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 Silja’s Costumes
Hello! My name’s Silja (or Stephie), I’m a cosplayer from Sonora, Mexico who enjoys playing video games and crying over fictional characters in my free time. I started cosplaying in 2011 and ever since then, I’ve been honing my skills in bodypaint, foam armors, modeling, special effects makeup, props and making costumes in less than two days haha. As to my experience competing I’ve been a convention guest, cosplay contest judge, and participant. In addition to my experience in competitive cosplay, my cosplays have been published in Yaya Han’s “1000 Incredible Cosplay and Costume Ideas”, CosplayUSA Magazine, El Metro and other publications. In general, I’m a big advocate of the “cosplay is for everyone” motto and I love helping new cosplayers out with their projects! Don’t be afraid to approach me if you want to know how I made something.
How did you first get into cosplay?
I got interested in cosplay through Tumblr, actually! I remember falling in love with a photo of Montyoum’s female Vincent Valentine when I first saw her!! But the very first cosplay I ever made
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
At first, it started out as a hobby but it’s become a stepping stone for traveling, one of the things I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve gotten to know a couple of cities in my country thanks to my hobby. I’m a pretty simple person and find any kind of excursion exciting, whether it’s a 30 minute or 10-hour trip. I’m equally excited when I get to travel to a city as a cosplayer, no matter how big or small. My friends always make fun of me for it, they’re like, “Seriously? You’re excited to go to x city? There’s nothing there!”
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I’m more of a “buy something and transform it” kind of person. Or make it from scratch, whatever is cheaper. I don’t like to commission, to be perfectly honest. I’ve had pretty bad experiences with commissions and ONLY trust my friend Algerot’s Props Corp. (SUPER non-obvious advertising hahahahah) He gave me Officer Caitlyn’s rifle for my birthday and I absolutely fell in love with it.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It really depends! Armors take me anywhere between 1-3 months. But most of my cosplays I make in a week of constant work. Although I’ve done the whole cram thing. I made my Xayah in 4 days and my Star Guardian Ahri in 2! (Never again lmao)
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
It’s a tough call between my Bubblehead Nurse from Silent Hill and Kneesocks from Panty & Stocking. I love cosplays where you can’t recognize me, my personal philosophy is that a cosplay is great when you can’t see traces of the “real” person behind it. And I think I’ve achieved that with those costumes compared to the rest I’ve done.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
The general sensation of being crowded by people for photos at conventions is an experience I cherish very much. People approaching you for photos, telling you your costume looks amazing, it’s this super surreal treatment and it makes me feel super bomb even if just for an hour or two.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I’ve never done one! But hopefully, I might do a FFXV group cosplay with some of my closest friends in the summer if I have the chance to go to Sonora.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m currently working on Sindragosa, Mai Shiranui, Morrigan and Yennefer for the summer. If all goes well, I might even throw in Cindy Aurum! It all depends on how my schedule pans out.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
A general sense of elitism. People who are not willing to accept that cosplay expands beyond their own definition. If you want cosplay to be inclusive, you need to remember that that means accepting people who may not follow the same philosophy you do. It’s this sense of intolerance born from the pride that brings out the worst in the community.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Definitely the femme fatals! Most of my characters are strong and sexy in some way, and that’s something that’s incredibly attractive for me as a cosplayer.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Every step has its magic. Honestly, I love every step of the process. The only thing I don’t like is priming haha.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Downtown. The city I live in is one of the biggest cities in Mexico so lots of imports/exports go through here particularly downtown. Can’t get any better than that haha.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
I think my “ego”. A while back I felt “stuck” in the cosplay. I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere, but then again I was only cranking out 3 costumes a year. So I decided to step up my game and make more costumes, more photo shoots and keep my page active. I’ve grown since then! It’s important to evaluate yourself as a cosplayer and truly see what you can change so you can grow.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Oh, so so many. I say it all the time: cosplay saved me. When I started cosplaying I was in a really bad place. I hated having my photo taken and in general had very low confidence. I was having trouble with my family, money, my former relationship and my first year of engineering (top it all off with 4 daily hours of sleep and commuting 3 hours a day to and from school) so cosplay REALLY helped me pull through all of that. It gave me something to look forward to and a refuge when things went to hell. I don’t have any of those problems in my life anymore, and honestly, I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have something like that to help me survive. Through cosplay, I was able to heal and grow as a person and I am thankful every day for the opportunity to participate in such a beautiful hobby. Also especially thankful for the people who helped me fulfill this hobby: my parents, friends and my then tutoring job. Through this, I learned that it’s important to share the things I’ve learned from my hobby with others so that they may better themselves too. Sorry if it sounded a little too passionate, I’m just really in love with my hobby because of all it’s done for me.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
ALWAYS STAY HUMBLE! Even if you have a million followers, all of the money for cosplay in the world, the best costumes… be receptive to change/critique and keep your feet on the ground. You are no more or no less than anybody, remember that. 🙂
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I see a lot of sexy cosplay now! Not that it’s a bad thing, but girls have definitely taken to doing more daring and fun things. And I think that’s amazing.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Oh, I’ve always wanted to do Aria T’soni from the Mass Effect series. I don’t want to stop cosplaying until I’ve done her.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
I don’t like to spend over $1000 MXN (around $53 USD) on any cosplay. The most I’ve spent on a costume is $2000 MXN and I don’t plan to go over that. Hahahaha.
What does cosplay mean to you?
More than a hobby, it’s an opportunity to grow as a person.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Growing out of it, I guess.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
Ask and just be nice, really! I think it’s super awkward when people just slide up to you without saying a word and take out their phones for a selfie. Also, don’t try to slip your hand below my waist. I’ve called out people on this in public before, trust me I have no issue with making a scene haha.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
If you see me in person say hi! I don’t bite, I just have a resting bitch face. Hahahaha.
You can follow and view more of Silja’s Costumes here
- I Love Cosplay
- Out of Box Photography
- Morko Photography
Check out our other cosplay features here
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