Many of you have heard of the show Heroes of Cosplay, it’s a reality TV show about –you guessed it– cosplayers! It follows around cosplayers and shows you how to make the costumes and how they go about living their life etc. The purpose of the show was to bring attention to cosplay and try to somewhat normalize. I’m all for that, and I think they have great intentions, since this show has aired there has been a huge increase not only in the amount of people that cosplay, but in the amount of people that support it and thing it’s really cool! This article is in no way intended to bash the show because the show itself doesn’t do anything wrong. It’s more to bring light to the fact that there are some people on this show who think cosplay isn’t for everyone nor should it be.
Before I begin this post isn’t about body shaming or anything like that, that is going ot be it’s own separate post because it deserves it’s own spot light.
This post is to draw attention to Miss Yaya Han. This is someone who should not be getting nearly as much recognition as she is. If you look through my photos (and I’ll even attach it to this post; yes I have met her and taken a picture with her. And my own personal experience with her has just reaffirmed to me that she is not a good role model for anyone in the cosplay community. While I do understand her job is to judge the other cosplayers during competitions, unfortunately her judgement doesn’t stop at the competitions.
Yaya has on several different occasions given her opinion about cosplayers and how they “have the responsibility to know what you look like.” She stated “You have to really look at yourself in the mirror and know, you know, if my boobs are out I’m going to get ****comments.” While this comment isn’t a rude or derogatory statement, by saying it publicly she’s telling cosplayers that if they expose themselves they’re asking for whatever happens to them. Her comment isn’t too different from the current battle we’re fighting with victims of rape and abuse. It’s the “you’re obviously asking for it philosophy” which is completely inappropriate to have as a pubic figure. The majority of conventions now have a consent policy. Ask first and no means no, and there are severe penalties for breaking the consent policy. Obviously this won’t stop everyone but you should feel safe to wear what you want at the conventions and not have to be held down by the backwards way of thinking you’re asking for comments or attention, or even worse, having to just accept those things and deal with it like Miss Han states. Yaya also goes on to “slut-shame” Jessica Nigri because Yaya felt she was showing too much skin; and the only think I can politely comment is has Yaya looked in a mirror? Her cosplays are anything but modest. “The content that Jessica Nigri puts out, really displays cosplay in the wrong light.” Heroes of cosplay in general displays cosplay in the wrong light. It completely leaves out the play of cosplay. It doesn’t show the fun side. It doesn’t show the people “geeking-out” being excited to go to the conventions. Instead, all this show does is show these “professional cosplayers” judging those who are not in their mind up to par. I don’t feel like some of these people deserve to be called cosplayers, but rather costume makers and models. There is no doubt that Yaya is terribly talented when it comes to making costumes and modeling, but when does the cosplay come in? How is what she’s doing any different than just another Halloween party? Where along the line did these “professionals” forget how to actually lighten up and have fun and make other people feel goo about themselves?
Ambassador of Cosplay. That what Yaya likes to call herself. But really she’s just a very pretty, very talented model. I’m in no way saying she isn’t beautiful. I’m in no way saying she isn’t amazing when it comes to making costumes. But I really don’t feel that she deserves to be so highly regarded as a public figure while all she does is consistently put down other people.
Now, a lot of the stuff on television ESPECIALLY “reality TV” (which Heroes definitely is) is going to be edited to cause drama. There have been many conversations on the show between many different cast members that have seems extremely derogatory which very easily could have been edited to look that way. However, even if everything on that show was like 600% made up, real life experiences are not.
I met Yaya at NYCC a few years back and she was just walking around not doing much and I approached her and asked her for a photo, she kindly said yes. But after the photo was taken she wanted to see it to make sure she looked okay. Okay cool nothing wrong with that. Except we took 3 separate pictures before she was remotely satisfied. After the pictures I wanted to talk to her a little bit about the show and her cosplays and things like that and she just completely brushed me off and wanted no further interaction and she was extremely rude about it saying she didn’t have time for me and anything I wanted to know could be found online. she then walked off, stepped on the train of my outfit and ripped it, looked back clearly noticing she ripped it and just shrugged it off and walked away. Now I get it, my cosplay wasn’t that great but I still spent a great deal of time sewing it and put a good amount of money (over $200) into just the fabric alone for it. No apology or anything she just looked back and walked off. I was a little upset but I shrugged it off and figured she was late for a panel or something. But a few minutes later I saw her sitting down and when we made eye contact she gave me a dirty look as if she couldn’t stomach to be near me. Mind you the only interaction she and I had ever had was the one I am writing about right now. And up until this point I had idolized her.
I’ll attribute this to maybe she was having a bad day. But honestly, my own personal experience plus the way she represents herself online and on TV makes me believe she isn’t someone who deserves all of the attention she’s getting (like most celebrities out there).