Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every day to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and already famous members from the world of cosplay.
About Little Naru
Alias: Little Naru
How did you first get into cosplay?
I was probably about 13 when I first got into cosplay. I used to do mass searches on the internet of characters from Naruto and would find people dressing up as my favorite characters and decided that I wanted to do it, too. I didn’t know what cosplay was at the time or that dressing up was even called “cosplay” until I discovered anime conventions through Cosplay.com a year later. Once I found a convention that was close by, I gathered up six of my best nerd pals and off to Anime USA we went!
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I mainly cosplay for fun. I can’t say that I don’t see a career in it in the future because there’s always a possibility of that actually happening. For right now, I use it as a platform to express my creativity and my love for a series, game or anime that I’m into. I honestly love what I do and will never get enough of it. Cosplay is something that I will never grow out of, I could even call it a passion if we really wanted to put a label on it!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer to make my cosplay, but I’ll admit that there are some things that are far out of my skill level and I’ll order a piece for it. Even though buying is easy for me to do, I do like to try to make the cosplay rather than buy. There’s just something about someone saying, “Hey, where did you buy that! It looks awesome!” and being able to answer them with, “I made it.”
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends on the character I’m cosplaying. On average I’d say about two or three weeks tops if there is high detail, but I can pump out cosplay within hours if it’s simple and there isn’t much to it.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII will always be my go-to girl. No matter how many times I try to retire her she always ends up coming back into my con wardrobe. I absolutely love her character design from head to toe as well as her sweet personality that has a bite to it if someone hurts her friends.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
The most memorable experience as a cosplayer has to be when I was cosplaying as Baby Doll from Sucker Punch this past Katsucon. Someone stopped me and asked for my autograph because they thought that I was Emily Browning. I was so elated that she actually thought I looked similar enough to be mistaken for her! I almost felt bad that I had to tell them that I wasn’t her because the look on her face was incredibly disappointed. Being mistaken for a celebrity never happened to me before, it was honestly an experience to be recognized, even if the person she thought I was wasn’t me.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I absolutely love them! They don’t go without their issues though. It takes A LOT of planning to make group cosplay happen. Sometimes it’s as easy as everyone knowing exactly who they want to me, other times it takes time to figure out who’s going to be what, especially when two people want to be the same character. Once it’s all said and done, it’s so much more fun to have a group of people who are cosplaying from the same series, especially when we’re all in character. It can be quite the show.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m currently working on Rin Tohsaka from Fate Stay night, Rikku from Final Fantasy X, Sakura Haruno from Naruto: Shippuden, and Riza Hawkeye from Full Metal Alchemist.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
In every community, there are issues from body image to race. How I feel about all of these issues is fairly collective: I just want everyone to have fun as the character, to celebrate the series that they love with others and to find a safe haven in a place where being a nerd isn’t all that weird.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I have a wide range of characters that I cosplay from the sweetest of personalities to the coldest of hearts, but the most common would be the hyperactive go-get-’em types like Rikku from Final Fantasy X and Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto. I love characters with a strong “never give up” personality type. They inspire me to keep going and that no obstacle is too big to overcome.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
My favorite part of the cosplay process is making memories with the people I go to cons with. Each costume I create has a story along with it. Every convention tale I tale usually begins with, “Remember when we cosplayed…” and then it makes the story all that much better. I can look in my closet and see over a decade of huge life changes, heart break, endearing heartfelt moments, as well as times when I’ve made and lost friends, and when I’ve been defeated by challenges and when I’ve overcome a difficult obstacle. It’s also why I have a hard time getting rid of cosplay. I’ll pick up an accessory and or a shirt and I’ll instantly be thrown back into the moment of when I wore it no matter how long ago it was. They’re special in a way that only another cosplayer would understand.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Fabric and craft stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michael’s and Amazon are my go-to’s. If I can’t find what I need then I’ll see about using house hold items to try and wing whatever I’m making. Sometimes it works, sometimes it’s an ultimate fail.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was accepting myself. I used to have a huge self-image problem. I’d look at myself in the mirror and critique every part of my body as to why I can’t cosplay someone. I was always “too fat,” “too short,” “not toned enough.” I had to teach myself through a long, grueling process of forcing myself to step out of my box and to tell myself that I can cosplay whoever I want. So what if my thighs were too thick? I should wear the damn skirt and have fun being the character that I love.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
The biggest life lesson I learned through cosplay is to be unapologetic towards being yourself. What I mean by that is people will either love you or hate you, sometimes without an in between. Trying to make everyone like you is nearly impossible. I tried, trust me, it doesn’t work. I used to try to change little pieces of myself to make another person happy and ultimately made myself unhappy because I was pretending to be whatever the other person wanted me to be. I had to learn to not do that and that it was okay to disagree with someone and it’s absolutely 100% okay to be the oddball. I’m a people pleaser at heart, but sometimes you can’t please everyone, and you know what? That’s okay, too.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Cosplay what you’re passionate about and put your heart into what you do. Without passion and heart, your costume is just that. A costume.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I feel as though it’s defiantly become more popular since I first started in 2005. It’s gone from a closed community to a more open environment that everyone is allowed to come into. All of a sudden it’s cool to be a nerd and that’s an interesting concept considering a lot of us cosplayers hid the fact that we dressed up at all for a very long time. Now I can have a full conversation with a normal person outside of the cosplay community without getting a strange look. Not to mention all the tutorials for pretty much whatever character you want on the internet! It used to be so hard to figure out patterns for some characters and now it’s all at my finger tips. I put up some tutorials, tips, and tricks sometimes as well as I learn so that I can help my fellow cosplayers with their crafting.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I’d want to be Lulu from Final Fantasy X. Her dress is gorgeous but has a lot of detail that would take me FOREVER to get done.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try my best to, but sometimes I end up a bit over budget for some cosplay because of breakage, paint getting in a place it shouldn’t, or I end up sizing something wrong.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay means happiness. When I cosplay, I’m truly happy.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Not at all. This is my passion.
You can follow and view more of Little Naru here
- Daryll Morgan Photography
- Future Photography by M3
- Dan Seiter Photography
- Sparks Studios
- Krazed Chaos
- RD Productions
- T Kirk Photos
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