We met with Jin (behindinfinity) at the Singapore Comic Con (SGCC) 2019 last weekend to catch up with her, about how cosplay has influenced her life, and what she feels about the way the community is going these days.
Q: This is your second time in Singapore as a cosplay guest. The last time was at International Cosplay Day Singapore many years ago. What do you miss about Singapore? Is there anything that you look forward to doing this year?
A: I had a lot of eating goals, but my friends –the locals here- have taken care of like, 90% of them. I would like to see more of what is outside the city in Singapore, but I don’t think I have time this trip. I’ll like to come back.
Q: You have been cosplaying for many years. How do you think cosplay has been an influence in your life?
A: It’s definitely a factor in my career choices. I used to focus on just graphic design, illustrations sort of thing. Now I’m doing more of costume-related work, from designing to constructing. Everything I’ve learned in that aspect, I actually learned it from cosplay. Last year I worked on the Lion King musical. They had to set up show in Manila and my portfolio that I used to apply for that was just a bunch of cosplays. But then they appreciated that about me, because it was a fresh perspective. It wasn’t just the usual theatre background. Yeah. I learned a lot.
Q: How did your cosplay experience help in the work itself on Lion King?
A: Well, one of the things they needed to do in Manila was where to source for certain materials. Whenever they asked for something, I actually knew where to find these materials, because I had searched for them for my cosplays. I know where to find them cheap. Even other things like thinking how things would look on stage, understanding the lighting – these things weren’t new to me because of cosplay.
Q: What do you feel about the current trends in the cosplay community around the world, such as debate about blackfacing, the surge in patreon accounts, especially by very young cosplayers?
A: On one hand I’m grateful that cosplay is gaining more appreciation, but then it also opens the hobby up to being judged by all the different individuals. I feel like, it is just something we kind of have to work through. This is a new sort of era, for cosplayers to be considered as influencers? We need to be mindful of how the general public would perceive you.
Though it does make me miss how things were, when it was something we just did for fun. I feel that now some people are kind of disingenuous in their approach towards the hobby. What attracted me to it before and what made me stay in the community was that it was a welcoming space. We were viewed as, you know, weirdoes by general public. In cons, it was a place where we could belong. So now, given that it has become a sort of platform where people can put themselves up, it does make me feel a bit wary of who to support, and what kind of image they are propagating. I hope that eventually we can return to what the heart of the community was. And the people who are in it for the money would just sort of, I don’t know, fizzle out eventually.
Q: What advice will you give to a younger version of you who is just starting cosplay?
A: I think it is to put your own happiness above everything else. To work on projects that would make me happy, even if nobody were to ever see them. Because that’s how I check myself. What’s my motivation for doing this? Am I doing this for others or myself? I always wanted it to be something that feels sincere to me. Would I be happy doing this even if I don’t post anything? Even if nobody were to compliment me? If my answer to myself is yes, then that’s enough for me.
by Tessie Tan
© POPCulture Online 2019