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

In summer 1997, a manga shop in Paris was organizing a cosplay contest in the middle of the street. It was the first real cosplay contest in France, and this was how it [the interest] began for me. I wasn't in Paris then, but I swore that next time, I would definitely participate! Lucky for me, I didn't have to wait for too long. My first costume was Video Girl Len in October 1997 (BD Expo) when I was 14 years old ;). At this time, Video Girl Ai/Len was one of the first manga I read, and I really liked the costumes...so cute ^_^  We were wondering about doing Ai or Len, and we finally decided to do Len's costume because we thought it was more original. But when we arrived at BD Expo in the morning, we saw that 2 other people had the same idea as we did :)) People were taking pictures, asking me how I did this or that, and it was so funny to see reactions when I said that I was only 14 years old. The atmosphere was so great. Everybody was congratulating each other's cosplay, and it was just a way to have fun and meet people. That's why I keep a great memory of my first cosplay: I met so many people who are still close friends right now that there could have been 10 other Len cosplayers, it really didn't matter at all! After the contest was over and while I was going home, I wasn't thinking about doing another cosplay. I didn't even imagine that there would be more contests organized, but it seems that people really enjoyed the show, and after BD Expo 1997, every convention has its cosplay contest.

What are your favorite types of characters to cosplay and why?

Actually, I don't have any favourite types of characters. When I chose to do Sakura Taisen's cosplay, I wasn't thinking about the character. I liked the costume so I decided to do it even though I hadn't seen any Sakura Taisen anime. I tend to choose the costume first then I think about the character. Sometimes, it's both: I like the character and the costume ( Video Girl Len or Sophitia for instance). Right now, I'm planning to do Black Chii because I love her costumes but not especially the character. I'd also like to do Rosette Christopher's cosplay (Chrno Crusade) but here, it's because I love the character and then the costume.

Why do you cosplay, and what is the most rewarding aspect of it?

I do cosplay because every costume I choose is a challenge to me. I'm always asking myself when I see a costume I'd like to do, "Will I be able to make it? Could it be hard? Will the costume suit me? Will I enjoy wearing it?" etc. Because I never use a pattern to do my costumes and learn sewing by myself, sometimes easy things seem impossible for me to do. But when my costume is done, and it was difficult, and I spent so much time on it, then I feel so proud of myself. You know, like, "Yeah! I did it! I created something!"  It's great to realize that you won your challenge ^_^ Cosplaying is also the opportunity  to wear clothes you don't usually wear like beautiful dresses, mini-skirt, seifuku, stage make-up, wigs etc. It's a bit like theatre in fact. You're wearing different clothes, playing different characters. And when you meet people at cons and then see them again away from the cons (when you're "normal") it's so funny to hear, "Wow, it's you?? I didn't recognize you without your wig and your make-up!"

 

If you could arrange to be in the ultimate photo shoot, where would it be and what costume(s) would you wear?

I guess it would be my Atelier Marie's cosplay. I spent so much time on this costume, and I couldn't get any real good pictures of it. T_T  It could be either in a forest, a library, or in a laboratory. She has a lot of different backgrounds in the illustrations. I must say that I'm totally impressed by the photos of the cosplayers Lillyxandra and Haruka. I hope someday I could have pictures of my cosplay as beautiful as theirs.

When things aren't going your way, how do you deal with the stress?

I don't!!! ^_^;;  Stress is my worst enemy in life. I could ruin my exams because of stress! I'm totally unable to control it, even a little. And when the stressful time passes, I'm out of strength. Maybe I should really practice yoga as a friend told me once.

When in costume, you look amazingly like the character you are cosplaying. Tell us how you achieve perfection in your cosplay.

As far as I remember, I'm always trying to do all the little details that I can see in a costume. Sometimes, it's so stupid and hard that I think I should just forget about details; nobody pays attention to them anyway. But I don't give up. Doing the fine points on a costume is the thing which takes the most time. That's why Atelier Marie was a long and expensive project. But when you've finished with it, you agree that doing all the small bits was the most important thing. A costume possessing all those little details often appears to be the perfect costume, the most "complete" costume. Once the details are done, I try to find the perfect wig because, for example, a Maetel without long blonde hair is not a perfect Maetel. I've used a lot of wigs this way, and I also had to create some wigs myself to look as much as possible like the character. But when I can, I also use my own hair: Sae from Mahou Tsukaitai or Makoto Kino from Sailor Moon.

What will your profession be in the future and how will cosplay help with that goal?

My future work has nothing to do with cosplay actually ^_^;; But doing difficult costumes has probably taught me to not give up on a project until I'm done with it. Right now, I'm studying Chinese, Japanese, and Tourism so I guess in the future, when I open my own travel agency in France, I'll keep this "not giving up until the end" attitude in mind ^_^  More seriously, I know that with motivation, we can do a lot of things, and I realize it when I'm doing cosplay.

 

   

If someone wanted to be a "professional" cosplayer (whatever that means), what things would you coach them on?

Always add a personal touch to your costume. It's something which makes the costume different from the others of the same character. Just like a signature. And don't be afraid to spend a lot of time on details that can be hardly seen. As I said, details are very important. It's also true that sometimes, simple costumes are beautiful, but in any case, spend as much as time you can. Choosing the right fabric is also very, very important. You can't do a seifuku with velvet even though velvet is beautiful.

 

 

Rather than people thinking of cosplayers as weird, I want cosplay to be considered an art. As cosplay grows in popularity, what can cosplayers do to encourage a positive response from the public?

Wooww ^_^;;; I don't know! As you said, a lot of people might think of cosplayers as weird, but that's why I don't care about those people's opinions. I don't know how it is in USA, but here in France, I'm proud to show my costumes to people who aren't interested in anime or manga (when I have the occasion, of course). Their reactions are quite good. They are impressed to see what we can do and how much it resembles the original character. Once they know that I'm not wearing cosplay in the street but just for some cons throughout  the year, I've never had any bad reactions from people. But let's say that someday, I meet someone who is really telling me that I'm weird. I would just explain to him that it's a way to create something. There are people who can paint or draw, and there are some others who sew clothes -- different clothes perhaps but still creating something. I'm not doing it to actually "become the character I love." So, as long as we can show the public that it's just a way to have fun, that we're not thinking about becoming an anime character for real, people will understand that cosplay is just a hobby like others do model planes or shopping.

 

 

Speak to the types of character designs that are available nowadays compared to when you first started.

When I started cosplay, anime and manga weren't really famous in France. We had few translations and getting ideas for cosplay was quite hard. I remember there were a lot of Sailor Moon, Ah Megami-sama, Lodoss, and Nausicaa characters. Now that people have internet and more manga have been translated, we've got a larger choice of costumes. There are really too many costumes I want to do now compared to 5 years ago. I'm not sure the types of characters changed though; it's just that they're more famous now. I also notice that there are a lot more of video game cosplay (Final Fantasy, Soul Calibur etc.). It's a great thing that everybody can find good idea for cosplay now that it's getting famous. The technique has also changed: several people have cosplayed for years, and with experience, they can do more difficult cosplay. At every con, I'm often surprised by the skill level, how good the costumes are and how people get more and more talented with time.

If you have any rumors to dispel or would like to add anything

That's the bad thing when you're doing cosplay. I've heard so many rumors about me that I can hardly count them. It's a shame because I'll never understand why people enjoy doing this. All I know is that it hurts even if it's not true. I almost quit cosplay because of rumors. If you have something to say, just say it to me ! -_- I miss the real beginning of cosplay in France when it was just for fun or just a way to get along with other anime fans. Now, because of all the contests which have been organized in France and because mentality's changed, cosplay has become a competition. I have enough exams and stress in my life that I don't need more in one of my hobbies so that's why I don't like to participate in contests anymore. Previously, I did a lot of cosplay alone, and now I'd rather do cosplay in a group with friends. I enjoy it much more, and it helps when you're not the only one who's stressing out about costumes!

 

see more of Kyupi's costume collection here

Kyupi I think you have great cosplay spirit. May we never lose sight of the fact that cosplay should be for fun and to make new friends. You are a skilled cosplay artist, and I hope you continue to build on your success to reach new levels in what ever you attempt.
Good luck!

Garry aka Prof.

 

 
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