Caroline Knight is a 22-year-old full time student, model and freelance graphic designer. She is an popular, talented figure in the world of Cosplay. Cosplay, which is short for costume play, is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from a work of fiction.
“In all honesty, no one really introduced me to cosplay,” Caroline shares. “It was unknown to me back then until 2009 there was a First annual Long Beach Comic Convention coming up and I thought to myself- What better way to show my fan devotion to the comic books I’ve read than to dress up?”
Her first visit to a convention, she nervously dressed up as Harley Quinn because she loved her fun, perky personality. “I took the risk of looking like a clown, no pun intended, but I mainly did it because I wanted to show my fan devotion to the comic book characters that I personally loved. From then on, I’ve been cosplaying ever since,” Caroline says.
Caroline describes her first costume as ‘horrible’. “Back then I didn’t know much about sewing and my Harley Quinn was a pitiful store bought costume you get at Party City or so. I’m thankful to say that the year after that horrible costume I redesigned my own version of Harley Quinn.”
Cosplaying has allowed Caroline to embrace a part of her personality she had shut away. “I’ve had Social Phobia, yes embarrassingly so, in the past,” she says. “When I was growing up, a girl like me reading comic books everyday was looked down upon and publicly shamed which is probably another reason why I personally cosplay. My fan devotion outweighed my phobia at the time and I’m glad I took that risk to publicly cosplay for my own personal empowerment. In a personal way, it helped me improve myself socially even to this day.”
Her family was elated by the transformation Caroline underwent as she became a devoted Cosplayer. Her favorite Cosplays are The Adam Hughes style Catwoman and the Cheetah’s (Barbara Ann Minerva) personality“I’ve always loved Catwoman as a character. She isn’t an insane murderer. She has class, style, and brains which is every reason why I adore her and to cosplay as her,” Caroline adds. “ The Cheetah is the opposite. She is a murderer and has a tough exterior in order to survive. Her transformations were due to the fact that she sought out a guardian statue with the powers of a cheetah giving her part curse and part blessing. She is seen as nothing more but a monster and never gains sympathy, but rather some pity from Wonder Woman. I find the Cheetah fun to cosplay as a villain. I just see Catwoman as more of an Anti-Hero than a villain.
Although their interest is rooted in a passion most would call geeky, women who Cosplay face the battle of others who objectify their bodies. “ I think one of the main issues about cosplay where some people don’t seem to understand is that just because female cosplayers wear skimpy outfits does not mean you are entitled to disrespect us and treat us like an object,” she says. “Even when a woman copies the exact costume of the comic book character that has a skimpy outfit are automatically put down and labeled as a ‘whore’ or a ‘dirty slut’. The assumption is ridiculously wrong and couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most cosplayers try to make the costume as close to the character’s outfit as possible even if it is a bit revealing. And that’s all it is!”
The most exciting moment in her Cosplay lifestyle happened when she attended the 2010 San Diego Comic Con. She casually strutted by in her Catwoman costume and the famous Spider Man Co-Creator, Stan Lee pointed her out and shouted, “Nice costume!”
Just because a Cosplayer is expressing a sincere devotion to a character doesn’t mean that their true personality can’t shine through. Although the Cosplaying events are competitive and sometimes snarky, Caroline suggests being true to who you are and allowing yourself time to develop your personal way of Cosplaying as well as your ability to create an awesome costume.
“If someone disapproves your cosplay, don’t stop cosplaying just because they don’t like it,” Caroline shares. “Despite my past social phobia, there was even a point in my life where I just didn’t care what the public thought about me. I Cosplay for myself and for my own devotion and I never did it to gain approval or attention and you should too.”
Visit Caroline’s Facebook Fan Page to keep up with her Cosplay adventures!