Cosplay Crush: Paul Tran

Hi gay geeks and gaymers we’re talking to Paul Tran from South Florida for our cosplay crush of the week. He’s cosplayed as the Riddler, Red Robin,  and Damian Wayne from Batman, Kakashi from Naruto, and Red X from Teen Titans. You probably spotted him at MegaCon, SuperCon but he’s traveled to New York Comic Con, DragonCon, Anime Expo as well. We’re gonna chat with him and get his thoughts about cosplay.

How old were you when you started doing cosplay?

I was 22 when I delved into cosplay. I’ve been cosplaying for about 3 years. I stumbled upon cosplay when I attended my first con, MegaCon. I was floored by seeing so many cosplays of characters I knew and loved. I was amazed when I found out people actually hand made a lot of it. The following year I decided to join in and piece together my own costume.

My first cosplay was DC’s Riddler. It was pieced together through Amazon buys. Now I’ve obtained skill sets to add to creating cosplays, like foam smithing, sewing, painting, and soldering.

Red Robin Photography by: Alan D Wolfe

What’s your most memorable experience while cosplaying?

I was cosplaying with my sister once and a guy asked for a picture with her while she was dressed as Poison Ivy. She agreed and he proceeded to put on a sheep mask, get on his knees and caress her bare mid-drift with his masked face. It was super weird and awkward.

Meeting Benjamin Percy, writer of Teen Titans Rebirth for the first time, while in cosplay. He said he was amazed by my cosplay and it was the best Damian Wayne he’s seen. From then on I was speechless.

What is it about cosplay that you like the most? 

I love the design aspect of cosplay. My cosplays are based on existing characters and I usually end up redesigning it to fit my taste. When I create pieces for a character I go in with a mindset of “If I was this character, why would I have made this design choice.”

How do you define cosplay?

Cosplay is a way to express creativity and celebrate your love for a certain fandom or character.

Originally I never thought cosplay as a form of art. I just saw it as a hobby. Now, I see it as art. Just like a painter uses brushes, paint, and a canvas to create a painting—we use the same instruments and different mediums to create a piece. We research and source materials for hours and sometimes days to find the right things to help us complete a project and bring a character to life.

How has cosplay impacted your own life?

My favorite part of cosplay is meeting people and making friends. I’m usually a quiet person and keep to myself. Cosplay allows me to break out of that shell and express my love for fandoms. I’ve made so many friends in such a short period of time who share the same interest as me. Many of my close friends now, I’ve met through cosplay.

What are your views of being body positive when doing cosplay?

I firmly believe you should cosplay whoever you want, regardless of your body type. If you have the confidence to rock that cosplay, you will absolutely 100% sell it as the character.

Red X Photography by: Brilan Imagery

Do you compete in any cosplay contests?

I’ve only competed once in cosplay contests. I entered as a Novice and ended up winning Masters, which was weird. I’m not very confident in my craftsmanship so I tend not to do them.

Do you feel like the cosplay world has changed over the past few years? More free and accepting?

Yes, the cosplay world has been freer and accepting in some ways. It’s been an awesome place to show your creativity and express yourself outside of your everyday life. Unfortunately, it’s also very toxic. When you put yourself out there, sometimes the negativity gets to you and it’s quite saddening.

What was your most expensive/hardest cosplay you did and why?

The hardest cosplay so far would be my latest Damian Wayne Robin. Sewing isn’t my strength so that took me longer to create and alter patterns and source the right fabrics. The most expensive are going to be gender bend Sombra, simply because of the EL tape and lights I had to order to light it up.

I make most of my costumes, on occasion, I had to get pieces made if it is outside of my skill set or if I’m on a tight time crunch.

If money weren’t an issue, what would be your dream cosplay?

My dream cosplay is a Blood Elf mage for World of Warcraft. Warcraft took up 5 years of my life and I want to pay homage to that. X-Men’s Nightcrawler is also a dream cosplay, he’s my all time favorite character.

Robin Damian Wayne Photography by: MIG Photography World

Do you have any cosplay pet peeves?

Biggest pet peeve is when people think it’s okay to put others down because their cosplay isn’t up to their “standards”, whether it’s about body shaming, gender, ethnicity, or craftsmanship. I get so heated when things like this happen. Anyone can cosplay who they want!

What would you say to a first time cosplayer?

Just go for it! Do as much research as you can and know that your first cosplay might not be the best and you’ll make mistakes but it’ll only get better from here on. Always remember to do it for fun, not for fame.

Where can fans get more of you (social media, websites, etc.)?

@MrPaulTran for all social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and I’ll have a website soon

Thank you so much for your love, support, and words of encouragement! Words can’t express how grateful I am! Thank you so, so much!

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