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Stacy as The Paper
Vampire Princess Miyu

Tell us about your first cosplay experience, when, where, who,etc.

My first cosplay costume was around Halloween of 1999. I had just started going to the Anime Sushi meetings when they announced the contest. Being new to anime, I had to ask about what was going on and thought it might be a little fun. At the time Anime Sushi was meeting at Sci-Fi City 1701 and that was where the contest was to be held as well, right where the DVDs are today. I dress as the TV version of Vampire Princess Miyu. I had seen the VPMiyu OVA and manga a few months before and it quickly became one of my favorite shows. As it turned out, the club had just started showing the TV version and my love for the character was renewed. The choice was easy, but I had never sewn before. My mother wasn't sure about what I was doing, but with her help and a modified pattern the costume was made. (On a side note, my mother also pledged to never help me on another costume.

How important is money when designing your costumes?

Personally, I really don't worry about money when making costumes. Sure, I try to keep the spending below $100, but it's not set in stone. From time to time I've spent too much on the right style of shoes, however I've also ”ghetto'd” an old coat for the price of scraps. Both times I was happy with the final product. If you can make a costume for $25 and are happy with it then that's great, but spending over $200 isn't going to make a lick of difference if you're not satisfied. My advice is to keep your spending reasonable, but be open to spending a few dollars more.

How do you achieve personal satisfaction from a costume you've created?

Is it comfortable to wear? There's no fun if every moment in the costume is agony. Of course, I've tossed that out the window from time to time. *cough*Padudu*cough* Does it look like the one worn by the character? I'm really picky about this one. My goal is to get as close as possible without blowing all my resources or making a fool out of my self. Do a lot of people cosplay this character? Another picky one. I prefer characters that few people have dressed as before or characters that are very new and as such are lesser known. I really don't cosplay for the recognition of being dressed as everyone's favorite character or the “glomping” of fans. It's about being someone else for a few hours - shaking lose the chains of reality and slipping into a fascinating new me, even living the anime for a few happy seconds.

How familiar should cosplayers be with the characters they portray?

VERY! You really can't get a feel for the character if you've only seen a few minutes of the anime or manga. Sure, it's possible to make a costume without knowing the character, but it's no fun. In that case, it's just a matter of copying, not recreating. Personally, cosplaying is about having fun and I can't have fun if I'm wearing a costume of an unfamiliar character. I always research the characters I cosplay.

Where would you like to see cosplay head in the next 5 years?

I'd like to see fewer costumes with little thought or care put into them. By that I mean, people who wear their mother's ratty old bathrobe or the frayed lining out of vests and expect it to be the best costume ever. You need to take pride in yourself and your costume. Also, there are some really well organized cosplay contests out there, but there are still some that lack proper planning. I'd hope that in 5 years (or sooner) more contests will be better organized.

Asahina Metsuki of Haunted Junction
Ai from Video Girl Ai

What is your source for inspiration in life?

  • To have fun.
  • Leave a lasting mark on the world.
  • Run through the puddles after a cooling spring rain.
  • Sleeping in late.
  • Playing video games early into the morning.
  • Reading late into the night.
  • Learning everything I can about the world.
  • Travel.
  • Cold winter days before a warm fire.
  • To love one who loves me.
  • Admire one who admires me.
  • Sushi.
  • Good food.
  • Justice.
  • Publishing my books.
  • Drawing my hopes on paper.
  • Dreaming through out the day and night.

How important is it that your potential mate be into cosplay or anime?

A potential mate doesn't have to be into cosplaying, but needs to understand that I enjoy dressing in costumes and going to conventions - maybe even be willing to help me out in the costume creation process. Like or loving anime is a must! I get so much enjoyment out of watching anime it's hard to imagine my life without it. I like talking about what I've seen and what's implied by a show, so a potential mate needs to able to discuss an anime logically. I'm not talking about “Uber Otaku” or memorizing the stats of a Battle Mech, but thoughts and ideas brought up by the anime. Also, he has to understand that when it comes to anime (and video games) I can get a bit childish from time to time. Let me have my fun and trust me, I won't go overboard. (Finally, hating Dragon Ball Z is a big plus. I can't stand that show.)

If you had started cosplaying at the age of 5, how would that have affected you?

I really can't say how my life would be different, but I do know I'd be a better seamstress by now.

Nausicaa

Cosplay as a competition - what's your perspective?

I think it's a good way to give recognition to costumes that are truly amazing. Personally though, I think the best recognition isn't in front of an audience, but in the hallways with a photo and a complement. It takes a lot of courage to enter and walk before of the judges and the sea of audience members behind them. Overall, contests need to be well organized. Certain death to any contest is to lose site of the fact that the entrants are people too. They can't be left waiting and they can't be ignored. Treat them like people, you don't have to go out of your way, but remember the golden rule.

How many hours a day do you spend watching anime and sewing costumes?

It really depends, some days I don't do anything related to costumes or anime and then sometimes it fills every minute. I guess on average, 10+ hours a month on watching anime with 10 hours every other week going to video games. Costuming is a little harder to judge since I only make about 3 costumes each year. I'd say it's an average of 40+ hours each costume though.

See more of Stacy's great costumes on her profile page

Stacy, thank you for bringing fresh characters to the cosplay scene and keeping it real. I think most of us share your perspective on competition and the dedication it takes to create a great costume. I'm learning that a costume is far more enjoyable when it is comfortable like you say. Keep watching anime and making great costumes and we'll see you at the next convention!

Prof.Tomoe

 
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