Interview with Ami Kitimaru

It’s time for another interview, this time with Ami Kitimaru! She’s a talented cosplayer who I was introduced to via the Shadow Hunters Comic Cosplay Contest!

Ami Kitimaru out of costume, photo by Kathleen Lunn

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
Well, I’m known on Facebook as Ami Kitimaru, or just Ami. It was kind of just a spur of the moment thing, to be honest, I wanted to separate my cosplay and personal accounts just to keep things organized and I needed a name. Bam, Ami Kitimaru came into existence. I decided I liked it and it’s stuck ever since. I’m also known as Kim Valentine, depending on where you catch me.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
My first “cosplay” was back on Halloween 2005, I believe, and I was Haku from Naruto. I didn’t really know what cosplay was at a time, but an older friend of mine explained to me what it was when she saw me in costume and it caught my interest. I didn’t actually start cosplaying regularly until 2008, when I was 14. I’d seen so many cool cosplays and cosplayers on DeviantArt and I just felt this pull towards it that I eventually gave in, lol. So, I’ve been legitimately cosplaying for about 3 years now, but if you really want to count Haku then it’s been 6.

Ami Kitimaru as X-23 from X-Men, photo by RabbitCannon

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I love painting and dyeing. Whenever I get a chance to paint a design onto a costume or dye a gradient in, I’m about the happiest girl in the world, lol. I’ve been painting all my life, so it’s a chance to get to do two things I love at the same time. 🙂

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m working on a lot of things right now, but I think I’m the most excited to work on my Lupo outfit from Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. I love the Resident Evil series (I literally grew up on it) and I love getting the chance to cosplay as a “bad guy” who isn’t, like, overly sexual. Or hyped up on drugs (here’s lookin’ to you, Annette and Alexia.).

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I love the attention to detail that some cosplayers give their costumes. It’s seriously stunning, and it makes it that much more authentic. Iam Logan and Claire Max are my idols when it comes to this and they do a seriously amazing job on all of their outfits.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I think the cosplay scene is a pretty chill one. You meet all these people who enjoy the same thing as you and nothing really matters- it’s just you and a bunch of strangers and no one cares if you’re dressed up in the strangest outfit ever because, more than likely, there’s someone there dressed stranger. It’s a lot of freedom to do and be whatever you want and like any hobby you get to meet some of the coolest people.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Discrimination. It’s not even like it’s a huge deal with a lot of cosplayers, but I hate when someone comments about someone “not being the right color” to cosplay a certain character or how some cosplayers let their skin color dictate who they can and can’t be. I think a beautiful cosplay is a beautiful cosplay, no matter skin tone or whatever. Also, I hate when someone bashes a cosplayer for not being super-stick thin; girls with curves are GORGEOUS.

Ami Kitimaru as Yuna from Final Fantasy X, photo by Kim Christiansen

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
First and foremost- GET A BUDGET. Cosplaying is not cheap, so planning out a budget is the best way to go about things when you begin an outfit. Try to figure out how much everything- wigs, fabrics, materials, props- will cost all together, so that you have a general estimate of how much you’ll need to save up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are tons of great people on sites like DA, ACParadise, and Cosplay.com who would be more then happy to answer any questions you have or help you find the things you need. Lastly, have fun. 🙂 Don’t worry about things like how you look or if you think you’re outfit is too “simple”- people will know who you are, and the people who matter will love you regardless of if you have the best outfit or the worst. Don’t let others get you down, haters are just gonna hate 🙂

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I’ve actually only attended two conventions so far, Anime Expo 2011 and San Diego ComicCon 2011 (but I plan on going to more)! Anime Expo and ComicCon were great; I had so much fun meeting people and making new friends. I’m not going to lie; I had fun getting my picture taken, lol. The best part was definitely meeting people though. I left with a whole bunch of new friends who are just like me!

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
My Darkside Chronicles Claire cosplay was made with the help of my grandmother. 🙂 She bought me the jacket, belt, and shorts and helped me make my shoulder holster and hip pouch.

Ami Kitimaru as Claire Redfield from Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, photo by Peter Paul

Thanks for the interview, Ami Kitimaru! You ca check out more of her work on her Deviantart, her Facebook, and her Cosplay.com!

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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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