Fans love meeting cosplayers at comic conventions. But how should fans approach them? Professional cosplayers weigh in.
At the 2019 Fan Expo Canada, I spoke to a few professional cosplayers and digital content creators from the geek world—Dee Rich, Ivy Doomkitty, MCubed, Nadyasonika, Onyxeia, King Tide, and Karli Woods—about their experiences meeting fans.
While most of their experiences were largely positive, there were a few instances that the cosplayers highlighted when I spoke to them.
Here’s what the cosplayers said were the major do’s and don’ts of approaching them.
“Just hang out. We love to hang out. We love to talk about your fandom. But don’t do it when we’re stuffing food in our mouth. I’ve had this happen before. Yeah, it’s so awkward for everyone.”
“Always ask for permission to take a photo because cosplay is not consent, right? Ask permission if you want to put your arm around someone or anything like that, because you don’t want to invade someone’s personal space. Just be polite and courteous—treat others as you’d like to be treated.”
“Also, don’t be upset if a cosplayer declines to take a photo, especially if they seem like they’re in a rush. More often than not, they are on their way to the bathroom. Or they have not had any food in however long and they’re just going to get food.”
“Oh! Don’t take photos of people while they’re eating. It’s happened to me and it’s the worst. It really is the worst. You’re going to get a better photo if you just ask them. Because then they’re going to pose, or do something related to the character, versus having a mouthful of food.”
“We dress up so that people will take photos with us. We don’t mind when people ask to take photos. But I hate when people try to take photos when I’m like eating or doing something else. Just give me one minute or just ask me, you know.”
“I also have people try to take photos from over someone’s shoulder. Just ask, I’ll take a photo with you. But, most of the time, people are pretty great when you go to cons.”
“I know for some people, when they want to meet a cosplayer, it’s very weird. But, for me, it’s been very rare to have bad experiences. It hasn’t happened to me.
“I would say, just go. Sometimes you hesitate and it is hard for some people. Just go. But sometimes it is easier for people to bring something as a start to the conversation, you know. That’s why I always suggest you bring along some candy. Everybody loves candy. So that’s a way to start your conversation.”
“Never take pictures of cosplayers when they’re eating or relaxing.”
“Be patient. Be friendly. Be courteous. If you want to have a photo, ask first for permission. Just generally be polite.”
“When you’re meeting somebody from the internet, just treat them with respect. Especially with a cosplayer, ask if you can put your hand around them to pose for a photo. And always ask people if you can take a photo before taking it. Just ask for permission. Be polite.”
There you have it, fans. As excited as you are to see someone cosplaying as your favourite character, always go up to them and ask for a picture—they’ve dressed up to be photographed! Don’t touch anyone without asking them first—cosplay is not consent. And don’t take photos of people eating.
Now you know! Have fun at your next convention.