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How To Get Started With Cosplaying At Any Age, According To These Cosplayers

It takes a lot of work, but anyone can pull it off if they're passionate about it!
IMAGE Charlene J. Owen

From the days of institutions like Polidread to the current wave of internationally-acclaimed personalities like Jin, local cosplay (short for “costume play”) has become a huge movement that has created a vast community crossing different fandoms and genres. Cosplay competitions are a staple in almost every geek convention, whether it’s Asia Pop or ESGS, and it’s highlighted by many stand-alone events such as the upcoming Cosplay Matsuri (December 28 to 30), and many more.

Needless to say, cosplay isn’t something to be scoffed at. Preparing a full-on outfit from scratch (including props) takes months—and that is if you’ve planned your timelines well and have diligently followed a schedule. Most cosplayers will tell you that they’ve probably started their costumes a week or even three days before a con, all the while panicking like a headless, sleepless chicken and hot-gluing everything together, praying to the gods that be that nothing falls off.

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Kidding aside, however, cosplay requires both creative craftsmanship and a knack for performance, and while you can always buy a costume off Lazada, you’ll still end up rehashing, refurbishing, and even resewing a few things. In an interview with Candy at ESGS 2019, Janine Audrey Reyes, Nicolai Dizon, and Nicolai’s younger sister Pauline, share how it is to be cosplayers in the Philippines, and how this hobby can change one’s view about oneself.

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Candy: How did you get interested in cosplay?

Nicolai Dizon: Para po sa ‘kin, ‘yong pag-co-cosplay ko po, pangpatanggal ng stress. Nakakakilala po kami ng maraming kaibigan.

Janine Audrey Reyes: It’s like every other hobby, na parang, an opportunity that you can share with other people… You can dress up as your favorite characters for people.

Pauline Dizon: Para po sa akin, ang pag-co-cosplay, masaya po. Para po maraming makikilalang friends.

Candy: How do you decide on which character to cosplay, and how do you make your costumes?

Nicolai: Actually ‘yong sa ‘kin, si Papa binibili niya ng second-hand, then…gagawin niya upang gumanda. Gaya nito, binili ni Papa ng sirang ilaw, ginawa ni Papa para lumakas.

Janine: In my case, tingnan ko muna ‘yong character kung keri ko. Tapos, kung kaya kong gumalaw sa costume niya, at kung kaya kong gawin. Kasi hindi naman din ako super galing mag-armor. Feeling ko kung gusto ko ‘yong character, kung kaya ko, and kung sa tingin ko, maraming matutuwa.

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Candy: How do you improve your craft?

Nicolai: Noong unang sali ko po, hindi pa po ako masyadong marunong. And then…inaral ko pong mabuti ‘yong mga skills ng mga character na ginagaya ko, para makuha ko.

Janine: Mostly, YouTube tutorials, tapos yong mga great cosplayers na nauna sa amin. Iba ‘yong advice nila, talagang very useful and very helpful.

Pauline: Noong una po ako nag-cosplay, ‘di ko pa po alam ‘yong mga rules. Noong patagal na nang patagal, alam ko na po. Practice na po ako nang practice.

Candy: Cosplay calls for you to be in character and to be able to move the way your character does. How do you practice that?

Nicolai: Pinag-aaralan ko po talagang mabuti ‘yong mga sipa, mga tumbling… kung paano sila gumaalaw. Like, kagaya nito, si Ezreal po, ang galaw niya is parang comedy na action.

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Janine: Kapag lagi mo na kasing nilalaro, or pinapanood, tapos lalo na ‘yong character e parang nakaka-relate ako sa kanya—“Oh, I can see myself in this character”—ang dali lang niyang matandaan ‘yong movements. And I think nakakatulong din ‘yong background ko sa martial arts.

Pauline: Pina-practice ko po ng mabuti ‘yong mga galaw, pina-practice ko po sa bahay.

Candy: Not all costumes are comfortable. How do you deal with that?

Nicolai: Noong una po nahihirapan po ako, nahihirapan pumasok yong hangin. Nung tumagal nang tumagal, parang nasanay na rin po ako… Ito po, hindi po ako nakakaupo sa ganitong costume, pero napagtiyatiyagaan.

Janine: Ito po [na suot ko] comfortable, pero ‘pag minsan, ‘pag uncomfortable, hindi na naming naiisip, kasi we’re having fun.

Candy: How has cosplay helped you personally?

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Nicolai: Nakakapag-entertain ng tao, nakakapag-tanggal ng stress... Manalo, matalo, okay lang, kasi nakakapagpasaya ka ng tao.

Janine: Before kasi talaga, noong high school, ang buhay ko talaga Playstation. So I didn’t really have many friends, few lang sila… A friend of mine introduced me to a convention. Nakita ko siya as pagkakataon for gamers—‘yong mga nakatago sa cave nila—na magkaroon ng social life.

Candy: How does it feel to be a part of the Philippine cosplay community?

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Nicolai: Masaya po. Dati po, wala akong hilig rito. Dati po, nakikita-kita ko lang po. Tapos sabi ko, ‘Ano kaya feeling nito…’ Then noong na-try ko masarap pala sa feeling.

Janine: Sa Philippine cosplay, sobrang advantage tayo kasi ‘yong access natin sa resources: Divisoria, minsan Cubao, Marikina… Mga ilang beses na rin nanalo internationally ‘yong cosplay natin, Philippines, kaya I’m proud.

Candy: What would be your advice to those who wish they can do cosplay but are still scared to do so?

Nicolai: ‘Yong cosplay po, kung bata ka, matanda ka, puwede po ‘yan… Wala pong [problema] kahit ano pong sabihin nila, at least masaya ka sa ginagawa mo, at masaya ‘yong mga tao sa nakikita nila.

Nicolai: Enjoy lang sila! Huwag silang mahihiya.

Janine: I think someone should remind them na hindi naman film ‘yon na direktor ‘yong pipili ng kung sinong dapat i-play na character. Tayo ‘yong direktor natin. Maging confident sila, huwag silang mahiya kung ano ‘yong body nila... It’s just for fun, so go!

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Charlene J. Owen
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