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

Name: Rachelle Bridgman
(a.k.a. Hakuloveszabuza)

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

I have always been interested in costumes and props but I didnít I started cosplaying until Japan Ex in July 2007 when I first discovered conventions.  As I had very limited time (due to discovering about the event month before the date it was to be held ) and desperately wanted to cosplay, I decided to commission part of my costumes and make the rest myself.  I really enjoyed making the prop for my costumes and so decided that my next costume I would make as much of it myself as I could and I guess things just spiralled from there.  I guess compared to some people on the scene I am still a cosplay newbie as I have only been making costumes for about 15 months but I hope to make many more costumes in the future.

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I think what most attracts me to cosplay is the wonderful friends I have made and the talented, inspiring people I have met.  I hate the stereotypes in fashion that are inflicted upon us especially if you are not conforming to what is considered to be the idea of beauty, so I suppose dressing up in costume is my way of rebelling. 

I admit that I can be a very shy person who lacks confidence, but when dressed in a costume you can be whoever you want for the day (crossplaying is very fun and to be honest I really enjoy it as it is usually the male characters that get the best weapons lol) and feel a little special.  It really boosts my confidence when people actually want a photograph of a costume I have made and are keen to talk to you about a shared interest in cosplay or the character you are portraying. 

Another aspect about cosplay I enjoy is the challenge of bringing a character often only depicted as a flat image on the TV screen or in a book to life.  There are so many wonderful costumes out there and so many new skills and techniques that can be learnt through the hobby.  Although sometimes stressful, I do adore figuring out how I am going to make the costume and get great satisfaction when an idea I have had actually works out.  I really love highly detailed costumes and I have also discovered that I love making props especially huge weapons as well.

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

I think that my favourite cosplay to date has to be Pang Tong from Dynasty Warriors 6 as this is my most accurate costume.  I poured a lot of love into that cosplay so I was so happy that it was well received and I got some nice photographs of me wearing it.

Also Lulu from Final Fantasy X is another favourite costume of mine as it was the first costume I made from almost scratch and although it had me in tears (damn that belt skirt) on several occasions when making it and wearing it (I have the scar to prove it) but I am extremely proud of the finished cosplay.

My favourite prop is the shamisen I made for my Motochika Chosukabe cosplay as he has the instrument as weapon.  I was very proud of that prop as I created it from nothing and without following any sort of tutorial.  It was a lot of work but so beautiful and now it sits in the dinning room until I can find a good home for it as I havenít the heart to just shove it in the loft.

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Well as I stated earlier I havenít been cosplaying long, but the memorable moment has to be being part of the Samurai Warriors group at the MCM London Expo in May 2008 and winning the audience choice award.  I was so proud of our group as everyone had worked so hard and looked totally amazing.  It was also a great feeling to win, as I had been pretty ill two weeks before Expo and had been worried that my costume was not going to be done in time.  But it seems the last minute stress and late nights getting it finished paid off.

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

So far I have been very lucky and never had a costume go completely wrong on me.  I have had a few occasions where I have had to remake certain parts of a costume, Luluís belt skirt was a nightmare Motochikaís sleeves I tried several times to get right.  I had to settle for something I wasnít entirely happy with but didnít have time to redo them.

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

NoÖI might regret selecting a certain costume when things arenít going according to plan and I just want to throw it in the binÖbut I have never regretted cosplaying.  I have made so many great friends through cosplay and have some wonderful times at events so all the pain and stress of making the costume is worth it.

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

I was part of a Samurai Warriors group at MCM London Expo in May 2008 and it was brilliant fun.  It is nice cosplaying in a group as you donít feel as isolated, spending hours on your own hunched over a sewing machine can be a little lonely at times.  At least for a group cosplay you have other people that encourage you through the bad times and you feel more inspired to get the costume finished on time.  I also enjoy going on the stage with other people, it is great to see several characters from a game or show all together and having a group photo shoot.  It is a very fun and rewarding experience.

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

Right now I have started my dream KOEI costume - Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors 6 - and I am also planning to do Liu Bei from the same game.  I would also love to do Liu Bei and Sima Yi (again from KOEIís Dynasty Warriors 6 series) from Strikeforce which is due out in the UK sometime in 2009.  Other costumes that I would love to do in the future are the Monkey King from The Forbidden Kingdom and the Dragon Emperor from the The Mummy 3.

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

I have just begun my dream cosplay which is Lu Bu from Dynasty Warriors 6.  I was just totally blown away by the character design and instantly fell in love with the costume.  It has taken me a while to get up the courage to decide to attempt the costume, but I have given myself seven months to complete it.  I know I would regret it if I never even tried to make the costume so all I can do is give it my best shot ^^

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

Just have funÖdonít worry if your sewing skills or prop making talents are not the best in the world, because the main thing is to enjoy yourself. 

If you have never made a costume choose something fairly simple and a character that you really love.  Search internet forums for your local fabric shop and for help if you need it, talk to other cosplayers and just go for it.  You might discover hidden talents and in a few years be making breathtaking costumes that in turn will inspire other people to take up the hobby.

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

I am know on Cosplay Island, Cosplay.com and cosspace.com as hakuloveszabuza.  

(click any picture for a larger image)

Rachelle as Lulu from Final Fantasy X Rachelle as Orochimaru from NarutoRachelle (left) as Pang Tong from Dynasty Warriors 6

Rachelle (right) as Pang Tong from Dynasty Warriors 6Rachelle (right) as Rufus Shinra from Final Fantasy VII: Advent ChildrenRachelle as Pang Tong from Dynasty Warriors 6