I first met Eileen at London Film and Comic Con, and she was brilliant. In fact she was responsible for getting me into cosplay photography, and it’s from there I’ve really grown to appreciate the passion and skills that the cosplay community have. Recently she was chatting about cosplay again, so of course, I asked her for an interview 🙂
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Eileen von Skopnik, I’m a professional actress born and raised in London. I love art, I’m a big gamer (my faves include Zelda, Resident Evil & Metroid) I also enjoy studying languages, music & playing my Violin, Ocarina and Tin Whistle.
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I had never heard of Cosplay* until 2011, when my Korean friend & language teacher told me she was making a “cosplay” for her daughter. I was interested in learning more so she invited me to the London MCM Expo in May 2011, but I had to dress in cosplay too… It was 6 weeks away from that time, so I had to think quickly & get a costume made to join them.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
Yes, I love cosplays that are full of detail, complex and difficult to make. Either they’ll involve painting tricky patterns across meters of fabric, attaching lights or sewing on 12000 pearls individually by hand ( as in my Queen costume). I enjoy seeing a detailed cosplay come to life, so if it’s big, loud & complicated .. I’ll probably love to have a go at it!
What for you, has been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
The most challenging by far has been my Queen Esther Blanchett costume from the anime Trinity Blood. It’s a big costume with a dress circumference of 5.5meters. I wear about 3 layers of cloaks on top of the dress with ruffs & standing collars, so it’s hard to move & it also gets warm very quickly.
he most enjoyable is probably my Princess Midna cosplay or my Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffanies black dress. I can move around much easier in them & they’re definitely not so cumbersome.
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
When I first look into making a cosplay I do a lot of research.. finding the right reference pictures, sourcing the amount of fabrics / materials needed & drawing out the pattern. Once that’s done, I start with the fabric pattern, get it up on my mannequin & make adjustments. I can then visualise part of the outfit already, which helps me when I start to make the accessories to size. I try to work on something each day but to pace myself and not do too much.. making a cosplay is about having fun after all.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
I’ve always enjoyed the LFCC ( London Film & Comic Con) at Kensington Olympia. That’s my very favourite con as it’s slightly smaller than the really huge ones like the MCM. I prefer smaller events in general, as it doesn’t get too manic and busy.
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
I feel very lucky that I’ve had some wonderful reactions to my costumes. Children wanting to hold my hand and take photos. I’ve bizarrely even signed autographs before which was a good laugh. People have told me that I’ve made their day & that I’ve inspired them, which is the biggest compliment.. What more could I ask for 🙂
A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?
I’m happy to pose for pictures for anyone, so a photographer can literally just walk up to me and say “Hi!” I don’t get tired of being asked either, perhaps only at the end of a long day, when the energy levels are somewhat dipping 🙂
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
Cosplaying has been a wonderful experience & has really enriched my life. I’ve met hundreds of kind and talented people & made so many new friends. I’ve been invited to events in Europe as a guest and Cosplay Judge, been in magazines & newspapers & have won 4x 1st place awards for my 2 cosplays..which has been slightly surreal but also a dream come true. I’m very glad to be part of the scene & so thankful for the way my costumes have been received.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
Yes, I think the main thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself. I find that the cosplay community is full of kind people ready to help & we can all learn from each other by sharing our knowledge to express ourselves through this beautiful art.