Nightwing Cosplayer, ShiroiOji, USA
ShiroiOji Cosplay, Jason
The third person for this “Cosplayer Interview Series” is a Nightwing Cosplayer, the one I have found on Instagram via a common friend, He is a New England Based cosplayer, and have been to conventions as North as Maine and South as Washington, D.C., and as west as Indiana.
He attends at least one convention a month, but also work several charities, some of which I work with the organizations themselves to arrange and some through CausePlay New England. Two of his all-time favorite convention experiences is with KatsuCon and AnimeNEXT.
I’m so excited to share with you his story, buckle up your belts and enjoy!
I have always loved Halloween and costumes. It’s something that spoke to me, even as a child. However, given my age, I was always greatly disillusioned with the costumes one could purchase when I was a child.
The brightly colored smock with a superhero’s name and face on it with a cheap, painful plastic mask? I didn’t even like that when I was five years old.
I have been putting together more and more intricate costumes throughout my adulthood, and in 2013, I dressed as Ky Kiske for Halloween. This awoke something in me, a real passion for putting extreme effort into completing a costumed look.
The following year, I dressed as Link. When I was invited to a superhero party and decided to do Professor X, I was officially completely bitten.
What made the cosplay bug worse was finding a best friend who is as passionate about cosplay as I am, and being able to spend hour upon hour with someone who you totally get along with, (even when you want to kill them !), planning pair and group cosplays, and doing your best to make a splash at conventions ?
That, to me, is the best life I could have asked for.
First convention as a Cosplayer
I went to ConnectiCon 2014, and I brought Professor X with me. This was interesting, and a bit controversial. I checked in with several people in my life who grapple with physical disabilities and was surprised to be encouraged to go to the con all day in the wheelchair, so I did just that.
Despite definitely hearing the song of my people and knowing that this is where I needed to be more often, the con was riddled with odd experiences. I got to learn what it is like to have to push a wheelchair on thick carpeting.
In twelve hours of being at the con, only one person holding a door for me all day long. Five people, one of them doing it three times, thought it was appropriate to physically move my chair out of their way.
People actually avoided eye contact with me as I wheeled by. The only place I was actually treated like a person was at the X-Men photoshoot outside.
At the same time, there were moments when I bonded with people over our geekery, and having the opportunity to speak with The Nostalgia Chick at length was a life-changing experience for me.
To be completely honest, I am a prop guy. The only cosplay I have sewn completely is my genderbend Poison Ivy, and I spent WEEKS sewing each leaf individually to a shrug and underwear, then to a pair of boots.
Making the carnivorous plant prop, (then subsequently the hand ivy from the Ame-Comi Ivy statue,) was one of the most fun prop making experiences I have had. Poison Ivy has actually become one of my favorite cosplays to do, to be honest.
This has several reasons, some are honestly as shallow as the fact that I get a lot of attention in it, as very few people genderbend her. But I also find it to be a very empowering costume to wear.
I have some body issues, as do most people in today’s society. A slut-shamed on a different costume in a popular gay geek group on Facebook by the owner of the group. Who was then backed up by his fellow moderators.
I decided that if they wanted to treat me that way, I was going to put it ALL out there in a costume that I would rock. With the amazing reception I have had from that costume, I feel as though I was more than a bit successful.
Sure, getting into it requires two hours of body paint, but it is SO worth it!
What does a Cosplayer mean to you?
It’s weird. I feel more myself, more at home, when I am in the head of the pleather, spandex or body paint than I do in my regular day to day life.
As a cosplayer, I get to express pieces of myself that I cannot in any other venue. I get to not only work on art, but I get to BECOME art for the day.
There is an echo of this artwork through the photoshoots and other random pictures from the days. I get o be with like-minded people, and I have made some of my best and deepest friendships, all due to cosplay.
If it weren’t for cosplay, I would not know some of the people who mean the most to me. I would not have been able to affect the lives of children at events such as the Boston Special Olympics or Finish at the Fifty.
And I wouldn’t have this deep connection to such a wonderful, multi-faceted world of art. This is a truly epic hobby and I love so much about it.
I honestly had an extremely difficult time at AnimeBoston this past year. With as much fun as I was having in cosplay, seeing the behavior of others was disheartening for me.
I don’t understand why so many cosplayers think it’s ok to treat other people the way that they do. I had several female friends of mine fat shamed. One of my friends left the convention and did not come back because so many people were cruel to her all day long.
Another young woman was crying because people told her that she was too fat to be my own favorite cosplay, Poison Ivy. This behavior is not ok.
My own version of cosplay policing as well, in the form of four people coming up to me and telling me that I needed to be wearing a dancer’s belt. I WAS WEARING ONE.
I didn’t have a problem standing up for myself, but I don’t get how anyone thinks that telling someone else what to do with their junk is ever an appropriate thing to do.
Also, I read about several people being hit with mini-deodorant sticks by people who thought that it was in any way, shape or form ok to police people who were not smelling as fresh as those people believed the offenders should.
Don’t you think to say something cruel is appropriate? No right! But when it comes to assault and battery? Shocked that no one did anything about it or reported these people to security.
I was not planning on going back, but my best friend and three other people have convinced me that I really should return next year. I am considering approaching the organizers about my running a panel on bullying in the cosplay community as a result.
Cosplayers you look up to
You know, I do. My best friend, HIT Cosplay, for one. He’s amazing at what he does, and we really lift each other up and work extremely well with each other.
Jimmy Sherfy is a cosplayer in California who manages looks that I will never be able to pull off, as the man looks like either Anime or a Disney Prince come to life.
Kelton Ching’s makeup work astounds me, and his reaching to do more and more complicated cosplays and makeups keep me inspired.
My friend Anthony, though he no longer considers himself a cosplayer, (I SWEAR I’ll fix that,) as well, because he found a way to connect cosplayers to charity work, and he has done so much to bring happiness to so many other people.
There are honestly a lot more, and if I kept naming them, this would be a thousand pages. Any cosplayer that I follow on Instagram or Facebook? YOU constantly inspire me!
Your Greatest Achievement
On my way to work, I received a notification that my friend SublimeBlizzard Cosplay mentioned me in her story on Instagram.
When I checked, it turned out that I had been featured in a piece by Screen Rant. They considered me to be one of 25 Hottest DC Cosplayers who Really Look Like their Character.
To be told that my Nightwing resonated so well with them, and to have them pay me some of the compliments that they did in the article meant SO much to me.
Also, just as an additional addendum, having Robbie Amell go out of his way to make his way over to me and my friend group at Heroes and Villains three days ago and tell us,
« You guys look awesome ! » was mind-blowing!
Advices would you give to New Aspiring Cosplayers
Cosplay YOUR way. Don’t let anyone else tell you that you aren’t doing it right if you are doing it the way that you want to do it. It is called COSPLAY, and there are no rules other than
- Wear a Costume and
- Have fun!
And if anyone has a problem with you that you cannot handle yourself? Lean on your friends.
We all need a support system, and cosplay can be a great way to get that.
Also, If you see me at a con, say hello! I love talking to people, despite my RBF telling people that I don’t!
Where can we see you?
In the immediate future. I will be at NYCC on Saturday as Anole from X-Men and Sunday as a genderbend Nebula. Also, I’m going to RICC for the Saturday, though I have not planned my cosplay as of yet.
I will definitely also be at KatsuCon and AnimeNEXT in the upcoming year!
ShiroiOji words are definitely inspiring, I’m pretty sure you are now inspired to continue your passion and love of Cosplay. Thank you for participating in our “Cosplay Interview Series”. For your honest expression of ideas and opinion.
I would like to personally thank the person who recommended you to me, Sean a freelance photographer who adores your work.
Let’s continue to support ShiroiOji Cosplay, Follow his social media accounts.