non asian cosplay

On Cosplay and Race

Hey everyone,

I hate to do a serious blog, but I’ve seen a few posts here with my name tagged in it, and the topic has started to bug me now. So I thought I’d make a sort of official reply. I apologise in advance for the incoherency, as there are people out there better equipped to make this point in far more intelligent ways than I can, but here we go…

Basically, I’ve seen a few people post about how they’d like to cosplay as me, but they worry that, because they’re not Asian, or in one case, not the ‘right kind’ of Asian, they’re uncomfortable do it. Opposingly, I’ve seen people say that non-Asians shouldn’t cosplay as me, because cheongsams on white people look tacky.

All of this upsets me deeply.

When I created my Minecraft avatar, with the help of Tom Clark, I went for an outfit and look that I felt represented my secret inner super hero (when that secret inner super hero isn’t just me as Batman). Red cheongsam top and shorts, with white trousers, sort of like those that traditional martial artists wear. Tom suggested the flower decorations to break up a solid block of black hair, and I added the jade bracelets, because I wear one in real life (present from my Ma). I like how it all looks feminine, but badass at the same time, and represents my heritage. And I love seeing all the artwork it’s inspired from all you talented folk - it really is a humbling experience every time I browse the 'nanosounds’ tag.

What I didn’t set out to do was cause this really weird argument about race.  For starters, I never ever dreamed that people would want to cosplay as me - it blows my mind that there are people out there who like my character so much, they want to dress up as me. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

But here’s my main point. It DOES NOT MATTER who you are or what you are. If you truly want to do something or be something; do it. Do not let anything or anyone hold you back. Race, sex, sexuality, age…none of this matters. If you want to do something that you know will make you happy, why the hell are you letting something like race hold you back? Life is not about living within these imposed limitations set by prejudice. It’s about breaking them down.

To the people thinking they want to cosplay as me but thinking they’re the wrong race - get that thought out of your head. It’s thoughts like this that prevent us as a human race progressing away from prejudice, that prevent us from being truly happy, and function better as a society.

Also, I thought the whole point of cosplay is to be who you want to be? My favourite examples of cosplay are people who put their own spin on a character. I’m looking into cosplaying as Garrett for the May ComiCon in London - but am I sat here thinking 'welp, I’m the wrong sex, and I’m not fully Western, also about 3 feet too small to be him’? No - I’m thinking how awesome it’d be to have a cloak and swoosh around like a thief.

I’ve already seen two girls cosplay as me, and was my first thought 'Jeez, cheongsums on a Westerner? Freakin’ yuck’. No. My first thought was 'OH. MY. GOD. They look GORGEOUS. I can’t believe someone would take the time and effort to dress up as me.’ Seriously girls, you brought me close to tears, because I never ever thought in my career, in my life, this would happen. And I mean it, you both look gorgeous, and I love your personal touches (and the ruby sword!).

So I encourage you all - if you want to dress up as me, do it. Send me your photos, and if you’re going to the May ComiCon, come and find me so I can get my photo taken with you (although I’ll probably cry with happiness!).

I do not care about your race, your sex, or anything like that. What I care about is you - are you happy? Are you having fun? And are you being you?

Sorry for the semi-rant, but issues like race really bugs me (especially as someone who’s been a victim of racism), and the idea that people out there feel they can’t do something because they’re not half-English, half-Malaysian is NUTS. Life is about diversity, and that’s what we should be celebrating, every goddamn day.

The main thing to take away from all of this is that I love you all, and seeing you guys be inspired by my banal existence is genuinely humbling, and makes me want to be a better person every day.

Big love,

Kim x