Today we’re joined by Celestiial Cosplay. Celestiial was one of the amazing aces I met at Cincinnati Comic Expo. She is an amazingly talented cosplayer and quite a bright personality. Her cosplays are absolutely gorgeous and I am ridiculously happy to be able to feature her on this blog. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I’ve been cosplaying since June of 2010. Since then, I’ve learned to sew. I’ve learned how to apply makeup for different colors and styles of hair. I’ve learned what passion feels like. And I’ve learned how creative and unique the cosplay community can be. I’ve been a princess and a Pokemon. I’ve been a vampire and Mama Monster. My art is becoming someone new and learning something amazing.
What inspires you?
When I first started this, I didn’t really have inspiration. It was something fun to do a couple of times a year. However, once I really dedicated myself to cosplay, when it changed from hobby to identity, my inspiration came from the friends I made at conventions. It was a way to bond with people that lived hours and states away from me. Then once I started making a public name for myself, what inspired me shifted to being able to inspire others. I’ve been a source of advice for total strangers. Some of them ask me to simply be an ear for their problems. Some of them started cosplaying because of me and thank me for giving them confidence. So today, my inspiration is being able to improve the world a little bit in my own way.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I’ve always been a performer. From choir, to theater, to marching band, having an audience was my niche. When I was invited to my first convention, I knew I couldn’t attend in my street clothes — it was too big an opportunity to miss. And I’ve never looked back.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Nothing visible, but any character I cosplay is one that I can relate to in some big way. I have to really be attracted to a character to feel comfortable dressing as them.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Start small and do what you can do right now. Don’t get intimidated by what someone else can make — instead, use that as your own inspiration, as something that you can do someday. Practice and learning is everything.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
I’m demi-panromantic asexual.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
None that was directly influenced by my field, but I’ve certainly dealt with individuals, both within the cosplay community and within my personal life, that are either ignorant, intolerant or both. Ideally, someone who doesn’t understand asexuality is willing to learn about it. Too often this doesn’t happen and I’ve had people (including my own parents) try to argue with me, or convince me that this isn’t how I am, or to say that I just haven’t met the right person, or any other cliché you’d like to apply. It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned that my comfort is the most important factor. If someone chooses not to accept me for whatever reason, I distance myself from them. My life’s been a lot simpler once I employed that strategy, and I’m much happier.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
The most common one I’ve had thrown out at me specifically is that since I’ve only had sex with one person, I can’t possibly know that I don’t experience sexual attraction. Usually, these people meet the fate described above. I don’t need that crap.
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Please don’t doubt yourself. I didn’t know asexuality was an option. I didn’t know it existed. You’re either gay or straight, or bi if you’re experimenting in college—this was the stigma I grew up with. It’s wrong. It’s so wrong. When I learned there was a word that described me, that the way I felt was a real thing and acknowledge (however sparingly) it changed everything. I thought back to things from my childhood that now made perfect sense. I was happier. If you learn something you want to embrace, whether it’s your orientation, or religion, or lifestyle, DO IT. You don’t have to commit to it for the rest of your life, so if it works for you right now, please embrace it as hard as you can. Own it. Love yourself. You might change, and that’s okay. You might not, and that’s okay. If you want to choose a label, that’s no one’s business but yours.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
My Facebook page is probably the best place: www.facebook.com/celestiialcosplay
Aside from that,
I always answer all messages and emails, so feel free to contact me any way you like!
Thank you, Celestiial, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.