A Look at Why Former Smosh Host Wes Johnson and Other Cosplayers Are So Passionate
Like many niche hobbies, cosplaying can feel rather mysterious to those out of the loop. Onlookers may not understand the allure or simply assume that it's a rather grandiose form of dress-up. Although it's a fun departure from the hustle and bustle of daily life, cosplaying is so much more than that.
To fully understand just what makes cosplaying so incredible, you just need to take a look through the eyes of former Smosh host Wes Johnson and other popular cosplayers. Here's a look at what they have to say about the magic of cosplaying.
Celebrate Awesome Characters
Cosplay is all about celebrating your favorite characters from video games, TV shows, movies, comics, and books. By emulating their look, personality, and overall aesthetic, cosplayers honor each character in their own particular way.
When Wes Johnson first started cosplaying, he grabbed an off-the-shelf costume of Dante from Devil May Cry 4. Unsatisfied with the quality of that costume, he partnered with his friend Adella Cosplay who was running "The Zelda Project". With her help, he focused on his love of The Legend of Zelda and recreated Link from The Ocarina of Time.
With so many franchises out there, the sky's the limit in what people can choose. Many cosplayers have gone to conventions and other gatherings as Merida from Brave, Nick from Zootopia, and Predator from the bone-chilling series of the same name. Both DC and Marvel superheroes are popular choices as well, especially since there are just so many to consider.
Practice Escapism at Its Best
Upon putting on each costume, cosplayers get to practice a little bit of escapism by pretending to be someone else for the day. They can leave behind all their daily obligations and worries while sinking into their role of choice.
Suddenly, they are no longer lawyers, accountants, or cashiers, but heroes, princesses, and everything in between. Beyond that, introverts might transform into the life of the party while extroverts become sullen and mysterious figures in the shadows.
As people embrace the looks and personality of their favorite characters, they become someone entirely different, which is both freeing and inspiring. They can then leave all the stress behind in favor of having a truly great time.
Tap into Endless Creativity
Although many pre-made costumes are available, cosplayers often turn to their creative side and whip up their gear. Or, like Wes Johnson, they partner with talented seamstresses and costume designers to create their perfect look.
By playing a direct role in the creation of their costumes, cosplayers get to use all their creativity for a noble pursuit. Then, as they build their skills, they can lend a hand when other people in the cosplay community need help to create their costumes.
This is particularly helpful when cosplaying as a rather obscure or custom character. While it might be easy to find a Black Panther costume, getting a fully functional Predator costume is much more difficult, for example. Some cosplayers even prefer to riff on existing characters while creating their look, like the group of Technicolor Wookies who showed up at the 2016 Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Now that takes tons of creativity to pull off.
Build Gorgeous Photo Sets
With all the work that goes into each costume, it just makes sense to sit through a full photoshoot after getting into character. When Wes Johnson transformed into Link, he took full advantage of the opportunity to show off his costume and complete embodiment of the character.
He got his costume on, sat amongst the rocks and trees, and put on his best faraway gaze for each photo. Then, he even went above and beyond and hopped on the back of a dark brown horse worthy of the name Epona. The result was a wholly Ocarina of Time aesthetic that brought the whole look together.
Johnson often uses the photos as a testament to his love for cosplay and the community as a whole. His photos then help encourage others to hold their photo shoots and share the pictures far and wide.
Bring Together People from All Walks of Life
Cosplaying evens the playing field by putting everyone in a fantasy world of their own making. For that reason, it easily brings together people from all walks of life.
There are doctors, business owners, janitors, pet sitters, stay-at-home parents, and so on, all simply enjoying the hobby to the fullest. No one has to worry about having a lot of money, connections, or otherwise keeping up with the Joneses.
Enjoy a Positive, Inclusive Community
When it comes to cosplay conventions, toxic attitudes are not allowed. The community always boasts a positive, inclusive atmosphere that helps everyone feel comfortable on the floor. The fandom and creativity behind each costume are celebrated through and through without criticism and negativity.
As long as they are kind and supportive to each other, people can be whoever they want to be while cosplaying. Even while adopting the persona of their selected characters, cosplayers strive to remain uplifting and respectful to those around them. Their efforts ensure that everyone can let their guard down and simply enjoy the community atmosphere.
Gain Many New Friendships
Thanks to the inviting and inclusive atmosphere of the cosplay community, it's always a cinch to make fast friends at every convention. Whether it's through in-character interactions, flyby compliments, or impromptu costume fixes in the crowd, cosplayers make tons of connections with each other.
Then, they instantly recognize each other at future shows, engage on social media, and even catch each other online. Wes was a popular host during his time at Smosh, but his connection with his audience has only deepened as he's pursued his own streaming endeavors.
If they're into the same franchises, their friendship might even result in costume collaborations, allowing them to go as the Ghostbusters, Transformers, or even a wild pack of T-Rexes. With that, they can achieve the peak cosplay experience - and it doesn't get any better than that.
Make Amazing Memories to Last a Lifetime
As cosplayers dream up their costume ideas, complete photoshoots, and attend conventions of all kinds, they make amazing memories to last a lifetime. Cosplayers can even create a scrapbook of their experiences and put their tickets, photos, and other mementos in one place.
Then, as they welcome new cosplayers into the fray or chat with old friends, they can share those memories for a kick of nostalgia or inspire new collaborations. They can even drag out the scrapbooks to show everyone their past creations and get started in dreaming up new character iterations.
Jumpstart Truly Successful Careers
Although cosplaying is largely a hobby for most, some go on to make successful careers out of it. They may use their creativity to become costume designers, prop creators, and the like. Or they might stream their experiences and create a popular YouTube channel and other works, much like Wes Johnson.
Other cosplayers go on to help organize and run the conventions, so they can keep their hobby alive and well while making a pretty penny doing so. No matter what path they choose, these cosplayers end up doing what they love and enjoying every moment.
With an understanding of what makes cosplaying so alluring, it's clear that this hobby is well worth all the time, effort, and money required. The artistic flair, inclusive community and lifelong friendships give everyone a good reason to prepare for their next convention well before landing at home from the last one.