A little bit about us
Since we’re getting a LOT of interview requests lately and do not have the time to answer them all – we picked a few most asked questions and answered them here. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi there! We’re Svetlana, Benni and Zelda! I was born in Angren, Uzbekistan, Benni was born in Germany and Zelda is from France and joined our little family in March 2016. We started making costumes in 2003 and never stopped ever since. We also play a lot of video-games and really love to watch movies.
What got you into Cosplay?
In 2003 I used to read magazines about anime and manga. In one of these magazines there was also a report about cosplay events. I decided that I would want to visit one of these events myself and found out that at least 80% of the attendees were in costume. So surely next time I had to come in costume as well so I picked up a character from a series I really liked which was the Great Saiyaman from Dragonball Z. Looking back, it was a pretty cheap costume and while it was a fun experience – my mistake was that I did it because everyone else also did it – so I didn’t really feel any passion for it. That was also around the time when I
stalked met Benni!
After that initial experience I started playing World of Warcraft and got really addicted to the game. I then had a crazy idea to cosplay my avatar which was the first character I created in the game – a night elf druid called Kamui! Since then I made many many more druid costumes and cosplayed her for over 6 years! I also
forced asked Benni to help me out with my costumes! Every year I would make a new armor set just for her! Because of this, people started recognizing me as the “weird druid cosplayer” so I decided to take on Kamui as my cosplay “alias”. It was through World of Warcraft that I focused pretty much on armor and prop making as I noticed that I love crafting more then sewing plus I am not very good at sewing (not yet anyway!). It just grew from that point on. I had a blog on which I published my builds and tutorials and people seemed to like them a lot! Every day I would get tons of questions from people asking me to help with their costumes! After a couple of years my friend Bill from Punished Props convinced me to put together a tutorial collection for cosplayers which turned out to be a huge success for us (Thank you Bill!).
Since then we started to make more and more tutorials and write even more books! In 2013 I started doing this as my full time job and my husband Benni quit his office job and joined me soon after. Now we get to write books, travel to events around the world and help inspire people to work creatively! It’s so much fun and more then we could have ever hoped for!
What is the definition of cosplay for you?
Cosplay for me is a wonderful chance to live my dreams, work creatively and share my passion with others. And it’s a way to prove myself! Every costume build goes through different phases: First I need to find the right way to create it. It’s the result of a lot of research and development. Then I have to build it! This goes hand in hand with failures and desperation. I have to fight with myself and force myself never to give up! It’s a tough exercise in getting stuff done! But it’s worth it!
It’s also very important for me to share my knowledge and experiences with others. I’m writing books, tutorials for my blog, record videos, give workshops and trying to help everyone with their own projects. Cosplay is not only a hobby, but a whole community of people who love to work creatively and share their knowledge! For me it became kind of a lifestyle and definitely changed me forever. I’m not able to imagine living without it anymore.
How did your family and friends react to cosplay when you started?
At the beginning, they told me that it’s just a waste of time and money. Now they are proud of me and very supportive – but it was definitely a long way to get there. I don’t know how things would have developed if I would not have had Benni at my side from the beginning. No matter what everybody said, he was always at my side and supported me in every of my crazy ideas. After coming home from work he spent his evenings finishing my things so I am really thankful. I also had friends who cosplayed with me which made the whole thing a lot more fun as well! I’m very lucky to have so many supportive and wonderful people in my life and I try to give back as best as I can!
Any tips for Cosplay beginners?
Start with small projects and start early enough. Sewing the night before a convention is really frustrating, even if it can be kind of funny (in a morbid and dark kind of way). Estimate how much time, money and effort you are able to give and plan your projects well.
And the most important point is to search for help, tutorials and progress blogs. There is almost always someone, who worked on a similar project or costume part and even shared his work. If not, ask them! It can be very expensive and frustrating to fail and a project makes much more fun, when you’re getting somewhere.
And the last point: Be brave and never give up! If you really want to finish a costume, then you’ll do it! There is no one stopping you besides yourself. Just have fun doing it!
Any weird convention stories?
Oh yeah, I guess the funniest thing happened to me at Blizzcon 2009 at the dance contest. It was very late and I was unbelievably exhausted, because I already had to wear my heavy pleather armor and my staff for 12 hours straight. At that point I just wanted to go on stage as fast as possible, do my performance and then die in my hotel bath tub afterwards.
In the last several hours I had to stand in line, my feet burned like hell in my high heels and my body were just a huge blob of pain. It was very, very hard trying not to collapse or even fall asleep right there on the convention floor. I dressed up in the morning, ran around all day in costume, participated in the costume contest before and afterwards we were waiting backstage for the dance contest.
Today, I can’t remember much of what happened when I entered the stage, danced and left the convention. I guess, it was just too much for my body, despite of it being just amazing to stand in front of 20000 people and a lot of other guys who watched the show on the internet. I think I actually danced on stage. But it’s just a huge blackout from that time. I think my husband brought me back to the hotel after that. Kind of funny – I guess! So try to stay alive! Health is more important than a dance contest! I guess!
You seem to prefer armor-based outfits. Is there a special reason for that, or simply a personal preference?
When I started cosplaying, I had a lot of bad experiences in sewing, since I’m just plain bad at it. The old, half-broken sewing machine of my dad, which I was using at that time, was also not the best way to improve my skills. So I haven’t had a lot of fun sitting in front of these machines of doom. However, when I started to play World of Warcraft, I just fell in love with all these wonderful pauldrons, helmets, bracers, swords and staffs. I discovered pretty quickly that I’m much more of a crafter than a tailor, and this is how, in time, the sewing parts of my costumes got smaller and smaller. Today it switched around again a little bit as I am slowly tired of making armor costumes. I try to find things that I can’t do well and try to get better at them. I started to get back into sewing and also try my hand at many other things I couldn’t do before. It’s tough but very rewarding!