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Unread Today, 08:09 PM   #1
LunarCrazy
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Question Cosplaying Darker-skinned Characters

I'm white, but interested in cosplaying Esmeralda from Disney's version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I'd like to be as close as possible to the character, obviously, but I'm not sure what the best way is to go about that in terms of skin-darkening. I'm fairly pale(not vampiric pale, but definitely white), so would it look very silly if I were to cover the exposed parts of my body in a darker foundation? Does anyone else have experience with cosplaying a character with darker skin than themselves?
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Unread Today, 08:57 PM   #2
Cameron1138
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I'm no expert on the subject, but darkening one's skin for cosplay seems to be generally advised against, not only because some people may interpret it as racism but also because it generally tends to look pretty bad and unrealistic. I'd just go with your natural skin tone, as long as you do the costume well enough you should still be recognizable.
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Unread Today, 09:01 PM   #3
Amanita
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Yeah, even if you have no bad intentions, skin darkening with foundation or bronzer has a way of looking unnatural and fake, thus opening the wearer up to accusations of mockery or "using race as a costume. So it's best to leave your natural skin color alone.
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Unread Today, 09:03 PM   #4
Ineedaname9
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I've cosplayed as Mink from DMMD and I'm not that pale but I'm not quite tan ether. I've been using bronzer with a tad darker then my usual foundation color to create the elusion that I'm tanner then I really am. I've also had to use a tad bit darker make up for contouring but I'm not entirely sure if your going to be doing that for Esmeralda.

Oh and as a suggestion, don't try to drastically change your skin color. There are a few things that could potentially come off as and it's a bit of a pain to deal with so yeah...
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Unread Today, 09:29 PM   #5
EvilLittleKiss
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Darkening your skin color can easily come off to others as blackface, which is definitely racist. (Blackface was using makeup to make a white actor look like a stereotypical black person, which was used in minstrel shows to make fun of them, and it was also used in old movies so studios wouldn't have to hire black actors.)

Just leave your skin the way it is. People will be able to tell who you're cosplaying.
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Unread Today, 09:45 PM   #6
LunarCrazy
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Would it probably still be seen as offensive if it was only a subtle change, rather than an overdramatic, stereotypical one? I'm not thinking of doing ANYTHING close to blackface; just enough to give me at least a bit of an olive tone.
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Unread Today, 09:58 PM   #7
Shirayuki~Chan
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For my Katara I used bronzer. No one has ever said anything to me that wasn't positive! So I would just stick to bronzer (find one without the orange undertones, mine was perfect but i cannot remember the brand!), but don't do the darker foundation.
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Unread Today, 10:02 PM   #8
EvilLittleKiss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LunarCrazy View Post
Would it probably still be seen as offensive if it was only a subtle change, rather than an overdramatic, stereotypical one? I'm not thinking of doing ANYTHING close to blackface; just enough to give me at least a bit of an olive tone.
I've heard some people on here complain about people who even make themselves olive.
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Unread Today, 10:18 PM   #9
Psychic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LunarCrazy View Post
Would it probably still be seen as offensive if it was only a subtle change, rather than an overdramatic, stereotypical one? I'm not thinking of doing ANYTHING close to blackface; just enough to give me at least a bit of an olive tone.
I would still advise staying on the safe side. Nobody is going to fault you for having the wrong skin tone for a cosplay. However, trying to change your skin tone may draw some ire due to the history behind this. It really isn't worth the risk of potentially offending someone.

I would say at most, you can play around with a slightly darker foundation, but use it only on your face, and of course be sure to blend it at your neck where it meets your natural skin tone so the change doesn't look so drastic.

Hope that helps!
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Unread Today, 10:43 PM   #10
schmemy
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General rule of thumb that I follow: Don't go darker than a shade below your usual foundation, and/or don't go darker than the bronzer that's meant for your skin tone. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking unnatural, or offensive.
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