Chocolate Covered Cosplay Debuts at Anime Expo, Next Stop San Diego Comic-Con
Roughly two weeks before the start of Anime Expo, Chocolate Covered Cosplay was born. The group of six women-- Ashphord Jacoway, Neko Nivi, Ginger Burton, Angel Drake, Danielle McRae and Deanna McRae-- came together for cosplay with a purpose.
Shannon Cottrell Chocolate Covered Cosplay
"No matter your race or your height or your weight or how you look, do what you want," says Burton. "Have fun."
"You don't have to be the black version of whoever, you can just be that character," she continues. "Be who you want to be and have fun because cosplay is all about having fun."
Burton, like the others in the group, is an avid cosplayer. She has her own commission business, GNB Cosplay, and founded the Southern California Cosplay Ball as well as Otaku Sanctuary Magazine. Jacoway and Nivi had approached her about doing "something cool with cosplay," she says, and Nivi came up with the name. Then Drake and sisters Deanna and Danielle McRae came into the fold.
Shannon Cottrell Ashphord Jacoway
"There are a lot of public figures that are singles, or are two people, but a group, I hadn't seen a group of six people yet," says Burton.**
Cosplay is a fan-centric art form that focuses on accuracy and attention to detail and there are many schools of thought on how to approach recreating beloved characters. Some might believe that one must physically resemble the character they are cosplaying, or even that cosplay should be exclusive to certain ethnicities or nationalities.
"There's kind of an unwritten rule that only Asians can cosplay," says Burton. "I've heard that, of course. Only skinny girls can cosplay. Only fair-skinned people can cosplay. It doesn't matter. If you see a really great costume, it doesn't matter."
Shannon Cottrell Ginger Burton
"It's all about the effort," says Drake.
"There is an unwritten rule," says Burton. "We don't follow it."
"There aren't that many dark-skinned characters anyway," says Drake. "You have to dig for them to find them."