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HezaChan
 

Introduction

HezaChan is an American cosplayer. Regardless of cute girl, hardhearted lady or energetic heroine, she always cosplay well in any character. About the reasons why is she a good coplayer, one of it is good acting; others are delicate costumes and refined items – made by her. Anybody can easily feel her enthusiasm from her cosplay. Even I have seen many cosplayers before, was still surprised at her cosplay. More importantly, HezaChan is not only good in cosplay, but also have excellent skills on clothes-making, handmade accessories and plushy works. It is why she is great in cosplay. On the other hand, she is an almighty cosplayer.
Besides cosplay, HezaChan is still a good person. According to the return mails and facebook, I admire her friendly and active attitude. I believe “attitude” is her greatest strengths. Take me for instance, I am just an unknown foreigner, poor English, no any experience in interviewing with cosplayer. Even so, HezaChan was warmly accepted my interview invitation. I was surprised, glad and touched. Besides, HezaChan is a perfect interviewee. She gladly shared her cosplay experience and wisdom with charming wit and humor. After my interview finished, I believe HezaChan is a good cosplayer, with great personality.
It’s honorable for me to interview a great cosplayer. It’s lucky for me to meet a great person in my first cosplayer interview.
Interview
2011/3/21

Beginning

Heya, dear HezaChan. Thank you to accept my interview invitation! Please say hello to our readers.
Hello everyone! Thank you for coming here and taking the time to read this interview. I will try not to babble too much! (^_^;)
Before it begins, could you please introduce yourself first?
I am a 25 year old cosplayer originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, but I’ve been residing in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the past 3 years. I've been cosplaying since 2000, but I haven't been active in the convention scene until 2001. I have made 33 costumes, and I show no signs of stopping!
Your nickname is "HezaChan."Why you pick it to be your nickname?
I actually didn’t pick my own nickname, it was given to me by my best friend. Growing up during middle school, I had taken a strong liking to anime and manga. I had thought I was the only one at my school with such interests, until I met Valerie. We met during physical education class and she noticed some of my drawings while we where in the locker room. We both then started sharing our artwork with each other, and talking about which shows and manga we liked. Since she and I were very much into Sailor Moon, and other shoujo, Valerie started calling me “Heza-chan”. She still does to this day! So when I started going online and getting into communities dealing with anime, cosplay, and manga, the natural choice was to use that nickname. At the time, I didn’t know it was proper to spell it out as “Heza-chan” so instead I just wrote “HezaChan”, and it just stuck.

Cosplay

What started you on the cosplay path?
As stated previously, my mother used to make costumes for me each Halloween. I am pretty sure that is where it all started. I always wanted to be able to do more artistic things than just drawing or painting. As I grew older and started getting in to anime and manga, I took a liking to the designs of the characters and had urges to dress up as them for Halloween. Then, my friend Valerie told me about a convention for anime that was local and we decided to go. I had no idea what “cosplay” was, or that other people would dressed up too. I just figured if they dressed up for Star Trek conventions, why not anime conventions too? For the first 2-3 years of going to conventions, I had asked my mother to help me out with the costumes. She eventually got tired of working on costumes yearly for me and told me if I wanted to continue this hobby, that I should learn how to sew myself. I knew a little, but I was no where as good as my mother. I didn’t give up though, and with each new costume I improved. I have been hooked ever since. It’s such a wonderful and rewarding hobby. I have met lots of people, made awesome friends, and learned lots of different skills with many different materials to achieve the looks I want when making costumes.
Please tell me your first experience of cosplay.
My very first cosplay experience ever was the Halloween of 2000. I was invited to a Halloween party with friends, and I had wanted to dress up as my fan-made Sailor Moon character. I had asked my mother to help me with it as I had no idea where to begin. I had bought all the materials myself, but I didn’t know exactly how to put the pieces together for the over-all look. I guess most wouldn’t consider that cosplay... (^_^;) But back then, I didn’t know that it was cosplay until I was invited to go to my first convention in 2001. So I guess my first REAL cosplay experience going to a convention and being around other cosplayers was at 2001 SugoiCon in Cincinnati. I had a blast! I had no idea that others would be dressed up too, and that there was a term for it. I just figured I’d go dressed as my favorite character at that time (Lime from Saber Marionette J) and if the staff had a problem, I would just change out. I had one of the best times of my life. I realized that Valerie and I weren’t the only ones into this sort of stuff, and that we weren’t complete weirdos as we were labeled by others at school. We made lots of new friends, and felt a sort of belonging that neither of us had felt previously.
What is your most favorite cosplay subject matter?
I have no hesitation when I say that my favorite cosplay subject matter is Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Majikarte! I just absolutely love Komugi-chan, and just the overall character designs. Infact, I love everything that Poyoyon Rock does! Everything is just so bright and moe~! I have cosplayed many characters from the Komugi and Popotan franchises. All the characters are just so cute, and I feel as if I can relate to a lot of them in many ways. Like, I can see a bit of myself in many of his characters, which makes cosplaying from them much more personal. It also makes it easier to protray the character in photos since it’s super easy to get into character when I can easily relate to them.
Which character is your favorite one that you’ve cosplayed so far?
Oh man, that is such a hard question to answer! I’ve done so many characters that I just love, and it’s always so hard to pick a favorite. I have many favorites for many different reasons, weither it be, “oh I just love the design, and how such-and-such turned out”, or “I love this one because it’s my best sewing work”. But, If I’d have to pick just one it would be AnnaPuma from Dominion: Tank Police. This was the first time I had ever gotten to cosplay with another person whom I had admired so very much who I didn’t know much previously before cosplaying together. In the past I had gotten to cosplay with Valerie, but we would often go to conventions together cosplaying different characters from different series. When Jia*Jem had asked me to cosplay with her, I just couldn’t refuse! I had admired her work for so long, and have always wanted to hang out with her, but I never had the guts to ask her to hang out at a convention. I had always seen her with her own friends, so I didn’t want to impose. I also was excited due to the fact that she must have liked my work, or thought it was good enough to ask me to cosplay with her. This made me feel really good! I was in charge of making the bodysuits, making the cat ears, and styling the wigs. Jia made the armor, boots, and accessories. It was such an awesome experience cosplaying with her, and it has made us become close friends.
What are the good things of cosplay?
Cosplay is a creative outlet. One of which you can express yourself, and express your love of that character and/or series. It’s a great way to make new friends as well! I always find it to be a great ice breaker. People seem to feel more comfortable to talk to you when you are in costume because they either recognize the character and feel at ease when talking about that series, or if someone is shy, they can ask about how you made your costume and that conversation can lead to a more deeper conversation. Cosplay also helps you with artistic skills that can be applied into the workplace if that is what you want your field of study to be. I find most cosplayers are self taught, and that’s a wonderful thing! It shows you just how motivated people are in getting a job done -- plus it’s always fun to share your work with others.
What are the bad things of cosplay?
Cosplay can get quite expensive! Wigs, shoes, materials, they all add up and it can get quite pricey. I rarely have a costume that doesn’t cost me over $100 to make. Also, some people purchase contacts, and that also adds to costs! Making a costume can get frustrating too when it comes to parts you haven’t had experience making before. It’s also no fun if you don’t have any friends or family around that aren’t knowledgeable in sewing and can’t help you with understanding stuff when needed. But still, I find that the good almost outweighs the bad when it comes to cosplay. ^_^
"The character you wanna cosplay, but give up for some reasons."Do you have the experience like that?
Oh yes! I think that most cosplayers have had this experience sometime throughout their years of cosplaying. For me it was Morrigan from Darkstalkers. At the time I wanted to make the costume, I was young and inexperienced and I had no idea how I would go about making the wings for her head and back. I put it off, and put it off for years and eventually just gave up all together. I figured now if I tried, I might be able to come up with something that would work since I have more sewing and crafting experience -- but I’m too interested in getting other characters made, so I guess Morrigan will have to wait, or that I’ll just scrap the project all together.
"Studio" and "event", which one do you like?
I like cosplaying at an event way more than just cosplaying to take photos by myself. I get to see friends whom I only get to see at an event because we will all travel to get there. It’s so wonderful to be able to see everyone at one time, and all dressed up in costume! I love going to an event and seeing other people’s costumes and asking how they made parts, or how long it took them to make their costume. It helps me start a conversation with someone and potentially make a new friend -- it also helps with ideas on how to tackle future costumes. When I go to events I also love to visit the dealer’s room and buy anime figures to display in my apartment~
Do you have any experience of taking a cosplay event in a foreign country?
I actually have gotten to cosplay in 2 different countries, Japan and Mexico! I cosplayed at Tokyo Game Show 2010 in Chiba, Japan and I was an invited cosplay guest and masquerade judge at ConComics 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico. I had wonderful experiences at both and would love to do it again. Japan was a lot different than cosplaying in America as you couldn’t go to the even in costume, and you had a specific area to change, and a specific area to stand in while in costume. There is a whole hallway dedicated to cosplayers. It got rather hot though as the hallway was outside and the weather was quite warm. I have also never seen so many people attending an event in my life! So many photographers all around as well. I wouldn’t change that experience for anything else in the world, and I would love to do it again if the opportunity arose. As for cosplaying in Mexico, it’s a lot like cosplaying in America. You can go to the event already dressed up in your costume and roam the halls freely. I had a really great time. Everyone was so nice, and it was my first time being a guest and giving a presentation, and also being a cosplay judge. The only major difference I noticed was that unlike events in America, Sunday is the busiest day for events in Mexico! The whole event was just relaxed and amazing and I hope I get the chance to go it again.
You always cosplayed in the good place. For instance, you cosplayed I-no in the forsaken house, and Yoko in the wild. That's cool! Could you tell me the experiences about place-choosing in cosplay?
Finding locations for photos isn’t always easy up here in Green Bay, WI. The landscape doesn’t always fit the character, so when I see a location that seems to fit, I waste no time in trying to take photos there. I-no was actually taken in my friend’s basement/garage. It is a really old house, and the basement ceiling is really low. It looks like a hobbit should live there! I just thought it looked perfect because everything seemed so dark and mysterious. As for Yoko, Gurren Lagann takes place in what seems to be a desert wasteland. A couple years ago, they were doing construction in the back of my fiance’s work place. There was sand and dust everywhere, and I thought it looked *perfect* for photos, since I don’t see many place up here that look like that. I’m glad I got the shots then, because it doesn’t look like that anymore. Luckily, when doing both of those shoots, no one was around to see, so it was just me and my friends helping me take the photos with my camera and tripod. However, the photos of me in my Chibiusa cosplay I wasn’t so lucky. They were taken behind my apartment complex that I lived in at the time. There is a nice river and walkway there, and I thought it would be pretty for photos. It was nice sunny day and there were people walking everywhere -- specially for the shots when I had my hat and mustache on for her artist version. Most just stopped and stared, while a few came up and asked what I was doing. I didn’t get any negative reactions from the people who talked to me surprisingly. But the ones who were staring must have thought I was crazy. I kept setting up my camera and the timer, then running back and forth posing. Haha!
You have cosplayed many female characters already, but never cosplay a 'male' character. What are your reasons?
Number one reason for not crossplaying as a male character is BINDING. I have a fairly big chest and I just don’t think it’d be very comfortable to bind my chest flat to resemble a guy. However, there has only been one guy character that I have thought about cosplaying in the past, and that was Travis Touchdown from the Nintendo Wii game “No More Heroes”. I’ll probably never cosplay as a male for the fact that I have stronger interests in female characters. Plus, a lot of the female designs are more appealing to me!
It is hard to exhibit the thoughtfulness and the spirit of a character, but you always did it! About this, please tell me your secrets of success.
I really think the secret to portraying the spirit of a character is to find parts of your own personality in that character. It can be difficult if you are cosplaying a character who is serious all the time if you are never serious yourself! It just becomes so much easier when you cosplay a character that you can relate to, and that you can easily put yourself in their shoes and see the world as they would see it. Although, it’s not impossible to act like a character you’re not really like, I just find it easier this way.
Some characters have their expression- cry, smile or cold. Any ideas how to imitate their expression for your cosplay?
When I cosplay a character I try to study their mannerisms and personality very closely. Even since I was a young girl I would often pick up on other people’s mannerisms -- it made them who they were. Does a character do certain hand positions, or facial expressions a lot? Are they cute, shy, or outgoing? Then once I have the costume on, I practice posing and facial expressions in the mirror until I think I have the right ones, however, not all of them come out right on camera. It’s much easier to control how to strain your facial muscles when you’re in front of a mirror, and with a camera, there is no mirror. I tend to overdo it a bit if the character snarls or clenches their jaw because my face just looks wacky instead of what I’m trying to portray. It can be difficult, but practice makes perfect!
Can you tell me why can you take your time when a camera is locked on you?
When I’m cosplaying, and I have a photoshoot I always try to think of the character and what angles look good. As stated before, I like to practice in front of a mirror beforehand so I feel more comfortable with poses and facial expressions. This makes it much easier for me to not be nervous in front of the camera and become that character. It’s fun having photos taken and interacting with the photographer to get the desired shots -- but more often than not I just let the photographer do what he thinks will work. It really is a combined effort though to get the right shots. It’s also really fun when working with a photographer and another cosplayer. The interaction between the cosplayers is always fun, and makes for some great and silly photos!
What are your principles of cosplay?
When cosplaying I try to stay focused on a project. If you lose focus you will eventually lose interest or become frustrated with the project. Having fun with it is what is most important to me. If it’s not fun to work on, it’s just not worth it. I also try to pick fabrics that go with the character’s personality, or what fits properly with the characters overall look. For instance, if they are a princess and wear a big fluffy ball gown, I might go for more delicate, shimmery fabrics. If it is a Sailor uniform I will go with cotton fabric in solid colors. Cheap satins often look horrible, and they photograph badly, so I pretty much never use that fabric. If working with a satin, heavier bridal satins are the way to go.
For you, the meaning of cosplay is?
For me personally, the meaning of cosplay is having fun and showing your love of that character and/or series. I try not to take it too seriously although I do try to take my costumes look as best as they can in my eyes. However, when I am in costume, I’m just out there to have fun and to make new friends. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?

Clothes and Accessories

You always make costumes by yourself. This is one of your principles. Can you show me the reasons why you always do it yourself then just "purchase?"
I like making my costumes myself because of the learning experience by trial and error, and also I love the feeling I get once I finally finish that project. Buying a costume would not give me the same gratification. I also feel that if I mess up a part of my costume, I only have myself to blame, and that I can make my costume look how I want it to be made. I have a feeling that if I ever commissioned a costume, it wouldn’t turn out quite the way I liked. Plus, I find that it is much cheaper to make a costume yourself then to pay someone else to make it for you!
Where do you get the materials for the clothes making?
I like getting my materials from a store preferably because I can touch and feel the fabric and actually see if it’s what I want. When looking at them in the store I can imagine how the costume would look like made in that material. Shopping for fabric online can be tricky. The fabric may be too thin or too thick, your monitor could make the color different than what you think it is, and not all places will send you a sample. However, I have had to buy fabric online for my Faye Valentine cosplay because I could not find it locally.
Which material is your favorite one for the clothes making?
This probably won’t come as a surprise to many, but my favorite fabric to work with is vinyl. I’ve used it for many of my costumes. It’s such a challenging fabric to work with, and I like that challenge. Vinyl isn’t appropriate for all characters, so I tend to find characters that I like and in which it is appropriate for. I still have a lot of vinyl just sitting in my fabric bin just waiting for a character to come a long that I enjoy that I can use it for.
How much money does it cost on your clothes making?
Cosplay can get quite expensive. On average most of my costumes come out around the $150 to $200 range. Sometimes it even surprises me how such a seemingly simple costume can run into the triple digits in cost! Wigs and shoes always run the cost of a costume up, and sometimes they end up being the most expensive parts of a costume. On average, I can spend anywhere from $30 to $60 on a wig alone! I get coupons in the mail for the fabric shops I visit, and I often use them to get discounts on my fabric. I also try to shop when there are sales to try to keep costs low. I’m also fortunate to have friends that give me gift cards on my birthday, or for Christmas! I try to re-use wigs for other characters to cut the cost. This gets me to my cheapest costume -- Komugi Nakahara from Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Majikarte. I had bought a pre-owned sukumizu from yahoojapan auctions which cost me about $30 total. The wig was reused from previous Komugi cosplays of mine, and I didn’t pay a dime to make the nametag. I also spent a couple dollars on fabric to make the hair bows, so the whole costume cost $32! My most expensive costume cost me $500, and that was Hyper Witch Mugi-Mugi Deluxe. I had to buy a lot of paperclay to make the armor, wand prop, and shoes and that stuff isn’t cheap! Fabric was also not cheap as I didn’t have any coupons at the time. However, looking back on it now, I could have probably found ways to get the same results for cheaper. I guess you learn from your mistakes!
Which clothes is your favorite one you've created so far?
My favorite costume I’ve created is I-no, hands down. It was a challenge I felt I was up to taking. Before making it I thought out how I would be able to make certain parts because there isn’t a pattern anywhere out there that is even closely similar to anything she’s wearing so I had to make the patterns. This was the first costume in which I didn’t alter a commercial pattern. Drafting patterns for a whole costume isn’t really easy, and I am not familiar with the draping technique. I only had so much material to work with, so if I messed up, that was the end of it. I would have to wait a whole year before my local fabric store had that color and type of fabric again because it was seasonal. I did have help with the math of drafting the hat though. I’m not a master of measurement, and with most of my costumes, I just sort of eyeball my way through. I drafted the pattern out of paper, and tested the fit using some pink vinyl I had laying around that I was never going to use. Once I knew the pattern was going to work, I would rip the seams up from the test pattern, and cut it out on my good fabric. I also hand sculpted all the buckles and rings out of Sculpey polymer clay and it proved difficult to have them all the same size. There is also wire inside of the brim of the hat for shaping, and wire inside the jacket for shaping as well. I am so surprised that it came out so well because I thought I was going to give up at certain parts of the construction.
For a cosplayer, all of costumes must be the priceless treasure for him / her. Is it okay for you to lend your costumes to the friends?
I love lending costumes to friends, although I’ve only done it twice. It’s fun to see someone other than yourself in your costume. The first time I lent a costume to a friend was for a cosplay contest at a local mall. I went as Koyori, and I asked my friend if she wanted to be my Komugi. She looked great as Komugi and we won first prize! The second time I lent a costume was rather recently. My friend wanted to go to the local convention, and she wanted to cosplay, but had no costume, so she asked if she could borrow mine. I thought she would make the most perfect Ranka Lee so I lent her the costume. People loved it, and she felt great about that, and in return it made me feel good to see a smile on her face.
How do you store your costumes up?
I have a small closet in our apartment’s second bedroom, which we use primarily as our computer room. It has a shelf on top in which I store my wigs. The styled wigs are pinned to wig heads, while the unstyled ones are flat-packed in plastic bags, sitting in a small box on that shelf. Costumes are hung on hangers, while props and shoes go on the floor beneath the costumes. I also store my fabrics in the same closet with a huge plastic bin drawer. It helps keep everything neat and organized!
Are there any specials to clean or wash the costume you cosplayed?
I haven’t washed many of my costumes actually (^_^;) I usually wear them once or twice then retire them. But in the past when I used to wear a costume to more than 2 events, I would take it to the dry cleaners. I always got weird looks, but I figured I couldn’t wash them in a regular washing machine for fear that they would be destroyed. They came out looking great anyways. So, I think from now on when I need to wash a costume, I’ll take it to the dry cleaners.
How could you have the great ideas to create many outstanding accessories for your cosplay?
A lot of the time I look at what other materials cosplayers use to make things with. I try to figure out their techniques and work them into my own costumes. I love it when people post progress photos of their work, that way people can learn from them and try those methods for themselves. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”. You can make lots of awesome accessories out of things lying around the house. You just have to pull out that creativity inside you! Also, if I feel stuck on something, I will ask a friend for their ideas and opinions. It never hurts to ask for help when it’s needed!

Make-up, Wig and Fingernails

Please show your make-up kit.
It’s not too impressive (^_^;) I tend to spend most of my money on materials and wigs for costumes instead of makeup. I’m cheap so I tend to re-use styles and colors for certain cosplays.
What are your principles about make-up?
When I started out cosplaying at conventions in 2001, I thought little to nothing about wearing makeup with my costumes. I didn’t wear much makeup at all back then besides eyeliner and mascara -- but as the years went by, I started to notice how important makeup is for cosplay. It helps create and overall look, not to mention it makes your face look nice for photos. Foundation and facial powder will let your face look less shiny and cleaner. Also, you can portray a character’s personality through makeup. Are they evil? Dark colors around the eyes with black eyeliner and thick false lashes can create a more mature and mysterious look. Is your character innocent and cute? Light pinks, and shimmery colors with mild eyeliner and thinner false lashes can portray their innocence. However, I don’t find coloring your eyebrows to match your wig all that important, but to each his own.
Have you ever use any color contacts for your cosplay?
I have never used them before because I have a fear of putting things in my eye. I also used to freak out when putting eyeliner on! But now, looking at other cosplayers photos with gorgeous circle lenses, I wanted to try them out for myself. I just love how they make your eyes appear bigger and sparkly like an anime character’s. I have recently bought a green pair of circle lenses to go with my future Stocking cosplay from the Gainax anime series “Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt”. I just *love* that show! I find that color contacts are very helpful in cosplaying a character, but I don’t always find it to be really important to cosplay. Some people just can’t wear contacts, or if they are like me, they have a fear of sticking things into their eyes!
How do you get the wig for your need?
I mainly buy my wigs from online stores, as there are no local wig stores that have reasonable prices and nice color selections. I shop around on certain online sites such as Amphigory, cosplay.com, COSPLAYWIG, Epic Cosplay, and other random wig shops on eBay. I always make it a habit when shopping on eBay to check the seller’s feedback. I also like to look at reviews for certain wigs, and if a friend has advice on a good place to shop online for wigs, I’ll take it. When I’m really on a tight budget I’ll go on cosplay communities on LiveJournal and look for people selling gently used wigs at a cheaper price.
Tell me your experience about the wig for your cosplay.
When I first started out, I didn’t know much about wigs. However, even starting out I would wear a wig so my hair color would match the character’s. I bought cheap Halloween quality wigs that had horrible fibers, and they were not thick at all. They are also extremely shiny so they showed up horrible in photos. I also didn’t know about wig caps, so I would just try to tuck all my hair inside the wig and attach it with bobby pins. In a matter of a few hours my hair would start to show outside of the wig. It was a hot mess. A couple years later I found out about higher quality wigs, and how to properly wear them with a wig cap through an online tutorial by Katie Bair. She was the cosplay wig styling guru at the time. Year after year I would experiment with styling wigs, and with trial and error I have learned how to create certain styles. Sometimes, styling a wig is my favorite part of the costume! But now with so many cosplay wig stores online, you can buy a pre-styled wig for much cheaper than making it yourself which is totally awesome!
It is important for some characters to show their splendid fingernails or toenails. Can you tell me any experiences about your nails in cosplay?
When I cosplayed Puchiko from DiGi Charat back in 2004, I went and got my nails done in a salon. However, I didn’t like the acrylic nails as they destroyed my nails underneath. Not a pleasant experience. Since then, if a character has long nails, I try to grow my own out and keep them strong by using a clear nail polish. I do tend to notice if a character has colored nails, and if that is so, I will go out and purchase matching nail polish colors. So far I’ve only cosplayed 3 characters that needed colored nails: Koyori from Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Majikarte, Bambi from Bambi and her Pink Gun, and I-no from Guilty Gear XX.

More About HezaChan

Please introduce your family, and their opinions on your cosplay.
My mother’s name is Deborah, and my father’s name is Fred. Ever since I was a little girl I loved making and creating things -- I get that from my mother! I would often draw pictures, or try to create clothing for my Barbie dolls. Growing up, my mother would always make my Halloween costumes for me. I was always fascinated by her creativity, and her ability to create something from almost nothing. I remember thinking I wanted to be as good as she was someday. My father is very talented to in that he is good at creating things as well. He would help me on my Science projects when I was little. I specifically remember him helping me make a earth that was attached to a small wooden box, and it had a small moon that would rotate around the Earth. He did the electrical wiring, and it was the coolest project ever! They both have been very supportive of my hobby over the years. They find it to be a productive and creative outlet, and they are always asking what my new project is going to be. It’s wonderful to have parents that support me in my hobby, as I have heard horror stories from others who’s parents are not.
Your favorite characters are Teen Chibi Usagi and Unagi. Why?
When I was younger I was very much into Sailor Moon, and I quickly became attached to Chibiusa’s (or Rini as we call her in the English dub) character. She was a spunky pink haired, red eyed character and I just fell in love with her. Her hairstyle was just out of this world ridiculous -- but in a good way. She had episodes in the R season where she turned into Black Lady (Wicked Lady in the U.S.) and that made me like her even more. The design of the dress, her long pink hair. But before the S and SuperS series came to America, I had searched about those series online, learning about new Sailor Senshi, and I saw a screen capture of episode 158 from the Sailor Moon SuperS series, and just fell in love with Teen Chibiusa’s design. I was obsessed to the point that I collected every piece of fan art and images from that episode that I could find, and even made an online “shrine” dedicated to her. I much prefer her character design from the anime than in the manga, because her hairstyle is so much more ridiculous! As for Unagi, when I purchased the Popotan anime a few years ago, at the end of each episode, Unagi would turn into a humanoid version of herself and introduce the next episode. She was just so cute! I have always had a thing for cute animal girls, and I had never seen a ferret girl before, so from first site I sort of fell in love with her. How could you not? She’s just too cute!
It's surprising you said "I am a nerd" in your twitter. Any stories behind it?
I suppose to some people the word “nerd” has a negative connotation. However, to me it doesn’t. I guess I sort of fit the whole geek/nerd scene being a cosplayer, liking video games, comics, anime, and manga, so there is nothing to be ashamed of. I’m a nerd and I’m proud of it!
According to your great plushy works and arts, you must have a good native intelligence in beauty. Great!
I see beauty and art in just about everything. When looking at everyday ordinary objects, most people only see that object. Lots of times I will look at an object and think that there can be more than one use for it -- such as using a children’s bubble wand toy and making it into a cosplay prop like a sword, or a lightsaber. There are many uses for different things, and they can be transformed into something completely different. However, I think that if I wasn’t so artistically inclined, I wouldn’t have such a fun time making plushies, or cosplay costumes. It would make it much more difficult as I find out that my artistic ability to draw helps me pattern out things, and to help convert 2-d characters into 3-d objects.
Your drawing is not many, but all of them are cute and good to see. Will you draw more?
I still draw, but nothing I seem to draw turns out good enough. I haven’t been having as many ideas for new drawings as I once did. I have tons of sketches lying around on my computer, and on paper in folders. Perhaps I shall scan them or upload them to deviantART sometime, but as for now I am more focused on sewing and improving my cosplay skills.
There are many cute creatures in manga and anime. Which is your most favorite one?
You are right, there are MANY that are so cute that it is hard to pick one -- but one does stick out in my mind the most. He is from a video game, and an anime based off of that game. I just love Raichu from Pokemon! He’s so chubby, and he has such a cute white belly. He also resembles a rat, and I love rats as well. I really wish Raichu existed in the real world. I’d probably have many of them. Instead of being a crazy cat lady, I’d be a crazy Raichu lady. *teehehe*~
I found that you displayed your profile in homepage, like age, measurements and weight. In our country, these are top secrets, especially for a girl. Could you tell me the reason about that?
I really don’t feel the need to hide that information. I really didn’t think that hard about putting it up actually. I suppose it was just more information that I could add to my profile since I felt like I didn’t have much to begin with. I’m not ashamed of my measurements or age, nor do I think it should be a big secret that I should hide from people. But I respect others if they feel uncomfortable with letting people know, it’s different for everyone. For some people it’s more personal. Like I said, I really didn’t have a reason to put them up there other than to take up space.
You are not only good in cosplay, but also superior in making plush and accessory. What is your motive for making plush and accessory?
Thank you! Once I started cosplaying, I never thought too much into props, or plush, but as I kept cosplaying over the years, those things seemed to be very important to judges and cosplayers alike. I would often get asked when my costume was judged in a contest, “Where is your prop?”. To the judges, the character wasn’t the character without their magic wand/mascot/etc. After that time with the judges, I cosplayed the same character but in a different outfit and I made sure I had my wand to go with it. I had won the contest, and it sort of let me know how important accessories/props are to a costume. I just love constructing plush and props because they do help with the overall look of the cosplay itself, and they also are a good addition when trying to figure out different poses for the camera. Props give you something to work with!
Are there any difficulties in making plush and accessory?
Very much so. I don’t have much of a workshop in the means of tools, so when I lived with my parents, I had much more to work with as my dad had lots of tools. I’m not able to do the things I would like to do when it comes to building props like guns, and swords -- but I do the best I can with what little I have. Making plush can be quite difficult because I make all the patterns myself. I find that it is much easier to make the body, legs and arms rather than the head. Making patterns for round things is difficult because I don’t quite have the hang of properly doing darts in plushies. I’m sure the more I make, the more I’ll learn how to properly go about that. Trial and error!
You have two cute cats in your family. (=^:^=) I hope I could know more about them.
All my life I have grown up around cats, and have had cats in my family. I just love them! They are cute, clever, and funny~ I currently have two cats at the moment -- Sasha, who is a black and white American Shorthair, and Naomi, who is an American Longhair - although she could be mixed with Main Coon since she does have the traits of one. I bought Sasha not too many months after my cat whom I have had since childhood, Gadgit, had passed away. That day I went to pick up food for my pet rats at the petshop, when, like always, I stopped to look at the kittens. I wasn’t looking for any particular reason, I just like to watch them play and pet them -- but then I saw her. She was the only female black and white shorthair in the cage with the other kittens. She looked exactly like my cat Gadgit who had passed away. At that moment, my heart just sunk into my stomach. Sasha then looked at me and came over rubbing her head against the cage for me to pet her. Other people wanted to pet her, but she ignored them and just stayed near me. I tried so hard not to cry in the store, because she reminded me so much of my Gadgit. After a day of asking my parents if it was ok to buy her, and asking my boyfriend if it was ok to have her, I called the pet shop asking them to hold her for me until I came. She’s been in my life ever since! Sasha and I hold a strong bond for each other. Jason and I had been thinking about getting another cat as a playmate for Sasha, but we weren’t actively looking at the time. We went to the local pet supply store to pick up food for Sasha, when, like we always do, went to go look at the cats from the local shelter inside the store who where up for adoption. Our eyes immediately fixated on Naomi. She was such a cute little ball of fluff, and very playful. What made me attracted to her was the fact that she looked like my old cat Gizmo who had passed away a month or two prior. It was Naomi’s first day there, and tons of people were attracted to her. Jason and I then decided to fill out applications to adopt her. We were luckily able to adopt her as we were first in line! They told us that many others had applied to adopt her, but since we were first, we got to adopt her! She’s such a sweet cat, although she can be a bit fiesty toward strangers. I think Jason is her favorite though...Haha (^_^;) Sorry I talked so much about my cats, but I just love them to pieces!

Wisdom

You have many cool photos in public. Which one is your most satisfactory photo?
Thanks! That is such a hard question to answer seeing as I like a number of photos, but I’d have to say that my top favorite picture was taken by LJinto at Anime Central 2010 in my Cutie Honey cosplay. I just love the background, the lighting, and the angle. Also, I’m not making a horribly goofy face like I sometimes tend to do. In my heart I feel it just shows Cutie Honey’s personality. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect photo!
A photographer is important for the cosplayer. It seems you are lucky to have the great photographers. Could you introduce them to me?
I randomly ran into some great photographers at different events. From then on I have developed a friendship with them, and we try to meet up at events and schedule photoshoots. I have had photos taken by Leonard Jinto, Shiroin, Karroll Kong , Elemental, and Ryan O’Connor. They all have their own unique style, and are very talented.
It is popular for a cosplayer or a photographer to "process" their photos to be more beautiful. What is your opinion about that?
I don’t find anything wrong with a photographer processing photos to get rid of stray hairs, blemishes, eye puffiness, dark circles under the eye, or changing eye color -- however sometimes when I see a picture where the skin is so smooth it looks like plastic it bothers me a tiny bit. I am also not a fan of when a photographer or cosplayer will edit their photo to make them skinnier than they actually are or have a bigger chest. I know it’s all about illusion and artistic interpretation, but those are just something I wouldn’t personally do.
Some characters you wanna cosplay wear the "exposed" clothes. Does it trouble you?
It doesn’t trouble me at all! Normally I don’t dress like that, but when I’m in costume I’m not portraying myself, I’m portraying that character. Often times I will go outside my comfort level if it is a character I love enough -- such as Felicia or I-no. I want the overall look of the costume to conform to the character’s design. However, if I feel too uncomfortable, I will take some artistic interpretation into the design to make myself feel more comfortable.
In Japan, there are some hentai factors in the anime and the manga. Did you have the culture shock about that?
Nope, not at all. I’m a pretty open person, so not much shocks me. As a matter of fact, I like my anime and manga with a little fan service! They are just fictional characters in a fictional world. It’s not like it’s hurting anyone. In American animation and comics there is adult humor, they just are more subtle and children don’t pick up on it.
Like hentai factors we talked before, sometimes it may be “brutal” in the manga and the anime. How do you think about that?
To be honest, it doesn’t bother me. It’s all fantasy and no one is getting hurt. The characters are fictional. If there is something I don’t like, or that I find to be offensive I simply will not watch or read it, and that’s it. To each his own.
Although in Japan, some people have the prejudice against cosplay and cosplayer. Are there any prejudices in America?
I have gotten dirty looks before from people on the streets while out in costume either taking photos or being at an event. But, for the most part I have gotten positive reactions. Some people see it as a nice creative hobby and will often ask me more about it and how I went about making my costume. However, people who get weirded out by cosplayers tend to stare, avoid, or something even poke fun. I just ignore it and go about my business because I’m not going to let them ruin my fun!
Your cosplay tutorials are outstanding. You are a kind person to share your remarkable experience. What is the cause for you to write the tutorials?
When I started out cosplaying, there was little to nothing on the internet that was helpful to cosplayers. This made it difficult, and you would have to learn by trying. If it didn’t work out, you either gave up, or spent more money trying again. With my tutorials I want to help others so that they don’t have to waste their time and money with trial and error. I know I sure would have loved to have those tutorials when I was starting out. It’s great to help people!
Is it possible to see your new cosplay tutorials in the future?
Yes, I am planning on making some video tutorials in the future when it comes to wigs -- “The Do’s and the Don’ts”. I did have a tutorial that I was writing up a while ago about taking wrinkles out of vinyl material, but I lost all my video and photo footage, so I will have to re-do it. Once I learn effective methods of doing/making things, I would love to share them with others.
You have a photo that stand with the great game director Hideo Kojima. Wow! I need to know the story behind this photo please!
That was such an amazing experience! In 2010 I went with my fiance to Japan for the Tokyo Game Show event. My fiance is a video game programmer and designer, so we were sent to Japan to meet with a client he had been working with at the time. His client got us invited to an exclusive Microsoft after-party the night of the second business day of Tokyo Game Show. There were tons of developers there, and big name producers. We met Mr. Koji Igarashi, Mr. Tomonobu Itagaki, Mr. Kamiya Hideki , Mr. Yoshinori Ono, and the whole crew of The Behemoth. That whole week before the party, I kept saying how cool it would be if I somehow met Kojima. In the middle of the party I remember saying to Jason, “I hope Kojima will show up, but he probably won’t because he’s probably really busy”. Once things were winding down, we decided to leave back for our hotel room. As we were going up the escalator to leave, at the top I spotted Kojima walking in. I couldn’t believe it! I felt so giddy! Funny thing was, Jason was so drunk from the free drinks and talking business that he didn’t even recognize him, and Jason is a HUGE Metal Gear fanboy. I politely introduced myself to him, and asked if I could have a picture with him, and said yes! And thus, it happened! Best day of my LIFE!
Your homepage is excellent! Not only the good style, but also brilliant contents. Show me the stories about your homepage.
Ever since Middle School I have been interested in building webpage and graphic design. I am not formally educated in those fields though. What I do know has been self taught, and I know there is room for improvement. I first started making a cosplay page for myself years ago when free hosting sites like Angelfire and geocities where still around, however, they had limited space, and once the servers went down, they were gone forever. I wanted something more personal than just an account on cosplay.com, or ACP to display my cosplay work. With the current layout I wanted something that was simple, eye catching, and easy to navigate. My previous layout was way too pink, the text was too small, and some parts were hard to navigate. I am really liking the current design, and will probably keep it like that for a while, although I might change the top banner every once in a while!
I watched your video "Korean Hanbok - How to Tie an Otkorum." You show your good skill in wearing an Otkorum. What motive let you to wear the Korean folk costume?
The actual garment is called a Hanbok. The otkorum is just word for the tie on the jacket. My fiance is Korean-American. He still has a lot of family still living in Korea. I have always been interested in Korean culture, just like I am interested in the Japanese culture. Since being with Jason, I have learned a lot about Korean food, clothing, and traditions. The first time I had gotten to wear the Hanbok was New Year’s day in 2008. I had worn one of Jason’s Mother’s Hanbok, and she tied the otkorum for me since there is a special way that I had no idea how to do yet. Since then I wanted to learn more about the Hanbok, and teach myself how to tie the otkorum myself, that way I would hopefully impress Jason’s mother. I still haven’t had the opportunity to show her yet. Perhaps someday!
What are your impressions on wearing an Hanbok?
I love wearing the Hanbok! It is very comfortable and flowing. I love how elegant it looks, and they come in a wide variety of bright colors. There are also many different styles of Hanbok, mine being the hanbok back in the days of the Kisaeng. That style isn’t popular to wear now however, but I think it is the most beautiful.
Will you challenge to wear the folk costumes on your cosplay?
I have a pattern for a Japanese furisode, but I still haven’t found a character I want to use it for yet. Perhaps some day! I have been wanting to make a yukata for Konata or Miyuki from Lucky Star. I don’t know how to tie an obi properly, so perhaps I shall learn, or cheat by making a pre-tied obi!

Ending

You are an outstanding cosplayer in America. I hope I could have a chance to know more cosplayers in your country. Could you introduce some of your cosplayer friends?
Thank you! I think you’ve already gotten to Maridah by the looks of your webpage, so here are some other great cosplayers that I admire from the USA. I don’t know many of them personally, be we do chat online occasionally, and I just love their work!
Jia*Jem, WindoftheStars, Rynn, Ginny McQueen, Etaru, Daydreamer Nessa, and Yaya Han.
Tell me about your aspiration.
I really hope that cosplay can take me somewhere. I’m not counting on it as it is my hobby, and I do it for fun -- but it sure would be nice if someone saw my work, and wanted me to make costumes for a theatre production, or any other sort of job where I can use my creativity. I’d like to feel as if I am talented and that others recognize it. I also want to inspire and convince others of giving cosplay a shot. To show them that cosplay is worth the time and work you put into it, and that it’s a great hobby that can teach you so much about yourself.
It 's close to the end. Please say something to your readers.
First I want to thank everyone that’s reading for taking the time to do so. I also want to thank you, Vermilion, for taking the time to write up such thoughtful interview questions, and for wanting to interview me in the first place. I’m glad I could share thoughts and experiences in the cosplay world. Cosplay is my passion, and something I don’t think I could let go of easily. Once again, thank you for reading!
Thank you, HezaChan!