Golden Angel's Cosplay
An In Depth Interview with Ohio's Up and Coming Cosplayer
*May contain curse words, anime spoilers, and paraphrasing. Direct quotes are indicated with quotation marks*
Cosplay, or costume play, is an ever-growing community in all corners of the world! Since the term was coined in 1980s Japan, this pastime has grown farther than its anime roots and into anything from pop-cultural references (Disney cartoons give a lot of inspiration) to fantasy timelines (I'm looking at you Steampunk) and everything in between. Cosplay is a performance art in its own right and a unique way for individuals of all ages to express themselves freely.
I recently had the privilege to sit down with one of Ohio's up and coming cosplayers, Golden Angel. A busy college student, a lover of anime, and a down to earth person, I got to the laugh with a truly passionate individual.
Golden Angel: That's not an easy one! I mean it’s obvious that I do Harley Quinn (DC universe), female Captain America (Marvel universe), Ariel (Disney), Lucy Heartfilia (Fairy Tail), Diane, Princess Elizabeth, Melascula (all Seven Deadly Sins), Kakashi (Naruto), Aphrodite (Original/Greek Mythology), um I’m trying to think of everything I’ve done, there’s so many!So how do you go about choosing characters?
I go about choosing my characters depending on if I get like a vibe for them. Like Lucy Heartfilia and Diane: I felt like I was them.
We had a lot of similarities cause Diane felt outcasted. Like she’s a giant and yeah she’s admired for her strength but at the same time she’s not—they don’t recognize her for her actual potential until after she leaves and after all this shit goes down in the giant race.
Lucy had to find a home away from home and was worried about not being accepted because of being different and then found family—found her home away, her true home where she actually belonged, with her friends.
So I guess like the connection I make between me and the characters, sometimes I like the sadistic ones a lot cause those are just fun to cosplay as.I have to ask, who do you think your favorite is?
That’s like asking your mom to pick her favorite child! I mean, my favorite character... uh... It’s honestly a tie between Diane and Lucy, that should come as no shocker.
“That’s like asking your mom to pick her favorite child!”
Well if you just get them, it makes sense!
Yeah, but it’s more than that! Lucy was seen as weak for the longest time. She is powerful, yes, and she’s a wizard, yeah, but her magic is dependant upon her keys and without her keys, she was weak for a long time. But she had this strong development to the point where she picked her star dresses and they give her the ability to do magic without her keys. Then she’s able to summon her spirits without her keys so those who underestimated her were quickly proven wrong cause she is something and I think that’s why I cosplay her so much because there’re a lot of people who underestimate me with 'oh you’re just Carrigan, it’s fine' but I’m more.
(I received an updated answer shortly after the initial interview but wanted to include the original answer as well above): Aphrodite has become my official favorite. The other two hold a special place in my heart since those were the first cosplays I was ever known as.How do you go about getting into character? What's the process you go through?
It's honestly kind of how actors and actresses get into roles for TV shows—kind of like how they mentally have to put themselves into character, that's how I do it. So as I’m getting ready to put on a cosplay I get into the mind of them as I’m putting on the makeup that goes with them, the wig, the costume itself, like that entire preparation time is me getting into character and then when I walk out I don’t respond to Carrigan much. It’s “hey that’s Diane” or “hey that’s Lucy” like I’m immediately that person once everything’s on. It’s weird, it’s like the flip of a switch.
“... then when I walk out I don’t respond to Carrigan much.”
So funny story, I actually have to give a lot of credit to an old family friend. It was the summer of my seventh-grade year and I remember it so vividly because I had to go to Columbus, Ohio and she asked if I wanted to watch Soul Eater and I didn't know what that was. She told me it was anime and I didn't know what that was either! So she introduced me: Soul eater was my very first one and then I went to Black Butler. Basically, I watched all the gateway anime drugs. Later on, she came to my brother’s going away party (he was going into the Army) and she brought me this Soul Eater plushie. It was my first ever anime merchandise that I’ve ever owned. She said, “This is to make you happy cause your brother is going to the military." So yeah that’s how I got into anime!
I didn’t really start cosplay until my senior year of high school. I did so much in high school I didn’t have time. I manage time a lot better than high school me. When I graduated I finally was able to sit down and start cosplaying. My grandma actually made me my first cosplay which was female Belarus from Hetalia and they’re so freaking cute! My Hetalia cosplays are the most appropriate cosplays I own. So my dad’s not happy about that! But it’s fine, it's okay. We’re all okay here!
"[The cosplay community] is the most accepting community I've ever been a part of."
It is the most accepting community I’ve ever been a part of. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Mexican, male, female, trans. Doesn’t matter your sexual orientation, doesn’t matter what you go by, it doesn’t matter anything! You can be in this community and be accepted because you don’t have to be 100% like the character you’re cosplaying and I think that’s the most important thing to remember.
That’s what people worry about when they’re just in because they’re introduced to it by famous cosplayers like Jessica Nigri and all these other girls and guys who are famous who have all these spot on cosplays. But then you dig deeper into the community and you realize “ wow this person may not have the best cosplay but they portray the character the best” and even having my page be so low I still get a lot of love from more famous or well known cosplayers. I had one of my pictures liked by Jessica Nigri’s best friend and I almost had a heart attack... Woah that was a great day.
It's kinda cool I was in a conversation with this one cosplayer. He’s African American but he has one of the best Venom cosplays I’ve seen as of date. There are these other guys I follow (I follow every kind of cosplayer, I follow from Japan and I follow from France but like the main ones I talk to are American) and they cosplay Dragon Ball Z and they have like the best Dragon Ball Z ever! Just like being in that accepting community, I feel at home when I go to cons and when I have a new cosplay like “oh my god guys this is so exciting!”Which leads us right into the next question: tell me about the con-going experience. The positives, the negatives, where you’ve been, etc.
Positives and negatives?
Okay so we’re gonna start off with negatives 'cause I feel like this is kind of a part to highlight: as a female cosplayer, and I have to stress this because I only know the female aspects, you have to be very careful. A lot of the cons that I’ve gone to or plan on going to have no perverts that are trying to rape you and taking pictures of you under your skirt.
That's a good thing!
It’s like you want to play characters that kind of have this daunting twist cause like I to do more daring cosplays (which is fine, there’s not a problem with it) but that leads to worry of someone going too far with their admiration. I’ve had people follow me as a cosplayer that get inappropriate with their touching. Every time they saw me they tried to touch me and I don’t mind if you want to hug me but I want to consent. A lot of them ignored consent!
At a lot of the cons, my worries are the hard work I do on my cosplays and I’ve started making a lot of them and even if they’re bought it’s a lot of effort and not everyone has that same respect. They’ll just kind of ignore your boundaries. Cosplay’s not consent. That’s the biggest thing I can stress. I get this from my page and I get this from con, they think just because I cosplay sexy characters and am wearing something sexy that they can treat me like a sex object. That’s not the case. That’s the biggest negative. I haven’t been introduced to anything else but that. Cons are known to have a lot of other negative aspects.
"Cosplay's not consent."
But I usually surround myself with the positives! The positives are so many things, you meet so many wonderful people, it's just a great atmosphere to be a part of. Every time I go to con I leave with like 20 more friends.
You get to see new cosplays, all these new adaptations of cosplays you may have. I see like 20 freaking Lucys an hour and I’m like 'oh my god your Lucy’s amazing' and the same thing happens to me and then we talk about how we made it. So like my maid Lucy that I was making, people would ask how I did it and I’d be like 'funny story I had to find a Wonder Woman corset and an Alice in Wonderland skirt and I combined the two' and they’re like 'oh my god that’s genius'. Then someone else is like 'I just kinda threw this together and I ironed on the designs' or other people are like 'oh I commissioned this, I had someone else make it' and that’s kind of important to remember too cause not everyone can make things and not everyone can buy things so you never know if it’s closet cosplay or not. And I think it’s cool cause sometimes the best cosplays I’ve seen have been closet cosplays and I’m impressed! Like I wish I had that in my closet!
So definitely seeing new cosplays. Kinda like I’ve been stopped by multiple photographers. I’m so sad I don't have the card anymore but this one photographer was so in awe with my Diane at Colossal Con and he was like 'I’m sorry I know you look like you’re busy but I really just want to do a quick mini-shoot' and we did this really cute mini-shoot and I did the little pigtails thing she does in the anime 'cause I’m basic.
"Not everyone can make things and not everyone can buy things so you never know if it’s closet cosplay or not."
Some cons that you go to have a specific vibe. You have your very relaxing cons (I’ve only been to like 3 or 4 different cons which is fine 'cause I’m pretty new to this in retrospect) so my first con was in Jackson, Mississippi. It was in its second year so it was very relaxed, very chill, not many people because you’re not going to have a lot of people at a small con. I always recommend people go to a small con before they go to a big con. I don’t recommend big cons being someone’s first con unless they can handle 20 plus people a day. I can’t even handle 5 on a good day. Now Matsuricon and Ohayocon in Columbus, Ohio are a step up from that but they still have this really nice chill and relaxing vibe cause you can sit on the ground and just chat for hours and you’re fine or you can go up to the bar upstairs and have a few drinks and still have a good time. Colossal Con is the main con I go to and it’s known as the party con. Typically people are drunk the entire time and I shit you not I have been drunk the entire time, three times. I have met interesting people, I met like my family at a con!
In general the good things about it are you’re always meeting new people, you can’t go wrong going to a con, you never know who you’re going to meet because you can meet a famous cosplayer and not even know they’re a famous cosplayer, and they’ll talk to you and then you’ll realize 'oh shit' cause that’s happened! I was like 'oh fuck'. It kinda goes with the why I enjoy the community, it’s like being at home with nerds, it’s an extended home. Everything about it is really fun! I’m anxious to go to another con!So what are we looking forward to from you? What are your future goals, ideas, aspirations?
Like I said earlier one of my future cosplays is in the making and I’m so excited and it’s a female Captain America. I hope to get more well known as a cosplayer, I’m still building my page but it’s kinda hard to get content when you constantly have school and work. I hope all around to be able to do more shoots and go to more cons. I want to broaden the cons I go to because the more cons you go to the more noticed you get which is my thing, a lot of people can go to 5 cons in 3 months and I can’t do that 'cause I have commitments. In general just make myself a better cosplayer, a better model. I am a cosplay model so that’s a thing!
"Just remember that it’s there to be fun and it’s not a competition."
- Anything you feel like we missed?
Never be afraid to try cosplay if you feel like it's something that you wanna do. Even if it’s not something you continue to do you’ll probably still have fun going to cons whether you are in cosplay, not in cosplay, whether you make it a job or a little hobby. Just remember that it’s there to be fun and it’s not a competition.