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 Tuesday and Thursday to catch some up and coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well established and famous members of the cosplay universe.
Hi there my name’s Gem from TheGemCosplay. I’m a cosplayer, streamer, and idol performer from Melbourne Australia! I primarily cosplay gaming and anime, with a focus on cutesy characters and fiercely made armor! My biggest passion is cosplay for esports and esports events! I’ve been cosplaying since I was 10 and my cosplay career gets more exciting every single day.
How did you first get into cosplay?
In Grade 5 my school had a Japanese festival and my weeb self begged my Mum to help me sew a Konata from Lucky Star cosplay, I’ve been addicted to cosplay ever since.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
A little bit of both! It is partly my career at the moment, as there are times I make money off of it but of course, I also do it for fun! The money is simply an unexpected bonus. I would not be upset if it transitioned into my full life career though; that’d be amazing!!
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I do all of those things however I’d say a combination is the most fun! I really enjoy crafting cosplays but I get very nit-picky and particular when I do, so I think it’s best for me to do a combination of things! I usually make all my props and then I buy the costume, though I have made a decent amount of my costumes as well.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
It completely depends on the costume! Olive from Astral Chain took me 2 hours; Lady Liadrin took me MONTHS of hard work. Armour usually takes longer for me than sewing, though. I much prefer working with armor!
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
My favorite cosplay I’ve done so far was definitely Froppy from My Hero Academia. It was a costume I put a lot of heart into, and everyone who saw it at the convention was so excited! It’s a very silly and goofy costume so it was super fun posing for and I’m glad I made so many younger con-goers so happy as her! It was also funded by
my wonderful Kofi donors which makes it even more important to me.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
I think being a featured cosplayer at BAM (Battle Arena Melbourne) was a really special and almost life-changing experience. I love esports and the fgc community so it was really a dream come true! And placing in the competition and getting a ticket to a convention was even better.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I love group cosplays, I think they are super fun and require different kinds of skills than solo cosplays! I’m doing quite a few group cosplays this year. I’m not sure if I prefer solo or group over the other, they’re both fun and good for totally different reasons.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I’m working on A LOT this year hahaha. I can’t announce many of them but I can say my idol group and I will be sewing 2 beautiful costumes this year, which I am super excited for! I’m also doing a Sonic The Hedgehog group cosplay with me making Shadow, so I’m sure that’ll be something good too hahaha.
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I think probably bought vs crafted costumes is the biggest one. Lots of people turn their noses up at people who only buy costumes; they say “it’s not really cosplay”, etc. And I just so disagree with that. Cosplay is cosplay and it’s really shitty to assume everyone has the same time/abilities to create a costume. There are a lot of people with disabilities who cosplay who may have issues with fine motor skills which would make sewing difficult. All cosplay is cosplay!!
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I’m definitely more of an anime/gaming cosplayer, I’ve never cosplayed something that wasn’t either of those! I also seem to be very partial to androids, and silver-haired characters hahaha. A lot of people say I very frequently am the cutesy cosplayer, so I guess that too!
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Definitely photoshoots and cons! I’m a very social person and it’s just lovely seeing all your cosplay friends in the same place. Plus I love sharing my cosplay with people in real life, buying art, posing for shoots, etc.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Definitely Lumins Workshop; particularly if you’re into making armor or using foam. Very high-quality foam for a great price. Excellent tools; they sell my favorite primer and they even do classes and tutorials!
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
I think being so critical of myself and my costumes. Like obviously you want to look as good as possible but you’re only human and can only do so much.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
The biggest one definitely is not to judge people. Working booths and just being at conventions, in general, you meet so many different people who come from such different walks of life. You learn we’re all united through nerdiness! Don’t judge a book by its cover.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Listen to yourself, not others! Obviously others’ opinions are important, but your own is the most valuable, listen to yourself and what you want to do when it comes to creating cosplays, or even doing simple stuff like makeup.
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I think it’s definitely become bigger but also more competitive, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. Competition pushes the community forward to achieve bigger and greater things. But the community now is a lot more competitive and reliant on social media than it used to be.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Perhaps Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn, or a demon hunter from World of Warcraft?? I’m not sure honestly hahaha. But I’m sure it’d be a World of Warcraft cosplay because they are very expensive and time-consuming.
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
No, but I probably should, shouldn’t I? Hahaha.
What does cosplay mean to you?
For me, it just means sharing my art with the world, and meeting people across the world who have similar interests to me! Plus it’s just a wonderful creative outlet that I find makes me really happy.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
Probably less focused on comic books, a more even spread across the genres of cosplay, and honestly probably, even more, focus on social media and professionalism.
What is your favorite con to attend?
Pax Aus is by far my favorite! It’s wonderfully organized with so much fun stuff to do at all times! I also usually bring my favourite cosplays there for that reason. It’s the best convention to meet up with people and go to a panel or performance; play a new game, or do a shoot!
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
Definitely NymphAhri and Nargalifestream. They’re 2 very different cosplayers but I think that two together sum up my cosplay style. Super cutesie anime girls + some elegantly crafted blizzard costumes.
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
Honestly, I didn’t even think about it until Madfest Melbourne 2019; where I had quite a few people come up to me and tell me that. It was really shocking but in the best way. I’m really glad and honored I can inspire people.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
So for me, I’m an ‘extrovert’ and very social. as long as you come up to me when I’m not busy or taking a break, I will say yes! Just ask politely and I’ll take a picture. Obviously don’t be grabby or physically touch me when trying to pose me unless we are good friends.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
Probably how much they mean to me, everything I get to do in cosplay is because of you and I’m really shocked but happy with how well my cosplay career has gone so far. Thank you so much for always supporting me it means the world.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
At this point I don’t think anything could, I’m in way too far deep hahaha
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