anibee Cosplayer Focus: Bya!
Not every female character in anime is a cat-ear-wearing, cheek-puffing mascot, so why should every female cosplayer? We talk to one such cosplayer who can rock the battlefield with the best of the boys! Known as the "Lady of War" to her friends, it's Bya!
anibee: How long have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
Bya: I have been cosplaying for five years now. I was actually first introduced to the hobby by my sister, who dragged me along with her to Cosfest 2006 for company. Being able to see so many series come to life and gather together, especially those huge teams of Bleach cosplayers, left a very big impact on me. I was so awed by them that I promptly joined my sister in this hobby and made my proper debut in Cosfest 2007!
anibee: You seem to have quite a liking for doing 'tough-as-nails' characters! Was this something you decided on yourself, or was it purely by coincidence?
Bya: I didn't really decide that I would only cosplay a certain type of characters when I started out; I just merely wanted to do characters that appealed to me personally. It just happened to be that nearly all of them turn out to be "Ladies of War"! So, I guess it could be a mixture of coincidence and choice?
anibee: So what inspires you to continue cosplaying as these "Ladies of War"?
Bya: I suppose it's because I like to see myself as a strong willed woman and I feel a great sense of kinship and pride whenever I see a similar woman being portrayed in say, an anime, instead of the typical "moe-blob" type character. Even though there have been plenty of strong women in anime and games lately, we still need to fight the good fight to represent our kind! Haha!
anibee: What do you think about cosplayers being type-casted? Do you feel this is the case for yourself and if it's a good or bad thing?
Bya: I don'’t think it's entirely a bad thing, and in fact I''ve used it to my advantage once in a while. My friends always expect me to do an armoured or otherwise warrior-type character, so it's easy and always a lot of fun for me to catch them off guard the few times I *do* cosplay a more feminine (skirt and all!) character. Perhaps the only drawback to being type-casted is that my friends would expect that I'd cosplay every armoured female character out there, and constantly suggest more and more of them to me. I'd love to do them all - but I only have so much time and money to go around!
anibee: What is your dream cosplay?
Bya: My dream cosplay comes from a Korean MMORPG called Granado Espada, which I have played for 5 years in the local server. Ever since playing it, I have always wanted to cosplay the female fighter, but never got around to accomplishing this plan. I've been unable to do this cosplay sooner mostly due to the piling up of other cosplay plans and monetary issues, but I'm glad to say it's finally in motion for a 2013 debut and I am adamant to not let anything get in the way of my dream coming true!
anibee: Any parting advice for aspiring cosplayers looking to do something similar to you?
Bya: If you want to be a Lady of War, you must learn to embrace the fierceness and determination a woman can possess on the battlefield and wield it as your weapon and shield. You must also keep in mind that a Lady of War never bows down to anyone's petty, silly whims (especially ones that are intended to make you go out of character!). To sum it up, a Lady of War never bows down to become the weaker sex, nor behaves brashly to look like the stronger one, nor loses the grip on her own femininity. It's all about respect - for the character, for others, and for yourself!
Standing your ground and doing what *you* like, while still being yourself. Truly strong words of advice from an equally strong woman!
Check out more of Bya's cosplays & other works at http://vega-highwell.deviantart.com/!