Cosplayer Ani-Mia sheds light on the dark side of cosplay crowdfunding

ron gejon ani-mia zatanna
Photo by Ron Gejon

I love cosplay. I love the idea that fans can pretend to be their favorite characters by dressing up as them. I love witnessing amazing cosplay outfits, whether I’m at a convention or encountering them online. It’s a great community that encourages being proud of your fandom. However, with every hobby, there is a dark side.

Cosplayers and crowdfunding… it’s a very touchy subject. We have one group that are okay with it, since they’re saying that if people are willing to fund the campaign, then that’s their right to do so. One example of this is Liz Katz crowdfunding her skimpy Princess Peach outfit. Then we have the other side saying that cosplayers should be responsible for funding their own convention trips and cosplay outfits.

Today cosplayer Ani-Mia gave her two cents on her Facebook page. Her biggest issue with cosplayers who crowdfund is that many have been using the money for things like nonessential items, food, going to events with friends, and etc. Wow, that’s truly messed up, since the funds for a campaign should be used as described.

Alright, I very rarely rant on this page because I like to keep it a happy and open environment of acceptance and love…but something within the cosplay community has just gotten out of hand the past few months and I can’t stand by without saying something anymore. STOP WITH THE BULLS*** CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS.

Cosplayers, it is not the responsibilities of your fans to pay for your next costume, to send you on a trip or to a con. That is called personal financial responsibility. And before the arguments begin let me tell you that this is all coming from someone who sees so much behind the scenes garbage that fans and contributors don’t see. What you don’t see is that many cosplayers that do this spend their money frivolously on unnecessary wants, meals out and events with friends; say they are broke but then conveniently are able to attend a convention for fun and a slew of other lies that make me so ashamed at what this community is becoming.

And yes, I know that there are genuinely generous people out there, I have some amazing fans that have contributed to me; but I never asked, never tried to take advantage of that knowing how kind they are and I send something to every single one of those people to give them something in exchange for their generosity. I have seen time and time again, Gofundme campaigns where the contributors never receive their rewards that seem to show no actual thought or worth. To those that feel setting up a Gofundme isn’t directly asking for money I will make two points: 1) would they have contributed to you if you hadn’t set up the fundraiser and heavily marketed it on your social media and 2) almost every single Gofundme uses a variation of the phrase/idea directly stated “please help me do this.”

And so much of this is coming from people getting into cosplay for the wrong reasons, the supposed money and the fame. And let me tell you quite honestly, it’s really not out there and the grass isn’t as beautiful as you think. The vast majority of “famous cosplayers” support themselves with another job or are struggling just like everyone else. There is this fallacy of a cosplay career and too many people treat it like the race to be an actress or performer. They drop everything at this chance. But have you not noticed that those that just strive for fame and fortune never “make it” in this community but it’s those that treat cosplay as it was and is, a hobby and a thing we do because it’s fun and because we love it, are the ones that people gravitate towards?
My biggest point in all of this is, that fans should be appreciated and thanked. Without them taking an interest in cosplay, we wouldn’t have half the opportunities we do now. So stop taking advantage of them and learn to be an adult.

And now I’m going to leave because this was honestly the scariest thing I’ve ever publicly said (currently shaking like a leaf about to hit send) and I know there will be backlash but it’s something that needed to be said.
*Mike drop out and walking away*

She also adds on that same post:

“Here’s another thing people don’t think about. There are so many differing opinions on this topic so you never know how someone else may view it. But there any many cosplayers, businesses, and associations that will not work with people because they do this. You have no idea how many doors you may be closing over some money.”

I strongly agree that it’s wrong for cosplayers to misappropriate funds. This will likely go on in the future, and if that’s the case, I hope that this will shed some light on the issue and to deter other cosplayers from taking advantage of their fans.

Here’s a great example of donations that actually help others. Ani-Mia did a charity drive last month for Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and she was able to raise $2,000.

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