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About Tokah Cosplay
Hello, I’m Malin Ivarsson or Tokah, which kinda means silly, crazy, mischievous girl in Swedish. I live in Gothenburg, Sweden and I’m a software developer, Star Wars nerd, and gamer but my biggest hobby is cosplay!
How did you first get into cosplay?
At 14 I found Star Wars and loved their clothes so I made Darth Maul’s outfit and dressed up as him before I even heard of something called cosplay. After that, it was a looong break, like twelve years, until my little sister told me about this cosplay thing and then I was hooked.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
For me, it’s just a hobby but it would, of course, be fun if it could somehow generate a part of my income in the future.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them or a hybrid?
I loooove the crafting part so most of the time I make everything myself. Somehow I always end up trying new techniques or materials for every cosplay, with the downside that it takes more time, but that’s what makes it fun to me =)
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Usually, quite a lot but I never count the hours. I’m happy if I do two cosplays a year. Most of the time I want to make my cosplays as if the characters stepped into our world, in other words, I tend to make everything functional and try to “cheat” as little as possible. Kind of like “How would you actually wear this?” and as I make mostly computer game characters it can be quite a challenge sometimes.
What is your favorite cosplay you done so far?
Always the latest one 😉 …but the Mariachi Reaper from Overwatch is a big favorite. So easy to put on, no wig or makeup needed and I can really fool people into believing I’m a man.
What has been your most memorable experience (good or bad) as a cosplayer?
My best and worst memory was when I was dressed up in my male orc larp (live action role play) costume at a local convention. I looked really ugly with a mask, makeup, crooked teeth, real plate armor and everything on like some Lord of the Rings orc. A big, wannabe tough guy walks up to me, shoves me hard on my chest plate and says “I’m not scared of you!” in a menacing way (he was not kidding, he clearly didn’t know what cosplay is about). I answered him with a very girly voice “Oh noes dear, why would you be?”. He was stunned and the face he made as he quietly backed off was hilarious.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I’d love to do them more but I somehow always pick cosplays alone and the group thing only happens by accident.
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
I will finally do a Diablo III wizard! It’s a concept design I’ve never seen anyone cosplay before.
What issues do you see being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
Somehow it feels like everything is more competitive even outside competitions nowadays. Some people saying that some parts or techniques is more difficult and therefore better in some weird way. I feel sad when those people express thoughts or attitudes along the lines “Armor is cooler than sewn stuff because it’s harder to do” or “Sewing is real cosplay, armor is super easy and not as cool”. Also, I cry inside when people are stressing too much to complete cosplays, I’ve had friends who burnt themselves out and quit cosplaying because it wasn’t fun anymore to them.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
Mostly computer games, sometimes movies, doesn’t matter if it’s sci-fi or fantasy but mostly designs that are a bit otherworldly in some way.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photo shoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
Painting, sewing, pressing, assembling. The best feeling is when different parts start to fit together and you can see how it will actually look like the character =)
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
Online cosplay stores, local fabric stores, and local hardware stores.
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
Somehow I always felt too tall, too strong, too big for a girl. Still can’t really imagine myself cosplaying some cute, girly character. Also, I’ve been very shy and didn’t really dare to talk to people but now it’s not scary at all.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
Friends and family are most important above everything else.
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Not really a golden rule but here is an advice that works for me: For a competition, pick a cosplay that’s done (or like 90% done). Create cosplays because you like it, not because you gonna compete with it. Use it in a competition when it happens to be done =)
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I’ve only cosplayed since 2014 so I don’t really know but at least it feels easier to find cosplay materials now.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
I’m a Darth Vader fanatic and I would make and buy a super authentic Vader suit to put on a mannequin because I would not be able to wear it myself XD
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
What does cosplay mean to you?
I need to create stuff, like real stuff. At work, I create digital stuff (programmer) but I need to create real, physical, beautiful, slightly arty creations as well. It’s also what connects most of my friends.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
Uuuuuh, is this a trick question? If anyone close to me and needs all my attention.
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