She does have some great cosplays, but I was also dually impressed with her J-Fashion sense. We will take a look more into that in this interview. What I enjoyed most about her cosplays was how she portrayed the characters. She gave them an extra dimension with her facial expressions and posses. This is what makes the characters come to life for us. Not just standing and smiling, but bringing to life our favorite characters and their charisma!
Yea, I am jabbering again like normal and you didn't come here for that. Lets get on with the show. . .
What is your name and where do you reside?
My name is Luluko and I live in Phoenix, AZ.
What first started you on the road to cosplay?
After falling out of love with anime for several years, I got sucked back in through the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom, of all things. (I was obsessed with The Abridged Series which led me to re-watch the original show... and I fell down the rabbit hole from there.) Through joining an anime fandom for the first time I discovered what cosplay was, and there was absolutely no question as to whether or not it was something I wanted to do.
Further back than that, I was always a crafty kid, even though I didn't have much artistic talent. I spent a lot of time as a child drawing and hand-sewing things. Halloween was my favorite holiday and I loved the task of putting a costume together - though for some reason it never occurred to me to learn how to sew my own. But when I discovered cosplay, everything clicked into place, and that's why I'm still obsessed five years later.
How do you choose which characters you will Cosplay?
I only cosplay from series that I genuinely know and love. I think one of the main reasons anyone wants to wear a certain costume, especially at a con, is to meet other fans of the series. From there it's a matter of several things - do they have an outfit I want to make, do I have the technical abilities to make that outfit, is there an event I want to wear it to, are any friends cosplaying the same series... then of course I have to ask myself if I can afford to make it to begin with. For me it's really not as easy as "I like that, I'm just gonna make it!"
What conventions or shows have you cosplayed at and what has been your favorite character to date?
I've been to too many cons to count, both in Arizona and out of state. My favorite cons are Fanime (out of state) and SabotenCon (in state). I've also gone to Katsucon the past two years and I love it because I get to see my east coast friends. The largest con I've been to is Anime Expo, which I've attended the past three years.
I can't just pick one character, but my favorites to portray are Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim), Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier), Ryuko Matoi (Kill la Kill), and Beatrice (Umineko). I share personality traits with them in some way, so they're the easiest and most fun for me.
I have to ask, why the blue stripes on Captain America’s shield?
That's canon to the STEALTH suit design from the Winter Soldier movie. It started as the regular red white and blue, but I painted over it. That seems to be everyone's favorite part of the costume and it's the part I put the least amount of work into. All I did was paint it... in the hotel room the night before.
I read an old article about the group Cosplay Deviants and them coming to A Con that you wrote. It centered on their panel “Cosplay Is Not Consent”. I a familiar with them as well and found it interesting what panel they were doing. Over the years of you going to conventions, has this gotten better or still an ugly reality for cosplayer? Have you experience this yourself while attending any conventions?
This may be largely because more and more attention has been brought to this subject, but I feel like it's actually gotten worse. "Journalists" using interviews as an excuse to harass cosplayers, "photographers" strapping hidden cameras to themselves to photograph cosplayers without their permission, it seems like every con season brings yet another thing we have to watch out for.
I'm very lucky that this kind of treatment has only happened to me once or twice, but I see how it affects my friends, cosplayers I admire, and the community as a whole, so it's something I'm not shy to speak up about. I really believe that cons should be a safe space for everyone, and it makes me so angry when anyone threatens that in any way.
We always see photographs from Japan conventions taking just pantsu and ass shots. I have reviewed pictures of ‘otaku’ photographers hoarding in a circle around the cosplayers at conventions like Comiket. In continuing the discussion above, do you think the sexism of photographers and otaku in Japan is slowly seeping into the United States con goers?
Sexism isn't exclusive to any one subculture or country, it is prevalent everywhere and takes many different forms. I don't think at all that it's a direct influence from Japan to the US - as long as we live in a society where women are treated as objects and cosplayers are seen as living dolls without feelings, this will always be a problem.
Time to switch gears to a more fun discussion ~ J-Fashion. I saw that you have been on several runways doing J-Fashion and really nailed the look. How did you get started in this and what part of the Japanese fashion scene do you draw your inspiration?
I grew up watching America's Next Top Model (yup... I've seen every single season!) so modeling was something I desperately wanted to try, not as a career, but just for fun. But I'm short and oddly shaped, so I didn't think it would ever happen. I think that's part of what made cosplay so appealing - I could wear outrageous outfits and makeup, I could pose for a camera and do photo shoots - I could do a lot of the same things that models do.
Back in late 2011, a local J-fashion brand called Cake Shop Couture celebrated reaching 1000 fans by holding a contest to find a new model for a fashion show in January. I tied with another girl for the win and got to walk a runway for the first time. I had my makeup professionally done for the first time ever, I befriended the other models, took photos, and my mom even came to the show. It was so memorable and fun. I met the designer of Poison Sugar, so I've been blessed that both brands like me enough to have me model for them regularly. Last year at Anime Expo I got to work as a cosplay model for NIS America, which was my first time doing promotional modeling. I'd like to do more of this in the future, but that kind of work seems hard to come by.
I like several styles of J-fashion though my favorites are lolita (any kind) and bosozoku. I don't have a ton of extra money to spend on my wardrobe (cosplay and figure collecting are two very expensive hobbies - I don't need a third!) so I love that every once in a while I can get my kicks wearing something pretty and frilly for a couple of hours.
When not cosplaying, what do you do?
Haha, not much else actually... I do have a 9-5 job, I'm slowly building a regular exercise routine, and I love video games. I also volunteer with the Very Awesome Girls of Phoenix, a group of nerdy girls who do charity work, and sometimes I help staff local conventions. I also like going to museums and concerts.
For any aspiring cosplayers a little shy, what words of wisdom do you have for them to get started?
Challenge yourself to learn something new with every project, and hone the techniques you already know. You don't have to be a great cosplayer right away.
The rat race for likes and cosplay fame may make you feel insecure and like you'll never be good enough - just be patient, work hard, make friends, stay humble, and you will be rewarded in ways you don't expect.
Where can we catch more of your Cosplay at?
I'm most active on Facebook and Twitter. I also love Instagram and Cospix. I think I'm finally ready to launch my website, so please look out for that soon!
Here is a Shout Out to our Photographers: Almost-Focused | BentPic5 | BlizzardTerrak | Electric Lady | Elliot Trinidad | Eurobeat Kasumi | Jounink | Oscar Cwajbaum | Peter Roig | Toshi Yamioka | ViciousWargoose | Waylen Photography
Some Additional Cosplay Photographs
I want to thank Luluko Cosplay 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 COSPLAYER or know someone that you want to recommend? Drop me a line a bluedrakon (at) gmail (dot) com!