Happy Saturday heroes, we have a new cosplay cafe lined up for you today. Today, Stardust Megu makes her debut in the cafe. For those not in the loop, February is #28daysofblackcosplay on social media. Where this month cosplayers share black cosplayers in an effort to showcase their talents that are usually unseen. This interview with Stardust Megu was done prior but I’m hoping to get a few black cosplayer on here so we can talk about this month among other things. That’s all for announcements, get to know Stardust Megu.
1. What were you like growing up? What were some of the things that you were into as a child/teenager?
I had so many struggles growing up. I have dyslexia, delayed speech, and needed extra help. Because of this, and along with my skin color and size, I was severely bullied at school and didn’t have many close friends growing up. I had low self esteem and felt that I wasn’t good enough. Drawing and watching anime was my escape from reality. I use to draw to communicate and also drew some of my favorite characters! I grew up watching Yu-Gi-Oh, Sailor Moon, Gundam Wing, Dragonball Z and so many shows from Toonami, Kids Wb, and Fox Kids!
2. Did those things influence who you are today?
Absolutely! If I didn’t have these things in my life, then I wouldn’t have been a cosplayer nor would I have been able to expand on my creativity!
3. So you’ve been cosplaying for eight years now. In what ways have the cosplay community changed for the better?
I like how cosplay is becoming mainstream! More people are aware of it and some are interested in joining the community. There’s now better materials to make cosplays. Technology has also in a way helped make it better. You can now find a lot of tutorials on Google and there’s even video tutorials on Youtube! There’s also more online cosplay support groups that people can join so that they learn and connect with other cosplayers! Cosplayers can even earn money through Prints, Patterns, Commissions, Patreon, Twitch, YouTube, etc. There’s even some cosplayers who make a living through cosplay, but it’s not as easy as people think. It still requires a lot of hard work and determination!
4. What are some things the cosplay community can work on?
Unfortunately the discrimination and bullying within the community still exists. If a cosplayer is “too dark”, “too fat”, “not enough boobs” etc., then we’re told that we’re not good enough, even though we work very hard on our cosplays and get the details right. Black Cosplayers are called the “N-word” or “Ghetto” version of the character. People tear us down for our skin, but would praise White and Lighter Skinned POC for doing Blackface in cosplay. Plus Sized Cosplayers are told to “put the fork down, *insert character*” or people ask us “if we ate the character”. Some of our cosplays get shared in groups or pages that condones bullying and tearing down cosplayers.
Some of the so called “professional” photographers and videotographers are guilty of discrimination and have no diversity in their portfolios. Some convention heads don’t hire many POC and Plus Sized Cosplayers to be guests when we can bring so much to the table. So many of us submit to be featured on pages that claim to be accepting of everyone, but 95% of the cosplayers that they feature are thinner and lighter skinned. Even websites like Kotaku are guilty of not being diverse in their “Top 20 Best Cosplays” lists. If they do add some POC and Plus Sized Cosplayers then they are the “ideal” ones (lighter skinned POC or Plus Sized Cosplayers with an hour glass or pear shape). I barely see places that feature darker skinned cosplayers who are also plus sized and have bigger bellies. Even those within the Blerd and other nerdy marginalized groups are guilty of discrimination and would undermine or bully their fellow people for not looking a certain way. It’s really sad. Because of this, some POC and Plus Sized cosplayers feel that they’re not good enough or don’t belong in the community. People outside of the cosplay community who aren’t close to the asinine beauty standards sees this and will be super hesitant to cosplay.
Photographers, videotographers, conventions, websites, etc. really need to be diverse because they have a huge influence in the community. There’s so many amazing cosplayers of all skin colors and body sizes out there. Featuring the same few popular POC and Plus Sized cosplayers or working with us once in a blue doesn’t count. Featuring all types of cosplayers in a positive light will show people that you don’t need to look a certain way to be an amazing cosplayer. This will also encourage people outside of the community to cosplay too!
5. What went into making your Tharja cosplay? I know she’s one of your favorite cosplays you’ve done.
I did so much for my Tharja cosplay! It actually took me about 4-5 months to complete. I made the bodysuit out of spandex, an old bra, fax stretch leather, poplin, craft foam and stockings! I also styled the wig and made my own pigtail clip-ons. The headpiece is made out of craft foam covered in worbla. The cape took the longest to make! I love the details and the dangling parts! I even added pockets! My Nosferatu Tome prop was fun to make and even has LED lights inside!
6. Off topic question,favorite food?
I have so many lol! But I really love Bacon Cheeseburgers!
7. How was Anime NYC this year?
Anime NYC was so much fun this year and they expanded the space! I debuted my Rin Tohsaka cosplay from Fate/Stay Night and my Panther (Ann) from Persona 5. I also wore my Tharja cosplay! All three have gotten so much praise and especially my Tharja and Panther! My friends and I did our Cosplay and Disabilities Panel again and it was great! Lots of people attended! I was able to see my old friends again and made new ones. I even met so many my fans and most of them were surprised on how short I am in person!
8. What is something cosplay has taught you about yourself?
Cosplay has taught me that I too can look amazing as any character I want, despite being darker skinned and plus sized!
9. Back in August you were featured in Cosplay Real Magazine talking about #blackcosplayerhere and the impact it’s had on the community. Do you think there’s been an improvement where you see more black cosplayers being recognize?
I believe that #blackcosplayerhere not only helped some black cosplayers to get their names out there, but it also helped to spread the awareness of what we go through in the community and opened some people’s eyes. I saw some tweets from a few photographers who say that because of the hashtag, they realized that they haven’t been diverse in their portfolios and are working to change that. There’s still some work to be done, but I think that #blackcosplayerhere did got a lot people’s attention and made them think really hard about their actions.
10. Can you hint at any cosplays you are currently working on?
Right now I’m working on Bowsette, Athena/Saori Kido from Saint Seiya and Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates. I’m also planning a few more and will reveal them soon! I’m excited for all of them and especially for Athena and Camilla!
11. What conventions can people find you at next year?
I’m currently planning the cons that I’ll attend, but you guys will most likely see me at Brooklyn Comic Con, New York Comic Con and Anime NYC!
12. Final question, anything you want to say to your fans?
I want to say that I love you guys so much! I appreciate all of the support and praise you guys have given me for my cosplays! There are times that I doubted myself, but seeing your wonderful comments and meeting you guys at events really makes my day! I want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart!
Above are Stardust Megu social media links. Be sure to give her a follow on any of those platforms when you get the chance too. If you have a cosplayer you want me to interview, leave a comment down below and I’ll do my best to make something happen. Until next time, I’m Ben and I’m out!