Cosplay interviews! A weekly feature on Animetion where we talk to UK cosplayers on what motivates them, plus a cool gallery showcasing their cosplays.  Here we talk to cosplayer:

Name: Efia

Q: When did you start cosplaying and how long for?

My first cosplay was Lust from Full Metal Alchemist which I wore to the MCM London Expo in May 2006!  So thatís over two and a half years now, wow ^_^í I didnít realise it was quite so long.  Itís taken over my life a bit at times, but Iíve loved every minute of it.

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I suppose first and foremost itís being able to dress up as your favourite characters in incredible, gorgeous and amazing costumes that youíd never get away with any other time!  Itís always such an incredible rush when people come up to you saying just how much they love your costume, and ask for your picture too.  I never used to like having my photo taken before cosplay ^_^í But I love the freedom and confidence that being in costume can give you. Iím usually a very shy person, I donít really stand out in a crowd and I usually let everyone else do the talking.  But when Iím in cosplay I can forget about all that!  Cosplaying for me has been a real confidence boost.

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

Organic Angel Alexiel from Angel Sanctuary.  It has been my most time consuming and most expensive costume to date but it was absolutely worth it in the end.  She has had a bit of a remake and update between conventions but now I think sheís complete at last.  I think what puts Alexiel at the top, without a doubt really, is the three feathered wings that I made to wear with the costume. Most characterís are happy with just two wings, but not Alexiel, just to be awkward!  Making a harness that could support three large angel wings to begin with was a challenge but I eventually managed it, and ever since making costume wings has become a bit of a passion of mine.  Iím now considering a character who has six wings, something which I would never have even dreamt of before Alexiel!

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Oh there really have been so many!  Every convention has its own most memorable moments, but a few stand out such as going up on stage in the masquerade at a London MCM Expo as Alexiel and winning second place, oh and the other weekend at the October Expo again going up on stage as part of a Steampunk group, to an incredible soundtrack and to such an applause that I was left with goosebumps ^_^  The masquerade is always a highlight for me.  I love getting up on that stage, so most of my memorable moments are times like that.

Q:  Have you had any cosplays go wrong/encountered problems whilst making cosplays?

Of course :-\  If making a cosplay is going too smoothly then you know that something really is wrongÖitís inevitable that youíre going to hit a few snags and problems along the way!  Iíve had a few wig problems in the past, letís just say that sometimes it really is worth it to pay a little extra for quality ^_^í  Postal strikes are always problematic for cosplayers, as a wig of mine once turned up two days too late for a convention because of it.  Also, when I wore my Morrigan (from Darkstalkers - ed.) costume to an Expo, it was so incredibly packed and busy with people that my wings were constantly being knocked and bumped into, and one ended up being bent out of shape and broken by the end of the day :-(  Itíll be fixed in time for Morriganís next outing though! 

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

Never!  Thereís been moments when Iím wearing the most uncomfortable boots in the world (which seems to be a recurring theme of mine!) where I just want to sit down and kick them off and take a break from being in costume for a whileÖ but then someone comes along to ask for a picture and it wouldnít even matter if Iíd been walking around on nails all day, Iíd be back on my feet and ready to go again!  But seriously, cosplaying has given me some of the best and most enjoyable experiences of my life.  I canít imagine what Iíd be filling my days off and weekends with if I didnít have costumes to make and wear.  Itíd be so dull and boring, thatís for sure!

Q:  Have you ever done group cosplay? If so how did you find that experience?

Iíve been a part of a few groups now, but I think that really I am more of a solo cosplayer, however I still enjoy getting to be a part of a cosplay group alongside friends.  I was asked to cosplay Integra as part of a Hellsing group and, at first, I was reluctant as I wasnít sure if Integra really fit the style that my cosplays usually go for.  I prefer big and bold and making a statement!  But I was eventually persuaded to do so and now Iím so glad that I did.  Integra has become one of my favourite cosplays, and it wouldnít have been so if it had not been for my group ^_^  The best part for me is being able to get so many great photoís of all the characters together, recreating scenes from animť and manga and even creating a few new scenarios of our own. You can be so creative in groups!  And you get to share the cosplaying experience with friends too ^_^

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

Now that the last cosplay event has passed for the year, Iíve got so many plans for 2009!  First and foremost Iím breaking out the cross-play again, as Zack from Final Fantasy VII:Crisis Core.  Iím also planning on putting together my second Steampunk original character, rough and ready Skypirate, navigator and second in command of the HMS Valkyrie, Tabitha Rose Skylar (although if you call her anything but ĎSkyeí youíll soon know about it!). My biggest and most challenging cosplay so far however will be Nu Wa from Warriors Orochi 2.  Itís already keeping me awake at night with me wondering just how on earth Iím going to manage certain parts ^_^í  I suppose itís times like that that my colouful hobby becomes a little bit more of an obsession!

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

At the moment Nu Wa is still a dream cosplay for me, until she is completed.  One day I think I would also love to give Felicia from Darkstalkers a go ^_^í  I donít think the creating of the costume will be so much of a challenge as actually having the confidence and the body to pull it off!  Morrigan was one thing, I could wear tights and a corset, but Felicia is another entirely!

Q:  Do you have one piece of advice that you would give to cosplay virgins?

Just have fun!  It doesnít matter if youíre not the greatest sewer, it doesnít matter if your costume is bought or made, it doesnít matter if your costume isnít perfect, because thatís not what cosplaying is all about.  Itís about getting to spend the day being the character that you love, itís about meeting new friends and learning new things.  Itís about enjoying yourself!  Everyone should give it go!

Q:  Do you have an account with the website Cosplay island/other social networking sites?

You can find me on Cosplay Island and Cosplay.com also. My username, as always, is Efia. Hope to see you around ^_^

(click any picture for a larger image)

Elsa as Integra from HellsingElsa as Lulu from Final Fantasy XElsa as Matsumodo Rangiku from BleachElsa as Orochimaru from Naruto

 Elsa as Morrigan from Darkstalkers - photo by TGRH
Elsa as Miss Amelia Evelyn Hawkesworth - an original Steampunk creation - from the novel Flight Of The Valkyrie, find it on the profile of deviantart user sjbonnarElsa as Freya from ChobitsElsa as Tsunade from Naruto

Elsa as Lust from Full Metal AlchemistElsa as Hinata Hyuga from Naruto (Shippuden version)Elsa as Organic Angel Alexiel from Angel Sancutary

Elsa (right) as Integra from Hellsing, left is sjbonnar as Alucard, also from HellsingElsa (bottom centre) as Miss Amelia Evelyn Hawkesworth - an original Steampunk creation - from the novel Flight Of The Valkyrie, find it on the profile of deviantart user sjbonnar