Kiera Please, on Cosplay, Representation and Being Yourself

Kiera Please is a 21 year old cosplayer and internet star, she’s captivated the internet with her incredibly accurate cosplaying. She’s done characters such as Kida from Atlantis: The Lost City, Nani from Lilo & Stitch, the Muses from Hercules and many others.

  1. Were you a nerd from a young age or was this something you got into as you got older?

I’ve always been interested in things that I guess were considered “nerdy” but never really thought that much into it. I’ve always been interested in things that I guess people deemed as “nerdy” but never personally thought it was. I didn’t realize til later that people labeled certain interests as that.

2. If you were, what was the reaction from your family if there was any? Usually, anything that isn’t typically a black interest is looked down upon. Did you feel that?

My parents didn’t know fully what I’m into actually lol I tended to keep them to myself or a friend. However, my sisters make fun of me all the time. Lovingly of course, but have been accepting and supported me with whatever I’m interested in and want to pursue.

3. There’s the stigma of black people ‘acting white’ for liking comics and being a nerd, did you feel like people placed that stigma on you?

I fortunately didn’t because I surrounded myself with open minded people with similar and not so similar interests. The only time I feel like people have felt weirded out or biased is when someone who may be interested in me finds out I like stuff like cartoons, or video games, and is taken aback.

4. Did you ever feel excluded by fellow white nerds for not fitting into the norms of being a nerd, as many other black people have expressed?

With people I’ve met in person I’ve been fortunate enough to not feel excluded and been to not feel disconnected in any way.

5. What are your thoughts on the idea that some black families look down upon the nontypical interests of people like yourself and I. What would you want to say to those who feel as if being into nerdy things is something to be ashamed of?

I definitely feel for those who go through that and there becomes a stigma and disconnect between their personal interests and their family. As hard as it is to do, I would tell those people to keep pushing. If you genuinely enjoy doing, reading, playing, and just submersing yourself into things that are traditional seen as “nerdy” keep going. Different things are going to make people happy and just because your interests don’t fit into the mold of everyone else’s doesn’t mean you should be ashamed of them. Own up to them and be proud regardless of what others say. Your interests are where you can find yourself, don’t change them for anyone.

6. You’ve managed to cosplay a lot of characters but do you think there’s still work to be done for black representation in nerd culture? Star Wars, for example, has never had a leading WOC and that is something many fans feel needs to change. What’s your view on lack of representation?

Of course! It’s a continuous fight that we need to still be pushing for. I do believe that it can change if we are constantly analyzing and constructively criticizing these various facets in media that do limit diversity. Whether it’s on purpose or accident, we need to point these things out and have open conversations. Honestly, I’m so glad people are becoming more aware of the lack of representation within their favorite films, movies, shows, etc and are pointing it out confidently so that there is change.

7. How did you get into cosplaying and what inspired you to do it?

Garnet was the first person I cosplayed, a lot of people would tell me I looked like them and I really looked up to their character on the show. One day I decided just to go for it and I wanted to try more and more ever since. Something about piecing together the outfit was something that really caused me joy and seeing myself embodying this powerful person felt empowering.

8. How often does it take you to come up with the idea, get the props and post the finished results?

Being a beginner I’m still learning and figuring out how to make certain things. Often times I’ll have someone stuck in my head or be watching something and it clicks. I also go into Joann fabric ALOT, so I’ll just be walking around and see some fabric or color or lace that inspires someone specific. Other times I’ll see a suggestion someone has made and be like “omg yes, why didn’t I think of them!”

9. What’s the best part about cosplaying?

Definitely the process of getting the pieces together/creating the look. I enjoy personal projects, so spending time making/searching for the perfect items is exciting to me. It’s like a journey or quest.

10. What would you say your favorite cosplay so far has been?

My favorite would either be Melepomene from Hercules or The Legend of Korra.

11. Any advice to those who want to get into cosplaying but feel like they don’t look like the characters or aren’t going to fit into what others want the character to look like?

Just go for it, you never know what you’ll like or capable of until you try. Cosplay is for everyone so don’t let the opinions of others change your mind. You don’t need to look exactly like a character to enjoy bringing them to life. To me it’s more about the excitement and love for the character that you’re doing. Characters are envisioned in all different ways!

Author: Han Angus

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