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
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
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
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
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
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
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