Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and famous members of the cosplay universe.
About The Cosplay Hobbyist
My name is Arabella Black. I am a mental health professional living and cosplaying in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I enjoy reading, writing, painting, and all things nerdy. Some of my favorite things are Harry Potter, Star Wars, Doctor Who, and Shadowhunters. My Instagram handle is @thecosplayhobbyist if you would like to support my cosplaying!
How did you first get into cosplay?
When I was younger I used to dress up as Harry Potter character’s to play pretend, as well as all of the movie/book premieres. So once I found out that there was an adult version of continuing my appreciation for all things nerdy and strong characters, I jumped on it!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I like to think it is currently a career, though not my main one, but would love to see if I can take it even further! I am a mental health therapist and my biggest dream would be to play a superhero on the big screen, then go to Children’s Hospitals as that character to conduct art and play therapy with children in need.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
My cosplays are a little bit of everything! I am learning to sew and create, but sometimes the cosplays are just too complicated for my emerging skills.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends on the complexity of the cosplay! I take as much time as I need to get the cosplay to where I want it, but try not to stress myself out too much about it because at the end of the day this is supposed to bring joy to my life.
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
A three-way tie between Rey, Mera, and Captain Marvel!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Meeting Stan Lee!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I really enjoy group cosplays, because it’s an excuse for my friends to come together and work on thing fun.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Honestly, there’s just too many to type! I am premiering a bunch of them at 3 Rivers Comic-Con during my live photo shoot, so if you’re in the region stop by or keep an eye out on my page!
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I have witnessed a lot of bullying and exclusivism in the community. People hyper-focus on who looks more like a character or who made their cosplay, instead of just realizing the real reason we all show up to cons- to feel included by those who have the same love for stories and characters as we do. Cons should be a safe place for all of us who have felt like we haven’t fit in because of our love for all things nerdy.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Comic book characters are definitely the main staple in my cosplays!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
My favorite part of the cosplay process is being able to interact and meet so many amazing people! I have made so many incredible friends who have challenged me and have helped me grow as a person along this journey. I can’t wait to see who else this hobby/career will bring to my life.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I bought my Spider-Qwen suit from Herostime.com and I am extremely happy with the quality.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Trying to stay balanced and remembering why I started cosplaying in the first place. It can be extremely discouraging when people are making negative comments about your cosplay or writing over-sexualized things on your Instagram photos. But at the end of the day, I try to put that all aside and remember that every community has negative people, but the amazing people and the experiences that come with cosplaying make it all worth it.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
You can’t control other people’s actions. You can only control how you respond to them. In the past, I had negative friends who spent their time at cons making rude comments about others and who would purposefully exclude others. I realized that I did not like how I felt or behaved when I was with them. I decided to distance myself from them and I then became the target, which was very upsetting. But I surrounded myself with positive people and learned not to focus on what other people were doing who were making poor choices.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone has to start somewhere, so just have fun with it!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I like to think that we have become aware that shamming other’s is not okay and are making strides to improve.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I would cosplay Clara from the Dalek Asylum episode- remote controlled Dalek included!
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I set an overall con budget. So if one cosplay is more expensive, I will then wear a cosplay I already had or make one on my list that is cheaper.
What does cosplay mean to you?
I work as a trauma therapist as my main career, so cosplay is my escape for the heavy experiences I have at work. It is also a way to connect with others and as humans, connections are everything.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Inclusive and harassment-free. Plus with really cool effects, because I only imagine how advanced technology will be.
What is your favorite con to attend?
Three Rivers ComicCon
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I don’t think, if I am I hope its to spread more of the positive and to be more inclusive.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Always ask! Consent is the most important thing. Most cosplayers understand that if they are in costume they are going to be approached for pictures and are happy to do so- but it is still necessary to ask to take their pictures, as well as asking to take one with them/touch them during a picture.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I’m a real-life person with feelings, so stop and think before you post something that is mean or over-sexualizing. Other than that I am always happy to interact! Say hi at a con or drop a comment, because I’m always up for new friends!
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I would stop cosplaying if it became a toxic aspect of my life.
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