Cerritos’ Cosplaying Covergirl


Cesar Villa

Business major Elizabeth Craig has been cosplaying since the age of 15. Craig views cosplay more as a part of her life than a hobby.

Cesar Villa and Desmond Byrd

It’s humid and smelly, a young cosplayer is struggling to keep her costume from falling apart, at the same time she is being welcomed and applauded for it at the Anime Expo.

The illustrious world of cosplay belongs to those who dare to bring fantasy into reality, whether it’s building an elaborate armor or wearing almost nothing at all.

For students like Elizabeth Craig, a 19-year-old business major, cosplaying isn’t a hobby or a phase, it’s apart of her life.

Craig began her cosplaying career at the age of 15 and has learned to design her own costumes through the help of YouTube and two artists, her parents.

“I’ve always been an artsy-fartsy person, I like to just make stuff, and I was kinda cosplaying before I knew what cosplaying was,” she said.

Craigs earliest cosplays were of Ash and Pikachu from the notorious “Pokémon” anime series.

It wasn’t until she went to the Nasai Festival in Little Tokyo where her admiration and inspiration for cosplay blossomed.

She admitted that at the time she wasn’t dressed as a character, she had simply worn a pink wig, a black dress and white thigh highs at the event.

“All these cosplayers came up to me and said, ‘Hey, come join us in the parade,’” Craig laughed, “So I was in the parade and I was like this is something that I really want to do, and ever since that day cosplay’s been an obsession to me.”

Her first official costume that she made was Yuno Gasai from the manga series “Mirai Nikki” (Future Diary).

It took a long sleepless night to make just so she could wear it on her first day of school in her junior year.

Because Craig likes to “go all out” on her costumes, they tend to range from $200-$300 and can take a week to two months to finish.

She currently has two favorite costumes, the first is Deathwing from the “World of Warcraft” that was an armor build along with a charmanders tail attached to it.

The second is Alex from “Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux,” which had a dark, yet sleek look, both are role-playing video games.

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One of Craig’s favorite character to cosplay is Alex from “Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux.” Craig spent a total of three weeks and $400 constructing the costume. Photo credit: Eliseo Velasquez

Craig spent over three weeks crafting “Alex” and about $400 went into materials like: fabrics (that she personally sewn into a cape), a $200 bodysuit, a wig, a headset made of resin and a gun made of apoxie sculpts and pvc.

This costume also holds sentimental value.

“It took me three weeks to make this intricate cape and I finished it just a couple of days after my grandma died,” she said, “whenever I wear the costume it’s like I feel her with me.”

Unlike many cosplayers, Craig tends to dress up as characters from video games over anime because she’s a gamer at heart.

Craig grew up watching her father play games and picked up the controller at five years old, “I played mainly Playstation and around 11, I got my first Xbox 360 — now I play Nintendo and PC, I’m moving on up to the master race,” she said with a chuckle.

With the combination of her timid nature and the bullying she received in middle school she ended up diagnosing herself with social anxiety and depression.

Because Craig was bullied she often found friends by playing online and would invest lots of time playing.

She found out later that the best way to cope with her depression was through cosplaying, she said, “I fell into depression for a couple months because I wasn’t making anything after my grandma passed away.”

“If I play a video game, working, going to school or even doing school projects it’s not the same, if I’m not working on cosplay, my life’s a wreck,” she concluded.

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Craig uses cosplay as a coping mechanism to combat depression. Cosplay can even be attributed to Craig’s “cracking out of her shell.” Photo credit: Cesar Villa

Craig also said that she’s been cracking out of her shell due to her cosplaying, and has been gaining more friends on social media.

She has even gained fans that look up to her ability to create and model her costumes and is filled with content and bewilderment as to why they would choose to support her.

Craig has immersed herself with Japanese culture by learning the language, listening to their music and consuming anime and Japanese video games.

She has also faced criticism by others calling her a “weeaboo,” which is a derogatory slang term used to describe a westerner who is obsessed with Japanese culture.

“I used to be really insulted by it, but now I embrace because it’s true, its bad but it’s true,” she said, “it’s probably insulting to the Japanese like no you’re white stop acting like your Japanese.”

“I’m not at the point where I’m disrespectful anymore, where I’m speaking half broken Japanese […] I want to be on that line where I can be interested and willing to learn, but not to the point where I’m actually disgraceful to people,” she said.

Most cosplayers go through some sort of sexual harassment whether it’s online or in public, Craig explained that more often than not people will be harassed when doing photo shoots in public.

Recently she faced an ordeal with a user who left inappropriate comments, and fearing for her safety, she decided to block and report the person.

With the help of her friends she was also able to remove all locations from her Instagram profile, delete an old Facebook account, changed her online name on all social medias and archived all the photos the user had found her in.

She did all this to insure her safety she said, “You can’t always pass things off as internet comments or trolling because they can become very real.”

Craig has been fortunate enough to not have dealt with any body-shamers while cosplaying, and that she feels comfortable with her body while understanding that it’s actually a luxury to feel that way.

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Contrary to most cosplayers, Craig prefers to cosplay as charcteres from video games as opposed to characters from anime. One example of Craig’s cosplays is Link from “The Legend of Zelda.” Photo credit: Eliseo Velasquez

She has said that she normally sticks to characters with her body type and skin color “As much as I believe whatever color of skin or weight you are you could cosplay whatever you want.

“I do think that when it comes to me, a skinny white person, I need to stay in my lane,” she concluded with a laugh.

If you would like to see more of Craig’s
cosplays then follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter @Wyvellie.