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Emirati Cosplay: A Journey of Passion, Creativity, and Representation

Essa Al Bastaki is a popular name in the UAE's cosplay community, where she enjoys dressing up as characters from movies, video games, and anime.

For over a decade, Essa Al Bastaki has been a prominent figure in the UAE’s cosplay scene, embracing the art form of dressing up as characters from movies, video games, and anime. 

His recent triumph with his partner, Alex, at the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) and representing Team UAE at the World Cosplay Summit in Japan marked a significant milestone in their cosplay journey.

Parental Acceptance and Passion Unleashed:

Al Bastaki reflects on the initial challenges of gaining parental acceptance for his cosplay passion. Initially deemed childish by his parents, his turning point came when he brilliantly incorporated costume creation into a history presentation at university, earning top marks. 

Over time, his parents evolved, shifting from skepticism to actively engaging in discussions about his costumes and future cosplaying endeavors.

Alex faced similar hurdles but managed to persuade her parents by ensuring they understood the appropriateness and safety of the hobby.

Collaboration, Challenges, and Preparation:

Their partnership in cosplay, which won them acclaim, is built on seamless collaboration and mutual respect. However, creating detailed costumes demands effort and budgeting, often taking months to perfect. 

While Al Bastaki boasts a room with three sewing machines, Alex recommends “closet cosplay” for budget-friendly options, utilizing existing clothing from one’s wardrobe to embody a character.

Character Study and Getting into Character:

Understanding the characters they portray involves deep research into personalities, iconic traits, poses, and expressions. 

For Alex, studying the character’s source materials and practicing mannerisms in front of a mirror is crucial for embodying the character authentically. 

Being prepared for wardrobe malfunctions is also essential, as Al Bastaki humorously recalls a shoe repair minutes before a performance.

The Cosplay Community and World Representation:

Their experience representing the UAE at Japan’s World Cosplay Summit was a moment of immense pride and honor. 

Both cherish the supportive and creative cosplay community, emphasizing its openness to sharing skills and knowledge among its members.

Looking to the Future:

As they plan for upcoming conventions, Alex and Al Bastaki discuss future characters to embody. With an expansive array of characters to explore, the possibilities in cosplay are limitless.

Alex and Al Bastaki continue to make waves in the UAE’s cosplay scene through their dedication and passion, enriching the community and celebrating creativity uniquely.

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