anibee Cosplayer Focus: Skye!
We previously featured Skye - the winner of our Ani-Song Competition in our previous article. But there's still a lot more to her!
Turns out, she's also a veteran cosplayer too! With a huge portfolio of works that transcends different genres and properties, as well as a bevy of achievements, we just had to talk to her about these! Take it away, Skye!
anibee: How long have you been cosplaying for, and how did you first start out?
Skye: I started end 2002 so it's been almost 10 years... oh gosh, that's really long now that I think about it. I had a senior in the Art Club in my Secondary school who introduced it to me and a few friends, we decided to tag along to look at one of the AXN anime festivals and tried it out ourselves 2002's EOY.
anibee: What determines your choice of a character to cosplay? Do you generally go for a specific type of character, or do you simply go for whichever character catches your fancy?
Skye: There are a lot of things I look at when deciding on a character. I take into account things like the character's outfit (I love challenging costumes), whether or not I think I can pull it off but most importantly it depends on whether or not I have an interest in the character. For me, interest does not always translate into a "I love this character to death therefore must cosplay" as I have a love-hate relationship with some of the characters I've done. I picked the character because I found them really intriguing or compelling because of a particular aspect.
anibee: You have done both Eastern and Western characters, which is still considered a rarity here in Singapore. What's your opinion on the 'East vs. West' situation - or do you even think it's an issue at all?
Skye: Western cosplayers are still quite a small minority as compared to Eastern cosplayers who dominate the scene. At most cosplay events they also tend to receive a lot less attention, possibly because a lot of cosplayers, photographers and other people in the circle started off from the Japanese side of things. To be honest, I don't think it's really a matter of East v.s. West but more of Japanese-based cosplays v.s. Everything else. When I first cosplayed Bride of the Water God (Korean Manhwa) the general response to my costume was, "Ohhh Junni Kokki? Fushigi Yuugi?".
Most cosplayers are indifferent about it, but the public sometimes gets more discerning and thus tend to give more flak to Western-character cosplayers than the Eastern ones, usually because their characters are more well-known, e.g. Storm from X-men v.s. Rin from Ao no Exorcist. However, many people who do one side often started from the other, and I do believe that any decent cosplayer worth their salt will be able to appreciate a well-done cosplay regardless of where the character originates from.
anibee: For someone who is seasoned of a 'veteran' of cosplay as you are, the hobby must have been with you through many different stages of your life. How has your relationship with the hobby changed over the years?
Skye: I wouldn't really consider myself a veteran especially since I still have trouble sewing in a straight line after all these years haha! I started cosplaying when I was 14, child-like and oblivious of the bigger world around me, and I feel that reflected on the standard of my cosplays then. I think at some point when I was 16, after getting some pretty harsh critiques from a friend, I sort of wised up a little with age and decided if I was going to put so much of my time, effort and money into this hobby I was going to have fun AND it better look good! It was then I got more motivated and ambitious, forming a huge Trinity Blood team and did some other cosplays I never thought I was capable of doing.
The major turning point for me was when I went overseas to Australia to study. I got exposed to the cosplay community there and they were the most dedicated, amazing and inspirational bunch of people I have ever met! Soon after, a friend of mine, Sansele, a Singaporean studying in Perth asked me to take part in the World Cosplay Summit in 2009 with her. We won the Singapore round and went to Japan that year and it was a really eye opening experience for me. We met cosplayers from all over the world and I was stunned at how different their experiences were from mine. I also got to go to conventions in UK through an exchange programme, as I was invited to be one of the judges for the Denmark WCS round that year.
Now one year after the end of my four years in Australia, I'm still trying to improve though at a much slower pace, learning more about prop and weapon making. Sometimes, I feel like a grandma in her twilight years, taking more joy from watching other people's cosplays and performances instead of just doing my own!
anibee: As some might know by now, you also love to sing! Does your love for singing play a part in your cosplay character choice (e.g. choosing to perform a song that a specific character sings), and do you prefer one over the other?
Skye: I love both equally, I'm just sad that I don't get to spend as much time honing my singing abilities as much as I'd like. I think singing has definitely impacted me in choosing characters that I love to cosplay as: I have a thing for sexy, mature divas! Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier and Serizawa Reira from Nana are two characters that hold very special places in my heart because I felt I connected better with them through their image songs. I'm hoping to cosplay Lenne from FFX-2 and Oruha from Clover soon because I fell utterly in love with their stories and songs.
anibee: What are your hopes for your relationship with cosplay, and the future for the community in general?
Skye: This hobby has been an amazing journey for me: I've met lots of amazing people, made friends which I am sure I will keep for a long time to come and I have had opportunities to travel all over the world because of cosplay. But people often change their cosplaying habits due to other commitments, life, and for some just a loss of interest. For myself personally, with my work picking up I see myself eventually cutting down on the frequency of my plans too. However, I would like to maybe continue as a cosplay photographer, or play a role in helping to organise events and continue to travel to overseas events in the future because I still love this hobby!
When I started out, the community was very small and very close-knit. We could play stage games at events and everyone pretty much knew everyone else. While I'm glad the hobby has expanded so much to the point that the average Singaporean now knows the word 'cosplay' and that the circle is so large, I really miss those older times when events had a homely and comfortable feel. Now events are massive and commercialised, filled with mostly unfamiliar faces in the crowd and people thinking cosplay competitions are all about who has the biggest mecha and the most LED lights.
I'm not saying these are entirely bad, but I think if we could have a few smaller, "fan-for-fan" events again like the old EoY and SoY to balance it out, it would be lovely because events like these let you really feel what cosplay is all about - meeting new people, making friends, and having FUN!
Spoken like a true veteran - reflective, honest, and PASSIONATE! Check out Skye's other awesome cosplays at her site!