Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Cosplayer Interview: Momo Kurumi

I have to thank SocialCos for this next cosplayer interview - Momo Kurumi.

I did a blog on this site that was about the lack of cosplayer interviews. She was the first one to drop a comment and immediately sent us an email. Her profile shot on SocialCos is of Sheryl Nome which she did wonderfully.

Though this is just one of many cosplays she has done, she always tries to insure it is spot on for the character. Of course she also did a stunning cosplay of one of my fav characters Yoko from Gurren Lagann.

Well, better not keep Momo in limbo and get to the interview questions:

What is your name, where do you reside and what is your age?

In the cosplay and online worlds, most people know me as Momo Kurumi. “Momo” is a nickname that I picked up in high school, before I was into anime or anything Japanese. There’s a story on how I got it, but I’ll spare you the prologue. “Kurumi” is just a made-up last name, so that I can create accounts on various sites using the same screen name. It’s actually inspired from “Kururugi”, as in Suzaku Kururugi of Code Geass.

Currently, I flip flop locations between northern Kentucky and northern Indiana, as I’m attending school out of state. I most often attend conventions near Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbis, and Cincinnati. As of this interview, I’m 20 years old, but still always feeling like 16! Well, only slightly wiser, now!

What first started you on the road to cosplay?

There is a really elaborate story on how I got into anime, manga, and cosplay involving Stephanie Meyers (as in the author of Twilight), Disney, Naruto, Halloween, and our high school’s literary book club. Again, sparing you the novel, my first real cosplay was Haruhi Suzumiya. I was attracted to the show because of the colorful school uniform, and after enjoying the series, I knew that Haruhi was a character I could pull off with my brown eyes and hair. I had bought the costume from Ebay, and loved it and cosplaying so much that I bought more outfits online shortly after.

This was all before I learned to sew, which I began after I’d gotten ripped off on a Miku cosplay from Ebay. I started making found-item costumes, and later, when I wanted to take on more challenging outfits and couldn’t find items to alter, began making my own from scratch! So, I wasn’t one of those now-famous cosplayers who dove right into the deep end from the start- I slowly worked my way up to where I am now, and am still always improving! I still occasionally create found-item cosplays now and then if the design is relatively simple, so I can spend more time on complex costumes!

Which of your cosplays was the most difficult to do and why?

By far, my most difficult and stressful costume has been Blue Rose!

After months of planning, experimenting, and pulling my hair out, it’s still incomplete, and not where I want it to be. It involved more crafting and meticulous detailing than sewing, and a lot of fray check for all those ribbons! To make matters worse, after only one wearing, some items became irreparably damaged (my gloves, for example, appear to have gotten in a fight with a Sharpie somewhere). Despite being discouraged, the upcoming U.S. release and dub of Tiger and Bunny will give me the motivation I need to finish it up and repair the damaged items! Assuming my wallet is okay with that...

I saw that you did an awesome team up with a friend for a Tiger and Bunny cosplay. What gave you the idea to showcase both sides of the character?

My friend, Lulu and I both go to school together, and met at our school’s anime club (which mind you, is actually really awesome!) where one of the shows they were watching that year was Tiger and Bunny. We fell in love with the show and the characters. We thought it would be cute to be Karina and Blue Rose together and immediately began planning for it.

I offered to do either outfit, because I think they’re both awesome designs, but Lulu has perfect hair for Karina, so she chose that outfit. It was a great bonding experience, and even though we don’t look like the same person (she’s much taller than me even when I’m in heels, for starters!) we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying cosplaying together from our new favorite show! To be honest, even though we both love Karina/Blue Rose, our favorite character from the show is Kotetsu/Wild Tiger. We share a lot of interests, and plan to do more cosplays together in the near future!

I noticed that you had some Lolita Fashion in with your cosplay. What drew you to this type of fashion?

Although I don’t often dress in lolita fashion anymore, I still adore its style. I’m very girly at heart. Deep down, I *was* that little girl who wanted to grow up to be a princess and a crime-battling hero at the same time! If I had unlimited money, I would probably buy more dresses from my favorite seller, FanPlusFriend, but at the moment, I’m focusing more on making my own character cosplays.

In the future, I’d like to design my own lolita dress, as they’ve always intimidated me! I think I could pull off a simple design now, though.

Can you tell us about some of the awards you received for your cosplays? Which one of the awards meant the most to you and why?

Thus far, I only have three award-winning cosplays, but I haven’t entered all of my costumes that I’ve made into contests for various reasons. However, every time that I have entered a masquerade, (up to ACen 2012, the last con I’ve attended at this time), I have won an award. Yoko Littner has won three awards: SugoiCon 2011 Judge’s Choice, KollisionCon 2011 Best Craftsmanship, and ACross 2011 Honorable Mention. Tess has also snagged a big award: A&G Ohio 2012 Derek Sears/Best Novice. Blue Rose won a small award: ACen 2012 Day 1 Studio’s Choice Award.

My two “best” awards mean the most to me. Yoko’s Best Craftsmanship because it was my first big award, and I had entered fifteen minutes before the masquerade started. I had intended to enter much earlier (like during official times for one thing), but lost my phone and spent most of the day looking for it. I never did find it...

I also am proud of Tess’s Derek Sears/Best Novice because of how fast I scrambled to make the impulse cosplay. Beginning it a month before the con, I had completed it only a few hours before the convention started, and also entered the masquerade last minute, because I couldn’t seem to find anyone who knew when/where judging was occurring.

When not cosplaying, what do you do?

When not cosplaying I’m attending school, working, or hanging out with friends! Even then, I might still have cosplay on my mind- I often work on designs or ideas on breaks during classes or work. I have a pretty normal life aside from cosplay, but some other interests that I wish I had more time to invest in include volunteering and Latin and ballroom dance.

Our school has a fantastic team and affordable lessons, so I take ballroom lessons on and off. I also wish I could sing or play an instrument well, but I’m not very musically inclined, even after years of piano lessons!

For any aspiring cosplayers a little shy, what words of wisdom do you have for them to get started?

For the shy cosplayers or those who are new to the scene, I say find a cosplay role model (or even a few!), and try to find some cosplay pals so that you can learn from each other. Sure, the internet provides tons of good information for cosplayers, but I think it’s important to have at least one friend in the hobby who can give you advice and feedback instead of just giving you tutorials and vague suggestions. Plus it’s just more fun to talk about the hobby with someone who also enjoys it.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions! I know some cosplayers might not have all the answers or time in the world, but it never hurts to ask, and most will get back to you. Cosplay has such a big and friendly community, if you find the right friends, you’ll get the ball rolling in no time!

If you don’t know where to find such people, groups on Facebook, DeviantArt, and various forums are great places to start, just drop by and say “hi!” or try seeing if your local library or city has any cosplay groups or events.

Where can we catch more of your Cosplay at?

Eventually I’ll get my own site running, probably after graduating college, so I can spend time learning code and getting assistance from my tech-savvy boyfriend, but until then I use plenty of other channels to meet and greet cosplayers and share my work! I have even more accounts, but I tend to try sites out and then discover I don’t use it much, so don’t be surprised if you find me elsewhere, hehehe.

Here is a Shout Out to our Photographers: 
Anna Fischer  |  Charles  |  David Blue  |  Jared Presley  |  Kersten  |  Koji  | N1k0nSh00terRaus Debaus |  RudeoftheTurks  |  Shoulders |  Tabitha  |  thesoulcrash  |  Victor Schnell |  Zatoyoshi Photography

Some Additional Cosplay Photographs

I want to thank Momo Kurumi 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!

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