The brilliant and lovely Amberlina is the latest wonderful cosplayer to do an interview with us, and I think a lot of cosplayers will nod in agreement with her assessment of the very first time someone cosplays. Amberlina is spot on though, it’s about having fun first and foremost within a brilliant community.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Hiya, my name is Amberlina, I am a flight attendant here in Nevada but mostly a crafter, a lover of all things anime, and a cosplayer.
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
The true answer to that is a bit longaya but the short-version is that I saw a poster advertising an anime convention, and together my sister and I journeyed into the unknown, our first con. During a ‘friending event’ we quickly realized that our very, verrrry general knowledge of anime/cosplay at the time was just that. We had suddenly entered a world where you could be your favorite characters and join a community that loved and shared your interests, and we wanted to become a part of it. So we spent the next year ‘leveling up’ and when the next convention came around we had bought our first cosplays, and at the following convention we took our EXP and then made our first cosplays, and from there every year we’ve continued to build and increase our cosplay skills together and individually.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
Yes, I enjoy cosplaying as characters that I think share a similar personality to my own. The character and I may not share every quality, but I find that when I cosplay a character that I don’t need to ‘act’ to personify them I have way more fun. So I’m not struggling with trying to be the character because I already relate to them.
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
Let’s start with the most enjoyable hehe. I began my cosplay journey as a duo with my sister so every single one of our cosplays together have been crazeamazing, my favorite was running around as Ryuko and Mako from Kill la Kill. Cosplaying on my own, however, every time I put on my lil blonde twin tails for Tohru from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid I fall in love with her character alllll over again. I spent a lot of time working on her cosplay and was extremely proud of the work I put into to cosplaying as her. Most challenging cosplays would be those characters that maybe I didn’t feel a real connection to but had element that I thought would be fun to try out, sadly Harley Quin and I just didn’t work out, I love her character but I had a difficult time trying to be her with my own style.
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
Every outfit begins with the exclamation ‘I want to be them!’ hehe after that I do a bit of research and deciding how I’m going to construct certain pieces. Currently my specialty lies in my sewing skills, sometimes I don’t have the ‘book-knowledge’ that I need but I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make something work. So my outfits are usually completed with a lot of restitching but after the foundations are in place I’ll begin work on the details and accessories, which can range from making foam horns to weapons or little bows.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
My all-time favorite convention has to be KawaiiKon. This convention has such a feeling of ‘family’ and positivity; the people that attend are amazing not only in their cosplay skills but also in their interactions with one another. I always feel right at home when I step off that escalator leading into the convention area and those three days go by way wayyyyy too fast every year.
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
Yes *tears well up* those times when somebody refers to me as my cosplay ‘Oh my gosh I loved you in that one episode where you did this or that.’ There was a convention where my sister and I had worn ‘cute-fied’ versions of Chihiro and Haku from Spirited Away (nobody recognised us which was totally okay) but we were standing in line for an event and a little girl in a Chun-li outfit got all excited because she knew who we were cosplaying and her mom proceeded to ask us for pictures. Being approached with a shared love for a character is always the best.
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?
Oh my gosh, I’d say I’m the one that probably tires out my photographer. I get excited to have my pictures taken and I’m super grateful towards photographers that ask. Yes there have been times when maybe I wasn’t asked to pose or just told to, or have been told to do certain poses that I wasn’t comfortable with, but most of the time photographers are polite and super nice so I’m always happy to work with them.
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
Cosplaying very literally changed my life in the most positive of ways. Right before we attended our first convention, I had just gotten out of a bad relationship…really bad. At that time I didn’t have my own identity, I couldn’t even tell you what I liked or what my preferences were in anything. So the poster hung up in that 7-11 window advertising KKon, brought my sister and I closer together and introduced me to myself (sounds weird I know). Cosplaying helped me find a niche and community of wonderful people that helped me get to know the real Amberlina. It has become something that drives me, challenges me, and in the end always brings me happiness.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
DO IT! If you’re already thinking about cosplaying you gotta try it out. It’s an experience that goes way beyond wearing/making different outfits,you’ll be introduced to a community of amazing and encouraging people. Everybody has a place in the cosplay family and you’ll find those connections to people you maybe would’ve never met otherwise.