Cosplay interviews! A new regular 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: Louise Collis
(a.k.a. GunstarVixen)

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

I started in October 2007 as Thief Rikku from Final Fantasy X-2 for the MCM London Expo.  So have been doing it nearly a year now. 

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

I love sewing and being creative.  I can't draw and I'm not much of a writer either, so it gives me a chance to be artistic in construction!

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

It has to be LeBlanc from Final Fantasy X-2, she is such an awesome character - I love that she fails so much at being a bad guy!!  The costume took three solid months of construction which all had to be hand sewn, and then there were some good challenges to like making the huge collar (walking though doorways was interesting!!).  I think the best thing was the amazing reaction that it got.  When you have put so much time and effort (not to mention hard earned cash!) into a costume and have people hunting you down for photos it just makes it so worthwhile.  Oh and I won 3rd place at Amecon with LeBlanc which is such an amazing feeling!

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

Oh there are soo many memorable moments while cosplaying and becuase of cosplay.  The first time I met up with other cosplayers who I'd been talking to online (I have made some amazing friends!!), the first time someone recognised who I was dressed as, the first time I was placed in a competition and the first time I appeared in Neo Magazine.  I really couldn't choose.  Cosplaying has had such a wonderful impact on my life (ok a slightly more negative impact on the old bank balance - through choice though - you can make costumes much cheaper than I do!).  It is such a great community to be in, people are so friendly and helpful not to mention genuine.  Finally somewhere where my geekiness is cool!!!!

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

Always!  Everyone has problems - wigs don't turn up on time, props break or you run out of fabric and you can't get more (thankfully none of those have happened to me...yet).  The main issues I have are making things that just don't fit properly.  I'm not a huge fan of patterns, being quite a tall girl I often find they do not fit, so it is easier to make things from scratch (looking at existing clothes and how they are pieced together is a great way to do this).   But sometimes things just go wrong (for example I'm pretty sure my sewing machine hates me!) but that's how you learn.  My tip is to always - if you budget allows that it - to over buy your fabric, having that extra metre lying around is so helpful sometimes, the leftovers also come in handy on other costumes too!!

My most recent two problems were with LeBlanc as the boot toppers wouldn't stay put and kept slipping all the way down.  Thankfully I had extra body tape with me so stuck them too me which was fine, only I stuck them so hard that when I took the tape off it bruised my legs!!  My other recent disaster was while making gloves for my Sailor Venus (from Sailor Moon - ed.) as I like to make gloves myself (since they tend to fit better) however this one went so so wrong!  I made the middle finger really small so I couldn't bend it, and when I finally managed to squeeze my arm into them I'd put the lining at the opening on to tight so I couldn't bend my arm.  I looked like a Barbie doll walking round in them - oops!

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

No! (although looking at some photo's I do wish I'd sucked in my stomach every now and again!!)

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

My first cosplay group was Yuna, Rikku and Paine from Final Fantasy X-2 with me as Rikku.  It was so much fun we did lots of sensible poses but after a while we just did random silly fight scenes (including fighting a plushie Tonberry!!).  My friend also brought Yuna back out while I did LeBlanc so we had lots of silly shots again there too!  I have a lot of groups planned over the next year (well ones I'm in, not necessarily ones I've planned) which I'm really looking forward to!  With group cosplaying, I think it really helps if you wanted to do a character from the group in the first place, rather than get roped into doing one you don't know or like.  Groups can be so much fun though, the photo shoots especially!!  My most recent Final Fantasy IX shoot was sooo much fun because we all really loved it and felt comfortable in our cosplays.  It really gave us a chance to get into character and get some good shots! (obviously there were the obligatory silly shots at the end!!)

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

Well the upcoming MCM October London Expo will see me as LeBlanc again and Sailor Venus (new).  Minamicon will see Polka and Sailor Venus again, MCM May London Expo will be LeBlanc (again!!) and Setsuka from Soul Calibur IV (new).  If Ayacon goes ahead (it will - ed.) I'm thinking of doing Link from The Legend Of Zelda (Twilight Princess version - new), Setsuka again, and I'm thinking probably Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile (new).  But there is always so many I want to do and never enough time!!

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

Currently Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile, which fingers crossed I will do for Ayacon

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

Don't be scared of failure.  If it goes wrong try again, if its not perfect don't worry wear it anyway!!

Q:  Do you have an account with the website Cosplay island?

Of course!  You'll find me under GunstarVixen!

Louise as Polka from Eternal Sonata   Louise as Le Blanc from Final Fantasy X-2   Louise as Giselle from Enchanted

Louise as Sailor Venus from Sailor Moon   Louise as General Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX   Louise as a Pokeball from Pokemon 

Louise as Rikku (thief) from Final Fantasy X-2    Louise as General Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX - photo taken by www.cosplaysnap.co.uk and provided to Animetion by GunstarVixen   Louise as Le Blanc from Final Fantasy X-2