Whether being inspired by art, movies or videogames, cosplayer Becky Young embraces the possibilities when it comes to creating new characters, such as Scarlett Johannson's Black Widow or an apocalyptic Rapunzel. Young is one of nine cosplayers who star in Syfy's new docu-series, Heroes of Cosplay, which premieres Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
“For me, it's just another form of entertainment. I've been acting since I was 4, and the reason that I act is that I love to invoke emotion in people. That's why I do it. It's not for the money. It's not for the fame. For me, at least, I love to make people feel something, whether that's sad or happy or laughter or glee. I love that. Cosplay is just another outlet for that. It's even more creative, because I'm adding my own flair to the costume I'm wearing as well,” she said.
Young's been cosplaying since 2006. “The reason that I started was I fell in love with an artist named Greg Horn. His artwork was just amazing. He did a piece for Marvel of Emma Frost, and when I saw this character, I started reading about it and getting to know it and just fell in love with it and became that character walking around a convention,” said Young.
“It was personally a very big step for me as that character. She wears a corset and underwear and a cape and long boots, and that's about it. Growing up as a heavier girl -- I was about 200 pounds in high school -- I've dealt with a lot of body issue problems and things like that. So for me, being able to go out there as this character and feel empowered and strong and bold and beautiful and everything, it was such an awesome experience for me. It was very cool that that was my first experience in the cosplay scene,” said Young.
From Burbank, Calif., Young has appeared as Samus Aran in There Will Be Brawl, Laurana Lynn in 8.13 and many other web series and one-offs. She also acts as creator/CEO of the Girls Entertainment Network, and she's been a marketing coordinator for Mythic Entertainment and the Video Games Live concert tour and a judge for CBS Sports' Guitar Hero Competition.
Young is thrilled that Heroes of Cosplay, which follows the cosplayers to genre conventions as they compete around the world, has embraced what's involved when it comes to cosplay.
“Every costume that I've done, I've learned a new skill. I've kind of always said that in cosplay, it's the only hobby that I know that has so many different skill sets. I learned how to be a toymaker and a cobbler and a seamstress and an armor builder and a hatter -- a little bit of everything in order to achieve these looks. So for me, it depends on the costume, what that process is, but it's just a lot of research and a lot of learning new skills and techniques,” said Young.
While she does love the competition, she also enjoys other aspects of cosplay that are not at all competitive.
“I like both aspects of cosplay. In most conventions, I do both. There are reasons to walk in character that day, and there are reasons to do cosplay competitions. For me, I've been doing pageants since I was 4 years old. I'm a huge gamer, so I think it's the competitive nature that's already in me to want to do cosplay. For me, it's not only showcasing personality and ability, but also creativity and ability to go on a stage and have your artwork, your personality, your creativity judged by some of the top industry people is an awesome experience. It's fun and it brings a little bit of everything that I do to the forefront," she said.
Check out the gallery below for some of her favorite costumes.