I have been an avid lover of cosplay and costuming since I was about 15 years old in high school. I went to my first NYCC in sophmore year and just about died. Since then, I’ve been exposed to so many different men and women who toil over worbla, hot glue and sandpaper for the love of their craft. However, when I think of cosplayers who make a difference in our community, one name really stands out to me; Petite Ebby Cosplay. This beautiful lady has honestly made strides in the POC Cosplay community that deserve more than just an honorable mention. Hear her story and what she has to say in our interview below!
Francais: Firstly thank you so much for gracing me with your e-presence, girl! I have been seeing your photos everywhere . It seems like forever since your name has been in the scene. When did you officially start cosplaying? How did you learn about what cosplay was?
Ebby: I want to thank you, ladies, for giving me the opportunity to do this interview with you. Well, I first started cosplaying back in 2010. I am from a small city in Georgia, so at the time we didn’t have any anime or comic conventions at that time. So, there was a cultural event in my city known as Asian Festival. An event which consists of different Asian cultures such as Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and many others it was an only one-day event. Then I noticed a few cosplayers there. I knew what cosplaying was many years ago; my mother showed me an anime network interview of Anime Expo when I was 10 or 11 years old. So seeing those cosplayers that day sparked my interest to start cosplaying.
Francais: I know when I launched my fan-page, in the back of my head, I was like this is so dumb. Nobody is gonna follow me. It’s gonna be a flop. What thoughts went through your head when launching your first social media page, and what advice do you have for ladies and gents who are looking to do the same?
Ebby: To be honest, I felt the same way I thought no one was going to like my work, and no one was going to follow me. But I couldn’t continue to think like that because this was something I love to do. I told myself there will be people out there won’t like my work and that’s ok, as long as I am doing this for myself it doesn’t matter what others think. I started posting small cosplay WIP’s and costest on Tumblr, then sooner or later I moved to Facebook then Instagram soon after. To anyone who wants to start a social media page, likes and followers shouldn’t matter. If you’re passionate about making cosplays, posting costest, or even making cosplay tutorials don’t change that, keep going, and keep posting your work. People will come to follow you because of your work. So don’t give up.
Francais: Thats really good advice honestly. Its super easy to get wrapped up in the numbers game with building a following. Twitter makes me want to pull my hair out . Continuing on building a following, which cosplay really helped you take-off? We all have that one picture that goes viral or moment when the spotlight is on us. What moment was that for you?
Ebby: My Connie Maheswaran cosplay was my first cosplay went viral for me. remembered attending Momocon 2014 and Connie was a last minute cosplay for me, so I remember going to the fabric store getting materials and I remembering making the skirt at my friend house. So my best friend, Liz was cosplaying as Steven Universe, so she told me we can do a photoshoot together. When the photo shoot was over we decided to walk around for a while. We were stopped a lot to take pictures. Also, I remember taking a picture with a Garnet cosplayer. So I think a few hours later If I can recall all three of us went viral. So when we got our pictures back from our photo shoot I posted on Tumblr and that also went viral.
Francais: I remember seeing that one 😮 Jesus 2014 seems like yesterday T_T We’re getting old. You have a slew of cosplays that you’ve completed over the years. Which was your favorite cosplay to do? Regardless of difficultly or popularity?
Ebby: I would have to choose Sailor Tiana because she was a huge learning experience for me. I didn’t know what horsehair braid was until a few friends suggest it to me, what it is it make skirts, dresses, or sleeves keep their shape and structure. I also had to make the sleeve rolls, and it was my first time doing that. It wasn’t perfect, but I tried my best. The first time I wore her I made a few mistakes, so I decided to wear her again. So, I made huge changes to it such as buying a new wig, remaking the crown, even remaking the sleeve rolls. The cosplay looked so much better when I made adjustments to those pieces. I was so proud of it.
Francais: Sailor Tiana was lit as all hell. I’m a huge moonie and support ANY sailor moon x cosplay but the fact that you did a black princess just made me more ecstatic. Speaking on melanin pride, recently, you caused a huge stir in the community by rallying our community to come together strongly for
#28daysofcosplay . You went as far as to create a master list of black cosplayers which amounted to over 500 people. What gave you this amazing and helpful idea?
Ebby: The reason I made the list so we can find each other easier while doing features for the
#28daysofblackcosplay, also so more cosplayers can join in and share us. I was getting a little tired of people saying they didn’t know any talented black cosplayers. And black nerds who are trying to get into cosplay, but are discouraged because of the constant racism that goes on in the community. There are so many talented black cosplayers in this community who have the potential to become guest, and becoming well-known. But sadly, there about people out there that don’t want to see that happen.
Francais: Im assuming this directly stemmed from the lack of sharing POC cosplayers on mainstream cosplay pages. What do you think the best way for us to break those walls down in cosplay?
Ebby: One of my cosplaying friends said that you should email anime conventions, and give them guest recommendations even suggest yourself as a guest. Also, give them interesting reasons why you consider them or yourself as a guest. As for cosplay submission pages message these pages and ask them if they’re willing to feature you on their page. Sometimes we can’t wait for these opportunities to happen, at times we have to go chase them.
Francais: I definitely can agree with that. Be proactive. And always fight for what you want. If one group leaves you “on seen” , there are 100 more . Finally Ebby, what advice do you have for new POC content creators about this scene and are there any resources you would point them to? Your opinions are immensely valuable as a veteran cosplay !
Ebby: One thing I learned, don’t limit yourself to one social media platform. It’s getting harder to reach people and even followers. So having at least two social media platforms helps out a lot. Talk and interact with your followers sometimes I would leave comments on my follower’s post and even reply to their comments on your post helps. Another one of my advice practice makes perfect if something doesn’t go right the first time it’s ok. Try again trust me you will see the results, and please don’t stress out about completing a cosplay on time for the con, your health is so much more important. As a black cosplayer surround yourself with positive cosplayers, who will actually understand you and knows your struggles as a black cosplayer. And aren’t afraid to call out their problematic friends. There are so many ignorant things that go on in the cosplay community. And as a result, they’re constantly being overlooked because they’re friends with someone.