Karter (Melanin Girls)
“Be true to you and yourself...
I compromised on what would make me happy for the sake of what others thought and
I wish I could go back and do it all over again.”
Cassie recently spoke with Karter from Melanin Girls and discussed love, life and interests and the light that they are shining on alternative females of colour within pop culture. We all need a little ‘Nerdy, curvy & a lil dirty’ in our lives!
By Cassie Hughes
Karter is the creator of Melanin girls and created the brand after seeing a serious lack of positive representation of woman of colour in the cosplaying and gaming community.
Business Partner and co-owner Maureen graduated from university with a Fashion Design degree and uses this passion in creation of cosplays and fueling that passion. She hopes to create a space for women and cosplayers of colour from different walks of life and backgrounds and to help build a community where all can build each other up.
So, firstly who are Melanin Girls?
Karter: Melanin Girls is made up of myself, Karter the creator and owner, my best friend Maureen, my business partner and co-owner.
Our Melanin Girls:
Melanin Girl Deja
Why did you decide to set up Melanin Girls?
K: I decided to create Melanin Girls when I really was able to see the lack of exposure and representation of black women. Our original brand, xCosplayx was created to showcase cosplayers of colour. From there, I heard the
complaints of my friends about not being represented and it angered me. Maureen and I decided to move forward with re-branding ourselves as the Melanin Girls and moved to re-posting women of colour only.
How do you respond to individuals that feel that showcasing women of colour solely is excluding other groups?
K: My response to them would be, with all due respect: F your opinion.
In this day and age, we (black people) are literally being killed off almost on a weekly basis. The least we can get is a representation that highlights the beauty and creativity for our women. It is time to break down stereotypes and uplift black women and if you have a problem with that, then you can simply keep it moving.
If you could go back into time and give advice to little yous.. what
would it be ?
K: It would be to stop trying to fit in. Be true to you and yourself. I would also tell myself to follow my dreams. I compromised on what would make me happy for the sake of what others thought and I wish I could go back and do it all over again.
Follow your heart.
At the end of the day, your happiness is what matters. You have to live in your skin. Not your friends, not your family, YOU.
With the popularity of anime, gaming and cosplay going more ‘‘mainstream’ do you feel that there’s been a growth in representation in media? Eg. Crazy rich Asians, Black Panther
K: I do think that there has been some growth. Unfortunately with who our president is, there has been a lot of hate and negativity surrounding us in the media, but I think that with work and talent coming from millennial’s
(who are now working adults) we have created businesses and put forth new ways of thinking that challenges what was put in place before. I am very hopeful that 10 years from now, my children and their friends will have
equal representation in the media.
Top 3 characters to Cosplay?
K: I haven’t really put much thought towards cosplays since I’ve been building Melanin Girls, but I would like to cosplay Supernova from Rick & Morty and Hela from Thor. I don’t have a third right now.
Do you feel that cosplay and sexuality go hand in hand?
K: Yes and no. I feel that both are outlets for creative expression and that they can be tied together and that’s what we are doing with Melanin Girls.
Who are your largest inspirations in love, life and growth?
K: Wow, this is a great question. My largest inspiration in love would be my grandmother, Patricia. While she wasn’t an overly affectionate woman, when she was loyal to you, she stayed true and that’s how I live my life. My
circle is small and those who work with me, not only with Melanin Girls, but also in my daily life know that if I say I got them, I mean it. My second would be my boyfriend, Corey. He has had my back 100% through
growing the Melanin Girls brand and is my right hand. My inspirations in life & growth would be first, my best friend and business partner, Maureen.
She inspires me to keep pushing to be great and is so business savvy. She is one of the only people that truly understand how my mind works. She’s my partner in crime. I also get an immense amount of inspiration from the
many cosplayers of colour on Instagram that I follow. Women like Tranquil Ashes, Ladylocosplay, Izzysaek0 and Thouartanuli are so inspiring to watch grow.
I grew up pretending not to be a blerd (black nerd) because watching anime and listening to rock music was not acceptable in the neighbourhood I grew up in. I didn’t really get into the blerd community until I was 23, where I attended my first Otakon and from there, I didn’t start cosplaying until I was 25. I like to refer to myself as a late
bloomer XD. Being able to run a business that uplifts women in the blerd community makes me happy. It fulfils me, even more, to know that we have a hand in combating the negative stereotypes that come with being a nerd and
a person of colour.
As your social media presence goes, how do you deal with trolls and trying to keep on message?
K: Luckily, we have not had many trolls on our social media accounts. We have had some guys leave disgusting comments, but I usually delete those and block the accounts. The Melanin Girls do not tolerate blatant disrespect
for our ladies.
What tips for you have for someone getting into cosplay or expanding their brand?
K: My tip would be to just do it. Cos-playing is such a fantastic expression of one’s creativity, and while you will come across those that are mean, the majority of cosplayers that I’ve met have been nothing but kind and willing
to help with anything.
What do you have planned for Melanin girls?
K: There are 2 directions that we are taking Melanin Girls. The first is to be a lifestyle site that covers the latest info and events in the blerd community. This website will include a forum, personal store and articles &
info on trends & topics like fashion, beauty & media. The second is to be an alternative modelling agency for women of colour only. Those are our ultimate goals. right now, we are focusing on building our presence and brand in the community and gearing up to attend more conventions and host new events in 2019.
Thanks to the amazing Karter for her time! You can find her direct on instagram Here!
You can contact the Melanin Girls team through their social
@_melanin.girls on Instagram