Cosplay Spotlight Interview with Cosplayer Wreck It Ronnie
This Cleveland native has been attending conventions since she was 13 but entered into the cosplay world in 2014. There is a long list of cosplay favs among them are Lolipop Chainsaw, Chel from Road to The El Dorado, and a varied version of Korra. We had the chance to speak with Ronnie about cosplay inspirations and future plans.
How long have you been a cosplayer?
I’ve been pulling things out of my closet for conventions since I was 13, but I started making my own costumes in 2014. I still don’t make all my costumes because I’m also a full-time student and work part-time and there’s usually not enough hours in the day, lol.
Who or what inspired you to start cosplaying?
I got interested in the idea of cosplaying when I was in middle school watching Fighting Dreamers Pro videos. I used to be super into Naruto and I thought making cosplay CMVs or videos like that would be super cool, especially with friends! I’ve always been more of an acting than a costuming type, so the second part had to come later with practice. I only ever made a couple of CMVs that were pretty bad quality; once I got better at actually making cosplays I became more interested in how far I could push my limits in creation instead and I may revisit the idea soon. Since then I have gained many cosplay inspirations but it would take way too long to list all of the wonderful cosplayers that helped get me to where I am today and I’m glad to call many of them my friends now.
Do you feel that cosplay has impacted your life? If so, in what ways?
A very large majority of my friends right now I met and connect with through cosplay. Cosplaying made me have to learn certain skills that seem to come in handy outside of the hobby all the time: like makeup application, basic sewing, and crafting, being creative with materials I have lying around, improving on basic posing and acting, and social media networking techniques. Cosplay also gave me something to be good at and to get better at. I constantly want to do better than my last work.
What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying?
Nap. I like to nap a whole lot. I’m a full-time college student right now and I work part time at an on-campus IT center. I watch a lot of cartoons lol. I really do sleep a lot. I’m also really into dancing.
Which character is your favorite to cosplay?
That’s always a tough question to answer. Favorite, as in its just comfy and great, would probably be Mordecai. I could sleep in that cosplay if someone let me. I also have a lot of fun in it–especially if I have a Rigby to run around with. We have an excuse to go roll around the game room and just have entirely too much fun. As far as a cosplay that really makes me feel like a full-fledged cosplayer it’d have to be Panty. I love how pretty and powerful I feel wearing her. I probably get stopped the most for photos in her or Kuzco. It can be tough to wear after a while, though. I’m planning on making alterations to her soon though that should help with that a bit.
What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
Definitely Panty more than any other costume, I had gotten all the supplies I needed and was sort of sitting on them as far as getting anything done or working on the cosplay for a while when just a few weeks before my first Youmacon my friend invited me to go. I ended up pulling all-nighters many times in the weeks before the con, after work and school, to get everything done. But I pulled off just in time!! Now she’s one of my favorite costumes!
What has your experience been as a female/male cosplayer of color? Has that ever been a factor in your career?
It’s always hard the first few times hearing that you’re too black to be a character you love and put a lot of time, money and energy into making the costume for. I’d like to think I’m getting better at handling the racist remarks but in reality, I don’t think I am? I might just be getting better at reacting outwardly to it. It’s still something that gets internalized really easily and can sometimes rear its ugly head at the most inopportune times.
When I was first getting into cosplay, a couple of no longer friends of mine had told me I was too dark to cosplay characters with blonde hair and I ended up staying away from characters I really liked and wanted to be for a long time because of that. Now my natural hair is bleached blonde too, as a constant reminder that I can do anything and pull off everything because my black is beautiful. Its just about baby steps of defiance I think. Pushing the boundaries of what’s seen as acceptable for you to do is always going to be met with backlash, but it will also encourage others to do the same and try something they’ve always dreamed but never dared. I’d say being able to do that for others is a really important part of cosplay for me.
What do you think of the state of the cosplay fandom right now? How do you think it can be better?
I think there’s a lot of pressure to look just like a character to the point that people are told they aren’t “good” unless they sacrifice something of themselves that they can’t or just don’t want to. I think as of recent, the community has been doing a better job at promoting that anyone can cosplay anything they want, but the next step is not limiting what you think they can cosplay /well/. People can’t always change size, skin color, sex, facial or body features, tattoos, and piercings, or anything else that teeters in the realm of things that make people human. I think we need to make strides to remind ourselves and each other that there are people under these costumes with a life all of their own outside of cosplay. To think that they can’t cosplay well because they refuse to lighten or darken their skin tones with makeup, cover up a tattoo, go on an insane and unhealthy diet, or remove jewelry, shows that you see them as 2-dimensional mannequins made for the purpose of personifying a character. Its objectifying, and it needs to stop.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Drink water at cons and wash your hands all the time. Always ask a previous client for a review before working with a new unknown photographer and bring someone with you if you can, for every mean comment you see there are at least 10 positive ones so stop rereading the mean one over and over again, con food is expensive pack sandwiches, group cosplays will be some of the most fun you will have organizing chaos, make lots of friends because friends come in handy, help and be helped, do no harm but take no shit, cosplay communities have lots of high school drama so keep your circle small and plead the 5th if someone tries to drag you into their mess, cosplay is not a priority: finish your homework, stay in school, and skip that convention if you’re low on rent, and lastly if you’re having fun and making other people have fun, you cosplay well. That’s really all there is to it. Also, bring lots of deodorant.
Do you get to travel the country to different conventions? What show can fans expect to see you at next?
Mostly local as of now, But I’ve gone to Conventions in Michigan, Maryland, and I’ll be going to my first Georgia con this fall! When I actually get my own car I’ll be all over the place B). My next fling will be at Colossalcon this June! See all you cool cats there!~