This time we go around the world to visit our European cosplayers. This is a special treat as we have not just one, but two delicate butterflies (Dominique and Kerstin) that have graciously settle down for a chat.
Since no really likes my banter, lets get to the Q & A of the post.
Please introduce yourselves, let us know where do you reside and what are your ages?
Hi there! We are Dominique and Kerstin, also known as whitebutterfly and blackbutterfly. We are two european cosplayers who live (unfortunately) in different countries.
K: I live in Germany, in a small village. The next bigger city near this village is Mannheim. I’m 25 years old.
D: I am a Swiss Girl, living in Basel (near Germany and France). I look a lot younger than I am… this year I will have my 28th birthday.
Since you are both from different countries, what started you to cosplay (what year did you each start) and how did you both meet?
K: I knew cosplay for years. But I never thought of doing this myself, because I never learned how to sew and I didn’t know, that there are big conventions in Germany where anime/magna/game-fans meet. But then in 2006 a friend of a friend wanted to go to such a convention and she asked, if I wanted to come with her. The second question was, if I wanted to do a cosplay. And since I always loved the idea to look one of my favorite characters, I just did it. I really loved the experience and so I did it again…. and again. ;D
D: In Switzerland, we are a little bit slower and cosplay was earlier famous in Germany. I got to know cosplay through another friend I met in the Internet on a “anime community”. She took me to an German convention and told me that I could dress up as a character if I would like the idea, cause there would be some “cosplayers”. And I did. Since then I almost every year went to that one big convention in Germany (but in lousy cosplays), not knowing any other convention – until I met Kerstin.
K: We “met” in 2007 on a platform in the internet that is similar to facebook. Dominique wrote a comment under one of my cosplaypictures (haha). We started to write e-mails and we realized, that we like the same themes. Not only anime/manga/cosplay – we also talked a lot about private stuff. I told her, that I was planning a trip to a very big convention in Germany and invited her to come there and cosplay together!
D: I was very surprised, but really happy about this invitation. From this moment on we were “skype”-sisters. We talk every day through skype, we sent each other progress pictures, and coordinated our costumes. We plan almost all cosplays together, travel to the conventions and improve our sewing talents, posing and doing makeup and of course our photography skills.
How is cosplay viewed in each of your respective countries? Is there a large fan base of cosplayers in each of your countries as I read that white---butterfly comes to German Cons?
Yes… it’s quite different. In Germany there a lot more conventions and they are much bigger than the cons in Switzerland. But well, the countries have different sizes it selves… so Switzerland has less cosplayers and only 2 Convention every year. Germany has quite an elaborated scene: Many small and big conventions, famous cosplayers, a lot of different competitions (national and international), internet communities… that’s why Dominique always travels to Germany and joined the German cosplay community.
What characters have you cosplayed and what one so far has been your favorite?
K: oh my… the best is to take a look at some of our websites. I cosplayed 51 characters now and to write them all down would be a little bit too much.
But my favorite… that is a very difficult question, because I cosplayed every character for a special reason. No matter if the reasons are attributes of the character himself, or the design of the outfit. I think I can bring it up to five favorite ones! Yomiko Readman (because I love her character), Sheryl Nome (she is awesome as character as well AND her outfits are so great!), Panty (because it’s a lot of fun to pose like a bitch *laugh*), Lady Bernkastel (because that’s my first really nice sewed cosplay) and Yui Hongo (the manga is such a precious memory for me).
D: This is really difficult to answer and I have made only around 30 cosplays ;-) But I always need to have a connection somehow to the character I wanna cosplay. There are some costumes I made because I wanted to cosplay with Kerstin and do her a favor, but always liked the characters I made. But I really love the cosplays I can identify myself with or love the character itself: Yui from K-ON, Misaka Mikoto from Railgun and especially Ranka Lee from Macross F are totally my type. In another perspective there are two special design-cosplay I love: Yumil from Queensblade (never sewed leather and made weapons myself like this!) and Stocking from PSWG – it’s quite simple, but I love the dress and hairstyle so much.
I see that you sometime share a series when you cosplay, how do you decide on that series to Cosplay?
K: Most times it happens like this: “Woaaaaahhh! I started to watch a GREAT series/found a great picture! You so have to take a look, there are two characters that would fit us so well!” Sometimes it’s like this: “We really should do more classic stuff, I got soo much sweet memories of this series”. And there is a third possibility: “oh pleeeeeaaaaase cosplay this one with me! Pleeeeeaaaaase! I know you don’t really like it but pleeeeeaaaaase!”
D: Hahaha, I agree… most times it’s Kerstin who brings the ideas. Well, she really comes up with a lot of wishes through the whole year! ;) But I get my ideas also through… we really have still a looooot of plans <3
We know that Cosplay is an international sensation. What conventions or gatherings have you both cosplayed at and how much of a turn out is there for Cosplay at them?
Unfortunately we didn’t visit a lot international conventions. Our first one was the JapanExpo in Paris this year, but this one was really awesome! Most time we visit conventions in Germany. They are quite big and nice =)
K: I visited of course conventions in Switzerland and they are quite nice! My dream is a big convention in the USA and of course one in Japan =)
D: Since I always travel to German conventions, I’m quite happy and content. The JapanExpo was really special and I wanna visit this convention again. But I don’t have other aims, I will rather improve my photography skills and make authentic shootings.
It was indeed different to cosplay at the JapanExpo this year. First of all it was just much bigger than every convention in Germany. Much more people take photos of you and with you than in Germany, but the people that took the pictures were mostly men with the cameras of their mobile-phones. In Germany you normally get photographed by other cosplayers with at least digicams. The reason for this is maybe, that we have a BIG website for german cosplayers where you upload your pictures from the conventions. And perhaps for the french people the pictures are more for personal memories than for uploading. But that’s just speculation.
When not cosplaying, what do you do in “real life”?
K: I’m a student and I will become a teacher for German and History in the future. I’m doing my final exams at the moment. My hobbys are of course cosplaying, which steals a lot of my free time. I love to read books! I read many classic ones like Goethe, Flauberte, Austen etc. Besides I like cooking and baking a lot! And of course I like to go out, watch movies… totally normal stuff ;D
D: I’m finishing my Master-thesis in educational Science at the moment. I have a little science job, and I’m a leader of a youth group in Basel. Besides sewing and cosplaying in Germany, I try to help a friend building up some local cosplay meetings around Basel and try to push the Swiss scene a little bit. If I have some spare time I mostly meet friends, they are very important for me. Actually I’m very interested in photography.
For any aspiring cosplayers, a little shy to take the plunge, what words of wisdom do you have for them to get started?
K: Just try it out! ;D Nobody starts with a perfect costume. Just try to give your best and don’t be afraid of other people and negative statements. There will always be people that think cosplay is stupid. Just don’t care about them ;) You will meet a lot of new people that love the same as you do, you will see a lot of different places in your country while visiting conventions and you get a lot of cool new abilities like sewing, photographing and posing. =)
D: I agree! Don’t be shy. Get to know others, ask them for help and try it out yourself. We still are learning with every little piece of a cosplay… we learn about new techniques to sew, to glue, to produce. Oh, and search for tutorials in the internet, they can be a really good source for learning how to do something. And take some time to make good pictures of it: for me it is the most important outcome ;-)
What sites do you have for our audience to visit to see more?
Official Duo Page on Facebook
K: Animexx (a german page for anime/manga/cosplay), deviantART and Cosplay.com
D: Animexx, deviantART and Cosplay.com
Last Question – I promise. Were you two separate at birth? I have viewed the photos of you cosplaying together and would swear you could be both be sisters.
That is a very funny question, because you are not the first one asking that!
Yes, we are separate at birth.
We know that we look quite familiar and same aged and a lot people asked if we are sisters.
Let’s say: at least we are soulsisters <3
More Cosplay 4 Your Enjoyment
You figure out who is on which side :D
I want to thank Dominique and Kerstin for taking the time to write to me and to the Photographers for the great photos that you get to see here today.
Want to be my next interviewed COSPLAY STAR? ~ Drop me a line a bluedrakon (at) gmail (dot) com!