It’s time for another interview, this time with Etaru! She’s a cosplayer in Montana who is very well known for her beautiful Alexiel cosplay!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
“Etaru” was an online handle that I used for years before getting into cosplay. The name came from a fictional character I created in a Sailor Moon fanfiction I wrote many, many years ago that I hope will never surface to see the light of day. Ironically (or appropriately), she was Sailor Asteroid in my story, another online handle I’ve used over the years.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve now been in it for 6 years, and that honestly feels like such a short time, and an incredibly long time, especially looking back to how and why I started. I had heard of anime conventions when I looked online and saw people dressed in gorgeous, extravagant costumes of their favorite characters, but had never done it myself, and at the time, assumed that A) people only dressed up at conventions (photoshoots were a concept far beyond me at the time) and B) everyone at conventions cosplayed (I was so naive back then, hehe). When my family went toDenver,CO for a family wedding, I had heard a convention called Nan DesuKan would be held the same weekend, and begged my parents to let me go for a few hours dressed as Mireille Bouquet from Noir. I loved the experience so much that I went to another convention the following year, and another, and another. The cosplay snowball developed with that until I was making costumes not just for convention wear, but also for outings with friends or photoshoots.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
It’s no small secret that I love working with feathers and constructing wings. Kind of a strange obsession, but there you have it. I find it very calming, and feathers are so tough to resist all forms of nature that they can survive through any anime convention! I’ve also developed a love for silks, and continue my love/hate relationship with vinyls and pleathers. Constructing corsets and close-fitting costumes is also growing on my list of things I enjoy making, in part due to the close attention to fitting and how it fits/makes my body appear; I think because it’s a deviation from what I normally wear that I enjoy the difference of “real clothes” to “sensual costumes.”
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I would love to begin working with latex, since it’s a medium I have no experience with but look forward to giving a try. I’m also constructing another costume made almost entirely of – you guessed it! – feathers, which is proving to both be a pleasure and a bane.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I suppose I’ll address this with more in relation to makeup and presentation than actual costume construction. One of my struggles with cosplay is making myself appear like a completely different persona rather than “just me in a costume”, so I have a lot of respect for people who can really alter their appearance to fit any costume, be it body shape, the look of the face, or even gender. One of my favorite cosplayers for this is Omi Gibson (Japan), because she can do visually ravishing costumes of women, and on the same coin, take on the makeup and posture of a male character nearly flawlessly. This is also the case with my friend Anti-Ai-Chan (USA) who successfully portrays male and young boy characters extremely well, but looks gorgeous as a female without hardly trying. Envy!
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
The cosplay scene of today is in my view akin to candy: you know it’s wonderful in moderation, but at some point, it becomes a poison to the body. It’s great for constructive criticism, support, friendship building, and improving your own skills as a costumer (and learning something about yourself in the process!). It just often takes itself too seriously.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would love to see more constructive criticism and less de-structive criticism. It’s not a competition of who’s the most talented, the prettiest, the boldest, or who gets the most pageviews. I’d love to see more of the comradery that initially attracted me to the community. 🙂
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Have fun! FUN FUN FUN. Don’t be afraid of critics, there’s bound to be one rotten egg in a dozen. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again – the beauty of cosplay is that you can always remake or fix boo-boos. Don’t be overwhelmed, take it easy and build up your skills and the complexity of your costumes. Challenge yourself, because there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing a creation you’ve made slowly come to life. Give yourself credit, feel pride in what you make and that you accomplished something special, no matter how simple or complex. Respect yourself, don’t invest in anything you don’t feel happy doing or spend all that time making it just to satisfy others. Because really, cosplay is only for yourself to love what you do, not to please others.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Nan DesuKan because it was my first, and although not in my state, it feels like “my baby con.” However, in recent years I’ve never had a bad experience at Fanime-con inCalifornia and Katsucon inWashingtonD.C.! Both cater well to the cosplayers with beautiful locations, wide-spaces, pretty good weather, and fantastic networks of costumers and photographers.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
It’s becoming somewhat dated now, but I will always continue to cherish my Alexiel costume (Angel Sanctuary). I could probably construct her far better now with what I’ve learned since then, but part of the sentimentality behind it was the learning process and what I came out of it with. Fun fact about the wings: Remember the whole “try, try again” segment? My wing harness broke around 4-5 times before we finally got it working through the help of an amazingly talented friend.