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2 Popular Cosplayers Share How They Leverage Social Media To Brand Themselves

2 Popular Cosplayers Share How They Leverage Social Media To Brand Themselves

Anime NYC just passed and with it came great cosplays, events, and panels. Luckily, I had the chance to take part in one of those amazing panels with cosplayers Becca and Anuli. The topic? Social Media Branding and Cosplay.

In this age, social media can either be a fun pastime or a business venture. As cosplay as medium steadily becomes more popular, cosplayers can now tap into the business side of things while doing something they enjoy. An aspect that’s crucial for running a successful page is branding. This means thinking about things like your username, what your page looks like, what content you post and more. 

The panel itself was informative, and many attendees expressed how much they learned. Things that might seem obvious about running an account may seem obvious, but there’s a lot that’s not common knowledge. That’s what this panel aimed to fix. Everyone should have the tools they need to do well. 

Becca, also known as @seunhere, is a cosplayer well known for her talent with wigs. She’s done looks from things like The Lion King, Bleach, and Naruto. Anuli, or @thouartanuli, is also a talented cosplayer. She also has a YouTube channel where she posts everything from makeup tutorials, wig help, and sewing tutorials. Anuli has cosplayed from series such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and even The Proud Family. Luckily, I got the chance to talk to both of them about their experiences on social media as a cosplayer.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Becca: I am a Black cosplayer of Nigerian descent who lives in New York. I love bringing characters to life with my unique twists through cosplay. Outside of cosplay, I love fashion, making skits, creating fun makeup looks, playing the ukulele and much more. I honestly do too many things at once, but that’s a part of the fun!

Anuli: My name is Anuli and I am an artist and content creator! I have a great love for filmmaking and costume/clothing design. 

Why is this topic important to you?

Becca: The use of social media as a business is such a new and foreign concept to many people. Although I am also new to it myself, I feel as though I’ve quickly learned a lot of tools that can be useful to others. People have a lot of misconceptions about how “influencers” gain followers and make a living so I wanted to create a panel that would clear all of that up, but specifically targeted to those who mainly want to cosplay on their platform.

Anuli: I think it’s important for creatives to have no fear of sharing their work with the work. They are not only putting themselves out there and learning so much but simultaneously building a strong and grounded community of creatives.

When did you start posting on social media seriously?

Becca:  I started seriously posting in January of this year, 2019. I told myself that this would be my year and I that I shouldn’t hold myself back any longer. To turn that passion into an attainable reality, I made the goal of executing 30 cosplays before the end of the year. So far, I’ve done 27 so I’m almost there!

Anuli: I started posting seriously at the end of 2017 into 2018!

What are the pros and cons of building a following online?

Becca: One huge pro is the supporters! These are people who follow me because they love what I do and see future potential in me. I’m forever grateful to each supporter I’ve gained. Each interaction I’ve had with them both online and in-person (when I attend conventions) has meant a lot to me. 

For me, two cons of building a following online have been the haters and entitlement issues. We all know that the bigger a platform gets, the more haters and negativity they tend to garner. But it’s so rare that people talk about the entitlement issues that foster within people who admire you. These are people who feel as though they are entitled to your time and energy simply because they’ve given you their support. It’s a toxic trait to have and can be quite draining on an individual to have this pressure placed on them by hundreds of people that share this mindset. 

Anuli: The pros of building a following is that you have a support system of people who are always rooting for you. It makes you feel awesome about the gifts and talents you have. The cons are that it can be a long process with highs and lows when you want your numbers to go up. However, I always say to not focus on the numbers but rather focus on having fun!

How do you deal with burnout?

Becca: Whenever I get burnt out I take a break and do things that I enjoy such as reading manga or visiting a museum. I typically do these things regularly in order to avoid burnout, but it can still happen at times when I’m feeling extremely overwhelmed. In times like those, I just take some time to myself to re-center, relax, and refocus.

Anuli: I deal with burn out by stepping away from social media and meditating and surrounding myself with nature.

What tips do you have for cosplayers just starting out on social media?

Becca: Don’t start until you feel like you’re mentally prepared. If you’re not feeling as confident at first, try posting with your account set to “Private” so that you can get encouragement from your close friends and family before making the leap to “Public” where you’ll be under the public’s eye. Try not to obsess over numbers (followers, likes, etc). All of that will come with time. Just focus on having fun and finding ways to take your craft to the next level!

Also, if you don’t know how to start or can’t afford to purchase or make costumes, try closet cosplays! This entails cosplaying as characters whose attire resembles articles of clothing you already possess. For example, to cosplay “L” from Death Note all you need is a white shirt and blue jeans. If you check in your closet right now you probably already have these two items so that goes to show how easy it can be!

Anuli: My tips for cosplayers just starting out is to HAVE FUN and DO NOT WORRY BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO GET FOLLOWERS REGARDLESS! It’s all a process but should never be a waiting game. Post as much as you can (consistency is key but should not be taken as it’s okay to burn yourself out). Do it on YOUR terms!

Do you feel that your identity as a black woman affected your social media presence? If so, in what way?

Becca: Yes, in both negative and positive ways. The negative being that I faced a lot of blatant racism when doing cosplays for non-Black characters. Initially, this type of commentary upset me and deterred me from doing future cosplays, but through the encouragement of others within the cosplay community, I was able to look past the haters and continue doing what I love. The great thing about being a Black woman on this platform is how I’ve managed to interweave my culture into the nerd world. That beautiful mix has allowed me to build a large wave of supporters that not only enjoy my work but can relate to it on various levels. People are coming to my page and staying because they love me for who I am.

Thankfully, I’ve also become a positive representation for Black women within the nerd community. Simply by me being true to my anime-loving self and openly expressing this passion to the world, others who look like me have started to feel more comfortable within themselves as a result. It’s because of them that I’m inspired to do more.

Anuli: ABSOLUTELY! In all that I post, I try to always make my identity as a black woman seen, heard, and respected. Whether that be through my combination of cosplay and black hairstyles or adding trap music to my cosplay tutorials – my Blackness and my personality must always show through as they are the most important things!

What’s your favorite part of social media?

Becca: It has to be meeting new people all around the world. Growing up, I wasn’t friends with that many people who were fans of anime and nerd culture. This year I could finally connect with several people around the globe who share the same interests as me and it’s been such a great experience. I get emotional whenever I think about how much positive change this platform has brought into my life.

Anuli: My favorite part of social media is connecting with and growing a community of new faces and friends! I love especially when I get to meet online friends in person! Truly the best feeling!

What was your favorite part of the panel?

Becca: I enjoyed the Q&A portion the most! It was great to hear questions about things I didn’t have the time to cover in the panel or never considered talking about.

Anuli: Same! I love the conversations that followed after the Q&A. They asked such amazing and impactful questions. So good!

These two cosplayers are not only talented but are also a positive force in the cosplay community. Be sure to check out Becca’s pages on Instagram and Twitter. You can also see all of Anuli’s work on her Instagram and Twitter.

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