Interview with cosplayer Touko on all things about Cosplay!
Sat 14th Mar 2015 - 3:29pm
We all share a passion for gaming but some of us have a greater passion than others and decide to take gaming into real life by cosplaying their favorite gaming character. At Gamescom 2014 I met a great group of cosplayers and started following them and their work online afterwards. After seeing how much dedication they have and how much work goes into their cosplays I decided to put these cosplayers into the spotlight.
I spoke to Lara, also known as Touko Cosplay who really impressed me with her Foxfire Ahri cosplay at Gamescom. She is a German League of Legends player and has been making cosplays since 2013. I asked her about her gaming experience and how she got into cosplay, let's find out!
Lara as Foxfire Ahri (left, photo by Dornhoefer Photography) & Lara without any cosplay on the right
Hi Lara, thanks for the interview. As a cosplayer you must also be a big gaming fan, can you tell us something about how you got into video games and what games/console you started out with?
Lara: Hey Sui, I have to thank you for asking me for the interview! Well, I first got into games when I was little I guess. My sisters had many Nintendo consoles and played with me quite often. The first console I played with was a GameBoy Color, if I remember it right, and the first games I played on it were Pokémon Red edition and Super Mario.
Active gaming started for me in about eighth grade, when I installed my own games on my own computer. Those were games like Assassins Creed and later on League of Legends. AC is still my all time favorite!
And at what point did you decide to get into cosplaying? Can you tell us about your first event and the cosplay you were wearing?
Lara: I already came in contact with cosplay when I was very young, because of a huge convention that takes place in my hometown every year. The first time I visited it with my parents, I was so happy to see all my heroes from Sailor Moon and other series and games I loved in person! That was the first time I decided that I definitely wanted to do that too when I was older. So some years later, when I was 14 years old, I started to watch videos of amazing cosplayers all over the world and I fell in love with that whole thing again. So I finally decided to start cosplaying myself! The first cosplay "made" was a super awkward Touko/Lotta from Pokémon Black and White (yes, that's also where my name comes from :P), which I wore at Japanday 2013, but it was more of a closet cosplay and not really self-made. (And it looked awful, to be honest!)
The first cosplay I made all myself was the one right after that: Resistance Caitlyn from League of Legends. I made everything of that cosplay, it was a bunch of work but also super fun. I wore it at Gamescom'13, and it was such an amazing feeling, because even though it really wasn't the best cosplay, everyone was so nice and complimented me on how good it looked! Since then I'm a total cosplay addict and just can't stop making these costumes, haha!
Lara in her first self-made cosplay, Resistance Caitlyn
Did your passion for gaming influence your choice to become a cosplayer, or was it more because of anime that you decided to cosplay?
Lara: It was definitely gaming. I like anime, but cosplays of game characters were always just more of my personal taste. I guess it's because of those badass armors and all those amazing outfits and characters that games bring to us.
I’m sure that we have plenty of aspiring cosplayers in our fanbase as we’re all fans of games and anime, can you give some advice to those fans how to get noticed as a cosplayer?
Lara: Oh yes, we definitely do! Well, that's a hard question, because I actually have no idea how it happened that suddenly so many people noticed my cosplays. I think if you really want people to notice you, it starts with the cosplay you make. Rarely cosplayed versions of popular characters of popular games often get the most attention the easiest I guess. But you should always remember to only cosplay what you want to cosplay, not what a community wants you to. It definitely helps a lot to share your work on pages like Facebook and DeviantArt, or in groups with other cosplayers.
Also gaming industries like Riot or Blizzard are more and more featuring cosplayers. I can sure say it helps a lot to participate on things like competitions the game developers host. Generally you can be sure that when you make a great costume that you feel awesome about, people will notice you. Good work always gets appreciated!
What would you really like to cosplay that perhaps you’re a little embarassed about or haven’t found the courage for yet?
Lara: Actually not really. Luckily all the things I want to cosplay are in my courage-zone. And for some I might have to get out of my comfort-zone, but that's okay because otherwise it would be boring!
Have you ever done any genderbending cosplay (creating a female version of a male character or champion)? How did/would you handle coming up with the female concept of that?
Lara: Yes I did! I made a genderbend version of Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto Shippuden about a year ago. It wasn't really hard to get it into a female design, because I just had to add a few details. I'm also planning on doing another genderbend for this years gamescom, this time Dante from DMC 5. I really like transforming characters into the other gender, because it allows you to be creative and add some kind of your own touch, but it's not always easy to keep it recognizable I think.
The most important thing in my opinion is to keep the look fitting to the character. Like making a super conservative priest wearing only a bikini in his female version is not that much of my thing, because it would not fit really the character. Making a character a little more sexy as a girl is sure no problem, because girls in video games are mostly designed pretty sexy, but I think it's important to still keep it recognizable.
Besides cosplaying and gaming, what do you like doing most in real life?
Lara: I guess I'm actually a super boring person, haha. I totally enjoy simple things like reading and writing, sometimes also a little programming, spending time with my dogs, my family, friends and my boyfriend, listening to and making music and so on. Just the usual everyday stuff.
Do you want cosplay to become your job at some point or would you rather keep it as a hobby?
Lara: It would of course be awesome to do it as a job later on. I love creating costumes and being able to live off that would be simply amazing to me. I mean who wouldn't like to earn money with what he loves to do the most? But there are only like 4-5 people who can rally do cosplay as their full time job, so I'm not putting too much hope in that.
On that subject, what would you most like to be after you finish school if you could not become a fulltime cosplayer?
Lara: I want to do something that's actually pretty familiar to cosplay; making costumes and props for movies and theatre is what I'd like to do the most I guess. But I enjoy doing many things of different kinds, so there's plenty of stuff I could imagine to work as later. The only thing that's sure is that I want to study, if my grades are good enough.
Me at Gamescom 2014 with Lara in her Foxfire Ahri cosplay on the bottom left. Picture by Tiger D Rena
To end the interview let’s ask some short questions.
Favorite single player game?
Lara: Assassins Creed 1-3 and Bioshock Infinite. (I'm sorry, I'm horrible at deciding between things I like!)
Favorite multiplayer game?
Lara: Mario Kart Double Dash for GameCube. It destroyed so many of my friendships, I love it anyways!
Favorite female gaming character?
Lara: I guess that's Katarina from LoL because she's just a badass chick with a supercool scar.
Favorite male gaming character?
Lara: Ezio Auditore from AC2!
Person you look up to the most? (in anything)
Lara: Honestly there are many persons I look up to because of many reasons!
Favorite book and/or movie?
Lara: Book: the Witches by Lea Nicolai. Movie: Twilight! Jk jk, Zombieland I guess.
Convention you want to attend the most?
Lara: San Diego Comic Con or PAX east! (Both so far away :( )
Person you want to work with the most?
Lara: Yaya Han or Kamui Cosplay, because both are incredibly talented cosplayers that I could learn sooo much from.
Thanks for the interview, I hope you enjoyed the questions. Any shout outs to your fans or closing words?
Lara: You're very welcome! I'd just like to tell all the cosplayers and also not-cosplayers out there something: to always do what they love. There will always be people who tell you to stop or bad things in general, but they're not worthy to gain any attention. People can be mean, and they also will always be mean, so just go on and do your thing. Life is too short to give any damn about bad persons! Go on and be a weirdo making costumes, like me, because it's awesome AF!