It’s time for another interview, this time with PaXingCai! She’s a lovely cosplayer from New York, who is quite the talented costumer!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
I go by XingCai or PaXingCai. I took Chinese in college and our teacher wanted us to pick names to call ourselves. I picked something from Dynasty Warriors that wasn’t too obviously nerdy and the name just stuck.
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying 13 years now. I was reading Animerica and saw Anime North listed as a local convention and my mother agreed to take me. Being an engineer, she had a number of nerdy friends who dressed up from Star Trek and so we decided to piece together a costume to wear for it.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I love stretch sateen and if I could I would make every costume out of it. It feels nice and photographs well.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’ve been working on constructing wings recently, which are very exciting to construct. It’s been a lot of effort trimming the feathers but I love how they are coming out.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I love it when people dress for their body shape or modify costumes to flatter themselves more. Not every costume is designed for real people and it’s cool to see subtle ways of changing it to keep it close to the actual design, but still visually appealing. There are a few choice cosplayers I feel do this very well but I would feel awkward pointing them out.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
It’s changed a lot in the past few years, being less of a nerdy fun thing and more serious business. There are parts of this I like such as better photographers and equipment for better pictures of cosplayers’ work, but at the same time some of the fun is lost as you feel pressured to be so competitive. Right now so much of it feels very cliquey too which is bizarre given what we are doing. It’s really interesting where I live on the border right now as the Canadian cosplayers I meet are so much friendlier and open.
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would like to see the whole concept of famous cosplayers and spokes-models going away. It creates so much drama and envy with people and brings out the ugly side in a lot of people.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Pick a starter costume in your skill level. I’d much rather see a simple costume done amazingly than someone trying too hard on something really complicated and it not turning out well. I’d also recommend learning about wigs early on; they bring so much to a costume and hold styles better and longer.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Katsucon is my favorite convention of all time. All of my friends go there, it’s a lovely venue and it’s a good time of the year to get out of Buffalo! This is followed by Colossalcon aka Waterparkcon.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
I’m not sure this is exactly something I’m proud of but as a weird factoid I use TONS of pins when I’m sewing. I just really like having things in the exact spot where I want them. When I gather skirts it’s like a horror movie and I stab myself constantly.