Cosplay Spotlight: Yasemin Arslan
Welcome back to Cosplay Spotlight! For the nineteenth edition we present to you Yasemin Arslan! As usual, our promise is to bring you some of the amazing work these cosplayers do, but also we will be focusing on the why’s and the how’s!
My recent introduction to an international audience was when I was the lucky one chosen to play live-action Lilith from the hit Borderlands series, but my life has always been consumed in the arts, and especially in cosplay. It’s taken me several years to get it right and to push my skills as a well-known cosplayer, but it’s taken me even longer to understand why I do it. I aim high to become a well-respected person within my community, and to help and inspire others with their goals, no matter what they are.
Comic Book Therapy – Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us. How have you been doing lately?
Yasemin Arslan – Hi there! I’ve been doing quite well, actually. Been busy sewing a dozen costumes at once, and prepping for a few exciting life-changing events soon. I’m starting studies in June aswell for game design, which I’m really looking forward to!
CBT – What got you into doing cosplay?
YA – A few things got me into the hobby. Like most people, I got into because I simply liked the idea of becoming my favourite game/anime/comic character for a day, and pushing my creative skills further to create more elaborate outfits. Also, cosplay really helped me with some personal issues such as depression. It gave me a reason. It helped take the emotional baggage off my back. It let me meet some amazing people who changed my life. Basically, it’s a wonder drug!
CBT – What is your process in choosing the characters you want to portray?
YA – For most characters I portray, I firstly got to have respect and admiration for the character before I cosplay them. I mostly cosplay characters who have a badass and strong personality, or someone who has left a significant impact in the virtual and/or real world.
I also cosplay characters simply for the design. I may not know of a game or series, but if I see a character I like, I’ll research her and bring her to life. I studied fashion design for a while, and it really opened my eyes and helped me respect couture design and bizarre outfits. Some people may be upset at this idea, saying people have no right to “cosplay a character they don’t know”, but I say that as long as they know a bit of their stuff and respect the arts, then I see no problem. (You’ll be surprised how many people do it!)
CBT – What was the first character you cosplayed as? Your favorite?
YA – My first ‘proper’ costume was Asuka Kazama from Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection. It was her kimono variation that I chose, and was probably the costume that truly started the obsession. It’s hard to choose a favourite, though. It’d have to be a tie between Lilith (Borderlands 2) and Yuna (FFX).
As most people know, I was chosen by Gearbox to be the live-action Lilith for the Borderlands series, and was featured in the Borderlands 2 game. After all the filming, I decided to make her outfit and go all-out on a shoot with a talented bunch of friends. To this day, it was the most complex, exhausting, and rewarding shoot. But Yuna stands out for me because I slowly made her costume over a span of 3 years. I kept putting the costume back in the ‘do not touch’ pile, but finally decided to complete her, and it turned out to be my most beautiful outfit so far. It was easy to wear, and it felt nice being all girly-girl haha!
CBT – How long have you been making your costumes by hand?
YA – I’ve been sewing for about 8 years now, and I still have so much more to learn. I refuse to buy a costume, and would rather go through all the blood, sweat, tears and money to make something I’d be proud of.
More recently, I’ve been collaborating with more prop specialists, editors, and other costume specialists. Like many art forms such as music, it’s great when people work together to create great things!
CBT – Creating costumes is very time consuming, especially when you want to make sure it’s authentic as possible. What keeps you motivated to continue and how do you handle the stress?
YA – It’s hard to be motivated, sometimes. Work, life, and many other things can distract you from finishing an outfit. Money and resources play a huge factor, aswell, as Australia has poor access to materials and what we have ain’t cheap. But I have an amazing support team behind me. Great friends, a fantastic fan base, and a wonderful partner who is my knight in shining armour. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
CBT – Have you participated in any contests?
YA – I used to enter cosplay competitions, but these days I don’t find them rewarding or fair, so I rarely go in them. Now I just focus on getting good photos. They’re more rewarding for me. The only competitions I enter now are karaoke comps. Singing is my new craze!
CBT – What is your best Con memory?
YA – The one that immediately pops to mind is when my partner and I were walking up the main city road, and people thought we were getting married!
We were dressed as Euphemia and Suzaku from Code Geass, in their white ball gown outfits. So naturally, total strangers thought we were off to the chapel! They were honking from their cars and screaming out “congratulations”! We just laughed and played it off.
Another good con memory was when I was cosplaying Bad Girl (No More Heroes). I completely lost my voice, so having conversations was quite interesting!
CBT – Cosplaying various characters must’ve given you a lot of geek credibility. How would you describe yourself as a geek?
YA – I’m becoming more of a ‘geek’ these days. I’m playing far more games, getting in touch with Western comics, and I’m learning how to tear apart my PC and put it back other again. One game taking up my life right now is Planetside 2. Can’t stop!
CBT – There’s been a lot of turmoil because of the “sexual” component that is being discussed amongst convention organizers that sees many cosplayers getting asked to put some more clothes or turned away because their costumes are to “risque”. How do you feel about the apparent censorship of these costumes?
YA – I actually understand why conventions are being a bit more restrictive when it comes to girls in skimpy outfits. Think about it- young children, elderly folk, and (sadly) perverts attend conventions. You gotta have ‘some’ limits to what you wear.
Now I’m not saying girls don’t have a right to cosplay what they want. I don’t wear the most modest outfits, myself, and I’m all for a girl being confident in her own skin and showing her dedication to character she respects, and a revealing outfit isn’t an open invitation for pervs to attack. But still, you gotta play safe sometimes.
CBT – Many Cosplayers are either into Comic Books or Manga/Anime. What are you most into? Favorite Comic or Manga/Anime?
YA – I gotta say that I’m more into manga, as I surrounded myself with Japanese culture growing up. My favourite right now is GANTZ. I really hated it first for it’s display of misogyny and over-the-top fan service, but the manga matured over time, and it became brilliant.
The others that I’m into are Claymore, Nana, Fullmetal Alchemist, A Girl By The Sea (R18+), Le Chevalier D’eon, Trinity Blood, etc.
CBT – Any advice you would like to offer up and coming cosplayers?
YA – PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Never give up! Do your research on your character, and take your time making it. Y’know, the basics haha.
I think my biggest tip though would be for people to study the costume. Make a blueprint and get fabric samples to come up with a combination that works best. I often spend hours in fabric stores just thinking what textures and what weights would be best for each garment piece. If you want to make an elaborate costume, you have to be prepared to spend money, spend time, and spend energy, so make sure you’re inspired enough to do it.
Also, don’t be afraid to get into contact with other cosplays and ask for advice. There’s plenty of tutorials out there, and cosplayers with pages where they post their work.
CBT – Thank you so much for your time. Anything else you’d like for us to be on the look out for?
YA – You’re welcome, and thankyou!! I’ll be doing a whole ton of things this year, so keep a lookout on my fan page (look up Yasemin Arslan Fanpage on Facebook) or on vera-chimera.deviantart.com!
Make sure you hit like on Yasemin Arslan’s fan page to check out some of her other awesome photos and keep up to date with her adventures.
Hey cosplay and fellow geeks!! As the continuing interest in the cosplay world grows, we want to reach out to the cosplay community and highlight those who dedicate their time and effort to a passion for cosplay. Tell us YOUR story! If you know someone that you would like to be featured in this section let us know!
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