Life of a Cosplayer – Part 1

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To open this series of interviews we’ll immediately give you a combined interview for the price of one! During F.A.C.T.S. 2012 we had the chance to interview Melissa and Larissa, twins who cosplay. During this interview we’ll talk about cosplay but also the life around it.

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Let’s start out with a typical question, namely when did you start your ‘life as a cosplayer?’

We’ve been doing it for around 6 years now, so approximately at the age of 17

What was the trigger that actually mae you take the step of trying out cosplay?

Both of us we’re interested in anime and games (Melissa leaned more towards DBZ and Larrissa more towards Samurai X)and when browsing the web we came across some cosplay pics/clips and this pretty much set everything in motion to actually start making our own costumes.

I reckon it’s not an easy step to take – making your own costumes? Especially the first time?

The first time we decided to try it with a partially made and partially bought costume to actually see how it would turn out.

Seeing you still spend a lot of time in your cosplay hobby, I guess it turned out to be a fun experience?

Even though it was our first try we received a lot of attention and compliments. This gave it that extra edge/motivation to keep improving our costumes and create them completely ourselves instead of having a few bought items. Nowadays we try to make everything ourselves, this way you can teach yourself certain skills and get better in a lot of techniques. You can even call it some kind of ‘addiction’ nowadays.

You talked about compliments, do people also give negative remarks?

Every hobby goes hand in hand with negative remarks but we tend to listen to the ones that are actually constructive so we can improve our costumes.

The negative remarks seem to be a mixed batch of jealousy remarks and remarks that we show too much of our bodies, whilst there are a lot of costumes that show a lot more.

Sometimes we even get rather creepy behavior from some of the people that approach us that just keep hanging around us for an entire convention for no apparent reason. Luckily this is something that happens quite rarely.

How do you deal with these kind of comments? Doesn’t it spoil your hobby?

At the beginning it was a real tough nut to crack to get over the bad taste these remarks left us with but you simply need to get over them. After all we practice our hobbies to enjoy ourselves and to please the many fans who love the genre or that simply love cosplay.

Is there a certain goal you which to reach or achieve with your cosplay?

Yes and no, we are mainly just doing it for fun (like every hobby should be) and for the amusement of the fans of the genre. However we try to play our character as convincing and accurate as possible to accomplish creating a realistic cosplay. There is nothing that can beat the feeling of people recognizing which character we are playing and that they can recognize the details from out of the series or the game we are representing.

Do you always pick the same genre? Or the same preference?

Not really we have a natural interest in anime and games so our characters will probably come from one of those two but most of the time we see a character we like (new ones or old ones) and we start looking up details about them or watch the series or even play the games in which they appear but to put it simple – most of the time we just pick the ones that caught our eye or the ones that we love. This will mean both of us end up with different kind of characters regularly or even with characters we didn’t even know before we started looking up on something that caught our eye.

Another important detail we keep in mind is the theme of the convention we’re going to attend. Because some are more situated around anime than others and so on.

What are things you respect or dislike from other cosplayers?

A costume that has been made from scratch is something that should be respected because it’s not that simple to create something. Sometimes we regret seeing a great cosplay that just missed the details that go with the costume or the character, it’s not really a dislike but just simple regrettable to see it.

Things we dislike are pretty much cosplayers with a fully bought costume that enter competitions. Don’t get us wrong we don’t mind people buying costumes but when they enter competitions it tends to ruin the fun of those who made their own costumes.

And last but not least there are always people who put our hobby in the wrong daylight because some of them just do it for attention to get famous or earn money. Then it’s not really a hobby anymore because it’s supposed to be something you enjoy.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Or who do you get your inspiration from?

Well that’s pretty simple we get inspiration from things we get across or the movies we watch, the games we play, etc… We’re open to all different genres and themes.

Inspiration from other people is a tricky question. Overall we like all cosplay but if we had to pick someone that is known we’d pick ‘shoko’, someone who takes cosplay to the next level.

The day or days before an event do you have any rituals our habits to get ready?

Well we’re not sure if other people do this aswell but we tend to do our hair and do some extra skin care and so on. Some extra beauty touches to keep it short, because we want to look our prettiest/best for when we get in to the character we play.

You stated you started at the age of 17, didn’t this trigger some reactions from your parents?

Not that much. Our parents are supportive but don’t always agree with the money costs that go hand in hand with cosplaying.

So there is a lot of money and probably time aswell involved in your hobby?

We spend a lot of time making our costumes but we also value our social life. Having a hobby is important but you still need to prioritize your social life aswell. Sometimes people may underestimate this section of making a costume but a lot of time is also invested in actually looking up information about the characters we have in mind. Over the years though we gained more and more experience and we started making use of a fitting dummy to reduce our working time to make it a smoother process.

When it comes to investing money buying fabric costs money ofcourse but some of our costumes require a material called ‘wonderflex’ which can be molded when heated and will become hard again when cooled down. Materials like this cost the most.

Keeping your (social) life in mind is a good thing but can you really keep both parts separated? No remarks from your friends?

We have a pretty common life outside of our hobbies. Both of us work and we also do casual things like going out with friend, enjoy watching movies, and so on. Some of our friends will ask us an occasional question or two about our cosplay but it’s not that everything revolves around cosplay. We try to maintain a healthy balance.

When is the right time to stop practicing your hobby?

When we get tired of it or when we simply don’t have any time for it anymore. Cosplay is for every age, you can always adapt your costume to your age. We hope we can still do cosplay for a long time and even involve our families in the future.

Any tips you’d like to give to people interested in cosplay?

  • Cosplay is for everyone
  • Don’t pay attention to the bad remarks
  • Don’t give up
  • Have a schedule to finish your costumes
  • Keep a healthy balance between your social life and your hobby
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