In a society where age often dictates what we can and cannot do, there is a vibrant community of individuals breaking free from societal norms and embracing their passion for cosplay at 40 and beyond.
Yes, cosplay – short for costume play- is not just a hobby for the young. It’s a way for people of all ages to express their creativity and immerse themselves in the fantastical worlds of their favourite characters from comics, movies or gaming (this can be anything from Disney princesses to Marvel superheroes and anything in between), putting on a performance and bringing them to life, attending conventions where like-minded enthusiasts come together to showcase their talents.
And the best part? Age brings a wealth of experience, allowing older cosplayers to bring a unique perspective and level of craftsmanship to their creations.
So, if you’ve always dreamt of becoming a cosplayer but never felt like you fit the mould, it’s time to break free from those constraints and embrace cosplay in midlife and beyond.
Is 40 too old for cosplay?
There is no age limit for cosplay. People of all ages are welcome to dress as their favourite characters. And while the costumes are definitely a big part of it, there’s so much more to cosplay than just that.
It’s not only a form of self-expression but also an art that requires creativity, craftsmanship, and dedication. It gives you a chance to unravel yourself while learning to use acting skills that can help you navigate many real-world situations.
Cosplay is also a social activity and can help individuals make friends with similar interests. If you struggle to meet new people in midlife because of a lack of shared interest, cosplay can be a way to join a community of like-minded people. Cosplay is in fact a large, incredibly diverse group for fans, regardless of age and body shape, to express their love of something fun and colourful in an unconventional way. As a result, you’ll find many different perspectives represented among people who attend events and participate in online forums.
And guess what? Actually, mature people are changing cosplay as you know it, re-imagining beloved characters as their older selves and demonstrating that justice gets older but it never dies.
“There are certain types of people who would like me to have a sense of shame about my hobby, but that’s not going to happen“, says cosplayer Phaedra Cook, 46 years old, from Houston, who mostly loves bringing to life superheroes and more recently Catelyn Stark from Game of Thrones, Dark Woman from the Star Wars graphic novels and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter movie. “Cosplay has been beneficial and it is my little way of combating ageism and has helped me build my self-confidence. I never feel more vital, energetic and young than when I’m in costume. It’s an act of rebellion. There’s a segment of society that discards older women and thinks they should be relegated to the role of caring for others. If you’re a sexy older woman, you’re denigrated as a “cougar,” like there must be some inherent immorality surrounding it. Cosplay is my way of giving the finger to those people“.
Amongst other inspiring examples of cosplayers over 40, there are also Marina Badianova (her favourite kinds of costumes include steampunk, history, folklore, and fairy tales) and Solange Amorim, AKA Tia Sol who has won hearts with her anime and cartoon creations. Having discovered the wonderful world of cosplay when she started accompanying her daughter, Jessica, to local events, she is now a veteran. Her speciality is dressing up as cartoon characters like Looney Tunes’ Granny, The Little Mermaid’s Ursula, and Shrek’s Dama Fortuna.
Tips for cosplaying at 40 and beyond
Being a cosplayer is a lot of work. Not only do you have to be creative and skilled at making or finding costumes, but you also have to be able to put on a good show, experiment and innovate.
If you’re new to the world of cosplayers, you can find plenty of tutorials and inspiration on YouTube, blogs, forums, social media or books. Also, by attending workshops, classes, or conventions that offer cosplay-related classes or panels, you can learn from experienced cosplayers, prop makers, seamstresses, or makeup artists, as well as networking with other fans.
Once you’ve chosen a character whose outfit will look good on you, ideally, you should be as active at the conventions as you can to gain more exposure and experience. Whether posing for pictures in the halls or participating in contests, fashion shows or panels, it’s all about the time you put in and the fun you’re having.
“I would advise anyone that has an interest in cosplay to just try it!“, says Letizia Livornese AKA Letizia Cosplay, 42 years old, from Italy who has managed to turn her passion into a full-time career becoming a TV sensation. “Just have fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment. There are so many great resources online that can help too. But if you are creatively expressing yourself and having fun, that’s all that matters!”
As long as local events, there are also several cosplay conventions around the world you should keep an eye on. Some of the most popular ones in include: Comic-Con International in San Diego, California; Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia; New York Comic Con in New York City; Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California; PAX in Seattle, Washington, Lucca Comics in Italy and, of course, The World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, one of the biggest Cosplay events in Japan and the largest Cosplay festival in the world.
Conclusion: It’s never too late to start cosplaying
So, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old to have fun or be a part of this incredible community. Embrace your inner geek, let your imagination soar, and join a network of passionate individuals who celebrate the joy of dressing up.
In the end, Cosplay is about enjoying yourself and the atmosphere and being around people who share your same interests! No matter what, you’ll find someone who enjoys your character.
Illustration courtesy of Latlantide for “I Bon Bon Di Lety“.