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Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
BY MARLENE MIRANDA, Wharton High
Miranda Sabol is honest. “A lot of times at school, it’s kind of hard to find things to talk about with people because I don’t watch the same TV shows. I’ll hear about people like Kim Kardashian. . . . I don’t know who Kim Kardashian is. I didn’t in middle school, I still don’t.”
Whereas many students watch reality TV shows about underage pregnancy, raunchy roommates or B-list celebrities, the Wharton High senior spends her time with cosplay, literally “costume play,” dressing up in the costumes of her favorite anime characters.
“I’ve been into cosplaying since I was in seventh grade, when I met my friends Monica and Sandy. They were into anime way before I was. The cosplaying came around Halloween, before we even knew about conventions and stuff.”
Sabol and her friends started out building costumes from clothing bought at Goodwill. What began as a simple Halloween costume slowly grew into a brand new lifestyle. Sabol began to watch anime and cosplay more.
“Two years ago, I attended my first anime convention. At first, showing up in costume was intimidating. I dressed up as Misa Amane from Death Note. Some people spend a lot of time and hard work, and I just kind of threw my costume together. I didn’t know how people would react.”
Sabol walked in the convention center extremely nervous, but soon found out she had no reason to be.
“It was so much fun. Easily, one of the best experiences of my life. It’s like you’re surrounded by people who get you, who do the same things you do, and they don’t think it’s weird.”
Cosplay became an outlet for Sabol to express herself. In school, she said, she’s extremely quiet and keeps to herself.
“I feel more comfortable in costumes than I do walking in jeans. When I’m in jeans and nice T-shirts, it feels like I’m just trying to fit in with everyone at school. When I’m cosplaying at a convention, it’s like everyone there is comfortable with who they are. Cosplaying gives me confidence.”
Usually, Sabol chooses to dress up as male characters. She always explains why to people who are unfamiliar with anime or cosplay.
“I like dressing up as a boy. It’s easier to do, to get short-haired wigs, and the clothes are usually more comfortable. Also, boys tend to wear more clothes in anime.”
Choosing the right character for cosplay is important to Sabol, and she always wants to make sure that she looks just like the character.
“The best thing about cosplay is when someone comes up to you and tells you that you look just like the character. It’s fantastic. You feel so proud. I don’t choose a lot of outgoing characters. I choose characters that I relate to, characters I have a connection with.”
In college, Sabol plans to major in advertising and theater. She hopes to be a voice actor.
“I know that in the next couple of years I won’t have as much time to cosplay — I’ll be in college, working. But it will always be a part of my life.”