Cosplaying around

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photo by Robert France

Junior Skylar France cosplays as Wilbur from the Dream SMP featuring the man of the fictional country of L’Manburg.

With blue-painted skin, and hand-made prop ears, Junior Skylar France cosplayed her first-ever character, Undyne from the game “Undertale”, at the age of 13, and has only evolved from there.

The word “cosplay” is a combination of costume and roleplay; passionate fans take on the persona of a certain character or concept.

France’s approach is different. She describes it as “dressing up for Halloween any day of the year.” Still, cosplaying is a hobby that allows her to bring her passion for art and her favorite characters to life; through designing props, putting together costumes, creating makeup looks, and using character’s personas. 

“Cosplaying characters I enjoy and draw all the time is like bringing my interpretation of them to life,” France said. “Acting as them is really fun and it even gives me a little bit of a confidence boost.”

Acting and putting on the persona of the characters she chooses is what separates cosplaying from simply wearing a costume. Though she has not yet attended a cosplay convention she hopes to in the future. For the time being, France shares her cosplays on Instagram of 360 followers, primarily by posting TikToks. By making TikToks that France posts on her Instagram story, she is able to show off the characters’ various personalities, choosing audios and acting in a way that best reflects who they are.

The characters France cosplays are based on her interests at the time. Having cosplayed as characters from Undertale, Homestuck, and Daganropa, she now finds herself primarily cosplaying YouTubers and Twitch Streamers from the Dream SMP such as Wilbur Soot and JSchlatt.

“At first glance, cosplaying for a Minecraft roleplay can seem silly, but the overarching story and their characters’ personalities are super cool,” France said.

Understanding a character and their motivation is important when portraying their character. Being in tune with the proper gestures and facial expressions a character may use is what conveys the roleplay aspect of cosplay.

“Schlatt’s character, a sly, cruel man with ram horns who made himself a dictator, ruling over [a fictional] country with an iron fist just for the sake of doing it,” France said. “He also has one of the best villain laughs I’ve ever heard, so it’s a fun character to do.”

Junior Skylar France cosplays as Schlatt, a villain from the Dream SMP.

While cosplaying the characters of real people from the Dream SMP, a Minecraft server of content-creators, is different from cosplaying characters in anime or video games, as France still enjoys making the costumes like she would for any cosplay. She has made lots of her own props including horns, fins, fake weapons, and fake sticks of TNT.

France acknowledges cosplay can be an expensive hobby with professional gear, SFX makeup, and props that can set someone looking to get into it back hundreds of dollars. 

“In my case as someone who does it casually is about $70-$100 for one I’m doing from scratch where a full outfit, wig, and new makeup is needed,” France said. “If I already have good clothes to cobble an outfit together, then it could cost about $20-$40 if I want to make any props or need extra accessories.”

Though cosplaying may seem intimidating for those on a low-budget, France encourages anyone looking to showcase their favorite characters to find creative ways to do so.

“For new people who want to cosplay, I suggest finding the best deals you can if you have a low budget,” France said. “If your hair is the right color but not the right length, don’t waste your money on a wig, style it and put it in a bun or hide it in a hat. Budget shouldn’t be a limit to creativity.”

Cosplaying is something personal to cosplayers that allows them to showcase their talents and love for different media or entertainment. Though intimidating, the possibilities for cosplay are endless and in the large community, it is easy to find a group to associate with.

“I cosplay the characters I do because I either love their stories, their unique personalities, or they’re very important to me,” France said. “Whether their stories end in tragedy or they come out on top as a hero, whether they’re sweet and kind or villainous and cunning, or they give me a sense of comfort, they’re fun to act as.”

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