Don’t be fooled by Riddle’s charming online presence or quirky sense of humor, she’s been slaying the cosplay world since before it was popular but she still considers herself an introvert and full-time nerd. Luckily for Riddle, it’s a great time to be a nerd. Last year alone she attended 32 cons around the world. Before that, she was cast for two seasons of Syfy’s reality show Heroes of Cosplay and in 2013, she founded Cosplay for a Cause, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for charities around the world. You can decide if she’s making the most out of cosplay, or if cosplay is making the most out of her.
Riddle sees cosplay as a life changing art form that made her who she is today. As her career in cosplay continues to flourish, she makes it a point to stay in tune with what she believes to be the core of cosplay and its community: craftsmanship and acceptance. We sat down to chat with Riddle and get a glimpse of her thoughts on cosplay, online trolls and more.
“As far as I knew I invented cosplay because I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know anybody else that did it and I never really looked on the net to find other people who did it. For a year and a half, I thought I created it. Then, I went to my first con and I was like, “Nope. Other people are doing it too.” It was the coolest feeling. I always talk about how it’s weird to see a lot of the new cosplayers doing it for 4 or 5 years. I remember when we were—not the outcast of the con, but it wasn’t as cool as it is now.”
ON THE RULES
“I don’t like to tell anybody else how they should cosplay because I think that’s the great thing about cosplay. I think you can do anything you want, any way you want it. You want to make everything from scratch? You can. If you’re a dad that has three kids and you’re supporting your family and you can only work on your costume once a week in the garage, you can do that too! Or even if you just want to buy it. For me being a cosplayer is about focusing on your craftsmanship.”
ON THE PERKS OF BEING A COSPLAYER
“[Cosplay] has given me the opportunity to work on films, cosplay afforded me the opportunity to travel. Everybody who is pretty much important in my life I’ve met because of cosplay. I’ve gained confidence because of cosplay. I’ve even learned things like time management and budget management and I’ve learned how to be more outgoing.”
ON SEXY COSPLAY
“I’ve been very fortunate to not experience negativity. I do know that there is a stigma that if you dress sexy, you’re asking to be treated poorly. I don’t think that’s the case at all… Anybody should be able to wear whatever they hell they want.”
“If someone is cosplaying just to become a celebrity or become famous, it’s like… ehh. I’m still naive and at its core, that’s not what cosplay is about. You can go make a porn and become famous that way and it’d be cheaper because you wouldn’t even need costumes.”
“I hate that there’s so much judgment out there but unfortunately, that is cosplay. You just have to focus on the good and keep going forward and be happy with what you’re doing. Anytime you put yourself out there someone is going to comment on it. If you want to live your life in a basement and never do something like that, then you can do that, but you just can’t be afraid.”
“That’s the one thing I hate, it’s just trolls. I fucking hate trolls… What I try to do is try to “out-troll” trolls. I have pretty respectful fans but if I see someone trying to creep somebody I’ll try to freak them out…Cosplay is such a great hobby and in general, a lot of women and some men are already hard enough on themselves and they really don’t need outside sources to basically encourage those nagging voices in their head. ‘I’m not tall enough.’ 'I’m not muscular enough.’ You don’t need that. I just don’t want people to be discouraged from cosplay. I’ve seen so many people transform once they start, they become more confident or outgoing. I just never want someone to be discouraged from doing it because of some fuckers.”