Written By: Rose Fong

Artemis recently transplanted from Atlanta, Georgia to Seattle, Washington, “Yeah, it’s like a weather culture shock. I just walked out yesterday, and I needed two sweaters, and I’m not about that life!” She has yet to break into the Seattle coffee scene. But it’s in the cards, especially if Beyonce or Nicki Minaj are up for a coffee date to dish their secrets about working hard as multimedia queens.

Growing up, Artemis felt ostracized for wearing her natural hair, whether it was an Afro or in dreadlocks, she couldn’t find a place where she fit. “Until I got into social media, I never would see anyone who looked like me, and I went out of my way to change how I looked all the time.”

Even in the growing, generally inclusive world of cosplay -- a fashion niche where people craft and wear costumes after popular figures in comic books, literature, and television -- Artemis faces standards of appearance and beauty that restrict her artistic expression. She explains, “I was really into Japanese fashions, and I started going to [comic and fan] conventions because of that... People started telling me that I looked like this character on Game of Thrones, the mother of dragons, and I thought, ‘How cool would it be if I dressed like her?’ And the positive reinforcement I got from that, not only from social media but at the conventions, got me into making costumes as a hobby after that.”

“As many people who tell me that I have courage to do cosplay while black in this community, there are people who tell me I should stop doing cosplay, especially if I’m doing white characters. They’ll tell me to do something more acceptable like Storm [from X-men] or Princess Kida [from Disney’s The Lost City of Atlantis]. They don’t realize how hurtful it is.” 

But Artemis sees the bright side of exploring a new frontier, “I get so many messages from people telling me that I gave them courage to cosplay this one character… it makes everyone who has [experienced the same issue] matter. I feel like getting into cosplay helped me come to terms with who I am. I turned [my appearance] from being something awful for me to being something that makes me stand out.”

Artemis’ social media platform is a stepping stone to her activism and modelling, which often cross paths, “I feel like I have to scream twice as loud. There are people who won’t work with my make-up and skin tone. It happens a lot more often than I admit, but [the fashion industry] needs to work on women of color in general.”

When life gets stressful, Artemis will take the time to unplug. “My biggest act of self-care is to go on walks. I’ll turn off my phone, and I won’t answer messages. I have to remind myself I don’t owe anyone anything. I focus on my own bodily autonomy and do things that I want to do, for once. It’s a journey, I’m working on it.”

“Everything that you hate about yourself, there is always gonna be someone who thinks that’s the most incredible thing, ever. You can be the most incredible peach, but there’s someone who will always hate a peach.” She laughs about her peach metaphor, “I’m so Southern. I can’t help it.”

To see more of Artemis and her journey please follow her @ghettodragon