By Nicole Luke

 

Editor Note: Natsuo Cosplay is a recipient of an Honorable Mention in the Mega Cosplay Contest 2012

Introductions

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Allison, I am 21 and I live in southern Ohio. I am currently a senior computer science major in college.

 Cosplaying:

When did you start Cosplaying?
I started cosplaying in 2008, when I was 17 years old. My first cosplay was Haku from Naruto.

What got you into Cosplaying?
I grew up loving anime, and once I got into high school, video games became a love of mine as well. A friend of mine asked me to go to Ohayocon with her, so I cosplayed because she was, and I have been cosplaying ever since!

What is your favorite cosplay you’ve made(or that you’ve done)?
My favorite cosplay I have ever made would have to be Blackrose from .hack. This costume was a challenge, and it was my first time using Wonderflex. I basically had to use it for the entire costume, as most of it is “armor”. The sword (made by a coworker) was also a joy to paint and carry around with me.

How do you determine what to Cosplay as in characters?
I try to choose characters that I feel I connect to while watching an anime or playing a video game. If a scene where a character I like does something to make me cry, I usually know I love the character enough to cosplay as them. Sometimes I will also choose a character that I don’t necessarily connect to, but whose costume I just adore, just as Silica from Sword Art Online.

Do you enjoy cosplaying?
Of course I enjoy cosplaying! I wouldn’t take the time to do it if I wasn’t passionate about it. It is definitely an expensive and time consuming hobby, but the results are totally worth it.

Do you have any Dream Costumes you want to make or do?
My dream costume is Kaine from the video game Nier. Most people don’t dare cosplay as her because she is a hermaphrodite character, but she is one of my favorite characters and from my favorite video game of all time. I hope to eventually create her default costume as well as her two dlc costumes.

Out of all your costumes, which was the hardest to Fabricate?
I have not done a lot of costumes that require intricate sewing because sadly it is not my strong point. I much prefer to make cool weapons/props instead of insane dresses or outfits that will cause me to throw my sewing machine across the room. Yuki Cross’ jacket was pretty difficult, and it is completely lined on the inside to make it warmer also. J

What are some cosplays you are currently working on?
Right now I am currently working on Rikku from Final Fantasy X, Sakura Rokujo from Tokko, and also fixing up some older costumes, such as Blackrose and Haku.

Which costume are you looking forward to wearing in the future the most?
I am most looking forward to wearing all of Inori’s costumes from Guilty Crown. I have purchased most of her costumes from the show (7 of them!) and after I fix them up to fit me properly I will be wearing them to photoshoots. She is such a wonderful character!

Do you think you will ever retire from Cosplaying?
I will probably retire from cosplay at some point, once I feel I am too old to cosplay “cute” characters and too wrinkly to cosplay “sexy” characters :p. Probably 10-15 years from now will be my stopping point.

Have you ever considered wearing costumes outside of conventions for daily wear?
I have thought about wearing my costumes outside of conventions. I have worn cosplays for Halloween but never to school or out in public. I am not opposed to this- it is just much more comfortable to wear normal clothes and no wig when I am out and about.

Do you fabricate/make your own costumes or buy them?
I would say I probably make about 40% of my costumes and purchase 60% of them. But then again, even when I purchase a cosplay, I usually need to make a lot of changes to it before I feel comfortable wearing it. I try to make as many as I can, but sometimes when there is too much sewing involved or I want to cosplay more characters than I have time for, I will buy them or have them custom made for me.

 

In the World of Cosplaying:

Do you or have you participate in any contests? (Convention, online, etc)
I have participated in three online contests, one for Anime Secrets J, one for Cosplay Shinkou, and one for Loose Cannon Props. The Loose Cannon Props contest was a Kingdom Hearts contest to win a custom make Keyblade, which I did end up winning.

Have you won any awards if so what or which?
I have never entered any convention contests, so I have never won an actual “award” for any of my costumes. This upcoming year I hope to enter a contest or two though!

What was the first event/convention you went to?
The first convention I ever went to was Ohayocon 2008. It was a wonderful experience!

What is your standing on Handmade vs Store bought cosplay?
I don’t mind when people buy their costumes. I think it is much more impressive when they are handmade, but as long as people don’t lie and say they made a costume they didn’t, or enter a store bought costume into a craftsmanship contest, it doesn’t bother me one bit, especially since I buy some costumes myself!

How do you feel about those who Cosplay getting into character? Do you get in Character as well?
I love when I see cosplayers who are totally in character. I personally have a hard time doing this most of the time. I am a little shy when I am actually around people, so unless my character is shy, I have a hard time with it. I try to re-watch anime and re-play video games when I am going to be cosplaying a character to a convention so I can try to get into character, although I usually fail.

Is there anyone you always wanted to meet and have a photoshoot with?
I would love to meet Calssara Cosplay and have a photoshoot with her. I have always looked up to her, and actually the Luka costume I have was originally hers and was made by her J. There are also a few photographers I would LOVE to model for. Anna Fischer and BentPic5 are two photographers I really admire.

 

Personal Experiences:

Can you share a few tips for beginners from your experience?
Beginner cosplays always make the mistake of looking at cosplayers online who have been in this hobby for years and years and have had the experience making costumes for a very long time, and sometimes I feel that beginners give up once they realize they “can’t make a costume that amazing”. I sometimes STILL feel that way! Beginners, listen up! It’s all about practice, practice, practice. Even the best cosplayers in the world were beginners at one point! Put your heart and soul into it and someday YOU could be one of the best cosplayers out there!

What are the positives and negatives of Cosplaying in your opinion?
The biggest positive of cosplaying is being able to meet people who share the same interests as you and aspire to be great! I love to talk to other cosplayers who are working on their costumes, because their passion and excitement for the craft is something that non-cosplayers may not understand, and it makes them easy to talk to and get along with. On the other hand, I have noticed more and more that cosplay has become one big competition. It is one thing to want to enter and win contests, and also to have fans, but when your need for attention outweighs your love for cosplay and the culture it brings, there is something wrong with that.

How do you deal with negative and positive feedback on your costumes?
I have never been very good at dealing with negative feedback. I think most people would agree that people telling you that your costume is “not good enough” can be heartbreaking. When someone says something like this to me, I usually get mad in my own head, but then I try to take it as critique and try to understand WHY they feel that something is wrong with my costume. Positive feedback is definitely a confidence booster! Although I do not enjoy inappropriate comments, being told my work is inspiring or that I am pretty are very nice things to hear.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring Cosplayers?
As I said earlier, PRACTICE! You can never get good at something unless you practice. You WILL make mistakes, you WILL be upset with the outcome, you WILL have to re-sew, re-style, re-do a LOT of things, but in the end, it will be worth it! Even if you are not the greatest sewer, maybe you can craft well, and if you aren’t good at sculpting, try wig styling! There is something for everyone in cosplay!

 

Outside of Cosplaying:

Do you have any hobbies other then Cosplaying?
Lately my biggest hobby has been playing Guild Wars 2. MMOs can really take over your life! In addition, I like to watch television shows, such as Homeland and Breaking Bad, and I used to be big into Geocaching (if you don’t know what it is, look it up! It’s awesome!), but I have not gotten back into doing that lately. School and work take up most of my free time at the moment.

Do you have any helpers (pets) that often ‘help’?
I do have 2 cats, Remy and Jade, who love to lay on my fabric and get cat hair everywhere! I try to keep them away from my crafts as much as possible!

Is there anything you do outside of Cosplaying that give you ideas of what to do for a costume?
Yes, since I work with electronics, sometimes I think about how I could incorporate lighting into a costume, or how I can use things laying around the house to bring my costumes to the next level. Lighting is something I have not tried yet, but I really would like to in the future! Maybe the near future! *wink* *wink*

 

Final Words to the Readers:

Thank you to Anime Secrets for thinking my costume was good enough to give me an honorable mention in their contest, it means a lot to me! Also, thank you for reading my interview! I hope I was able to give some words of wisdom.

If you would like to follow my work, you can “like” my facebook page at:

www.facebook.com/natsuocosplay

or check out my website (still in the making) at:

www.natsuocosplay.com