Interview with Michi

It’s time for another interview, this time with Michi! She’s another lovely cosplayer from Washington, who is talented and a sweetheart!

Michi out of costume, photo by S.AL Media

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My cosplay alias… Well, I guess it would be Michi, since that’s what most people around the conventions I frequent know me as. I actually didn’t choose it. I was told it was going to be my nickname and it stuck. It actually comes from my first cosplay, Michiri Kaiou from Sailor Moon S. After Sakura-Con 2002, my friends took to calling me ‘Michiru’ for some reason and another friend decided it didn’t fit, shortened it to Michi and well… Here I am now.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying since 2002, but seriously since 2006. I got started in cosplay because an old friend of mine dragged me and another friend to Sakura-Con 2002 and decided we needed to go in costume. She made our costumes and like most first costumes, they weren’t the greatest. In fact, I’m rather embarrassed by it and wish that a photo of it never sees the light of day again. After that, I just dabbled in cosplay, never really taking it seriously. It wasn’t until Anime Evolution 2006, when I wore my Human Luna (Sailor Moon S movie) that I actually understood why some people cosplay. I was hooked from then on.

Michi as Human Luna from Sailor Moon, photo by Aleeza McCant

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
As odd as it may be, I actually love working with chiffons and fabric of similar natures. Though I actually haven’t worked with them for more than a handful of costumes, I really enjoy it. It’s different than the suitings that I use for most of my costumes, or the linens. I’m a really touchy person, I like the way things feel and sometimes I tend to pick fabric that way. And mainly because the flowy see-through fabrics can be so difficult to work with, I’m stubborn and want to prove to people that they can be easy to work with if you’re careful.

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
Wire and craft foam. An odd combination probably, but I don’t do a lot of work with costumes that have extras, like hats or masks… So, for a few projects in the future, I’m working with wire and craft foam. I’ve done work with craft foam before, but I want to expand my knowledge and get a better grip on the material.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
While I like seeing series accuracy in costumes. I also like seeing the how it translates to the real world aspect. It’s a strange fascination I have, because not everything from anime, manga or video games can be fully recreated into the real world. So, I like the series accuracy and the real world vibe. For the series accuracy… I really admire Sumikins, Etaru, and SeiyaKou for really sticking to the series. For the real world bit… I’m not sure if that’s fully caught on with everyone, or I’m just a crazy person. But, one cosplayer that I know does it is SailorKagura07. She’s very good at it, and I admire her for it.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
My view? It’s skewed through a kaleidoscope that’s rose tinted. No, really… I like seeing how it’s grown. But, at the same time, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but this is my honest opinion, it’s also grown from small cliques to larger cliques. I’m also a staff member of a couple of the conventions I attend, so I tend to see things through the eyes of a staff member and most of the time we’re just exhausted and cranky. No, not really. But, I don’t think I’ve paid much attention to it otherwise. I tend to stick with what I know and that’s, for the most part, staffing. I guess because I feel so out of the loop with the view of the scene (and I’m burnt out), I’m taking a break from cosplay to step back and look at it.

Michi as Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia, photo by LilithFire

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
If I had a better idea of the scene, I could probably give a better idea. But, I do know that I would really like to see it stop being so cliquey and elitist. I just don’t like the “I’m better than you because I did it this way instead of that way” mentality. Didn’t we all get into this for the fun and love of it? Shouldn’t that be what cosplay is ultimately about?

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Be yourself. Don’t change because someone else wants you to. I know it’s probably very old and tired advice, but I’ve seen so many people change from cosplay, it’s almost disheartening in a way.. But, if you stick to who you are and don’t let anyone else change you, then you’ll be happier. Well, at least that’s my damn opinion. Oh, and start with small cosplay and work your way up to the dream ones. Trust me, it works wonders.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Anime Expo and Sakura-Con. Really, the most fun I’ve had at a long time at a convention was at Anime Expo in 2010. I didn’t worry about anything; I just dinked around with my friends and called it a grand ole time. And, even if I’m staffing Sakura-Con, I always have fun. I just relax and go with the flow now, so I really feel like things are where they should be.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I tend to break the costume down into pieces and sketch those pieces out (front and back!) so I can have a better idea of what I need to so, how I need to do it, and what will give me trouble. I did that for a couple of my costumes and it’s really worked wonders. So, it’s sorta stuck with me now.

Michi as Princess Kakyuu from Sailor Moon, photo by S.AL Media

Thanks for the interview, Michi! You can see more of her work on her Deviantart!

About Yunie

I am a cosplayer, a nerd, a geek. I am whatever you call me. However, I have a brain and tend to use it.
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