In advance of her guest appearance at Con-Jikan Year Three, we sat down with Kovuu Cosplay to chat about cosplay, conventions, and braving the masquerade stage. Kovuu, who has been dressing up for over a decade, discusses the joys of getting into character and the nakama-building experiences unique to costuming at conventions.
I’ve been cosplaying for over ten years now; probably longer but my first con was ten years ago. I think it actually started when I was making my own halloween costumes by hand and with thrift store items as a little kid in fifth/sixth grade.
Wow! Ten years! That’s a lot of dressing up. How old are you now, and can you remember your first cosplay?
I still have embarrassing photos from that age actually; its great. I’m in my early 20s now and I don’t even think I remember my first costume. It was probably from Naruto back in ’04
That’s great! Can you tell me what motivates you to cosplay as one of your primary hobbies? Has the root of that motivation changed at all as you were growing up?
I think what motivates me is the idea that you don’t have to be yourself when you cosplay. You get to be someone else. You can be anyone when you cosplay; someone of the opposite sex, a fantasy creature, a monster, an older person, a younger person, a superhero/villain, anyone really. It’s just fun to play dress up. But it’s also fun to make the costumes. I love interacting with others and always learning new ideas and techniques on crafting in the community that others have come up with. When I was young, I think I just wanted to play pretend that I was the character and that my life was a cartoon or a video game. Now, I see it as more of a sign of love for each character I cosplay and a chance to meet others that share the same love for the characters/series that I do.
That’s all very true.. I’ve noticed that many cosplayers share the same passion for “becoming” their character.
Aside from personal satisfaction, have you earned any achievements as a cosplayer (this can be awards from masquerades or contests, or social media milestones)?
Oh, I wouldn’t call them achievements ahaha. But I have hit over 20 thousand followers on instagram and have won two Masters categories, one Journeymen, and a Best in Show so far from masquerades. I’ve also hit over 50 complete costumes in count that I still own in my posession. I’m running out of space really so that’s more of a problem! Ha!
Wow your closet must be bursting with cosplay, never-mind your regular wardrobe. When did you win your “Best in Show” award?
Oh jeez this is really embarrassing. Several years back when I was starting out, I was in a Kingdom Hearts group as Roxas. It was really great at the time and I was really shy but we ended up winning the Best in Show for our makeshift skit. It was actually the first award I ever had a hand in winning and it was the most special.
And you mentioned having over 50 cosplays still in your possession. How many cosplays would you guess that you’ve done in total?
Oh gosh. Counting casual cosplays I can say the number would be closer to seventy.
Well showing off your cosplay on stage can be one of the more nervewracking aspects of the hobby. Do you get stage fright at all when you go to conventions or participate in masquerades?
Oh definitely! Especially at larger conventions! I never was good at public speaking so public performing in a silly outfit just makes it a hundred times worse.
Despite that, do you still enjoy the experience of being on stage? Tangentially, what’s your favorite aspect of the convention experience?
Yes I do enjoy it but only after its over and my nerves are calmer ahaha. My favorite aspect is meeting up with friends and making new friends. Nothing beats coming home with a bunch of new people on your phone or facebook/instagram to bother all day. The second aspect has to be panels because I really like attending them and learning new things.
Oh gosh. I start packing Wednesday. Thursday, I make last minute adjustments to my costumes and make sure everything is good to go and that all my makeup is put away and ready. I also fly out to where I need to be on Thursday if I’m heading to another state. Badge pickup is also Thursday as well as pre-party with friends. Friday I wake up at around six to get ready and then head down to the convention as soon as it opens. If I’m hosting a panel that day I will plan a schedule around it.
I’ll always attend the Masquerade, certain cosplay meet ups (if I’m cosplaying from those series), and I will always attend the rave.
Once the con “ends” for the day I usually goof off with my close friends that are attending with me at the hotel room. But I will wake up every single morning at around 6-8 AM
Sounds a blast! Your cosplays must be put to the test on such jam-packed days.
Oh boy they sure do. Stuff comes undone at one point or another on even the sturdiest costumes. At A-Kon this year my belt for Sora got stuck on the wrong loop so for an hour I looked really silly and we had to yank it apart to fix it. I also lost a small piece of my costume as Lilith at the rave.
Do you have any goals or dreams as a cosplayer that you’d like to be realized?
I’d like to keep pushing myself to see what ridiculous costume I can make next. I go for complexity a lot of the time. And it’s a revolving goal to do the best I can do really. Probably a dream of mine would be to actually style wigs for a living. I love hair in general and it’s fun making impossible wigs.
Alright, well thank you for taking the time to answer my questions… Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish the interview?
Not that I can think of lol.
Kovuu Cosplay will be in attendance at this year’s Con-Jikan as an honored guest. She will be hosting panels and acting as one of the judges for our masquerade/cosplay contest. You can pre-register for the event now at http://register.con-jikan.com