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My name is Kayla, and I am a 22 year old pattern maker and seamstress from Toronto. Cosplay is my way of letting my true colors fly. Collecting copic markers are my weakness, and sewing for 10 hours straight is my strength. If I’m not creating clothes or cosplay, I’m usually playing Pokemon or Harvest Moon. Or sleeping.
How did you first get into cosplay?
One day during lunch in high school, a group invited me to sit with them, and I quickly learned that they were anime lovers. Every day during spare, we would sit in an empty computer lab and watch Fullmetal Alchemist. I delved deeper into the community and learned about Anime North, where I dressed up as Misa Amane from Death Note using clothes from my closet. It was horrible. But since that day, I’ve been enamored by cosplay, and constantly push myself to create more detailed costumes.
How much time do you spend making your costumes?
It depends on the costume. Cheza from Wolf’s Rain took about 2 weeks, whereas Suicune took five weeks of working six hours a day. I tend not to work casually on a costume – I start one and I don’t work on anything else until it’s done.
What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve done so far?
It definitely has to be my armored Suicune from Pokemon! It was the first time I ever made armor, and it’s made completely out of craft foam. So much blood, sweat and tears went into that cosplay. I love seeing peoples reactions when they see the iconic diamond headpiece and realize that I am one of the legendary dogs.
Do you usually get positive reactions from fans?
Yes, 99% of the time they’re positive. There have been a few people who would berate me for tiny things such as having too much cleavage, but as long as I am happy and confident with myself, those comments don’t bother me in the slightest!
What’s the next costume or event you’re preparing for?
My next cosplay is Thanatos from Smite. I am super excited to start working on it! It’s going to be a genderbend, so it’ll be interesting to try and stay as true to the original design as I can while making it suitable for a female body. There are four giant black wings, a 6ft scythe and full body armor. It’s going to be a wild ride, but I know it’ll turn out great.
What characters inspire you the most?
In the past, I’ve been drawn to the more quirky and upbeat characters. I could just act myself at cons and photoshoots and fit the character quite well. But lately, I’ve been toying around with characters that are a bit more dark and sinister, or will provide a challenge when drafting and sewing. Look at Thanatos, for example. He is the Hand of Death. ‘Nuff said!
What is your primary area of inspiration for your cosplay? Comics, anime, games or other?
Mostly games and anime. I haven’t been watching much anime nowadays, so probably 80% of my cosplays are from video games.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
My go-to material has to be craft foam. It’s so easy to cut, heat mold, and layer to create depth in armor. I have used EVA foam, such as puzzle mats, in the past but I find it hard to work with because of the thickness. As far as fabrics go, there’s so many to choose from. My go-to for fabric with a sheen is Double Faced Satin, because of its weight and drape. For a crisp look that holds body, Taffeta is always good.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give new cosplayers?
We all start somewhere. Don’t look at cosplayers who’ve been making costumes for several years and wonder why you can’t make that. You’ll psych yourself out. Start with baby steps and learn the basics and fundamentals of sewing and/or armor making. With some practice, you’ll be making costumes you never imagined yourself making.
What’s your golden rule of cosplay?
There’s nothing a little hot glue won’t fix!
What does your budget run per costume?
Simple ones are usually about $150-300, but armor can run towards $600.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
The only thing that would stop me is time. At the moment I am living off of the profits I get from commissions, meaning I can work on cosplay all day, every day. But somewhere down the line, I’m going to have to get a full-time job. I don’t think I’ll ever stop cosplaying, but I’ll probably tone it down and create simpler costumes at some point.
If money and time were no issue, what’s your number one over ambitious cosplay?
There isn’t one in particular that I have my mind set on. It would definitely be some over the top armor that I could barely walk in! Possibly something from Guild Wars? Who knows.
Why do you cosplay?
The cosplay community feels like a second family. There’s no judgement, only self acceptance and good spirits. Everytime I’m at a convention, I love seeing how much work everyone’s put into their costumes. It makes me proud to be a cosplayer.
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