Cosplay is the art of dressing up as your favorite character. An elevated form of pretending? Why not.
And anything goes. You can be a character from a movie, video game, comic book, TV show, anime, it’s all good. And “Misa” from New Hampshire has got this thing down pat. She is by far the most experienced disabled cosplayer in the world.
At 23 years old, “Misa,” an anime and video game nerd, already has 4 years of cosplaying under her belt. Born with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy carried Charcot-Marie Tooth (it affects her nerves from her knees and elbows down), Misa (her real name is Amanda Knightly) had to begin using a wheelchair when she was 10. At the time, this girl had a bright future in store when it came to costuming and anime, she just didn’t know it yet.
Misa finally discovered cosplay while in college, and she hasn’t looked back since. “Love cosplay, love your body!” is her motto, and she has found cosplay to be more than just a fun thing to do, but a great way to divert people’s attention to more important things. She knows she’ll get stared at regardless, so “why not give them something to really stare at.” Proving to other disabled cosplayers that anything is possible is what she lives for.
For “Misa,” which is her alter-ego based on Misa Amane from Death Note (a popular anime), being in character is only something she does at comic conventions, in case you were wondering lol. And she heads to them – PortCon, Anime Boston, QunniCon – whenever she can, and has become a mini-celebrity when she goes.
She’ll dress up as other video game and anime characters she likes too, like Yuna from Final Fantasy and Holo from Spice and Wolf. But Misa is a character after her own heart. Watch this great interview with her at the AAC Anime Convention talking about her character
And what’s even more impressive is that she makes all of her costumes and does all of her own makeup as well. With limited hand function, you know this isn’t easy. I’ve done some cosplaying myself – “Six” from Battlestar Galactica, She-Ra – but Misa is definitely the queen of wheeled cosplay. Her dedication to the art is awesome.
And Misa lives for sharing her story with everyone – cosplayers, AB folks AND the disability community, hoping to inspire. She has a Facebook page Misa on Wheels so her fans can follow her adventures and she has a chock-full Tumblr page full of cosplay goodness.
Misa is WITHOUT question a beacon of positivity and fun; something everyone could use more of. Maybe the non-geeks out there don’t get cosplay, but if you can understand the joy of Halloween combined with looking sexy when you show up at a party, that’s the feeling you get.
Cosplaying if you ask me IS the ultimate form of therapy. Sick of being yourself? Throw on a costume and head to a convention and cosplay. Nerds and geeks could care less about our wheelchairs, and the lovely Miss Misa is proof.
Do you cosplay? Who would you dress up as if you did?