It’s a question I get asked a lot, with the implication, depending on who’s asking, that it’s something us players grow out of – a phase, a stage of life even.
Just a phase …
Kids, as they develop and mature, go through any number of phases, trying to find their sense of identity. For some it’s vegetarianism, others get out their soapbox at every opportunity, yet more go down the emo, indie rock, or boy band road – the list is endless. Often these are ‘just’ phases and the rocker will adopt a more mainstream vibe, or the veggie chooses to chow down on an animal-based burger after a stressful Friday. But sometimes the phase develops and is assimilated into their lifestyle.
Pulling on that costume, with a wig, makeup and accessories allows the shy kid to shine, the socially awkward to step forward, and the insecure to glow with self-confidence. It might have taken time and experimentation to get here, but they have found their truth.
But once you’ve found your place, when are you too old to continue? Is there an upper age limit on cosplay?
The benefits of age
Rather than being too old to cosplay, age brings numerous benefits, including:
- Confidence – it’s true that age can bring an air of confidence that suits the world of cosplay perfectly
- Self-depreciation – the ability to laugh at ourselves grows stronger with age, and we all know how necessary this is for a great cosplay experience
- Financial – with more money comes the ability to afford conventions further afield, ready-made costumes, and accessories offering increased realism
All ages welcome
While most cosplay characters appear young – especially anime or manga heroes, it makes a welcome change to see others showing off the wisdom of age. Characters such as Master Roshi, toad master Jiraiya, or the fabulous Lady Dimitrescu are all awesome to play, and there are plenty more.
The oldest Supergirl in the world
Shirley Chua, from Singapore, is rumored to be the oldest cosplayer in the world at 70 years young. Her son, a cosplayer named Skyy, enlisted her to help sew his costumes, bringing her along to the conventions to fix any outfit disasters. Aunty Shirley, as she’s known, began to get a taste for the lifestyle, designing costumes for characters she felt an affinity to, claiming they made her feel brave, and in 2011, she stepped out of the closet!
Rita Repulsa from Power Rangers and Alice’s Red Queen came first before Aunty wanted to go younger. Supergirl fit the bill perfectly, and as an added bonus, the tight-fitting outfit has encouraged Chau to take up weightlifting, and fully engage with an active lifestyle. Attending conventions with her son and his GF, she plans to celebrate her 101st birthday in costume, and I have no doubt she’ll manage it!
Age is just a number
If you feel your truth no longer lies in the realm of cosplay, that’s when you stop and pack your character away, not when you blow the candles out on yet another birthday cake.
Cosplay allows you to wear your age with pride, year after year!
If you’re an “older” cosplayer or would like to become one, here are some tips on how to start, blend in, and have fun.