All the ridicule has made me more confident - Cosplayer Shamindri | Sunday Observer

All the ridicule has made me more confident - Cosplayer Shamindri

18 July, 2021

Shamindri De Sayrah is one of the most prominent figures among the Cosplayers fraternity in Sri Lanka. Her work has been appreciated globally and applauded by celebrated personalities in the comic film and television industries.

But, donning these characters come at a price, ridicule, negative and callous comments. The most recent of these malicious comments came as she paid tribute to the recent Black Widow movie, by cosplaying one of the most influential Marvel characters from the Marvel universe.

Yet, none of the haters haven’t dimmed the spirits of Shamindri and she continues to live her passion and plans to experiment further with cosplaying. All the hate has only made her confident, and do more of what she loves doing.

Q: What inspires you to be a cosplayer?

I’m a massive entertainment fanatic. So what inspires me is my love for film, television, and the many different characters I have grown to love and who inspire me. I pay tribute to them by cosplaying.

Q: How many characters have you dressed up in, and what is the most memorable one?

I have cosplayed around eight characters so far, including multiple versions of Black Widow. My most memorable ones are Supergirl and Black Widow. Two of my favourite characters are from DC and Marvel. Two characters who gave me the confidence I didn’t know I had when I cosplayed them.

Q: Your work has got a lot of global attention and constantly retweeted by acclaimed international directors and producers?

Yes, it has. One of the best things that happened was when The Russo Brothers, directors of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, saw and used the cosplay poster my friends and I had made as their profile picture on Instagram. A few others were noticed on social media by Melissa Benoist for my Supergirl cosplay, Caity Lotz for my White Canary Cosplay and Danielle Panabaker for my cosplay of Killer Frost - these are the actresses who played each character in their respective television series.

Q: In the recent Black Widow cosplay, you received a backlash?

I recently did a project with my friend, photographer Tai Hsin Shiek to recreate the posters of the Black Widow movie, and after posting them and the pictures started circulating, I was called names such as Fat Widow, Big Black Widow and many more, from local and international groups.

There was even a meme. Cyberbullying is no joke. If we don’t change our mindset around how we see people’s bodies, if we continue to consider fat as an insult and consider fat people as less worthy of respect, then this vicious language will continue into the next generation.

Q: How do you deal with all this and stay positive?

In 2017 when this was happening to me because I cosplayed Supergirl, things were different, I wasn’t as confident of myself as I am now, and memes people shared upset me. My family and friends are the ones who have helped me a lot to get to where I am now, and they continue to help me. Now, I simply do not care what the haters have to say about me, because at the end of the day, I’m doing what I love, and I don’t need to look perfect or be the right size to do it.

Q: What do you have to say to your haters, the bullies and those so-called perfectionists?

You can call me fat, you can say I’m not the right size, but all your hate has only made me more confident of myself. I challenge you to do something like this.

Q: Your advice to future cosplayers?

If you are passionate about something or a certain character you shouldn’t let anything or anyone stop you. That may be easier said than done but it’ll get easier along the way, remember if anyone tries to condemn you or what you do, just remember, don’t take any notice about what anyone else thinks of you, the only thing that matters is what you think of yourself. Take their words and turn them into armour, it’ll only make you stronger.