Welcome back to Cosplay Spotlight! For this eighth edition we present to you KO Cosplay! 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!
Meet New York City based cosplayer KO Cosplay. You’ve probably seen her cosplaying Crimson Viper, Jill Valentine, Suicune, Trish, Black Widow, and much more! Keep your eyes peeled, you’ll probably see her make an appearance at Katsucon, AnimeNEXT, Otakon, and New York Comic Con in 2013. She not only makes her own costumes and props, she also has her own online store where she sells cosplay goodies and accesories. You can check out KO Knits store here.
Comic Book Therapy – Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us. How have you been doing lately?
KO Cosplay -I’ve been doing pretty well. Con season is officially over and I’m getting in gear for some new cosplays for my third season of cosplaying!
CBT - What got you into doing cosplay?
KOC. - I had always been interested in making costumes but never had the motivation until I watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I couldn’t describe it since I didn’t have any friends who cosplayed at the time but I just wanted to BE Yoko Littner. I knit her scarf and stared wearing it and it pushed me to throw together the rest of the cosplay. I commissioned the rifle from a very talented friend of mine. After the first time I put on the complete cosplay, I was addicted.
CBT - What is your process in choosing the characters you want to portray?
KOC. - There aren’t a whole lot of requirements. They just have to be badass and I have to be attracted to the characters’ aesthetics and personality. I really have to want to be the character. From there, it comes down to narrowing my huge folder of potential cosplays down to projects I have the ability and funds to work on! Most of my characters hail from video games or anime series. I just cosplayed my first comic book character at NYCC ’12.
CBT - What was the first character you cosplayed as? Your favorite?
KOC. - Unofficially, my first character was Ed Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. It was a shitty costume I threw together in 8th grade for the Halloween parade. I’m glad there are no photos of that floating around.
Officially, my first character was Yoko Littner from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. She started my obsession with strong female protagonists with red hair.
While Trish is probably my favorite cosplay to wear since it’s really comfortable and that sword is SO fun to carry around, C. Viper will always be my favorite cosplay. She’s kind of become my trademark, or the cosplay people seem to know me for. I put a lot of effort into that cosplay, especially the hair, which is actually my real hair woven into two 5′ extensions. I plan on cosplaying at least half of her alternate costumes. I’ve already done two of them.
CBT - How long have you been making your costumes by hand?
KOC. - Since my Zombie Link cosplay in spring 2011. Yoko Littner was only partially handmade.
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?
KOC. - My friends are what keep me motivated. The light at the end of the tunnel of the hell that creating a cosplay can be is getting to see my friends at conventions or events and show off what we’ve all been working on and getting epic photos together and making awesome (mostly drunken, truth be told) memories. I love seeing each other’s progress photos online. I also really love seeing myself transform into all of these different characters. It’s an indescribable feeling. I know every cosplayer felt it when they put on their first complete cosplay and saw themselves change in front of the mirror.
Stress? What stress?
Haha totally kidding. I try to keep cosplay stress to a minimum by planning ahead of time. That only works sometimes, though. More often than not, I push things to the last minute but I work well under pressure. If a cosplay doesn’t work out by my deadline, I have quite the arsenal of past cosplays as backup. Cosplayers need to remember that cosplay is supposed to be your escape from the stress of daily life. If you’re not enjoying it, it might be time to take a break!
CBT - Have you participated in any contests?
KOC. - At conventions, no. Online, yes. I’ve submitted photos to a few online webpages. I won a Gijinka contest and made it to the finals of the Otaku House North American division this year with my Suicune cosplay.
CBT - What is your best Con memory?
KOC. - Katsucon last year was my first large scale convention. I got to be part of some pretty awesome photoshoots there. I can’t wait for round 2 this year at Katsucon 19!
CBT - Cosplaying various characters must’ve given you a lot of geek credibility. How would you describe yourself as a geek?
KOC. - You’ll mostly find me in the video games and “otaku” sections of geekdom. I’ve always been quite the geek but I really didn’t have any friends to share these passions with until I started cosplaying; I was a bit of an outcast growing up. I’m starting to get into comics thanks to these friends.
Otherwise, I’m just in front of a monitor a lot.
CBT - Recently, 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?
KOC. - Convention staff reserve the right to say what’s acceptable at their location, regardless of the state’s laws. If their ruling doesn’t work with your cosplay, then just wear another one. A lot of conventions are trying to make their events more family-friendly to draw in more people, which is obviously a big part of what they do. It’s a business. People are there to make money in addition to providing a place where con-goers can share their love for their fandoms.
Overly sexy cosplays can be saved for private photoshoots. I don’t think it’s a huge deal.
None of my cosplays show off excessive skin so it really doesn’t affect me.
CBT - There were a lot of great comics and events that’s been coming out. Have you read any this past year?
KOC. - Like I said, I’m pretty new to comics having been more of a manga veteran. But a favorite that I’ve been following lately is the Secret Avengers.
CBT - Cosplayers are vital and very popular at conventions. Is there a network that cosplayers established to assist each other?
KOC. - I’ve seen quite a few forums for pretty much everything on cosplay.com. There are also TONS of tutorials on how to do literally anything on Youtube. Other than that, I’ve found it’s useful to find cosplayers you’ve met at conventions on sites like Facebook. I’ve asked so many people about their processes that I met at conventions. There are also a few cosplay help blogs on Tumblr that are worth checking out.
CBT - Any advice you would like to offer up and coming cosplayers?
KOC. - Do NOT bite off more than you can chew! I’ve seen people get discouraged trying to make intricate armor and complete difficult stitchery. Improvement comes with experience, so start small and work your way up.
Save EVERYTHING! I can’t tell you how many weird objects I’ve saved from the trash that I used for random parts of cosplay.
Be prepared for criticism. The internet isn’t a friendly place like conventions are.
Most importantly, do what you love and love what you do!
CBT - Thank you so much for your time. Anything else you’d like for us to be on the look out for?
KOC. - I’ll be tackling some pretty cool new cosplays for this upcoming con season, so stay tuned to my Facebook page if you want to see my progress!
You can also find her in a variety of other places:
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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