It’s time for another interview, this time with MysteriousMaemi! She’s a talented cosplayer from Belgium, who has an amazing collection of costumes!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My alias is MysteriousMaemi (or, for short, Maemi). The name Maemi is Japanese and stands for “smile of truth”. Japan interests me, I like the meaning and added “Mysterious” as it signifies a part of my personality.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
My debut was at FACTS (back then, it was the huge Belgian convention) in 2005. So that makes this year (2012) my 8th year! I once came across cosplay on the internet and it interested me! Later on at FACTS in 2004, some Dutch cosplayers were there. Their presence convinced me to try it also as it seemed so much fun doing it.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I like creating patterns with paper because it is very helpful when you start sewing or creating some designs, pieces. When sewing, my heart goes out to organza (to create a subtle , sparkling look), stretch fabric (less ironing), silk (shiny and smooth) and cotton. Lamé more when I want to create some armor looking pieces. When it comes to making jewelry, I often choose Swarovski pearls, mainly because their shiny look, but also their shapes/different colors.
Attributes/props wise: craft foam, clay, plastic sheets, wire, and Wonderflex: as it helps you to create your base or creating things in general. They’re very easy to work with and can be adjusted if needed. Wood: balsa wood to MDF wood to create my weapons and to make it, in my opinion, look more “real”.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
As material/experience part: resin-casting, working with real leather, PVC stretch fabric and taffeta fabric.
As cosplays: my huge group for Japan Expo, again with my French cosplayer friends, because it is/will be fun to work with them again. Being from another country makes it harder to prepare the skit but it’s doable. Also, my long foreseen Hocus Pocus group, mainly for the acting part. It will be the first time doing a character who makes a lot of facial and hand expressions.
Lastly, of course, some of my huge, dream cosplays. To start with these projects is just very exciting and pleasing in the end!
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
The cleanliness and the way it is constructed. Some inspirations: Kamui (DE), LillyXandra (US), Goldy (JP), Malro (RU) , Adella (US), Astarohime (RU), Love Squad (RU), Clef (FR), Yuki Godbless (TAI), Yaya Han (US), Nikita (FR) , God Save the Queen Fashion (US), and Volpin (US).
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
You are free to do whatever you like/desire! For me it a way to express myself and my interests like gaming with video games, reading manga, watching anime, being creative. Aside from being a fan of that work/series/character/game there is mostly a memory/feeling attached to it. Having fun, the progress and the learning experience are also aspects that stimulate my passion. I know some other cosplayers only choose to do this or that because it is just a fun/intriguing design, or just a good way to get in the spotlight. Even a few cosplayers only participate in contests to win which give me the feeling that they are doing it with the wrong reasons. I participate when I want to but I easily have fun (sometimes even more fun!) with just hanging around at a convention/event in cosplay.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
The jalousy, lying, drama and not acceptance of physically differences like being overweight. Nowadays you see/hear these matters in every country. Like the new hype: just buy a costume and you are cosplaying. Fair play, respect towards every person and honesty are important for me.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
When you just start with a first cosplay: start with something quite easy. Do not be afraid to start over again and to mess up! Keep in mind: even the most experienced, elite cosplayers also had to start from somewhere.
Buy enough meters of fabric and materials, when you screw up then you do not lose extra time of buying it again. Especially with some fabric it can be hard to find the exact color/fabric type again. If you would buy things online: pay them with paypal.
Surf a lot: The internet is a very useful source: image reference, ideas, patterns, tutorials, etc.
And most of all: keep having fun and doing what you love!
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Epitanime in France: because they are the only ones who have cosplay nocturne (cosplay by night) competitions and very beautiful to watch! Plus the bring and buy stand is very useful.
Japan Expo in France: it is soooo big but there is a lot to do, to explore and to see! If you participate on stage: it is just freaking amazing! There is a reason why this is the place to be in Europe!
Made in Asia in Belgium: for us it is our first BIG convention with Japanese influences and cool competitions. This year it’s their 4th edition and they keep growing bigger.
Japan Expo Belgium: last year it was their successful debut! It has lots of potential and nice competitions.
Animagic in Germany: a great place to meet German cosplayers, love the picnic, unfortunately it changed last year but for me still a good place to catch up with my German friends and to make new friends.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
My Artemis cosplay was made partly from unusual items: mirror foil, plastic, wire, balsa wood, foam from an old laptop bag, a cut-out piece of a leftover wooden furniture, an old lingerie corset, paper tape, wonderflex, model magic, stuffing (filling) used on teddy bears, and 4 plastic parts from ballpoint pens.