First things first - What has been your favorite cosplay (or favorite couple cosplays) that you've made/worn?
Oh man uh, I’ve done a lot of things but my favourite cosplay would definitely have to be Junkrat. It opened so many doors for me and enabled me to meet some incredible people across the country, I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t make him. Making Junkenstein after was also a lot of fun. Opal is a close second though.
You recently competed (AND WON, woo!) at Anime Expo in your Junkenstein cosplay, and then went on to say that competing has brought confidence and excitement to what you do. Can you talk about what the competition experience was like, why it was so invigorating and where you'd like to compete in the future?
I’ve always been a fan of the presentation aspect of the cosplay culture. Wearing the costume is one thing, but being able to portray the character, that kind of acting is something that I love doing even more than making the costume itself. Being able to take these characters and bring them to life is something that I take a lot of pride in. It’s a huge shoutout to the creators and the designers that made them too, basically saying ‘hey, I loved this thing so much I wanted to BE it’.
As far as future competitions go, I definitely want to compete at AX again, The Eastern Championships of Cosplay is something i’m also going to gun for next year. Eventually I’d like to compete in the World Cosplay Summit, but I think that’s still a pipe dream for now.
You have cosplayed SO many of my favorite characters: Junkrat, Captain Marvel, Peridot, Opal, Pearl (ok, also I'm just obsessed with Steven Universe)... etc. What do you think draws you to some of these characters? What do you look for in a character when starting a new project?
I’m very drawn to characters that have a strong personality. Usually when I pick a cosplay it’s because I’m ready to devote my heart and soul to that thing. It’s a huge labor of love and my type varies randomely, but usually I pick a character that I can personally identify with. Except Junkrat. He’s….special.
What have been some crafting obstacles you've been proud to overcome, and what skills are you wanting to take on in the future that you maybe haven't tried?
I want to get into making impressive seamstressing based cosplays. I also want to do more big armor builds. There’s still so much I have to learn.
Who are some of your favorite cosplayers and why (and where can we find them)?
I have a lot of friends who are INCREDIBLE cosplayers that don’t get a lot of limelight. One of my personal faves is Juscos on Instagram. We both rushed our cosplays for AX together.
Do you have any tips/advice for people looking to get into cosplay but maybe feel intimidated to start?
I remade Junkrat 6 times. There’s no such thing as a perfect cosplay. Start with what you’re capable of and work your way up. Don’t be afraid to mess up every once in a while. Everyone does it.
What have been your favorite conventions and what convention(s) have you always wanted to attend but haven't yet?
NYCC has always been a big convention for me, but Megacon down here in orlando is my true home convention. I’ve been going for 10 years now. I’ll get to Dragoncon eventually. When I have the funds.
Do you have any go-to cosplay resources?
TNT Cosplay Supply and Arda-Wigs are where I get my foam and wigs. Everything else is just stuff from Joanns or wholesale shops.
Why do you cosplay?
I’m very shallow, so there is an aspect of wanting to be seen, wanting to look nice, wanting to show people what I’m capable of in the large scheme of things, but learning how to make things like corsets and dresses and armor and warhammer battle axes, those things are really neat to. Those are tools that can be used in the future to become a part of something larger, like the possibility to work for a major media company. That’s my real endgoal. I want to be able to make a living off of my skills. Patreon helps.
Where can we find you online and is there anything else you'd like to promote in this interview?
Google me! I’ve basically monopolized my own name.
I would like to plug my Patreon page, which is where I put a lot of tutorials and livestream building videos. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/Hanari502
I also want to promote that I’ll be making a story-based podcast very soon called Capture Squad, and the pilot episode should be greenlit and ready to go after Blizzcon. You can find it here: https://soundcloud.com/capturesquad
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