The MAGIC RAIN team had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing 瑩 Ying during AniManGaki 2017. Hailing from Hong Kong, 瑩 Ying has been heavily involved in the ACG and cosplay scene for over 10 years. Some of her cosplay interests include attending events, costume-making, and photoshoots. Her portrayals of characters from anime series like Sword Art Online, TYPE-MOON’s Fate, and Love Live! contributed to her rising international popularity.
瑩 Ying is also no stranger to cosplay competitions with her greatest achievement being crowned the Champion of the HKEST-ASUS Cosplay Tournament in 2015. As an adept dancer, she also performs several dance routines on stage for her fans.
Q: How do you challenge yourself to produce good cosplays every single time?
A: For my cosplays currently, I’m focusing more on the results like the photos. Luckily, my boyfriend is a photographer so each time, I’ll talk to him on how we’re going to take photos for a specific character. Every time we want to do something new in order to push ourselves to another level as we don’t want to keep doing the same things again and again.
Q: You started cosplaying since 2006. So what are the biggest changes you have faced since your starting days till now?
A: When I first started cosplaying, it was more of a casual hobby to me. In the past, people in Hong Kong don’t really pay attention to cosplay as in they don’t have much knowledge about it. And there were less people cosplaying which also meant less drama. However, now, you have to prove yourself to others so they won’t talk bad about you. The main platform for cosplayers these days is Facebook so when you post something, it is public and it’s visible to everyone. I think it makes you feel that your cosplays are not your own anymore. There will always be people constantly judging you and your work because of how public Facebook is.
Q: Is there any major difference that you feel with the ACG community here in Malaysia compared to Hong Kong?
A: In terms of the society, people here are more accepting of cosplays because we can wear cosplays in the mall and no one judges you (laughs). In Hong Kong, they’ll keep staring at you as if they’ve never seen a cosplayer before. Generally, people in Hong Kong still think that ACG is not a very good hobby and in the cosplay scene, cosplayers are more focused on the costume and how we look. On the other hand, the Malaysian ACG community feels like family, you cosplay to know more people, to find someone that loves the same thing you do.
Q: What was your most challenging cosplay, in your opinion?
A: For me, I think every cosplay that I do is challenging because I try to push myself to do better each time. For example, the character, Scathach from Fate Grand/Order, her costume is super difficult. I think I spent half a year just to think about how to make the costume. I took around 2 weeks to make the costume but it’s the planning phase which was the hardest part. Another challenging one would be for a competition where I cosplayed as Saber Nero with all the armor. I made it with my friends and that one was also very challenging for me.
Q: Since you’re very experienced in cosplay competitions, when you start planning for one, what do you usually start with?
A: I think if you want a good skit, you should start with the storyline and then only choose the character. However, last time, we chose the characters first because we wanted to cosplay them out of love. So for that time, I started with the character but normally, you should start with the storyline first.
Q: You were the Champion of the HKEST-ASUS Cosplay Tournament in 2015. Could you give some advice to other cosplayers who wants to try competing in a cosplay competition?
A: I think you should watch more skits online, and not only from your own countries. You can watch skits from for example, World Cosplay Summit as there are many good examples to watch and learn from. Also, if you want to win la, you have to try to be more creative on stage.
Q: I heard that you’re a pretty good dancer! What made you start dancing in the first place?
A: Er, actually not lor (laughs). I really don’t think so lor! Actually, I’ve always wanted to dance, not only for cosplay, but for other things too. I’m not a professional dancer though as I didn’t learn dancing. When I was still in school, I wanted to be in a dance crew but of course, I failed to get in the team. We also had an inter-class dance competition so I joined that too.
I really love dancing and I want to learn more. I’m actually not a very good dancer lor. Just practice makes perfect! I believe in myself. I really think I can dance but only after proper training (laughs).
Q: Have you ever felt discouraged by your own cosplays and how did you overcome them?
A: Actually, I had this problem at the end of last year. I was really sad but I wasn’t sure why. It could be because in Hong Kong, it’s so competitive there and everyone wants to fight. Even on Facebook, there’s a lot of drama and even if you have the skills, it feels like no one cares about you. Or even if you’re famous and you have one thousand likes for each photo, it doesn’t really do any good for you in real life. I don’t know why I suddenly felt that and I really wanted to give up on cosplay then.
At that time, I was invited to Malaysia for the Cosplay Festival (which was held on the 1st and 2nd of April 2017). I admit that even when I was boarding the airplane, I wanted to stop cosplaying. People came to see me and told me, ‘See you next year, see you next year’ but I was thinking, ‘No la… I want to stop already’. However, a lot of people came to see me and I really did not expect that. I then met the GG twins and I really felt like Malaysians gave me the strength to continue on. Now, I feel so much better.
Q: If you ever get the chance, which event in the world would you choose to attend or which country would you like to go to?
A: I’d choose Singapore and America because I always feel that Singapore has very big events. As for America, it’s because I want to meet Muze or Lenneth. I really want to meet them someday (laughs). Can one hor?
Q: Most memorable photoshoot so far?
A: Wah, so many! Erm.. I’m afraid if I don’t talk about my boyfriend, my boyfriend will scold me (laughs). I have three shoots in my mind which were the hardest for me. First place is Scathach (Fate Grand/Order). You know how the clothes are see through and quite tight right? I did the photoshoot with my boyfriend and he was like “Oh, I want to do some water effect for Scathach” and that day, the temperature was 10°C at night. He was pouring water on me while I was holding the prop, I was shivering so badly! However, that shoot went well la (laughs).
The second one would be the underwater shoot for Asuna (Sword Art Online). It was definitely very memorable. Asuna was the first time I did an underwater shoot and it was very challenging. You know all the cosplay skills you learn on land is totally useless underwater. You’re floating everywhere and you can’t really control your clothes’ position. Luckily, the photographer I worked with was very experienced and patient.
The third one would be my Sakura Hime (Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle). We hiked up the mountain for 2 hours. When we were climbing up, it was so hot but when we got up there, it was so cold, around 10°C to 12°C . I was only wearing a sleeveless dress then and it was so cold, I could only stand there for half an hour. The photos were very great though because the scenery there was very beautiful. Then we have to walk back for 2 hours lor. Even for the previous two, it’s cold but I could stand it for a few hours but not this one (laughs). If it is for beautiful photos, I can do anything, but just don’t waste my life and time (laughs).
Q: If you don’t mind me asking, what do you do outside of cosplay?
A: I work in a development company in Hong Kong as part of customer service.
Q: Do you find it hard to balance cosplaying and work at the same time?
A: My work now actually has quite a lot of freedom. I can take leave on weekdays but lesser weekends. That makes it easier for me to find time to travel. As for costumes, it is usually quite hard to find time for cosplayers to make their costumes. I made this costume (Minami Nitta from THE iDOLM@STER) bit by bit after work but now… I have no time to make already cause I need to earn money (laughs).
Q: Last question! What are your future plans for your cosplay career?
A: I’ve already achieved my goals actually. My goal for my cosplay journey since I started was to get noticed by a cosplayer in Hong Kong. I’ve liked her for 10 years and she’s also the one that inspired me to start cosplaying but I didn’t know her at that time. So I worked hard and she finally noticed me. My next goal after that was to go for international events, and that has also been achieved. I’m already very happy and satisfied right now.
With that, we’d like to thank 瑩 Ying for the interview during AniManGaki 2017. We were filled with so much laughter during the session and we hope she had as much fun as we did! We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and we look forward to her next visit to Malaysia!
For more cosplays and details on 瑩 Ying: –
On that note, if you have any thoughts or compliments for AniManGaki 2017, we’d appreciate if you could let us know here at: bit.ly/amgxtmr