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My name is Elena (aka Vert), I was born in Belarus, but now I live in Moscow, Russia for 4 years already. I’m a student and now I’m getting masters in international law. But to be honest, I’m much more interested in art and creative activities. I love make-up, photography, cinema and can’t spend a day without listening to music. I’m addicted to traveling and exploring the world – for me the best solution when you’re tired of everything is to buy a ticket and go somewhere. Recently I’ve been also interested in sport, human body and the way it functions. My parents are both physicians and they wanted me to become a physician too and now I’m starting to regret that I didn’t listen to them *laughs*. I think it’s necessary to be open-minded and learn something new every day, because the world is full of miracles and we live to find them.
How did you first get into cosplay?
It happened because of anime (of course). When I was a teenager, I watched a lot of it and had many internet friends who shared my hobby. However, I didn’t know that such thing as cosplay exists until one of them told me about it. When I saw some cosplay photos for the first time I didn’t really understand it. But then I started to learn more about this thing, found pages of some cosplayers from Russia and CIS, got inspired by their beautiful photos and eventually came to the opinion that cosplay is a cool thing. I was getting involved in cosplay community gradually, making friends with other cosplayers and one day that friend of mine asked me if I want to cosplay with her.. and I said yes.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I think now it’s mostly for fun, but this hobby makes me learn something new constantly. Moreover, I really enjoy being creative (which cosplay is about too) so I’m considering the possibility that my experience in cosplay will help me in the future.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I prefer commission. For me, the result matters more than process, and I’m not so good at sewing or crafting as I wish I was. Frankly speaking, I don’t really like doing such stuff, because I do it slowly and getting tired of it quickly. I enjoy some other aspects of cosplay – such as getting to know a character, thinking of ideas for photos, making photos, also organizing everything, making a list of parts of a costume, going shopping, etc. And because cosplay is a hobby (at least originally) I don’t think that there can be any standards. People here in Russia are always discussing what you should do to be a ‘true cosplayer’ but I don’t understand it. I spend my money and my free time on cosplay so what’s the point if I don’t enjoy it all the time?
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It depends on a costume. The more details it has, the more time it takes. From a couple of months to a couple of years.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Batgirl. I feel great when I’m wearing her and all the details of this costume are almost perfect (which is really important to me).
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
Can’t think of any… Actually, it’s very difficult to choose a special one. Oh, I remember when I went on stage with my costume for the first time I was singing along the track with my lips during the performance. It’s more like awkward experience, not memorable. *laughs*
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I feel complicated. It’s very cool when people manage to organize and make a group cosplay and it amazes me because I know how difficult it may be – to cosplay with someone else. Everyone has their priorities, problems, amount of free time, a vision of cosplay, etc. and the more people are involved the more obstacles they will face. Being able to overcome them is great.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
My answer to such questions is always the same – secret. 😉
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I don’t know about cosplay community in general, but in Russian cosplay community, it’s for sure competition and envy. Instead of minding their own business, working on their own progress and after all being friendly to people who share the hobby with them, some people are always criticizing others, taking part in holy-wars, gossiping and so on. Do they understand that such things will never make their works better? I think we need to genuinely support each other more and just ignore people we don’t like.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Strong women. It comes from childhood – I always admired gals who kicked asses. *laughs* I also like charismatic characters, characters with deep personalities and interesting stories behind them. Stylish character design is also important.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Whoops, I think I’ve already answered this question above. Researching, shopping for supplies and photo shoots.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Don’t really understand the question… shops? And if I can’t find some stuff in my city, I buy it online.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
It was my lack of self-confidence. I had to meet a lot of new people, talk to them, also take photos and then upload them, knowing that feedback may be both positive and negative. It’s difficult to interact with people, to make something new and extraordinary (which cosplay was back then) when you feel you’re not good enough. But I kept fighting this feeling of insecurity and it was getting smaller and smaller with every try.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I’ve learned that it’s better to concentrate on yourself and your own progress instead of paying too much attention to the others, also to avoid arguments and conflicts with people who see the world differently cause it’s simply a waste of time. And that if you want to become better you have to work on it constantly.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Just enjoy what you do and don’t care what other people say or think.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
It for sure has become bigger and a lot of extremely talented people joined. Cosplay is getting more and more popular and unites different people with different attitude to it. Now it’s not only a hobby for anime lovers – you can earn money from it, and that’s really great!
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I would make some epic latex suit that costs a fortune.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
Not really. For me, it’s impossible to predict what sum of money will be spent on a costume.
What does cosplay mean to you?
It’s a part of my life. I was thinking about leaving cosplay several times, but as you see, I’m still here. *laughs* Cosplay for me is a good way to meet interesting people, find new friends and to be creative, which is essential for me.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Hmm… lack of time, I guess. Or finding another hobby or job that will be more exciting than cosplay.
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