The first cosplayer in my Cosplay Profile series is Danny Chen, AKA Gold Lion Armory. When I introduced my project he stepped up right away ready to share, and I'm so glad he did because I got to learn more about him! He's been one of the strongest supporters of my cosplay journey and I'm honored to have the privilege of featuring his story here.
|Photo by Cozpho Photography|
Name: Danny Chen
Nationality: Chinese American
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Top 3 favorite Series: Metal Gear Solid, Lupin III, Street Fighter
Special Talent: Art. I like to draw, paint, sculpt and build!
When and how did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay in 2010, after my friend decided he wanted to dress up as Captain America. I was always hesitant on doing it because I thought it was embarassing, until I saw how much positive reaction and attention he was getting, and then I wanted to do the same as well. I soon realized that cosplay was just an extension of talents I already was using for art. I design and sketch out cosplays on paper, hand sewn items from scratch, and use tools and materials to build props from.
What's the biggest distinction between yourself in costume and out of costume?
I feel that in costume, I am more outgoing in costume than out. Cosplay for me is about having fun and it's easier to be more friendly and sociable when you're in costume and being a geek with everyone else. Growing up in NYC I tend to be more quiet, serious, and less amicable in person getting through the day. I also try and not draw attention to myself, which is the complete opposite when in costume. That's when I would love to be in pictures with other people and not be afraid to interact with other cosplayers.
Is there a recurring theme in your costume choices? If so, what is that theme?
I feel like I always cosplay support characters who aren't pretty boys in general or very popular ones. Being in a group with younger cosplayers, I would take on the roles of older characters or father figure types: Masaoka from Psycho Pass and Hiruzen Sarutobi from Naruto, for example. I also tend to lean more towards support characters who are not main character status, often times this means the costumes are not as complex or visually appealing.
Have you ever been bullied by anyone for your cosplay?
I've not been bullied for the most part, but I have been a target for racially insensitive and hateful comments for characters that I have cosplayed. Cosplaying as Western characters while being Asian and getting ignorant people making fun of that, essentially.
Are you open to your peers and family about being a cosplayer?
I am pretty open about it, as I see it as an art form and hobby that shouldn't be hidden from people who are curious about it. I sometimes don't go out of my way to tell everyone I am a cosplayer, but most of my peers and family know I am involved in it because I spend a lot of time buying costume related items and building props, and they enjoy seeing my craft in person.
What would you like to tell others about cosplay in your own country?
Basically, do not place stress on matters that are beyond your control; that will limit you from having fun and enjoying the hobby. Because the U.S. is so diverse, this means that cosplays will be too. You get to see the creativity in cosplaying beyond skin tone, ethnicity, gender, body shape, etc . This is a gift that many others in other countries may not get to experience, so we have to embrace this and celebrate it.☆