Name: Claptrap Cosplay
City: Irvine, CA
Twitter: I don’t have a cosplay twitter, but my instagram is @claptrapcosplay.
Facebook: Claptrap Cosplay
What was your first Cosplay Experience?
A bit difficult to pinpoint, for reasons I’ll explain in the next question, but for the sake of convenience, let’s say it was my first convention: Anime Expo 2011. I was in middle school and went with a few older high school friends. Honestly, I try to forget the whole experience. I was embarrassingly new to the whole thing, mainly because I wasn’t coming into it as an anime fan or a fringe member of the cosplay community, but as a theatre kid and a costumer. It’s forgivable, but I still don’t like to think about it much. I’m infinitely better now and that’s what matters. What I do remember pretty vividly was being surprised at how few people were actually cosplaying. I came in with expectations and genuinely thought there would be more. The appeal wasn’t shattered for me, however, or I wouldn’t be cosplaying now.
How long have you been Cosplaying?
This is actually a tougher question than it seems. I cosplayed a lot on my own before I even really knew what cosplay was. As I said above, my gateway into cosplay was actually theatre and costuming. I’ve been a theatre kid my whole life, since I was 6, and costumes have always had a special place in my heart. When I was about 10 or so, I started making costumes and dressing up like characters I liked. It was a lot of old movies and Russian cartoons at first, since that was what I grew up on, and as I got older and discovered new kinds of media (comic books, anime, manga, tv shows, etc.), I started dressing up from those too. If that can be considered cosplay, that’s when it started. My parents have a proverbial goldmine of photos of all this somewhere, which I have sworn to destroy should I ever come across them, hahaha. Anyhow, I kept to myself about it, thinking that this was just some weird thing I did. Then the internet happened for me and I had the revelation that I’m not nearly half as alone or half as weird as I thought. Around age 13/14 is when I got into the community seriously. So, if we’re not counting the early days, let’s say I’ve been at it for 5 years.
What is your favorite cosplay you have worn/created?
Haha, ah, man, “worn” and “created” a two very different categories for me. Under created, it would be a tie between a pheasant feather coat I made for Ren Faire and an original character for a film series that never got off the ground. I’m looking for an excuse to wear the latter of those two again, which may be Labyrinth of Jareth if I snag tickets this year. Neither of those are technically cosplay, but I adore them with a passion. To be honest, I enjoy creating historical costumes more than I do making cosplay, but wearing cosplay can often times be more fun than the very real struggle of historical lack-of-ventilation hell. As for cosplays I’ve worn, it’s another tie, this time between Seasonal Feathers Len and Sanetoshi. I have literally never felt more attractive in my life than I did when wearing those cosplays. Both were fun in the fact that they were simple enough for me to just have fun wearing them.
If you had unlimited resources, what Cosplay would you create?
It’s funny you ask that, because about half of the cosplays I would have listed here even a month ago I’m planning on doing this year. Black Bird (Major Thunder), Kusuriuri (Mononoke), Batu (as by the art of Phobs), The Masked Bandit (The Fall), and at least one of Death’s outfits from the 2005 Takarazuka Moon Troupe production of Elisabeth. I am going broke as a direct result, but such is cosplay life. I am skimping a bit on the extravagance, so, given the chance, I’d like to make any of those with an infinite budget. I’d get real Swarovski crystals for Death, add more feathers to Black Bird, get even more expensive materials for Batu. Or I’d remake a lot of my old cosplays too, actually, especially Sauron. I could go on and on here, but I’ll spare you. I’m sure the other cosplayers reading this can sympathize with my plight.
What advice would you offer others trying to break into Cosplay?
Learn the skills before you undertake anything. Don’t dive into something complicated without being knowledgeable or prepared. I really can’t stress this enough. Be confident and commit when you do chose something. Respect the art of it and do it for the love of that character, costume, or whatever the reason may be for you. Have positive intentions going in. When something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Learn from your mistakes and improve for the next time around. And don’t ever do a cosplay just for the fame. That’s not what cosplay is about. Love what you do and you will be much happier with yourself for it.