Cosplayer Of The Month

Our cosplayer of the month is Chloe Doan (aka the-sushi-monster ), with whome you are probably familiar from one of our previous Photo Of The Week session. Chloe kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions about her cosplay, which we reprint here with her permission - thank you Chloe!.

What drew you into cosplay in the first place and why are you still cosplaying?
My best friend in high school took me to my first convention: Anime Expo 2005. I was under the impression at the time that only scary old basement dwellers cosplayed. The minute I arrived at the Anaheim convention center my mind was blown. I was overwhelmed by all the crazy colorful costumes and friendly cosplayers that I met that I knew I just HAD to start cosplaying. Fast forward five years later, and I’m still in it because I have met so many lifelong friends in the community, and I continue to meet some amazing and talented people with the same interests as myself. I’m always learning new techniques in sewing, wig styling, makeup, and propwork and that’s what keeps me doing it. Also, it’s hard to stop when a new game or anime comes out and you just have to cosplay a character from it!


What was your first cosplay?

My very first cosplay was a random ninja girl but I don’t like to count that, so my first official costume was Tommy February6, a jpop star. I had fallen in love with her music video for “Lonely in Gorgeous”, which is the opening theme song for the anime Paradise Kiss.

Do you have a favorite costume and why is it your favorite?

Teddie from Persona 4! It’s a simple and comfortable costume that I can run around in. I also like to be in character for that costume and see how many ladies I can get to take a photo with me. XD (The character is known for loving women in the game)

Do you make your costumes exclusively yourself or do you also rely on commissioned work?

Most of my Final Fantasy costumes are completely made by myself, but if I don’t have time to do something I’ll occasionally commission an item. When I do group cosplays, we tend to trade in making things, for example, I’ll style the wigs and my friend will make the props.

Do you ever swap or sell costumes that you retired?

I don’t find my craftsmanship good enough to sell, but I’ll recycle old costumes by harvesting materials and using them in a new cosplay, or I’ll let it sit in my closet and my friends and I will borrow from each other for fun now and then!

Do you have any specific budgeting rules when making new cosplay?

I always do a lot of research to find where I can get what I need for the cheapest price. This usually involves bargaining in Downtown LA’s fashion district or saving up coupon’s from Joann’s and Michael’s. Otherwise, I don’t really have a budget on a costume.


Which cosplay was hardest to reproduce?

Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII was definitely the hardest. There are so many different textures and elements to the costume. The amount of tiny details on that costume drove me crazy while I was making it, but it was all worth it in the end!

Is there a cosplay you absolutely dying to try out?

There are a few, and  have already started working on them! They are my dream cosplays I’ve been wanting to do since 2006. To name a couple, I really want to cosplay Berserker Rikku from final fantasy 12 and Mindy from the Magus Sisters from Final Fantasy X.



Do you crossplay (why yes, or why no)?

Yes! I do it because sometimes a character I really like happens to be a boy. However, I’ll only crossplay if it’s a shota character, because I can’t pull off manly men at all. D: I also do it to tease my boyfriend since he’s not a fan of me dressing up as a little boy.

When doing photoshoots, do you prepare specific to character poses or let your photographer drive the session?

Final Fantasy XII 12 Yuna Custom Made Cosplay Costume

It goes both ways when it comes to photoshoots. There are always the “default” poses every character has, so we usually use those in a shoot. If the photographer knows the series and/or has done research on it, we can really get into it and do an entire photoshoot all based on the series. But sometimes, if it’s a more obscure or minor character, it is hard to come up with poses and I’ll let the photographer direct the session.


I have many! My number one is Omi Gibson. I have been following her work since I first started cosplaying. She’s absolutely fabulous! I also really admire Astellecia, RainerTachibana and my good friend Akusesu because they are all so dedicated and talented in the name of cosplay.

Do you have an advice for novice cosplayers? Please wear makeup and a wig when you cosplay! Even if the character is natural faced, just adding a tiny bit of foundation will do wonders in photos! As for the hair, most of the time a styled wig can make or break a costume. But most of all, remember to have fun! We’re all a bunch of nerds playing dress up so we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously.

We see quite a few pictures that seem to have been taken in wilderness/mountains/parks - do you purposefully go on a hiking trip for a cosplay photo opportunity or is this mostly accidental? How far have you traveled specifically for a photo op?

I have a group of friends consisting of cosplayers, photographers, and assistants, and we’ll plan out a trip weeks in advance for a cosplay photoshoot. It’ll normally be a full day adventure! A lot of the places we go are pretty far so yes, we purposely go on hiking trips just for a photo opportunity. The furthest I have gone is a 228 mile trip (4 hours of driving one way) into the Mojave desert for a photoshoot in the Kelso Dunes. It’s a really long trip but the photos and getting to explore a new area are always worth it!

A number of your photos sport absolutely stunning post-processing (FMA 'The Escape' is easily our most favorite in this category) - do you do that yourself or rely on photographers' tastes?

I’m not good at processing photos so the photographers do it. All the photographers I know have a distinct style that I like so I let them do their thing. For example, if there’s a series I want to shoot, I’ll ask a specific photographer who has the style that suits the series to do it.


Is there a particular reason you decided to cosplay Winry from FMA instead of the more popular characters?

It was to go with my friend’s Ed cosplay, and it was also a really last minute decision and her outfit is very easy to do especially since I already had a wig, contacts and shoes for her.


Ok, so by the sheer number of Vocaloid pictures, should we assume that Rin is one of your favorite characters?

Hahaha, definitely! I went through a huge Vocaloid phase for the last year and a half and my buddy Akusesu and I really wanted to cosplay the twins, so I just stuck with Rin. We kept finding more great pvs and fanart and we kept wanting to cosplay from them.


By the way, your Rin's costume (from Vocaloid Synchronicity) is absolutely gorgeous - how long did it take you to finish it?

Thank you! I actually rushed that costume for the waterfall photoshoot so it took me about 2 days working on and off to make the dress. I still didn’t actually finish it on time but we did the shoot anyways. It wasn’t until Fanime that I completely finished the dress!


Do you usually prefer solo cosplays or groups and why?

I prefer solo cosplays because that way I don’t have to rely on anyone and there’s no time pressure to get a certain thing done. It doesn’t create drama and you can do whatever you want. That said, I’ll do a solo cosplay but people are free to do another character from the same series and if we happen to all be wearing it to the same con, then we’ll do a group photoshoot and play together. I still do lots of group cosplays though because it is more fun to hang out and play with a bunch of people rather than be by myself. In a photoshoot photos of a group are always more dynamic, too!


You seem to prefer 'simple but effective' costumes - is this typical of your cosplay in general?

I guess it is! The characters I like just happen to be simple costumes. That and I’ve been so busy with school and work I usually only have time to make something relatively simple. Even though I say this, 2011 is actually lined up with a whole bunch of insanely intricate and detailed costumes/dream cosplays! I think I’ve built up enough skills for the past 5 years to pull it off now.