Cosplayer of the week – Mashashy

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This  week’s cosplayer of the week is Mashashy;cosplayer, alternative model and artist.  Mashashy discusses how to deal with bullying and how to take your cosplay talents to the next level.

How did you become involved in cosplay and conventions?
My best friend introduced me to anime and manga in my teens and the two of us were hooked.  We would always look in from the outside at the cosplayers online with envy and when we were invited along to Alcon 2009 we had to go.  Of course not Cosplaying was not an option. I made all my own cosplays (most of which will NEVER be seen again haha) and never looked back!

What is your favourite cosplay?
Princess Peach without a doubt!  My favourite Princess from a young age, it was so much fun playing the part and having people responding positively to the cosplay.  I felt like a princess wearing it the first time even though there were many edits I needed to make to it.

ashleigh 01What inspires you to choose your next cosplay?
Normally I try to do something that isn’t over done or I have seen too many times at conventions, something more unique or challenging.  When choosing a character I usually choose one that I know well and like the style and personality of.   Playing the character while in cosplay is my favourite part of cosplaying so choosing something I would like acting out is a huge part.

What future cosplays can we expect to see from you?
I hope to be doing a new Princess Peach this year and maybe a Lucky Star character.

When you’re not cosplaying or at a convention what can we find you doing?  
I have three jobs actually! I work in Argos, a gay bar and as a zombie for ZED Events!  When I actually get free time I will go out with friends, play video games and do crafty things.  I also have two pets (a rabbit and a chinchilla) who I will let out and play with regularly.  Other than cosplay modelling I also do alternative modelling from time to time.

What was it like working as a Zombie? Did you have to have any serious zombie training to get the part?
I met one of the guys who run it at a convention and started chatting over the fact that we were both from the same area.  When I mentioned I now live in Reading he suggested I went along to the mall and give being a Zombie a shot for the day.

We get put through super secret zombie training, which involves lots of cool makeup and acting tips.  Its not always the best of fun been killed as a Zombie but getting your revenge is well worth it!  Plus it is really good exercise!!!

ashleigh 04What made you want to take cosplaying as a ‘hobby’ to a more professional level?
It was mostly by accident if I am honest.  I was told to enter the Sexy Cosplay Girls competition by a friend who wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I entered.  For the competition I made a like page and released my Sexy Peach photos and it went from there really.

Its all gone really fast and spiraled so quickly that I still don’t really know how it all happened and can’t believe it.

How are you pursuing your cosplay career?
At the moment I am doing as many cosplay shoots as possible and going to as many cons as I can to help raise my profile.  Keeping an internet presence is something I try to keep up, but my dislike of forums means I tend to struggle and stick to Facebook or deviantArt.

I started selling cosplay posters for the first time on my stall at London Anime Con 6, which was the first step on the road.  After that I posted my posters for sale on Etsy and have since sold all over the world.

As well as a cosplayer, I understand you’re an artist is this something you have always been passionate about?
Haha, well I guess you can call it art. I am a creative person by nature and have always been doing something arty from a young age.  I got high grades in Art at school and went on to pursue Computer Animation and Digital Art at University.  At University I became involved with some of the most talented, creative and artistic minds I have ever met.  Through them I was shown the Scottish underground comic scene, I followed comics for a few years but soon found that my life was getting in the way of drawing. Due to lack of time I ended up where I am now, drawing all of my favourite characters and making them into bookmarks and keyrings etc…

 ashleigh 05Do you ever see yourself giving up your day job, to focus on your cosplay or art career?
I am too much of a realist to try and tell myself that I could live off modelling or art.  Other than the fact that I love my jobs (except one haha), giving up a consistent wage would be hard for me to do if I could not be certain I could replace it. For the moment I cannot do that with my cosplay/art.  I guess you could say I am responsible and like to make sure my bills are paid and my pets stay healthy and fed!

What advice would you give to those seeking a professional career through their cosplay?
You are are the only person who is going to get in the way of your progress.  The second you start doubting yourself and telling yourself you cant do something then you may as well quit.  Keep positive and keep going.  Be yourself and even if you don’t get anywhere by the end of it all you can at least make some awesome friends!

There is the growing concern of ‘cosplay bully’ have you experienced this? 
What irritates me most about cosplay bullies, is when people treat others with cruelty and ignore them, because their cosplay is ‘not on par’. Watching those people shun others because their home made cosplay is not as good, really upsets me and is rather disgusting behaviour to come from such a passionate community.

We are all part of a group of people who are considered outsiders within a common society, and to put someone down and single them out, is horrid. We are laughed and pointed at by people outside our community, by people considered “normal” and we mostly accept this. However for this to come from within is just disgusting and cruel. My most recent problems have been with people seeming to judge me by what cosplays I have chosen to do. In January last year, I decided to loose weight to get into a cosplay I’ve dreamed of – ashleigh 08Zero Suit Samus (Metroid Prime). By summer 2012, I had managed to lose 2.5 stone and rewarded myself by showing off my accomplishment by wearing the very close fitting cosplay. I did it again with my female Mario and Sexy Peach Cosplay. Due to my fun and flirty nature, my cosplay choice was being considered somewhat slutty, with tales of midnight misbehaving and scandalous rumours tormenting me, after returning home after each convention. Someone started spreading malicious rumours about me which caused me a lot of stress and upset, resulting in fall outs with people I considered friends. There are no words to describe how betrayed I felt when I get home from a weekend of fun, only to find lies and deceit from friends and a community I trusted. It’s hard. We all come together to enjoy the same hobby, it’s sad that some people feel the need to be hurtful and cause drama for others. It would be a much more pleasant hobby if we could all just get along and appreciate the effort that each and everyone of us go to, to make or present our costumes. Maybe one day soon, that will happen.

ashleigh 06What advice would you give someone who had experienced cosplay bullying?
I know it is hard but you need to ignore the ‘BS’ and push past it so that you can move on.  People who bully are usually the ones screaming out for help and will most likely be doing it to hide how they really feel about something else.  If you don’t let it affect you, or at least generally let them think it hasn’t, most bullies will get bored and go away.

I would be a hypocrite if I said you should take everything they throw at you lying down.  Some times you will need to stand up for yourself.  You ARE the most important person in your world and you are worth fighting for.  Just Remember no-one is worthless and no-one is better than anyone else and no-one should be treated as such.

What are your feelings towards ‘sexy cosplays’?
Lets be honest, who doesn’t want to feel sexy every now and then?  I was so nervous when I started planning my sexy Princess Peach shoot.  I spent weeks searching for the perfect underwear that I imagined she would wear under the dress. I was so scared I wouldn’t get it right I nearly cancelled the shoot, but the mate I was shooting with was so cool I went along anyways. I still felt a little self conscious at first but it soon faded.  When I saw the final edits I couldn’t help but be glad I did it and think ‘f**k yeah that’s me!’.  All the positive feed back I received blew me away and really helped with my confidence issues.

My argument for sexy cosplay is so long as it is still in character and not just smut.  There is a point where sexy becomes slutty and stops been art and becomes vulgar.

IMG_4957psWhat advice would you give a first time con-goer?
It isn’t as intimidating as it all seems.  In 2011 I went to Alcon on my own and I was so scared I wasn’t going to make any friends that I posted on the forum.  I made lots of friends through the forum (including one of my best mates) and joined every event I could.  I had so much fun and made so many friends that I have no issues going to conventions alone anymore. I do understand that not everyone gets verbal diarrhea when they get nervous and meet new people like I do and do struggle to make connections.  However the worst thing to do is not try.  So go for it and get involved!

Keep up to date with all of Mashashy’s cosplay via

Meet Mashashy in person as a special cosplay guest at Readcon and London Anime Con this July!

Photo Credits Alice – 13th Life Photography, Princess Peach and Mario – Ruth Ellen Photography, Samus – Darryl Ralph , Android 18 – Pan Photography,