Sherry

Cosplayer Interview with Pennelophy Soriano

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Thanks very much for support from all of you! So far, 3 cosplay contests have been successfully held here. And the new contest in January has been noticed in advance yesterday. Here, we will make an interview with one of the winners in the November cosplay contest – Pennelophy Soriano. Thanks for accepting our interview, Pennelophy.

She has been sponsored with Code Geass Kaguya Sumeragi Cosplay Costume by us and will share us her photos with the costume in January (since most people get busy during the holiday :D ). Let’s expect!

Q1. Please tell us something about yourself.

Hi my name is Nello and I’m already 23 years old. I’ve been cosplaying for more than three years already. In normal everyday life, I’m working as an application support analyst in an IT company.

If given a chance, I really want to have an arts related job but then I guess I’m not that fortunate to find one so it just became my hobby. And aside from cosplaying, I love to draw and make comics, read books and manga, watch anime and play video games as well.

Q2. When did you begin to do cosplay? You like it or got into it by some other reasons?

Well this is quite funny. When I first heard of ‘cosplay’ several years back, when it was not that mainstream yet, I find it ridiculous and a little outrageous. I never imagined that people get into costumes and wear wigs. I thought of “only clowns do that”. And I even swore to myself that, I’d never ever wear a wig, much more own one and wear contact lenses in my entire life. But then, it was my friend who got me into cosplay. She was the one really eager that time, and asked me if I could cosplay Tifa Lockheart together with her Aerith Gainsborough. I thought that time, maybe I could try it, thinking that I don’t have to wear a wig since Tifa’s character has the same hair as mine. Then one week before the event, I made her dress. And guess how crappy it was! I’m still not good in sewing. I haven’t even own a sewing machine that time and I haven’t attended any con either or have seen a cosplayer before. And so, I really had no idea what happens in a convention and how should a cosplayer be that time. But it’s like this: first con ever + first cosplay = a BLAST!

Yeah, no way I could forget that. I haven’t seen any Tifa cosplayer that day aside from me unlike my friend who had a chance to take a picture with another Aerith cosplayer. And what’s more, that’s the first time I got myself photographed by a stranger. Before that, I’m really a shy person that I don’t even want people taking pictures of me. But, my friend and I got ambushed (in a good way) by photographers and was put into a group of other Final Fantasy cosplayers. It felt really awkward and I almost got blinded because it seems that the flashes of cameras never stopped. I started to feel that my cheeks were twitching by holding that smile and my knees and elbows shivering by holding a pose for those uncountable cameras. But one good thing was that, I found the people in conventions really good and accommodating. Even if we don’t know each other, it feels like there’s a certain connection between each of us. They suggested some poses for our characters. It was very unforgettable.

And well, I guess the flashes of cameras hypnotized me and got me hooked into cosplaying and make me take back all those things I said back then. Right now, I think I own more than five wigs and have owned more than a set or two of contact lenses that I use for cosplay.

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Q3. What’s your favorite cosplay and why?

I love every character that I cosplay but there are two that are special: Ayame from the game Powerstone and Kagura from the anime Gintama. Both of their costumes are made by me. They are both simple characters and wear only simple dress (like Ayame wears a kimono and Kagura wears a Chinese dress) but for me they’re the characters that I felt like I’ve cosplayed and kept in character well. And they’re easy to wear in conventions and shoots too. When I wear them, I can easily move and do poses and roam around in the event without worrying. Ayame has a light-hearted character while Kagura has a silly one, and I find it easy for me to cosplay characters like that than serious ones because I, myself is a happy person. When I try cosplaying serious characters like Anya from Code Geass and Erza from Fairy Tail, I find my pictures looking awkward or something, and I always end up doing just wacky poses of them.

Q4. Have you ever met some difficulties in cosplay? And how did you solve them?

Yes; time, money and skills, especially that I do most of my costumes myself. Sometimes, I get little time to make the dress and sometimes I’m short of money to buy materials. And I’m not even a dress-maker to begin with and relied mostly on my little home economics skill, which I’ve learned during high school, with regards to the sewing aspect.

How I solved them…first find a good and stable job (to help you with the expenses), then manage your time wisely (easily said than done x.x) and practice, practice, practice sewing and making props! Yes, there will come a time when your dress will look like crap but if you make it whole-heartedly and put much effort into it, believe me, people will appreciate, especially cosplayers. We knew the processes and the hardships one must go through. And we appreciate the ingenuity and resourcefulness, and together with practice and a lot of patience, in time you’ll be better with it.

Q5. I find you have so many stunning pictures displayed in your Facebook gallery. So, are you often photographed? Is there any suggestion for people? How can they look great while facing the lens?

Well, there wasn’t a convention I attended that I haven’t been photographed even at least once, except when I’m not in costume. :P

Hehe, I think all I can say is know your character before you cosplay him/her. And when you got the chance, practice a pose in front of the mirror and find an angle that best works for you and the character – yep, it’s not entirely mine! haha I found these tips online and just wanted to share it with you guys but I do believe the first one is a general knowledge.

Also be prepared for a pose or two so that your pictures won’t look all the same, and again know your character very, very well. This is crucial because sometimes no matter how good and epic your costume is, an out-of-character cosplayer can ruin a picture. Well unless the photographer asked you to do an OOC pose for a crack shot. But most of the times you aren’t doing a crack shot so don’t do it unless both you and the photographer agreed to it.

If your character is funny, then you can do wacky poses. If your character is serious then do a quiet and mysterious pose. If your character has a signature pose, then good for you and practice doing that pose. If your character has weapon/s, use it! (Remember you didn’t spend those sleepless and tiresome nights creating that sword or whatever weapons your character has only for it to become a background or be set aside in a picture.) If there are lots of cameras taking pictures of you and you’re confused where to look at, then try to look straight ahead, like you were in a deep thinking. It’s up for the photographers to pick the angles that they like best.

Lastly, BE confident. Then don’t forget to be courteous and say thank you to the one who took your picture.

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Q6. Is there any suggestion for which convention cosplay beginners can go?

In the Philippines, there are lots of cosplay conventions held all-year-round almost every month. If you’re a first-timer, maybe you can try to go to a convention that is held near where you live. It will be a good chance to observe the place, people and event, and make friends as well. If you’re planning to cosplay, it will be easy for you to come since you don’t have to travel far with your costume and wig. Believe me, it really is such a hassle to make your way through MRTs and LRTs while you’re carrying big weapons or even just your neatly packed costume and wig in a backpack, because of course, you don’t want your wig to be ruined before even arriving at the event. Make sure that your first ever cosplay will not be a disaster. You can also try going to the following events like Cosplaymania, Ozine, Toycon, PCC, and Tagcom.

Q7. Any new plan you can’t wait to do? Or which conventions do you plan to go recently?

Yes, I’m planning to do a Christmas Kagura version because a friend of mine insists. My friends and I are planning to go to Otaku Fest this Dec 28-29 since we’ll be having a booth and will be selling fanart key chains and bookmarks, original sketches and maybe do some commissions as well.

Q8. Are your costumes made by yourself or bought?

As I’ve mentioned in one of the questions here, I made most of my costumes by myself. But I do have a commissioned one, when I was still starting to cosplay.

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Q9. What are the good things of cosplay? And also, what are the bad things?

For me, what I find good in cosplay is the fact that it helped a lot in building up my confidence. I’m really a shy, aloof and almost anti-social person before I started cosplaying. I didn’t even want to look at my own reflection and I hate it when people take pictures of me. But I’ve already conquered it all after my first  cosplay. Another thing is that, I met many good and interesting people, and also made new friends through cosplay and attending conventions. It also helped in enhancing my skills and discovering new talents in which at first I thought I don’t have. But what’s wonderful about it is that, cosplay for me is a way of bonding with my family and friends. It helped strengthened my relationships with the people I love while doing the things I love as well.

Bad things…well there are still people who cannot understand the hobby. People, who just like me at first, find it ridiculous and crazy but didn’t even try to understand it. People who mocks cosplayers and don’t understand the hardships and effort one puts into cosplaying. People who badly criticizes a cosplayer and they didn’t even try cosplaying before nor attended a cosplay convention. Those people who think that it is just a waste of time and money. People who uses cosplay just to gain popularity or just like being ‘in’ thinking that it’s a new trend or something. Those people who cosplay just because they wanted to see girls in skimpy clothing. People who take cosplay for granted (like those who simply wear a long sleeve white shirt and blue pants with an unkempt hair and walks in the convention barefoot and call themselves a character of some anime).

This seems almost like a rant and perhaps I can even make this list longer but I don’t want to dwell on that. Nonetheless, I’m still having fun in cosplay and will always be because it’s a passion for me that will never cease. There will always be people who’ll bring you down but don’t ever let them. If you’re having fun and enjoying your heart out with what you’re doing, leave them be and they can rant or criticize you all they want but they can never stop you from doing the things you like. And it’s not all bad since you can find many good, friendly and supportive people in the cosplay community too. In the end, what matters most is the satisfaction and happiness you can get with it in which other people cannot understand even if they spend their whole life trying.

Q10: What do your family members think of your cosplay? Do they also like it and support you?

At first, they find me ridiculous and sometimes they even tease me when I wear a wig and costume. But I guess they got used to it and me looking anime almost every day and got themselves involved in cosplay-making in the end. I can say that they like it now and they give me their whole support every time I’m in a new project.

My mother and sister help me in sewing the dresses and sometimes with some of the props too. And it is my father who is assigned to make my weapons ^_^. My other younger sister and brother cosplay together with me now as well.

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Author About caoxiaoping

I’m also a devotee for cosplay. To do well in this performance art, I’m interested in hunting for funny, gorgeous or fantastic pictures. From these breathtaking works and interviews done by cosplay talents, I always get inspired.

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2 Comments

  1. meijhel
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Great interview!
    congrats again pen! :)

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