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Liliphae is a half-serious/half-just for fun Bay Area-based cosplayer and model who made her debut at FanimeCon 2014 in San Jose, California. She subsequently became known for her array of League of Legends cosplays and for her involvement in the Northern California cosplay community.
Since then, she has traveled up and down the state of California to both guest at and attend conventions and has learned a lot about the art of cosplaying and the effort and work that it takes to make something you’re proud of.
How did you first get into cosplay?
It’s kind of a funny story. I actually had no idea what cosplay WAS until a friend of mine from a roleplay website I wrote stories with told me about it. I had literally never heard of a cosplayer before until then! After I saw how much fun she had, I decided to look into local cons and start making a costume for myself. You pretty much know the rest.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
Both. I now personally consider myself a 50% serious and a 50% just for fun cosplayer. I cosplay, above all else, to have fun, but I’ve also received a plethora of guesting opportunities at local conventions over the last year to do panels, photo ops, and autograph prints. With enough dedication, this could very well turn into a career for me.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
Over the last two years, I’ve gone from 100% commissioning all my cosplays to making some from scratch as well as doing hybrids! I’ve grown enough over time to make some of the things completely on my own, but I’m not an expert craftsman. I know when I need to buy something or ask others for help!
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
That depends entirely on the cosplay itself. Depending on the difficulty, it can take either a few weeks, a week, or even months.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
I recently debuted my Elementalist Lux (League of Legends) cosplay at Anime Expo this year and I thought I looked more awesome than I’ve ever looked before in it, but I think I’m still partial to the Officer Caitlyn (League of Legends) I did last year since it was the first time I’d ever made a prop by myself.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I can happily say I’ve never had a “bad” experience as a cosplayer, other than the occasional rude comments I sometimes get on my social media images. But hey, what can you do? People have opinions. My most memorable experience as a cosplayer would be impossible to choose. I’ve met so many people and had so many adventures (and misadventures) that I can say that every good experience has been fantastic!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
The issue I have with group cosplays is that there’s usually always one or two people who don’t take it as seriously as others and will either flake out at the last minute or just not care about it. If you’re going to do a cosplay in a group, make sure everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, you just get disappointed or have to change your own plans at the last minute.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m finished for this year! I have made (I think) seven new cosplays and will not be working on anything new for myself until the 2018 season. Instead, I’ll be working as a cosplay assistant for my partner’s huge BlizzCon project.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Surprisingly, I still see a lot of comments saying people of X body type shouldn’t cosplay characters that don’t have their specific body type. I personally think people should cosplay whoever they want regardless of anything. How someone looks doesn’t matter as long as they have a passion for that character!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I used to mostly cosplay from video games, though I have delved into other things since then. I tend to pick characters with giant props for some reason, I’ve noticed…which is odd since I hate carrying things.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
No, it’s actually when I see a cosplay and then get suddenly struck with inspiration. I have a very manic mindset when it comes to my creativity so when I see something I want to cosplay, I have to start IMMEDIATELY, and researching all the best ways I could do it is probably my favorite part of the cosplay process. That, and of course debuting the finished cosplay and doing photo shoots!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
No, I’m serious. eBay! I find a lot of things I need on there and for super cheap.
I can be pretty creative when it comes to making things with little to no money though, and thrift stores can be surprisingly lucrative. Especially during the Halloween season. I don’t know how to sew so a lot of my stuff is pre-bought and modified.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
When I first started cosplaying I had terribly low self-esteem. During the first con I attended (FanimeCon 2014) I was confused why people kept wanting to take photos of me! I am better now, but I do unfortunately still suffer from occasional bouts of low self-esteem and as a cosplayer when you don’t feel confident in your costume, it really shows.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
The friends you make when you get involved with this strange community can very well be friends you will keep with you forever! Too cliche?
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Don’t be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone. Socialize with people. We’re all weirdos and nerds. No one will think you’re weird if you’re shy and trying to make friends. Just get out there!
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
A lot of people have told me that the cosplay community a few years ago was really elitist and closed to only the “best” costumes people had to offer. Personally, I have never seen that in my community, but if so, I think it’s gotten a bit warmer and friendly toward new people, which is great! If there was elitism, it’s been toned down.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over ambitious cosplay you want to do?
A few years ago I answered a question similar to this and answered Pulsefire Ezreal (League of Legends) but now that I see how hot and uncomfortable armor is…no thanks.
I tend to decide cosplays on a whim. So I don’t have a specific answer for this one. Maybe something with moving wings…
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I try to keep each cosplay under $200. I don’t have much money to toss around so I think people are surprised I somehow keep churning stuff out. It’s great to have friends that offer to help you out though!
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay I feel is one of the greatest creative forces that a person can immerse themselves in. You can either go completely by the book when it comes to a character reference or you can take a more creative approach and add your own elements and people will love it the same. It’s a way to meet people just like you who won’t make you feel bad for your passions or interests.
To sum it up, cosplay is life. For me, anyway! It made me passionate about life.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I really don’t think so. There’s been ups and downs when it comes to cosplay and I still keep going back for more! I’m sure one day I’ll eventually retire but considering how deeply I’m involved with my community I don’t think it will be for a great while.
You can follow and view more of Liliphae here
- Blue Baby Productions
- Eurobeat Kasumi
- Martin Wong Photography
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