"I was always a 'pretty, but'," says Rhapsody Artajo, who, by her own definition, is a woman of many trades: plus-size model, entertainer, singer, artist and makeup artist. "'Oh, you're pretty, but... you could stand to lose some weight. You're talented, but...you should drop some pounds.'" Good thing Artajo hasn't bothered to listen to the haters. She's cosplayed as many recognizable characters of all sizes, including Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Katana from Suicide Squad and Ursula from The Little Mermaid.
As a pastime, cosplay (in a nutshell) has always been about fans taking part in the opportunity to embody the fictional folks they see on their television screens, play in video games and read in comic books. One of the best aspects about cosplay is, obviously, the unwritten rule that you can dress as any character you want. Unfortunately, Artajo herself says she experienced some lame pushback when she chose to cosplay as characters who are typically presented as being thin.
In spite of that, Artajo hasn't allowed the negativity to deter her from doing what she loves: in essence, dressing up. "Cosplay is about loving your fandom and showing how much you love it," she says. "So I never let other people stop me from doing characters I want to do. I want to stay relentlessly optimistic and contagiously confident."
No argument there: within one minute of sitting with Artajo and her confidence, her passion for cosplay and her unfailing optimism become more than apparent, and, after all, isn't that what it's all about? You can check out some of our favorite cosplay creations from Artajo in the gallery below.
Are there other fabulous cosplayers you'd love us to spotlight in the future? Sound off in the comments!
Image: Jon York.