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 UK cosplayer:

Name: Ashlea Babb (a.k.a. TaroTard)

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

  I first started cosplaying when I went to Ayacon 05, which was my first convention.  I didn't really know much about cosplaying at the time, but I was told by my friend (who was also going) that she would be cosplaying as lots of people would.  I searched on ebay for Full Metal Alchemist stuff after and found a cosplay, it looked so sweet so I ended up ordering it.  I tried it on and showed it my family as soon as it arrived I was so excited.  I love the feeling you get when you cosplay, you feel a bit wacky and a bit famous because people ask for your photo haha.  I have cosplayed ever since so that's 4 years now ^_^ I plan to cosplay lots more to come =D

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I've always loved dressing up.  When I was at primary school and we had our fancy dress days I would always get so excited, but when I moved onto secondary school and it didn't happen anymore I was sad that I didn't get that chance again.  But when I got into anime and found cosplay it gave me a chance to dress up again.  I always feel more confident when I cosplay.  Usually I'd be worried by the weird looks but when I am in cosplay it amuses me and I am always more confident just going up to fellow anime fans and starting a conversation ^^

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

Hrm that's a tough one, my favourite cosplay to date has either been my Natalia Lanvaldear (Tales Of The Abyss) or Midori (Guitar Hero III).   The Natalia one was completely brought and sized off eBay, the Midori one I pulled together with a combination of making and buying stuff to use from shops.

The Natalia outfit was so cute and pretty that I really enjoyed walking around in it.  It was something I'd never wear in real life because it was so weird, but it was also an outfit I was desperate to wear. 

The Midori one was just so bright and colourful and I put a lot of effort into it, so I was proud of wearing that one.

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Most memorable cosplay moment was probably when I went to one of the MCM London Expos dressed up as Haruhi Suzumiya (from The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya - ed.).  I was in line to get my Artemis Fowl book signed by Eoin Colfer (as I love his books), when he saw my costume he and the guy who did the art were like 'so who are you some kinda Ninja school girl' and I was like 'no I'm a school girl with God like powers ;P' and they were like 'ooooh maybe you could help us with our next project then?' haha.  If I hadn't been in cosplay that would probably have been a 'how are you?' moment and me getting nervous, but because I was in cosplay it was fun and probably a unique conversation haha.

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

The skirt for my Midori cosplay was a bit of a pain.  It was my Dad's partner that helped me to put that together, one of my jobs was the zip and I was advised to use a stick on one.  It didn't stick well though so I sewed it too but it didn't work too well.  It looks terrible so I try to cover it, also it doesn't usually stay fastened !!!

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

I don't think there's any cosplays I actually regretted.  My one Astaroth (Trinity Blood) cosplay was a bit uncomfortable as the trousers were plastic, so were hot and sticky. 

Also, I've always wished I was good with a needle so I could make my own fantastic cosplays but nothing really regrettable.

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

Yeah I have worn my Natalia Lanvaldear cosplay twice.  The first time I bumped into a girl at a con, who was doing a character from the same game, and, as the game wasn't released in the UK, we were real excited.  Then we became friends and she asked me to do a group cosplay for the same game at MCM Expo, which I did and it was a lot of fun.  We did some planned pictures and I got to meet some cool people. 

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

Next I really want to do either Chrome Dokuro (from Hitman Reborn! - ed.) or Anya Earlstreim, (from Code Geass - ed.) as both have smexy outfits. 

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

Yeah I always wanted to do Astaroth in her battle outfit...it is so complex though not sure if it will ever happen for me.  

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

If you can make it, make it as you'll feel so much prouder about it after.  But if you can't buying them is just as fun.

Mainly just have a good time, no one knows you so just go crazy!

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

I have an account with Cosplay Island, my login is TaroTard but I haven't been on in a little while.  After starting uni as a mature student this year I haven't had the time or money for cosplay.  I do hope to change that though for Alcon 2009!!!

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