anibee Cosplayer Focus: Drefan!
Cosplayers come in all shapes & sizes, and we've managed to bag ourselves a whopper! Known for his awesome physique as much as he for being a passionate cosplayer with strong principles, it's none other than Drefan!
anibee: Hiya Drefan! First off - tell us how long you've been cosplaying for, and how you got started!
Drefan: I first heard about cosplay in 2000 when I saw an ad for some event along with pictures of some Final Fantasy cosplayers. Being an avid gamer and roleplayer myself, I felt an immediate connection to it, and got inspired to try it out for myself. After clearing up several things I had been focusing on previously, I finally managed to make my debut in 2005!
anibee: Let's get the obvious thing out of the way: you're very well known for your cosplays of very muscular characters! Was this something that you decided to do, or was it a happy coincidence?
Drefan: Hmmmm... a bit of both I guess? As far as favourite characters go, I wouldn't be able to pull off a very convincing female... so let's get straight to "favourite male character" okay? Hahaha. As my childhood dream was to be a superhero, the characters I do indeed, usually turn out to be the muscular, powerful, rugged types as they are people I aspire to be.
But I also do find myself picking up projects for the sake of learning and experience. For instance, Sephiroth (from Final Fantasy) EX mode. I hate him, but I wanted to try wing-making and bishounen /pretty-boy type makeup. Doing something new and aiming for cosplays out of your comfort zone are the best ways to improve as a cosplayer.
I'm also quite the team player. If there is someone else interested in, and suitable for my character, I am always willing to switch to the big, buff guy for the sake of completion.
anibee: Do you ever feel limited or pressured (e.g. from endless suggestions from friends) to do these kinds of characters due to your size?
Drefan: No, not at all! There's no obligation, and in fact, I actually encourage those suggestions because it's fun to be introduced to something new, and see what your friends are imagining you to be!
But yes, I have thought about my limitations, and wondered about what it'd be like to do androgynous characters. The thought always passes quickly however, because there's always a new manly-character for me to do!
anibee: When it comes to things like acting or singing, the artiste's public image is extremely important. Do you feel this is the same case for cosplay?
Drefan: I personally don't think so for the most part, unless business is involved like with the cosplay celebrities. There are some well-known cosplayers who are notorious for one reason or another, but are still respected and acknowledged for their skills in cosplay.
But with regards to the impression that cosplayers give to the public, then yes, that is extremely important. Cosplayers should always be cautious about how they behave in public, especially in a somewhat restrictive and conservative country like Singapore.
anibee: There are some people who perceive cosplay in a very negative light, e.g. being a waste of time/money, filled with overweight people etc. How do you deal with people with such opinions - and do you aim to make yourself a positive example to prove them wrong?
Drefan: This naturally upsets me sometimes, but just as with the narrow-minded people with racial/religious/sexual discrimination, there's nothing much you can do except be true to yourself, try your very best, and enjoy doing it.
I am very hard on myself, and I react to criticism positively and productively, barring non-constructive nonsensical insults. I strive to be a positive example, not exactly hoping to prove the public wrong, but more to inspire fellow cosplayers to do the same. When you look at the big picture, there is no point "standing on the pedestal" alone while the rest of the cosplay community are still being targeted, so to speak. Maybe one day, the community will be so strong that the public will be left with nothing negative to say.
anibee: What advice do you have for new cosplayers who want to strive and achieve what you have?
Drefan: Hahaha! I don't think I've really achieved anything. But I suppose what I operate by is:
1) Find your motivation, whatever it is. Your passion is the one that will fuel this hobby, and it will show in the quality of your work. In gaming terms, it's kinda like your HP. If you are running low, it'll be obvious to everyone that you're wounded. And when u hit zero, your cosplay life ends!
2) Have a good attitude. Take the initiative to learn new things. Take things positively and improve continuously. Be considerate and respect fellow cosplayers. Don't be lazy; if something can be done in a better but more troublesome or expensive way, do something about it. (eg. get a part time job and earn more money)
3) This is quite a sensitive topic, but... you do need to be mindful of your physique and appearance, depending on your choice of character. Pick up health and beauty tips. Exercise! Character suitability is probably the most difficult aspect of cosplay, but it is important. Like I mentioned, there's no way I can cosplay a slender beautiful female character, haha!
Great advice to keep in mind and to heart from someone who truly practices what he preaches! Check out more of Drefan's awesome cosplays at his site!