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 English cosplayer:

Name: Leena Patel
(a.k.a. Lunar_Kitten)

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

I made my first costume for the MCM London Expo in October 2007 – I cosplayed as rag doll Sally, from the film A Nightmare Before Christmas

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I am quite creative; I have fidgety fingers so I like using them to make things.  I guess with with cosplay it's seeing something in 2D form and wondering if I am capable of making it into a 3D reality.  I also like the enthusiasm of other cosplayers – it does help to spur me on.

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

Ooh, tricky.  I don’t know which has been my ultimate favourite but out of the few costumes I have made so far,  ne of my favourites was definitely Lina Inverse from Slayers (which I did for Minamicon 15, 2009).  I loved cosplaying her because she was so recognised - it was a great feeling.  However, I also enjoyed cosplaying Sara Trantoul from Castlevania which I made for the Grand International Cosplay Ball in November 2008. 

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

My most memorable moment is the first time I wore rag doll Sally.  On the same day I unfortunately had to attend a family funeral but, because I had drawn lines all over my face and body to represent the rag doll seams, I didn't want to have to wash them off because they had taken me 1.5 hours to draw - using eyeliner and hairspray!  So I just changed out of the rag dress and into a black one for the funeral and travelled across London on the tubes with the lines still drawn all over me!  It raised a few eyebrows that's for sure!  Needless to say my family were a little shocked, too - but after I explained it to them everybody was fine.  In fact, some even said that it was good that I gave everyone else something to think about other than the sombre reason we had all gathered. 

Another one is probably at Minamicon 15 when I was dressed as Lina Inverse Slayers.  I took part in the cosplay masquerade and, as I was walking along the aisle, I heard someone in the audience screaming 'LINAAAAAAA!!!' at the top of their voice – they were obviously really excited at seeing her cosplayed.  That made me smile.

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

Oh yes – name me a cosplayer who hasn’t experienced this!  Personally, I suppose I have miscalculated measurements or things have stuck together when I didn’t want them to (or not stuck at all).  Although I think one of the worst things was when I was making Seung Mina’s top (from Soul Calibur II): I cut and hemmed a simple lycra top to crop it, then I sewed satin over it.  Nice and simple.  However, I forgot that satin doesn't stretch – so when I tried the top on again, it no longer went over my head!  I ended up cutting slits up both sides and putting it on like a tabard and using poppers and velcro to hold it in place.

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

Ooooh – that’s a strong question.  I have never actually regretted cosplaying, but when things go wrong or I'm running short of time - or can't find the things that I need to help me - I often wonder why I am putting myself through the stress of it all.  Especially when I have other hobbies that are not so stressful!

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

I have done group cosplay a couple of times – at Amecon 2008 I masqueraded with three others to make a Soul Calibur group, which was great, and at Minamicon 15 I masqueraded with five others to make a Slayers group.  I enjoyed both experiences and I’m quite sure I’d be happy to group again.

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

I’m currently planning Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service and I have everything apart from the dress (kinda need that!).  I’m also planning Sheeta from the film Laputa – although I haven’t started that yet.  The reason for these two is that they look cute and are not outlandish or fancy.  They’re nice and simple, which pleases me!  I am also planning to do Belldandy (refer next question) for Ayacon 09.

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

I have seen many outfits and thought ‘wow I would love to do that’, but sadly I can’t remember who they are!  I definitely want to do a cat outfit of some sort - fur, whiskers, etc. That would be great!  Another cosplay that I really want to do is Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess.  I saw a tiny little picture of this particular costume in a magazine and fell for it straight away (I understand it’s her ‘evil’ outfit though – oops!, but that doesn’t bother me as I just love the costume).  Every time I plan to make it, something else comes up so it seems to be one of those outfits that will be done ‘at some point’ – hopefully I shall do it for Ayacon 09.

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

Don’t try and aim too high unless you know 100% that you’re capable of achieving it.  Be honest with yourself, otherwise you’ll only let yourself down and of course you don't want to do that.  Start small and learn slowly; others will help you all along the way so don’t be afraid to ask – we’ve all been there!  And make sure you are comfortable with what you’re making because ultimately you’re the one who’s going to have to talk about it to everyone admiring it (oops that’s more than one piece of advice... !).

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

Yes, I can be found on CosplayIsland as Lunar_Kitten.  I am also on livejournal, facebook, MSN, Skype and myspace.  Crikey, I sound like quite the socialite!

(click any picture for a larger image)

Leena as Sara Trantoul from CastlevaniaLeena as Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII Leena as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas
Leena (centre) as Lina Inverse from Slayers