So you want my arts job: Cosplayer

Kirilee Cosplay has been in the field of cosplaying for nearly a decade, representing Australia in international competitions and championing cosplay for all.
Kirilee Cosplay. Photo: Supplied. A cutout portrait of a Caucasian woman dressed up with a frilly dress and hair accessories. The portrait is black and white on a purple background, with the words ‘so you want my arts job?’

Cosplay, i.e. “costume and role play”, is a multilayered practice that allows the cosplayer to become their favourite fictional characters. Seasoned cosplayers are often involved in every step of the costume and prop-making process, and while some embody a theatrical element to not only look like the character they are portraying, but behave like one, cosplayers are not bound to the stage.

The history of cosplay is said to have originated from the 1st World Science Fiction Convention held in New York City in 1939, but it wasn’t until around the 1990s cosplay as a hobby became a significant aspect of popular culture in Japan, alongside the increasing proliferation of anime aided by television and the internet.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_