Promoting diversity and representation through cosplay
Animated Lola, the Afro-Latina New York based cosplayer, uses cosplay to help bring more diversity, inclusion and representation to the community.
As part of the 2019 NerdTino Expo in Philadelphia, many artists, creators, cosplayers and voice actors from throughout the east coast gathered to celebrate the presence of the Latinx community in the world of comics.
Animated Lola, one of the featured guests at the third annual expo, is an Afro-Latina New York based cosplayer who has been involved in the cosplay community since 2013.
After hearing about last year’s NerdTino Expo through a mutual friend, she became intrigued by the opportunity to be a part of the 2019 edition, of which, she was.
It was an experience she called “amazing.”
“I love the grassroots feel of it,” she added. “ I love that it’s really the community coming together to put on this presentation and remind us as a whole of where we’ve come thus far when it comes to diversity and inclusion and representation and also how much more work needs to be done.”
In addition to the level of representation that was present throughout the expo, Animated Lola appreciated the elements of education and learning that also veered throughout the duration of the event.
While there, she had an opportunity to conduct a bachata workshop that fused together the Latin-style dancing with the basics of networking.
“I really appreciated having that educational aspect incorporated into the event,” said Animated Lola.
The environment was one in which attendees and participants had the opportunity to see the characters that are already in the community, but also show where might be lacking and where the next generation can focus their efforts.
“I chose to cosplay Vega because knowing that this expo focuses on contributions of the Latinx and Hispanic communities, I wanted to cosplay a character that is from a Hispanic or Latinx origin,” said Animated Lola.
“I specifically like Street Fighter characters because they come up with new characters with every version of the game, and they’re fun to cosplay because they usually come up with very specific characters or poses,” she added.
With the Vega character portrayed as vain and borderline narcissistic, in true cosplaying fashion, Animated Lola spent much of the afternoon pointing out all the beauty she saw around her.
When cosplaying, Animated Lola expressed that she spends a lot of time cosplaying characters of color to show the need for diversity and inclusion throughout the community.
She’s cosplayed Wonder Woman, Lady Loki, and Jean Grey in the past “just to prove the point that you can be the character and have the characters regardless of your race… or the physical aspects that may not have been taken into account or included when they were coming up with that character,” she said.
The world of comics is one in which people can enter and be any character they want. With her work within the cosplaying community, Animated Lola serves as an important voice for those who are looking to bring more diversity, representation, and inclusion to the community.