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About Mahou Meggles Cosplay
I’m a SoCal based recent university graduate that discovered cosplay at a very young age, and I’ve been at it basically ever since, over half my life at this point! I’m incredibly thankful that I have parents that always encouraged me (emotionally and financially) to keep crafting, and they’re always so proud of the things that I am able to make. I might be putting cons on the backburner for a little as I get my post-school life in order, but I don’t to stop cosplaying any time soon. It’s really just a silly game of dressup, but I love it and all of the memories I have made because of it!
How did you first get into cosplay?
I attended Anime Expo with one of my best friends (and we still cosplay together!) way back in 2006 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and I had borrowed a costume that a friend’s mom had sewn for her daughter. I already liked anime and video games, and pretty soon I was learning how to sew. I made my first costume on my own in 2007/8 while I was in middle school with some guidance from my friend’s dad, and I’ve been attending conventions and cosplaying some of my favorite characters ever since! I can hardly play or watch something without wanting to make a cosplay from it.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
That’s a tough question for me right now since I just graduated college having taken mostly costume and film production classes. I would honestly to turn this hobby into some sort of business for myself, but it’s a tricky thing to navigate nowadays while sticking to your own moral compass. I have started making and selling small accessories like patches, and I’m finishing up my first large-scale cosplay commission!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I absolutely love to make my cosplays from scratch! I love trying out new techniques and materials and learning from other friends and cosplayers, and it brings me so much pride to look at a costume and think “I did that!” Of course, I’m not against buying costumes or parts of costumes so long as the original artist is credited, and it can be crazy fun to quickly alter thrifted or closet clothes for a certain character, but I love putting in the time on special details to translate my favorite character designs into real-world materials.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
What a question. I’ve made a cosplay overnight, in three days, or more than a year. One of my recently completed cosplays (idolized Fruits Parlor Maki from LoveLive!) spanned nine months, during which time I was traveling between California and New York for college.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
That’s hard! My favorite cosplays are always ones that I do as a group with friends or ones that I just put too much work into. The perfect combination of that right now is my idolized Fruits Parlor Maki (LoveLive!) because I got to wear her with Lilybat as my Honoka for my first trip to Katsucon earlier this year! We got to shop for some of our fabrics together and really split up the group work well. I patterned our ridiculous idol ruffle skirts, she and her fiance 3D printed our fruit charms, and of course, we stayed up the night before we wore them finishing details in the hotel! I’m really looking forward to having two more of my best friends join as Umi and Eli!
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I think that actually goes to a pretty early and unplanned event. I attended the otherwise forgettable AMSquared convention in Anaheim in 2011 with two of my best friends (we were in high school at the time) in our new Sailormoon cosplays, and we got an offer to compete in their masquerade! Two of us accepted, me as human Luna and she as Sailor Saturn, and we had our first craftsmanship judging and walk-on experiences! We actually ended up winning best in class Journeymen, but more importantly, we met Rachsaysmer backstage (who won best in show as Yoko from Guren Lagan)! She was someone whose work I excitedly followed online, and now we’re still great friends!
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love them. When they work. They can be pretty stressful, making sure materials match and everyone is staying on schedule and contributing to the success of the group, especially for detailed cosplays, but it’s so incredibly worth it when that happens. And I love silly, simpler group cosplays too! If I have the option of debuting a detailed solo costume or pulling an all-nighter to make something quick with my best friend, I will always choose the latter.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
The next thing I’m crossing off my to-do list is a Shulk commission from Xenoblade/Smash for a good friend. For me, I’ve actually really been craving making a simple school uniform because that’s something I surprisingly haven’t done in all my years of cosplaying! So once Shulk is done, I think I’ll knock out the uniforms for Asuka from Neon Genesis and Mako from Kill la Kill. This is also the year I’m planning to get a lot of work done on one of my dream costumes: Agitha, the beloved bug princess from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Other potential projects include Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle), more Maki (LoveLive!), Aerith (FFVII), and probably some The Adventure Zone and/or my own DnD campaign characters.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Oh man, “sexy cosplay.” It’s a hard thing to talk about without feeling like I’m attacking anyone, but that coupled with the monumental rise of social media and cosplay fan pages that just didn’t exist when I first started cosplaying as a young kid have really changed the game. I personally find the rise of NSFW cosplay Patreon accounts discouraging, but that’s not something I want to discuss at length. At least online, a lot of “cosplaying” has become synonymous with “modeling underwear,” and that is what a lot of casual fans of cosplay expect to see on different media accounts. It can be a little discouraging when you put so much work into your costumes and it seems they get passed up for the girl with boobs all over her page, but it’s good to remind yourself why you cosplay in the first place. For me, it’s bringing characters I love to live and learning together with my friends.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I find myself wanting to cosplay mostly video game characters lately, I think because it’s just so hard to keep up with current anime. A newer genre for me is delving into more high fantasy based characters like from tabletop RPGs that I’m playing friends, The Adventure Zone podcast, or just general character concepts like witches or warriors. Usually what matters most for me is cosplaying a character with whom I feel a personal connection.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
As frustrating as it can be, I love supply shopping! It’s inspiring to be able to find just the right fabric or paint or trim or beads that just perfectly match what you see in your head for a character. Research can also be addicting for me, but that creates a problem when all I want to do is plan costumes!
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I tend to do more sewing that armor crafting right now, so my favorite resource is the LA Fabric District. My wallet may cringe sometimes when I go, but they have almost everything you could ever want, and it can be fun to see how much you can haggle.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Perfectionism. I set incredibly high standards for myself, and this hinders me from just jumping into a project. I tend to stall or spend too much time “planning” when I could be doing more practical work and see results sooner. I need to learn that failing (which is too harsh of a word for just this context) is perfectly okay as long as you learn from it and move forward.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Maybe it seems obvious, but other people are usually far more likely to spend time noticing the good things about you or your work than they are to nitpick your faults. And, it’s okay to ask for help! People typically love to help others learn and share their knowledge or passion.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Do it for yourself. Don’t cosplay for the number of likes or followers. Cosplay because it makes you happy, and it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to put it on hold or take a step back from the community or just approach it from a different angle. The cosplay community is far from perfect and you can’t control how other people think and act, so do what makes you happy.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I think the use and presence of social media is the obvious answer here. Maybe it’s not such a new change, but I feel like more obvious cliques and sub-communities of cosplayers have developed over time due in part to social media pages and channels. There are sexy cosplayers, open book cosplayers, dance cover cosplayers, and so many more, and almost everyone is willing to share their experience and knowledge online. I can’t only sing praises though. With the increased exposure for cosplayers online, anonymous hate and undeserved criticism have also increased. There are predatory “photographers” that take advantage of cosplayers. “Cosfame” can potentially project unhealthy standards for newer cosplayers, and the idea of the (typically) female cosplayer as a sexy product you can see in your mailbox every month makes me cringe in a way that I’m not certain how to address.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
My head is spinning! I’m tempted to say some decadent LoveLive! card set with a few of my favorite girls, but honestly, I think a more fulfilling dream would be a dressphere from Final Fantasy X2. I’ve had myself tagged as Paine to go along with some friends as Yuna and/or Rikku, since I was a kid and the game, was still new, and I remember drooling over the designs even then! If I really had to pick just one, I’d say Trainer Paine. I love the textural details! There’s ombre chiffon, suede, corset styling, the bird!
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I should. I almost never do. Cosplay is one of my passionate hobbies, so as long as I’m conscious of other financial needs, I don’t always mind putting a little more money into a project because I find a lot of personal value in it.
What does cosplay mean to you?
Cosplay for me is a way to constantly push myself and remind myself to keep learning. I need a creative outlet in my life, and this one encompasses so many different mediums that it’s hard to ever imagine being bored. But really, it’s fun, and when/if it stops being fun, I’ll probably stop cosplaying. Cosplay provides something fun for me to enjoy with my friends, and some of my best friendships have been made because I started cosplaying so many years ago.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
What a downer. If I ever became too uncomfortable with the overall feeling of the cosplay community, I would probably stop. You can’t feel unsafe in a hobby that you love, that’s just not healthy.
You can follow and view more of Mahou Meggles Cosplay here
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