The Australian Games Awards will be held on December 19th 2018. One of the nominees for Cosplayer of the Year is Variable Cosplay. No stranger to the spotlight, Variable Cosplay is Australia’s 2018-2019 Cosplay Ambassador and has performed official cosplay roles for Blizzard, Sony and Riot Games, just to name a few. She spoke to Gamers Classified ahead of the Australian Games Awards about her reaction to being nominated and what it is like to be differently abled in the world of cosplay.

To vote for Variable Cosplay to win Cosplayer of the Year, please click here. Voting is open until December 7th 2018.

GC: What was your reaction to being nominated?

Variable Cosplay: I’m still overwhelmed, and processing it all. I don’t cosplay competitively, so it was a surprise to be nominated at all, but especially to be considered alongside such a high calibre of talented craftspeople.

Image Credit: Variable Cosplay

GC: You are the 2018-2019 Australian Cosplay Ambassador: What duties does this role involve?

Variable Cosplay: I act as a liaison between the cosplay and online streaming communities, and government department representatives and organisations; discussing what we do and brainstorming what we may achieve from both an arts and cultural perspective, and as an industry and business prospect, for international exchange and networking, untapped economic growth, and the potential for educational development and grants. My day-to-day varies between spreadsheets and meetings, photo ops and signings, and attending events. Few roles afford the surprise of being in a boardroom of government staff and CEOs, asking you – with all serious – to explain furry lingo.

 

GC:  As someone who is differently abled, are there any changes that you would like to see at conventions, competitions etc to make them more accessible?

Variable Cosplay: Conventions have come a long way at considering disabled and differently abled people, and our needs, but there are things that often don’t come to mind unless they directly affect you or someone close to you.

I’ve not once seen a program guide available in braille at a convention or expo. The hunt for powerpoints when you need to charge a mobility aid unexpectedly is an Odyssey sequel nobody willingly signed up for. Lack of seating at convention venues can be a challenge for many people, particularly so for those of us with mobility-affective issues, chronic pain, fatigue, and other conditions that make standing and walking for periods of time difficult. Few events have dedicated seating near the front at panels and stages for people with visibility or hearing difficulties. And while many venues have escalators and ramps for mobility, most stages still use stairs, making them inaccessible.

Disclosing our conditions and our needs can be equal measures of unpleasant emotions. Sensitivity training goes a long way towards avoiding uncomfortable situations, especially for those of us with invisible conditions and less noticeable aids. When I asked for access to a disabled bathroom, I was told “they’re for people who are actually disabled”, and asked “where is the disabled person”. And ensuring all crew, staff, volunteers, et al, are advised on the location of First Aid and the AED as a matter of safety in case of an emergency.

Image Credit: Variable Cosplay

GC:  Anything else you want to add (e.g. upcoming projects, shout out to sponsors, vision for the cosplay industry etc).

Variable Cosplay: Cosplay is a craft and community that is as unique as the people within it; we’re still only in the early chapters, with many more pages left unexplored. Every day someone somewhere is discovering a new material, tip, trick, technique, a new series, a new reimagining, new friendships, and confidence. And we all started somewhere. So keep trying, make mistakes and learn from them for the next time; remember to sleep, eat, and stay hydrated; and wear comfortable shoes.

Variable Cosplay is active on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Instagram and Discord  Vote for her to win Cosplayer of the Year at the Australian Games Awards by clicking here. Voting closes December 7th 2018.