The Self-Driven Cosplayer – Leo

Leo in their Lucy Heartfilia cosplay from Fairy Tail.

Leo in their Lucy Heartfilia cosplay from “Fairy Tail.”

Paula Le, Reporter

When I encounter somebody who is dressed in cosplay, whether it’s from attending Comic-Con or seeing an individual on the internet, I look down towards my outfit and sigh thinking, “Dang, what I would do to look fabulous as well.”

As a junior here at Sahuaro, Leo is a passionate cosplayer who truly finds cosplay as a source of expression. “To me, cosplay is a type of art you can do whatever you want. Cosplay is a way to express your creativity in many different things… It’s always a way to express yourself and help find who you are. I know it did for me,” Leo marvels.

Leo began to cosplay around June of 2020. What honestly brought them to start cosplaying is when they watched a great deal of anime, they thought it would be a pleasant challenge to see how much they can imitate a character. After researching what cosplay is and saw well-known cosplayers via social media, it encouraged Leo to not only create their version of a certain character but “act out someone who’s not me.” Some of Leo’s favorite cosplayers boosted their confidence in joining the cosplay world, for Leo characterizes these cosplayers having their own style and doing what they please, thus, putting a smile on Leo’s face.

Rocking as Kirishima from “My Hero Academia.”

The cosplayer life is not as hard as it seems. Depending on the character Leo intends to dress as and the makeup process, the final touch sums up to be about 25 dollars or less. Leo mentions that everyone’s makeup skills and costuming towards their cosplay vary. They express, “I buy most of the things needed, but sometimes I just find outfits from my closet that I think works with a character well. Also, I try and make props but they don’t always turn out good but that just calls for practice.”

Leo has done various cosplay but their two favorite ones would be Kirishima from “My Hero Academia” and a tie between Lucy from “Fairy Tail” and Elizabeth Liones from “Seven Deadly Sins.” Leo leans towards the genre of anime when it comes to cosplay. They stated that’s what they’re into more, however, is one of Leo’s goals is to get into Disney a bit. Hoping to cosplay from the “Anastasia” movie and Jasmine from “Aladdin” with her long purple dress, Leo admitted that both will cost a great deal of money. “Maybe I’ll save up or I’ll learn how to sew better and make them myself.”

When asked whether they enjoy playing a male or female character more than the other, Leo clarified that they prefer to do male cosplay more. “The guys always had more makeup designs than the girls, such as having more insane details. I feel more happy and comfortable in guy cosplay, especially as a non-binary person.” As a result, they would like to be referred to the name Leo, and Leo alone.

Leo as Lance from “Voltron.”

The commitment is on another level when it comes to cosplay for Leo. They admitted that during a conference period, they were cosplaying but did not keep track of time and forgot their class started. “I rushed into class in my full Kirishima cosplay with my camera on and that was so embarrassing for me.” Leo recounted another event where they worked on a cosplay until 11 p.m., took pictures and videos, and fell asleep in their full outfit. Waking up the next morning, Leo describes this moment as a nightmare.

What’s the best aspect that came out of cosplay for Leo? Working with makeup designs and styling alongside incorporating expressions and acting!

Cosplay is not for everyone and Leo believes there is nothing wrong with that. Those who tend to not accept and ridicule the art of cosplay do not faze Leo the slightest bit. “That’s fine. I just ignore those people and I could care less.” All Leo asks is for individuals to respect a person’s costume, makeup, and props, for they invested their time towards their cosplay and one shouldn’t hurt the person’s feelings.

“I will become the god of the new world.”          – Light Yagami from “Deathnote.”

As a cosplayer, cosplay is beyond a mere hobby. Leo sees themselves doing cosplay for a long time because they find much comfort and satisfaction from it. Leo reckons they’ll never stop cosplaying from all the thrill they get. “I would love to do this as a fun side job or possibly create my own YouTube channel and make skits. Cosplay just brings me a lot of happiness and I want to inspire others one day.”

*wipes a tear from the left eye, stands up, and claps*