Cosplaying student shares part of her world

Amber Moser
A&F Staff Writer
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While many people know her as a regular UNC Asheville student, others know her as Ariel or any number of Disney princesses. No matter what role someone knows Crissa Berger as, it is hard to argue the unique quality of the hobby this sophomore new media student has taken up: cosplay.

Berger hugs a little girl who recognizes her Ariel costume. One of Berger’s favorite parts of cosplay is being recognized by children.
Photo courtesy Jade Leaf Photography.

Berger was first exposed to cosplay at the 2009 D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. This expo is a biannual event that brings Disney fans together in a common location where they can discuss their favorite events and preview upcoming works from The Walt Disney Company.
I originally got drawn to cosplay as a young girl when I went to D23,” Berger said. “I saw people dressed up like Disney princesses and I just remember looking up at them wishing I could do the same thing one day.”

Berger poses in character near the ocean, where one might think Ariel would actually be spotted. Photo provided by Crissa Berger.

Berger made her childhood dreams a reality. When she is not busy with schoolwork or out with friends, Berger works on making her own cosplay costumes from scratch. She said this process can take anywhere from two days to six months, and can be quite costly.
“My most expensive cosplay was Queen Elsa and she was $150. My cheapest was Kim Possible and I got the entire costume from Goodwill for less than $20,” Berger said. “The average cost for a cosplay including a wig is usually $70-$90.”
While Berger may do all the work, she has plenty of people supporting her in the background.
“I love Crissa’s cosplays because it’s a way for Crissa to express herself,” said Rachel Boyle, a sophomore psychology student and close friend of Berger. “It’s always cool to see how detailed her costumes are, too!”
Berger’s friends are not the only ones who support her, though. Even strangers appreciate her hobby.
“I love it! She’s clearly enjoying herself and it looks like a spot-on Ariel. Her makeup is on point and she even went the extra mile with the fork,” said Zachary Diasioa freshman biology student, about Berger’s Ariel cosplay.
For Berger, aesthetics are not the only important part of cosplaying. Cosplay gives her an outlet to express herself and brings joy not only to her, but to others as well.
“It’s always a sort of adrenaline rush to walk out the door dressed up as a character that I love,” Berger said. “I have to say that I enjoy the reactions I get from young children, too. I love seeing their faces light up when they see me dressed as a character they know.”