THE MAGIC RAIN team had the utmost pleasure of interviewing all four veteran cosplayers – Thames Malerose, Yuegene Fay, Ola Aphrodite and Coscat Prop, despite their busy schedule at Star Supa Comic 2019 two weeks ago! With their expertise and their long experience in the cosplay community, they certainly do carry plenty of stories and wisdom to share.
So now, we bring to you the stories of your favourite cosplayers who from their humble beginnings through perseverance and passion brought them into the limelight that they are in today.
Let’s find out what they have to share with us!
Disclaimer: The following interview has been edited for reading clarity.
Q: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. FIrst and foremost, would you guys like to introduce yourselves?
THAMES: Hi, I’m Thames, from Thailand.
YUEGENE: I’m Yuegene, a cosplayer from Thailand.
OLA: I’m Ola Aphrodite, and I’m from Indonesia.
FEI: I’m Fei Fei (of CosCat Props), from Taiwan
Q: Okay, so first question. What would you say is the most memorable photoshoot you’ve ever done?
YUEGENE: Maybe the last one that I did in Thailand, the character was Cu Chulainn Alter, from Fate/Grand Order (FGO). The costume was very big with a lot of armor parts and props, so it was very difficult to move, but the photographer that I worked with, and the staff that helped me worked very hard to make it more real and powerful-looking since the character is the strongest in the game. The results were very good, and because of that I just got the winning prize for a photo contest from WCS, so I will be going to Japan next month to collect the prize.
THAMES: For me, I think it is my Ibaraki-Douji cosplay from Onmyouji, because you have this armor, horns, scales with no right arm and so many small details and it was difficult to wear. So, it’s one of my most memorable shoots.
OLA: I think it was when I did my Fujiwara Chika shoot, because I was being helped by some close friends, as well as my mummy (laughs). At the time, the studio has a very suitable theme for the shoot, and I at the time thought, I wanted to do a dance cover as well. I think the cover now has around 1 million views on YouTube, because the place looks really similar to the scene in the dance, and I think that was my most memorable one.
FEI: I was on a theme photoshoot. It was memorable because it was deep in a mountain with roughly 30 to 40 people, we drove for about 4-5 hours and had to walk deep in. The photographers had to cut through the branches to reach in and there were tons of mosquitos (laughs). The photoshoot outcome was very unique and received good response.
Q: Next up, how do you think cosplay has changed your life?
THAMES: Cosplay gave me more talents, like makeup, wig styling, prop making, etc. and that changed my life.
OLA: Actually cosplay has really changed my life for me. At first, I really had no confidence, it was really hard for me to make public appearances and speak in public. But since cosplaying, I feel like there’s a lot of good people in the cosplay community that helped me a lot since I started, and they’re really supportive. Even if it’s just small things that they do like ask to take pictures with me, and they’re really sweet, that helped me build my confidence so much. I am the way I am now because of the people that supported me from the beginning. So how about about you, Yuegene?
YUEGENE: Maybe the same, because a long time ago, I was a bookworm. I was just studying every day, don’t like to dress myself up, don’t know how to make up. I didn’t even brush my hair! Like seriously, never. Everyday I’m just studying. Until one day, my teacher came to me and said, “When New Year comes, I will buy a brush for you. Just wash your hair, and let it dry.” Then I started cosplaying and I learned a lot of things because I have to cosplay to become the character I really love, so I put in a lot of effort to learn everything. So I’d say I’m about the same (as Ola), because I didn’t have any confidence to meet and befriend other people. Then I found this community, have a lot of friends that share and love the same things. After that I don’t know why I just became famous? (laughs) I don’t know because I just really enjoy cosplaying, and I sometimes join competitions to just gain more and more skills. Suddenly I became famous and got invited to another country. It’s a good change to my life. So thank you, cosplay.
FEI: I started cosplay roughly about 10+ years old. I was a pretty good student but school life was stressful so I started cosplaying to release stress during the weekend. My actual profession has nothing to do with cosplay though, I am a medical graduate. When I graduated, I started work in ICU, MICU, AICU. I worked under Neurosurgery & Department of Thoracic for years and I saw death very frequently so it was really stressful for me. I split my work and hobby in half and kept learning new crafting skills and techniques. After a while, I realized I can actually leave my day job to focus on my hobby, and now I’m fully focused on my prop making workshop. Yeah, my first half of life and now is a 180 degree change as I made prop making part of my job and life.
Q: THE MAGIC RAIN are currently conducting a social experiment called “Facing Our Fears”. Especially in the cosplay world, we have a lot of fears while cosplaying, even in our normal lives, and a lot of people feel like they’re not good enough for cosplay, like they don’t have the proper size or skin color. So we started a movement and a lot of congoers and cosplayers stood up and told us they were afraid of being called too fat, too ugly for this character, etc. So I’d like to ask, as cosplayers, did you have similar experiences when you first started? If you have, how did you overcome them?
FEI: When I first started to cosplay, it was for my hobby and love for the character. So I will usually choose characters that I really like and won’t choose one that is too pretty for me. Some people when they like a certain series, they always go for the popular characters, but not the character they’re suitable to cosplay as. But they can always try out other characters or side characters, then try to make better costume or props so that it’ll be more suitable for them instead. Since not all of us are born pretty or handsome to fit the characters.
YUEGENE: I feel like this topic has become more serious and sensitive than the old days, many years ago. Nowadays the cosplay community has become a bit more toxic. Years ago, we just enjoyed cosplaying, no one came to judge us, because the cosplay community was very small and more close-knit. But now, the community is much larger, more people are joining in and there are many beautiful or handsome people that come to cosplay too. So, it became quite imbalanced. So, I cannot say, “Just do it!” anymore, because it’s not that easy. I just came back from Paris, from Japan Expo, and someone asked me to take a selfie, but they say “Oh, but I’m very ugly, can I cover my face?” and I say “Why? You look pretty just the way you are.” But I also understand that situation. So it’s hard to say, but I just want to cheer all of them up and say, everyone has their first time, they’ll still have no skills and such.
For me, I just want to tell them, don’t let people judge you, and please enjoy cosplay. You might not be good for your first time, but keep doing the things you love, and cosplay the characters you like, and just love yourself. Enjoy cosplay and don’t let people judge you. I don’t know why nowadays people like to judge other people saying things like, “You are too fat”, “You should not cosplay that character” but who are you to judge me like that? Cosplaying a character you don’t look like can be taken as a challenge. It’s fun to cosplay characters you have never tried before. So, just enjoy. And now we have like Google, where we can search on how to make this weapon, costume etc.
OLA: For me, I also feel like that. The first time I cosplayed, I wasn’t really thinking that much. I just really love anime, manga and Japanese culture, so at the time, I just wanted to have fun. And that time the community was still good. But the thing that I want to tell people who just started cosplaying, it isn’t about you are ugly or anything, but everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Even someone that you think, “Oh, that one is so pretty”, they might have a lot of haters too. Nobody is loved by everyone, right? So if you really want to cosplay, just cosplay whatever you want. Think of it as a hobby, to relieve your stress. Don’t think about the people who don’t like you, like they’re not important, right? Just focus on the people who support you and when you feel like “I’m not suitable” as Yuegene said, maybe you can use it as motivation to improve yourself. If you want to join competitions, then it’s a good thing to be aware of the characters and what they do, but if you’re doing it as a hobby, don’t think too much about other people. Cosplay is for fun. You can always find a way to cosplay.
YUEGENE: Maybe you can find something you like later. You like performance more than cosplay. So, just ask other people to do your costume while you just focus on your performance and enjoy it.
OLA: Even I can’t sew my own costume. But it’s not like just because I can’t sew or do my own cosplay that means I can’t cosplay. You can always find a way to cosplay!
THAMES: I think everyone just said what I wanted to say. Just cosplay anything you like. In the beginning, I was thin and skinny, so I try to exercise and work out, to make myself gain more muscle for cosplay, and you can do it too. Just do what you want.
YUEGENE: I was fat too when I started cosplay ,75kg, and because I loved the character Toshiya from Dir En Grey (a visual kei band), he’s like my hero character, and I just wanted to be just like him.
OLA: So you got the motivation from him (Y: Yeah!) You can do push-ups every day, like 100 push-ups, you can do it!
YUEGENE: Yeah, to become like Saitama!
Q: So Thames, you’re the bassist of the band called Malerose, right? Could you tell us more about the band, like when did they debut and whether you were influenced by Visual Kei (the genre)?
THAMES: Yeah, so Malerose started maybe 10 years ago. At first, we were covering other bands like The Gazzete, and then we tried to make our own songs, and we became more professional.
Q: For Yuegene, how does it feel returning to Kuala Lumpur after 5 years? Do you feel there’s something different with the community in Malaysia now, compared to the last time?
YUEGENE: Not very different, they’re still very kind to me and I see a lot of people enjoy cosplay. But I’m seeing more activity, like cosplay dance covers, and the wotagei groups. It’s starting to become more popular in many countries, and Malaysia as well.
Q: For Ola, like Yuegene said, recently there’s a lot of J-Pop cover dance competitions popping up in Malaysia. As someone who does covers like these, do you have any tips for people who do these? Like how to keep their wigs on so they don’t fall off and such?
OLA: (laughs) Well if you’re talking about keeping your wig on when dancing, use a pin. Use lots of pins (laughs). It’ll make your head hurt, but if you want to perform, it will stay on your head. For the dancing itself, I think you should practice a lot in front of a mirror, so that you can see something like “When I do this, it looks correct, but I think it’ll look better if I do this.” And if you want to be better, you could see how much stamina or power you should put in every step, every move. But the first thing you need to know when you’re dancing, is that you need to enjoy it. When you don’t enjoy it, the people watching will not enjoy it. If you are enjoying it, people will be able to feel your excitement. Just practice a lot.
Q: For Fei Fei, what is the most complicated project that you have done so far?
FEI: The current one I’m wearing right now is the most difficult. Because it is very complicated and has too many details. Quite a lot of parts and materials are done differently compared to how I made previous costumes. And this is also the most expensive cosplay I did. Although the costume looks simple from the public or from the surface, but if one were to look through a professional’s eyes, you can see the little details, like how we used a more expensive material and a certain finishing way to craft, and also why we spent more time to get the details done instead of finishing it in a short time. But we all have the option on how we want to craft it. So for me if I wanted to make it, I’ll made it the best otherwise why would I bother to make it in the first place?
Q: Any last words you’d like to tell your fans or cosplayers out there?
THAMES: Thank you for supporting me, and I hope I can come back to Kuala Lumpur again.
YUEGENE: Don’t be toxic to others. Just enjoy cosplay. Don’t enjoy too much drama, enjoy cosplay, that’s the important thing. Love everybody.
OLA: For me, for you guys, gambatte kudasai. You guys can do everything, don’t let everyone bother you, and I love you guys so much.
FEI: I welcome everyone to come join and enjoy cosplay. Don’t listen too much toxic things on the Internet. I know it is quite hard but try to distant yourself. So just enjoy cosplay with the right positive mind & attitude, love yourself, do what you love most and don’t think too much on other people’s comments and views.
With that, we would like to thank all of them for the splendid interview session. Hope they would be an inspiration for you to wake up, get up and get out there while facing your fears straight on.
Also, just remember this. The people you admire now, had their own beginning story and struggles like us to make it to where they are today. So, if they can do it? I don’t see why we can’t too! Write your own story and maybe one day we’ll be interviewing you too! xD
Do follow Thames Malerose, Yuegene Fay, Ola Aphrodite and Coscat Props on their social media too!
Thames Malerose: https://www.facebook.com/thames.page/
Yuegene Fay: https://www.facebook.com/YuegeneFayOfficial/
Ola Aphrodite: https://www.facebook.com/OlaAphrodite/ Coscat Props: https://www.facebook.com/COSCAT/
Want to know what went down at Star Supa as a whole? Check out our event coverage article here!