Interview with Stupig Don & Lamp Post – Pop Culture Hiroshima 2020/2021’s Team Malaysia

Stupig Don and Lamp Post are a cosplay duo from Malaysia who recently represented the country at Pop Culture Hiroshima Online 2021. The pair have been a part of the cosplay community since 2015, with Don in particular having won a number of local cosplay competitions, including Season4Otaku 2019, Cosmart 2019, LEVEL UP KL 2020, and more.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with them to learn more about their experiences with cosplay competitions! Keep reading for the full interview below.

Disclaimer: Translated from Mandarin to English by THE MAGIC RAIN. Answers may be edited for clarity of reading and comprehension.

What inspired you to begin cosplaying?

We attended a local convention, Comic Fiesta, for the first time in 2014. At the time, we thought that the cosplayers there were really cool and beautiful. They were really impressive to us. So, we decided to give it a try, because we wanted to learn more and experience what cosplay was all about. We first started cosplaying at Comic Fiesta in 2015 as Garry and Mary from Ib.

Lamp Post as Garry (left) and Stupig Don as Mary (right)

What do you like most about cosplay and the cosplay community?

We love that through cosplay, we get to dress up and act as our favourite characters. Plus, we can also get to know other cosplayers though this hobby. Through cosplay, we’ve been able to get to know new friends who share the same interests as us, as we have many things in common to talk about. Even if we don’t know each other, we can still start a conversation by talking about the characters we’re cosplaying as. It’s even more exciting when you meet someone who’s cosplaying from a less popular series that you love.

You cosplayed as Tanjiro and Nezuko from Demon Slayer for Pop Culture Hiroshima 2020. How long did it take you to prepare for the competition and what was the process like?

There were about 4-5 months in between when we first planned to enter the competition to the actual event day itself. Before the competition, we studied the winning entries from every country that participated in 2019 for direction and inspiration. However, as Pop Culture Hiroshima was only founded in 2017, we didn’t have much material to refer to. As a result, we also referred to video submissions from a local competition, Cosplay Invitational.

As I (Don) decided to make my own Nezuko costume from scratch, it took me longer than usual to prepare for this competition. It took me about 2 months to complete Nezuko’s costume, even though I rushed to work on it every day as soon as I came home from work.

The making of Nezuko’s costume: drawing out the pattern on fabric (pic. 1), sewing on the pattern using black thread (pic. 2), making the haori and yukata (pic. 3)

At the same time, Lamp Post would work on creating the props, stage backdrops, audio and other small details for the competition. However, as Lamp Post is not used to making his own costumes, he decided to purchase his instead.

In total, from studying other competition entries, to searching for inspiration, preparing the script, making props, practicing the skit, and so on, we took about a month to prepare for the event. After completing all of those details, for the entire month leading up to the competition, we practiced every single day.

You’ve participated in both online and on-ground cosplay competitions. In your opinion, are there any differences between the two?

There are some similarities between them. You have to show what you want to express within a certain time limit. Both types of competitions require you to put in a lot of hard work and effort. Online competitions usually involve submitting pictures or videos, while on-ground competitions usually involve a cos-walk/pose-off, or performing a skit.

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Stupig Don’s previous entries for different types of competitions – an online competition, AniManGaki Online 2021 (pic. 1) and an on-ground competition, Season4Otaku 2019 (pic. 2). Photos taken by Lamp Post.

With online competitions, you have more chances to correct your mistakes, as you can edit your photos or videos to their best quality before submitting them to be judged. However, besides preparing your costume, makeup and props, you also need to scout for your own locations and sets. Due to the pandemic, we have a limited number of available locations, so we usually have to do our best with preparing for competitions at home.

As for on-ground competitions, they can feel much more competitive, so it’s easy to feel nervous. As you only have one chance to perform on stage, you can’t make mistakes, so this can make you feel even more anxious. At the same time, even if you’re fully prepared, you may end up making mistakes due to stage fright. Sometimes you may forget to bring some small props, so you’ll be forced to borrow from someone else or look for a replacement at the last minute.

Have you faced any challenges with cosplaying during the pandemic?

Stupig Don: As there are no ACG events during the pandemic, it’s made me feel a bit lazier. As a result, my skills haven’t developed much. I’ve been procrastinating on many things as I don’t feel inspired to work on them. Also, since I’ve been trying to make my own costumes as much as possible, the biggest challenge I’ve faced during the pandemic is that I can’t go out to buy my own fabric! Without ACG events, it’s also been hard to meet up and talk to friends, which can feel quite depressing.

Lamp Post: Since I’ve been working from home during the pandemic, I feel like I’ve become less interested in the ACG community. As the pandemic prevents us from attending ACG events in person, it’s also made life a lot less interesting. Many shops have also been forced to close, which makes it difficult to produce cosplay props.

Lastly, do you have any advice for someone that wants to try cosplaying for the first time?

If you want to try cosplaying, you can start by cosplaying a character that you love or are familiar with. Nowadays, the Internet is so advanced that you can easily purchase costumes, wigs, and so on online. You can also watch makeup tutorials online to improve your makeup skills. You can also try taking photos of yourself to see if your poses or expressions suit the character, and also refer to the source material to improve on your weaknesses.

Of course, talking to other cosplayers about your favourite topics can help to make things more fun. At the same time, you can share your experiences with other cosplayers. The most important thing about cosplay is to express your love for the character and the series!

We’d like to thank Stupig Don and Lamp Post once again for participating in this interview! Be sure to support them using their links below.

Stupig Don: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Lamp Post: Facebook

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