so hard on myself. Sometimes I feel bad that my work doesn’t look as accurate as possible, but I have to remind myself that this is for fun and I’m not supposed to feel bad about my hobby.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Always bring an emergency repair kit with you, take your time with things, and remember; trial and error. I’m still learning this rule but I have seen that after a while you get the hang of things and you will be so happy with the way things turn out. If you’re stuck on something, take a break from it. Cosplay is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so if you see that it is causing more sorrow than joy for you, it might be best to take some time to take care of yourself. Your well being is more important.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I certainly feel like it grew and became more mainstream. And I see it growing even more.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I would love to do either XJ9 from my life as a teenage robot or Samus Aran from Metroid. I work full time so a project that detailed would take a looooonnnggg time to complete and be quite expensive.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not really, although it’s probably smarter to do that. I usually just get my cosplay piece by piece when I come up with any spare money
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay to me is a creative outlet. I love all the different aspects of it, sewing, foam smithing, makeup, and wig styling. I also get to be someone else for a day. There’s so much you can do with it. You can perform, model, create cosplays for others, or even cosplay to send a message. Yes, I cosplay as a hobby, but it means so much more than that to me.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
I think it’ll grow even bigger by then. I can see lots of A list celebs getting into it (a few already have) and it becomes a common thing. Halloween chains have even started producing some quality cosplays as of late too
What is your favorite con to attend?
Katsucon! that has been the biggest con I have ever attended. There’s so much talent there, it’s amazing. I try to go every single year. It’s always a great time there
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
My fiance! They have gotten me into officially cosplaying and got me my first cosplay, Raven. They have taught me so much as well about crafting, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Jorel.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Maybe. I’m not sure if I am, but I would hope so.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
You should ask nicely. Avoid giving unsolicited critiques, not everyone is looking for that. Please be polite, and if they say no, it is best to respect their wishes. They have their own reasons for not being photographed, maybe they’re very shy, or are not comfortable with it. Try not to be pushy either if they say no, it’s nothing personal.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I may look mean but I don’t bite. If you ever see me out and about, please don’t hesitate to approach me! I love a little banter with people at cons, and it helps me stop thinking about any crowds.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Probably not. I see myself continuing this hobby as I grow old. I will still be cosplaying even once I become wrinkly and sprout white hair.
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