1. What is your name and age?
Shareen Gracy Toppo and age 30
2. Stage name, if any?
Stage name Gracy Chan and my sweet friends changed that to Gravy Chan hahahahaha.
3. Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what do you do?
No, not yet a professional cosplayer but I wish to be one and I am presently a part of an NGO “ Mann Global Welfare Foundation.
4. How long have you been cosplaying?
I have been cosplaying since 2015 and started from Bangalore Comic Con 2015.
5. What was your inspiration for cosplay?
Initially I didn’t at all know about cosplay and I was 1st introduced to the world of Anime soon to realise while I looked up for my favourite characters on Google that there are actually people who enact their favourite characters. Soon started following few of my favourite cosplayers mainly KANA and Reika and and they are still my idols till date.
I have always loved all kinds of art and was pretty much good in art and craft so this helped me to build my props and do make up for any cosplays I wished to do. I even did experiment creating my own new character too which I cosplayed last year in Hyderabad Comic Con 2016 as Spider Queen.
6. How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?
Me taking part itself has been just 2 and half years so I do realise there are some misconceptions that a cosplayer has to be perfect like a model. No, cosplay is way different than modelling. You have to be yourself and yet you need to play the character you want to cosplay. Embrace yourself the way you are and cosplay anything you want. There are no limits when it comes to cosplay for you are free to break rules and enjoy cosplaying.
Luckily whenever I cosplayed people did love it and yes to mention I am not tall and slim. One has to know where does he or she excels and play it accordingly and glad to see many people come up and cosplay whatever they wish to.
Initially, people also had issues getting their props, costumes and make up done but now luckily many cosplayers have come up with commission work and pages that rents people from wigs to costumes who want to cosplay.
7. How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?
I have many friends who cosplay from different countries and have realised they all have different mindset as per their comfort zone. Most of them love experimenting but not many Indian cosplayers are willing to experiment and create new characters. I have spoken to many Indian cosplayers and even know few are scared to cosplay for they think that a particular character does not suits them.
When there is a question of amount of respect then its just recently that cosplay is being popular through many cosplayers like us. Cross playing and genderbent cosplays are not so much encouraged. Each one of us are good at something or the other from stitching our own costumes to making props so each person differs according to their caliber.
8. What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?
As a cosplayer the main difficulty I find is getting the raw materials for making props and the ones which are highly in demand are too expensive for any Indian cosplayers who are either student or working. So most of us end up making with whatever material is available to us in our respective cities.
9. Being a woman, have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?
No, not at all and being woman I feel cosplay world is tough for men more as men are either looked down for doing make up or discouraged for playing gender bents.
Infact, generally most of us are discouraged cos we do have to invest in buying raw materials and if you are still a student then it becomes a load as to how do we manage. The main question asked by our family as to what great is to happen if we cosplay and this discourages most of us which leads to losing of many upcoming awesome cosplayers and time and again I have seen people giving up or hiding from their family since India is yet to accept cosplay as a profession.
10. What are your suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as a serious career choice?
We are humans not models and we need not be perfect. Be as you are and use your skills to make your cosplays better. Experience says when you teach someone you learn too so do help others and experiment as there are no rules to cosplay.
Yes, cosplaying can be taken as serious career in few more years as many cities are coming with small cons, gaming events and other events now and then. A lot of foreign countries seek the help of cosplayers where cosplaying is popular in places like hospitals, orphanages, etc so hope this soon happens in India too.I am actually waiting for Kolkata to also be a part of Comic Con as I believe there is lot of scope and many budding cosplayers are yet to be part of this beautiful world. It will soon increase as the progress I see is rapid.
N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.