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Ana Paula

Marina

Tell us about your first cosplay experience ( when, where, what, etc ).

ANA PAULA - In 1998, my friends told me about a reunion of anime fans in Curitiba (a city in the South of Brazil, four hours away from our city). They would watch anime and, at night, there would be a costume party with people dressed like anime characters. I thought that would be great! My mother helped me with an Ami Mizuno costume. We dyed my hair blue, and I must admit, I felt very shy! At the party there was a Rei Hino, a Goku... It was nice, and I fell in love with cosplay.

MARINA – I always helped my sister to make her cosplays. When I went to my first convention, in 2000, we decided to cosplay together. We chose Mahou Tsukai Tai because we both liked the anime a lot.

We got the cheapest fabric in the store, to save some money. It didn't fit exactly, but we didn't know what kind of fabric was best. Today, we see that it's much better to spend a little bit more to get better results. We asked our grandmother to make the dresses and the cloaks. It was nice because she made it the way we wanted. When you pay someone to do it, many times they don't care as much.

Arriving at the convention and hearing “Hey, look at Sae and Akane there!” was great! I think that this feeling of a good job is what hooked me.

What is the most important thing for you when cosplaying?

ANA PAULA - Being a character for one day. I try to look and act as she does... like a reincarnation. I will never cosplay Sailor Uranus, although I love her, because I'm too short. I try to choose characters that I like and resemble. Sometimes it´s necessary to have a haircut, gain or lose some weight, or speak with a different voice. I try to do it all. Before I cosplayed Blue Mary, my hair was on my shoulders and I was very thin. I got a haircut and worked out a lot, then I became more like her. But there´s a limit: as I said, I´ll never cosplay Sailor Uranus. No matter how much I try, I won't be her. And when I cosplay, I want to BE the character.

MARINA – I agree. You must feel the character in yourself. I make cosplays of characters that I admire, and it´s very good to be them for one day! You have to be reasonable in your choice.

What are your long term goals as they relate to costuming?

MARINA – There are lots of cosplays I´d love to make, but I didn't because I couldn't find material or I didn't know how to make something essential to the costume. Florianópolis (the city we live) is a small city with few resources to cosplay, so we have to adapt alternative materials and do our accessories by ourselves.

ANA PAULA - We´ll be the happiest cosplayers in the world when someone tell us to cosplay Belldandy and Skuld with their lifeguard angels and we answer: “Hehe, that´s easy!” We´re still learning new techniques to produce our costumes. I want to find out a cheap and easy way to create armor and weapons, and also how to style wigs. Nowadays, I dream about making a great Deedlit costume.

What sewing/construction tips can you offer?

ANA PAULA and MARINA - There is always an alternative way to do everything, you just need to think a little bit. When we were making the Saber Marionettes, we used lots of different materials. Cherry´s green jewel was made with paper (that hard paper used in boxes) and pieces of plastic. I could have bought a real jewel, but it was going to be too expensive. And it is funnier to make by yourself! To make the boots, our mother had a brilliant idea. She opened a pillow and sewed the cotton on a pair of slippers, until it looked like saber's boots. Then, she covered them with pink and yellow fabric. Super comfortable!

Narya's boots were homemade also: we bought white fabric that imitates leather and sewed it on a pair of black boots we already had. It was much cheaper than buying a new pair, and they fit perfectly! Many times, things you have at home can be very useful to cosplay.

About sewing, our grandma practiced on old fabric, and then used the real fabric. If you have time, this is nice because you buy just the [amount of] fabric you really need.

How could cosplay be improved in Brazil?

ANA PAULA - I think cosplay has reached a high level in Brazil. If you look at cosplayers like Petra or Ruby (they are here at the Lab), you see there are great cosplayers in our country. But of course, it can be improved. Not in the material to construct, because as I said before, sometimes you find what you need at home, or someone may tell you another way to make it. Cosplay can be improved especially in acting. Lots of people like to be dressed like the characters, and that´s very nice. But there are just a few that can really play the role and be that character for one day. This talent (or maybe this “gift”) is rare, but when you see someone that has it, you say, “Wow, what a great cosplayer!”

But again, I´m not against having fun just wearing costumes. I just think that cosplay in Brazil would be improved if people think about clothing and also acting.

MARINA – Anime is seen as a “child thing”, and it's a problem in Brazil. It creates a great barrier to people that want to work in this area. It was even shown on the newspaper when some cosplayers took the subway to go to a Con. When they look at cosplay as a common hobby (as riding horses, playing cards or listening to music), I think lots of things will change and there will be much more people investing in anime, like specialized stores or places to show our productions.

Where do you get inspiration in life?

ANA PAULA - With my family and friends, specially. They are very special, and taught me to have willpower and to fight for what I want. I also read a lot, and like to take notes. Those references can be useful in a future cosplay.

MARINA – I always try to follow things I believe. I have a wonderful family and friends that always support me in my projects and goals. What matters is to be happy, and cosplaying is something that makes me happy.

Where do you get your anime?

ANA PAULA – We watch some on tv and cable tv. We also got some from fansubbers, and lots with friends. I like to watch different things at conventions, not just the blockbusters. And there's always a cosplayer eye paying attention. Sometimes I and Marina say, “Hey, I wanna cosplay that!”

MARINA- Certainly, the internet helps us to get many ideas for a new cosplay. We like to look on the net for popular anime that are not so well known in Brazil, and get some ideas from it. That's the case of Sae and Akane. Or look for a different character in a very famous anime, like Narya and Erya, or Phylia.

What would make you stop cosplaying?

ANA PAULA - The only thing I can imagine is some kind of accident that makes me stay in bed, unable to move for a couple of days. I don't see anything that would make me stop. I have close friends and relatives that don´t like cosplay, but they respect me. My job too, I would find time to do it. And even if I run out of money, I would wear some costume again, or make a new one with things I have in the wardrobe, like a Shinji cosplay.

MARINA – As Ana Paula said, running out of money is not a reason to stop completely, because there is always a chance to find a cosplay inside your wardrobe. Maybe Ritsuko, from Evangelion, or Videl, from DBZ.

I would stop if it wasn't making me happy anymore, but I can't imagine this possibility.

If you were asked to make the costumes for a live-action version of your favorite anime series, what show would it be and what would you do to make it the best it could be?

MARINA – We would really like to have opportunity to do it. I love the costumes of Records of Lodoss War, Rose of Versailles and Fushigi Yuugi.

ANA PAULA - Fushigi Yuugi! This show is great, and the costumes are wonderful!

First of all, I´d like to know the cast, to see if they look like the characters and what I would need to do. I´d choose good fabric (not satin for everything, but fabric that would look realistic) and sew it according to the anime series. Each body is different, so every costume will need to be modeled to the actors to fit exactly like in the anime.

MARINA – Satin can be beautiful, but it really does not work with the costumes of Fushigi Yuugi. Those clothes are heavy, so they must be made with a heavy fabric

ANA PAULA - I would also call a nice hairdresser and would ask people to speak like the characters. Miaka is a cry baby, Tasuki is the bad boy, and it´s shown in the way they speak, the way they walk, the way they look at you. This would be very important in a live action.

What do you want to be when you grow up and how is cosplay helping achieve that goal?

ANA PAULA - I´m a journalist. I talk to different people everyday, so I can´t be shy. Cosplay helped me this way. When I´m cosplaying, I leave a little bit of my shy side behind. It´s hard to make a cosplay, as it is hard to make good reporting. The efforts I do to prepare a costume showed me that it's worth fighting for what you want, even if it's hard. I have to prepare myself and to give my best to do both things: my job and my cosplays.

MARINA – To me, cosplaying is not just wearing a costume. There's a total research of how to do it better and find the best, inexpensive materials. All this research is important to have a good result.

I study Graphic Design, but started cosplaying years before entering the university. This exercise of research, planning and drawing our clothes helped me a lot to do my design works, because I learned that, as a cosplay, a project can't be done without research.

Tell us something funny.

ANA PAULA - A funny thing about us is that people know us as “the twins.” Marina and I go to conventions together every year, and as we look like each other a lot, people think we are twins. There are even sites showing our pictures and saying we are twin sisters. But I'm four years older! Anyway, I like being called like that. It seems that we can be closer when we are cosplaying.

And I must admit that cosplaying is much funnier after my sister started going to conventions with me. It´s great to have someone to share your happiness, your efforts and to help you to be a better cosplayer. I love her, and hope we´ll cosplay together for years!

MARINA – Funnier than wearing the costume is what happens behind the scenes. We always want our costumes to be finished one or two days before the convention. So we normally live three weeks in a complete mess. Sewing machine, fabric, ink and glue everywhere. We always say that next time will make it earlier, but everytime is the same! Everyboby helps, then we finish it in time.

Ana Paula and Marina, thank you very much for sharing with us. I can certainly relate to living in a costuming mess, although we sorta live that way all year round. I've mentioned the word passion before in previous spotlight articles, and I find myself again being inspired by your passion for cosplay. Some people cosplay for fun, others for competition, and still others to perfect their performing and sewing skills. I think you've done a great job in showing us how much you enjoy every aspect of it, and we certainly look forward to seeing more great costumes from you both in the near future. Best of luck now and in the future!

Garry aka Prof

 
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