Jasmine was kind enough to do an interview with us, and some great words of wisdom and resources were forthcoming too. A huge thank you to the wonderful Jasmine and for letting us share her stylish work.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jasmine, I live in France, I’m 21 years old, and I’ve been cosplaying for a bit over a year under the alias Emissary of Wind. I have 5 costumes under my belt so far, of varying difficulties.
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I have been attracted to cosplay since I was very young, but I never felt like I could do it myself, or had the drive to actually start, until pretty recently. After graduating high school and starting higher education, I had a huge breakdown and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, leading to my dropping out of school, going back to live with my parents, and generally isolating myself. So I ended up mostly home alone with nothing to do. On my therapist and my parents’ advice, I needed to find a hobby other than wasting my days sitting on the couch browsing the same sites over and over again. Between my long-standing interest in cosplay and the fact that I had my mother’s fabric stash and sewing machine at my disposal, I naturally gravitated towards cosplay. It took me a long time to create my first costume with the limited energy and motivation I had. But as I went on, I became able to work for longer bouts, and while I’m still working on my recovery, I have made a lot of progress thanks to cosplay.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I think the archetype most common in the characters I cosplay or want to cosplay is the princess, or queen, or similar. I’m a bit of a slob, and I mostly wear jeans and a hoodie in my everyday life, so when I get get in costume, I can be a beautiful woman, with elegance and poise, and really play a character I don’t get to be outside of cosplay.
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
I try to pick up something new with every costume, so each one has a challenge for me. So I guess the most challenging is the latest costume I made, Queen Anora from Dragon Age Origins. As for the most enjoyable, it was a lot of fun destroying my old high school lab coat for my Curie cosplay from Fallout 4!
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
My first step when starting a costume is finding a pattern that I can either directly make the costume with or modify to suit my needs. For example, my organization XIII coat was made using a commercial pattern with no changes, while I had to combine two different patterns for my Zelda dress.
Then, if there’s a part of the costume I’m not confident making, or if I’m using expensive fabric, I make what is called a muslin, that is to say a version of the piece made of cheap fabric to make sure it works the way I want. I then report every fix necessary on my pattern, and I cut it out of my actual fabric and start sewing.
I always make sure to try on the garment as I go, so if I make a mistake I see it right away and I don’t have to undo and redo five hours of work to fix it. I also press my seams as I go so it sits neatly, and I finish my seams with a zigzag stitch if the fabric tends to fray.
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a convention and not enjoyed it. I love the atmosphere of cons! But if I had to pick, I would say last May’s MCM Expo in London was my most fun con so far. I got to meet other people cosplaying from the same fandom as me, everyone was really nice and it was just a great experience.
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
I wore my completed Zelda costume out in public for the first time at my small local con (Japan Tours Festival in Tours) and I was astonished by how many people wanted my picture and complimented my costume! I had gone relatively unnoticed at previous cons, so it was a really nice surprise, and comforting to know that the many hours I spent on the costume were worth it.
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 haven’t really had a problem with rude photographers, so far everyone has asked politely and waited for me to finish whatever I was doing. But I definitely wouldn’t like for someone to take my picture without asking. My only advice is to always ask beforehand, and if they say no, don’t insist and respect their wishes. Oh, and also if I’m eating, or in line for the bathroom or otherwise visibly busy, come back some other time!
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
As I mentioned earlier, I started cosplay as a way to fight off depression, but it’s also a way to meet new people and express my creativity. And I’d say it’s been pretty successful so far! It’s definitely helped me get more confident in my image and my skills, and socialize more. Having so many cool things planned also gave me something to look forward to, which is great to keep me on track and motivate me.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
Just do it! Find a character you love, and take the plunge! Even with a cheap party wig and a costume made of a painted t-shirt and some old bedsheets, it doesn’t matter, because it’s just about having fun. Now, if you want to put effort in making a good cosplay, we are lucky to be at a time where there’s a tutorial online for whatever you could possibly want. Cosplaytutorial.com is a great resource, and they also answer questions if you don’t find what you’re looking for. And remember that whoever you are, you can cosplay! You’re never too young or too old, too black or too fat, just do your thing, and have fun!
Photographs courtesy of the awesome – http://elsariviere.tumblr.com/