Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a good year, this year I decided to start things off with a Cosplayer Spotlight. This one is on Bishoujo Senshi, an Eastcoast cosplayer I’ve had the chance to meet, who makes wonderful cosplays!
What first got you into cosplay?
When I was about 14 years old, my first online friend (one of my only “nerdy” friends at the time) and I heard about something called an anime convention where you could go and dress up as characters you like in costumes. Excitedly, we put together some admittedly crappy costumes from Naruto – our favorite series – and had the best time. Since then I’ve been totally hooked!
What is your favorite costume?
Right now it’s definitely Caesar Zeppeli from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. I’m a huge fan of crazy makeup, and Jojo as a series really lets you have free range to do absolutely anything you want as long as it’s bright, colorful, and glittery! On top of that, he’s a favorite character of mine for sure. Overall, however, I think cosplaying Sailor Moon is a moment I will never forget as a favorite. Without exaggeration, it was a dream come true for me!
What was the hardest costume to complete?
Super Sailor Moon for sure. I worked with a friend of mine to make the outfit – sewing is still very hard for me so I seek out friends/commissioners whenever it gets too complex on my own – and because of the expectations I had for the outfit it made things very nerve-wracking to complete. Despite the improvements I want to make, I’m still very satisfied with how everything turned out!
What would be a dream costume to make?
Eternal Sailor Moon is probably the top of that list! It’s probably obvious at this point, but Sailor Moon has always been my favorite series and Usagi herself my favorite character, and that variation is something I have always wanted to wear. Especially with big feathered wings and the gorgeous long staff, cosplaying that would make even more of my “bishoujo” dreams a reality.
What is your favorite convention?
Katsucon! It’s the one convention that I’ve without fail always had a great time at. It’s honestly perfect, in my opinion – the time of year (I favor the cold weather personally), the gorgeous location, the attendee count, and the fact that most of my faraway friends go to it! It seems like a really popular choice for a lot of people for good reason.
What new skill have you learned from creating cosplay?
One is definitely how to make something out of nothing, because especially when making garments and props, you’re quite literally taking a menagerie of separate materials and turning it into something recognizable and in some cases functional. But a big one for me as well is how to alter existing items into things for my purposes. A great talent of mine is altering found objects/clothing for my costumes, which saves a lot of money and in the case of myself as a working student a lot of time as well. It’s actually pretty fun to start the search, too – between thrift shops and online auctioning, it’s a bit of an adventure!
Do your skills in cosplay apply to anything you do outside of that, like work or any other hobbies?
Definitely. I’m currently a senior in art school who has dreams to be a character/concept artist, and without my immersion in cosplay, I don’t know if I would’ve discovered this passion of mine as quickly as I have. To be honest, I feel I was first drawn to cosplay because of the way characters looked; I’ve always been a fan of the “acting” aspect of things, but I really feel it is the outfits more so that inspire me. The aesthetic of clothing, function and color theory has always been attractive to me but especially when looking at an entire character from the top down and figuring out why something may or may not have been created the way it has been.
Is there anything in particular you tend to lean towards when you decide a cosplay? (genre, character type, etc). How do you pick what character you want to cosplay?
This goes along with the previous, honestly – great outfits are my absolute favorite, but I definitely have to love the character above all else. For me personally, I can’t cosplay from something I’m unfamiliar with just for friends – I have to love both the series and its character to move forward and make the necessary commitments. I’ve tried in the past to fill groups for the sake of filling and it’s just not as enjoyable for me. As far as what type of character comes up a lot, I tend to bias magical girl “cutesy” types and those with thicker frames to suit my own, but doing things out of that comfort zone has proven to be fun and exciting as well.
How long do you spend working on a costume?
I try to work a few months in advance, which starts with ordering things to alter/wigs/etc and going from there. Most of the actual “creation” process is about a month in advance from my deadline, which isn’t always the best but hasn’t always been the worst, either! It truly depends on what I have going on and the difficulty of the costume – Sailor Moon took about 4 months while Barnaby (Tiger & Bunny) was done two weeks before Otakon… somehow. J
Do you have any advice for someone first getting into cosplay?
Just try and have fun! I know that’s said a lot but I really feel I need to emphasize that because it shouldn’t be just a popularity contest. Another thing is to understand that your first couple costumes may not be the best because you’re still learning, and that there’s nothing wrong with buying costumes, commissioning, and asking for help. I still do all three, myself. This community is sometimes full of mean spirited individuals but there is also an overwhelming amount of support; many of the best costumers, in my opinion, are not the ones who are skillful and “popular”, but those who openly help others. Look to them, go to them, seek them out – they truly want to share their love of the craft with you!
Links to personal sites/pages/etc.
http://www.acparadise.com/loves/bishoujosenshicos — ac paradise
http://facebook.com/bishoujosenshicos — facebook page
http://twitter.com/usagihimes — personal twitter