When it comes to cosplay, the first thing that comes to mind is a slim and sexy female dressed up in one’s favorite anime or comic book character.
That’s why Cinita C, a plus-sized cosplayer, couldn’t find costumes her own size.
Watch her story below!
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Video credit: Rumble
That’s why in 2012, she taught herself how to make costumes for herself and then eventually, she started making them for other people.
The 25-year-old hopes that by highlighting the need for diversity in the comic book world, she can make the cosplay community a more inclusive space.
Cin, from Brooklyn, New York, said: “I feel the need to not redefine cosplay but add a broader definition to it because I need others to see that there are people like them.
“The prejudice I face is mostly being plus-sized, that I’m too fat to be a character or I shouldn’t be doing it because of my weight or because of my size.
“The prejudice mostly lies, sadly, within the internet community.
“People feel the right to be able to say whatever they want to another person, just because they’re not in front of them.”
It wasn’t just the weight that was an issue. At a cosplay event seven years ago, she noticed most of the characters portrayed were white.
“I fell in love with the idea of going around, dressed up as a character and taking pictures with other people dressed up,” she said.
“I realized that cosplay wasn’t exactly made for me pretty quickly, but it didn’t discourage me.
“Even though I couldn’t find things that were my size, I would buy them and alter them.
“It took a while for me to come out of the box and be like, ‘I’m going to try it’.”
Cin started with costumes that were unavailable to her and at the same time, she hopes other women of color become inspired to follow her lead whenever she dresses up as characters who are normally portrayed as white or Asian.
“When I’ve met people or spoken to them online, their biggest appreciation is that I’m a plus-size person of color – Afro-Latina.
“I’m doing something that isn’t necessarily made for me, but I decided I enjoyed it and why not.
“The fact other people see it and wanted to be part of it originally, but were hesitant, and now they see me and they’re like, ‘I can do this’.
“It doesn’t matter my skin type, it doesn’t matter my sexual orientation, none of those things matter – if I love a character, I can respectfully portray them.”
Cin is from a family of women who know how to sew but she only got into it when she was 18. When she got a sewing machine for her birthday, she was immediately hooked.
“I had no choice but to learn how to sew if I wanted to dress up as my favorite characters.
“I began by altering either clothing I had or things that I bought.
“I taught a lot of this stuff to myself and if I didn’t learn from Google then I learned from YouTube videos.
“When I first started there weren’t many cosplay videos but luckily these days there are a ton of different cosplay tutorials.
“I have a few videos up because I want to help anyone who might want to learn.
“When I built my costumes, I built them for me. Even if it was a character, I altered it to fit me better.”
Cin is hoping her actions are a positive influence on her younger sister Myya who is five years old and hopefully paves the way for the next generation of cosplayers.
“For my sister, I try to be a role model,” she said.
“I want to live my life in a way she sees positivity through, that she sees that she can be better, do better as a person.
“I just want to show her she can just give love to the world and to herself while doing things that she enjoys.”
While no one knows how much Cin can influence change in the multi-million dollar comic book industry, there’s no doubt that people like Cin who step up can only further remove the barriers for the cosplayers of the next generation.
“I want to redefine cosplay; I want to help the cosplay community to show others that there’s so much more than one type.
“You don’t have to be one type of person; you can be every person.
“As long as you are true to yourself, you understand what you’re doing and you’re respectful to others, you can do anything.”