Silent Hill, CatWoman, and Howl Jenkins by Luirae Cosplay, Canada/Taiwan
Welcome back geeks to our Cosplay Interview Series! This weekend will be a lot better with some scintillating works of our next featured cosplayer. She’s representing two countries which are Canada and Taiwan. Her cosplay work is pretty much magnetic to the eyes including Bubble Head Nurse cosplay of Silent Hill, Catwoman, Celty of Durarara, and Howl Jenkins.
One of my favorite characters in anime films from Howl’s Moving Castle. Another favorite is her Overwatch cosplay of Tracer that brought my attention as well. She has tons of cosplay works on her page that you would truly be amazed. Among them are from Vocaloid, Legend of Zelda, Evangelion, Future Diary, Danganronpa, Sailor Moon and a lot more.
I would like to thank again Ms. Rae for taking this Cosplay interview and sharing your experiences with us! For sure you’ll be able to touch other cosplayers heart, inspired and motivate them more.
Thank you so much! more success and more projects to come!
Luirae Cosplay, Canada/Taiwan
Hey, I’m Rae, and currently studying Neuroscience and Animal Physiology in Canada. I originally started cosplaying around 2010 in Taiwan and moved to Canada for higher education in 2014. I’ve been very fortunate to have experienced such a diverse range of cultures and cosplay communities.
I am very happy to be a part of both Taiwanese and Canadian communities. I like to cosplay a big range of characters and genres: horror, a slice of life, video games, comic books/superheroes, and of course, anime.
And I do both male and female cosplays. I’ve attended cons in both Taiwan and Canada like Taipei’s Comic World Taiwan, Fancy Frontier and Petit Frontier and Canada’s Anime North, FanExpo, and March Toronto Comic Con: all of which I really love.
My friends were obsessed with Kuroshitsuji back in middle school (itty bitty teens at 12-13 years old) and one of them wanted to try cosplaying so she recruited our geek group to get costumes for all the Kuroshitsuji characters.
It was an intensive project! Since we didn’t know of online resources, we went to a local tailor to get it custom-made so it cost me a pretty penny. (aka my entire middle school allowance for a few months haha)
My first cosplay was Grell and really enjoyed cosplaying with the crew. Most of them now fell out of cosplay and anime in high school so I’m the last one who actively did it till now. The thing that really got me going was the creativity and the idea I could be someone else for a day.
I became more involved with the cosplay community and I found a place where I belonged and never looked back.
The first Con I cosplayed was way back in 2011 called Comic World Taiwan – a bimonthly convention that happens in Taipei. I did a casual version of America from Axis Hetalia Powers and got a friend from our aforementioned cosplay group to come and help take photos for me.
Recalling that moment, it was very hot (as per the usual with Taiwanese weather) so I soon realized that if I wanted to wear anything extra nice to conventions in Taiwan, I’d have to prepare for all the sweat after. I don’t think I have really traveled that far for conventions (not counting the trip I made across the globe for university).
The only time I did was from Taipei (northern region of Taiwan) to Taichung (middle of Taiwan) which was around a 4-6 hour bus ride. I’m not a fan of traveling and commuting so I try to avoid it. But if there’s a really good Con.
Kanda Yu photo by Instant Tofu Photography
I was very keen on thrifting and reusing old clothing when I started, and I still do to this day. My first ‘hand-sewn’ cosplay was Gakupo from Camellia in 2010/2011 where I cut off the sleeves of a blazer and hemmed the edges by hand. The first cosplay that was entirely made by myself was in 2012 for Fleeting Moon Flower (yet another Vocaloid cosplay) where I experimented with brocade, pleather and various types of lace and gold trim.
Over the course of these past 8 years, I’ve made, modified and cosplayed around 90 outfits by now. (Sounds like a lot but that’s realistically like 11 annually) Even after all these years, I still thrift and modify a lot if I can.
I find it the most affordable and fastest alternative so I can avoid the hassle of making things from scratch. I am not a fan of making props (just because I don’t have the tools or space for them) so I focus more on costume construction. Every output is made by myself through tracing clothing I already own and changing it up from there. A lot of my process is trial and error so I end up learning a bit on my own!
My favorite ones would be Bubble Head Nurse from Silent Hill (2014) and Asuka from Evangelion 3.33 (which I didn’t make but still love it anyway)
Howl Jenkins photo by kkcharisse
Since I cosplay male characters, being someone who has boobs I obviously need to chest bind and flatten them out to look convincing. I wasn’t as familiar with this technique when I started cosplaying male characters in 2012 (I wasn’t aware there are specific chest binders for this).
So I used ACE bandages, the type of elastic fabric used for compressing sprains (and NOT boobs). I had it on for a good 5 hours and was unable to breathe properly at the end of the day. I recall specifically just lying on my bed and gasping for air after the con so I quickly learned to pick up a legit binder so I couldn’t damage my chest anymore.
I also look up to them as people: they both have really positive attitudes and are so friendly to friends and fans and they have great careers outside of cosplay yet still manage to balance work and hobbies. They are exactly what I strive to be as a cosplayer and a person.
Definition of Cosplayer
Catwoman photo by Brett Ida
Cosplay to me is a form of creativity and fantasy. My entire academic life I have constantly been engrossed in studying science. I hardly had an outlet for art and fashion stuff so I managed to find that through cosplay.
I really wanted to create cool costumes and images that present a fantasy, unique side to me. It felt like I couldn’t really be myself in high school (think Mean Girls style) so I could express my geeky side without fear of judgment at conventions in costume.
I have been so lucky to have made so many great friends along the way who taught me so many things as well and I think that’s a big part of what cosplay is to me as well.
Unfortunately, do not compete or guest at conventions because I am focused on completing my degree and can’t allocate as much time as I’d like. However, allow me to digress. I actually became a fashion model thanks to my cosplay.
My first agency, in fact, found me through my cosplay page and called me in for an interview. I became agency represented in 2016 and found a whole new community to explore my creative ideas in.
Since I have experience in cosplay already, I knew how to pose and present myself in this industry. I have incorporated cosplay into my modeling portfolio and modeling in my cosplay photo shoots and I have since been published in several magazines and walked a few runway shows.
I’m still considered new to modeling but I am very happy with where I am now.
Piece of Advice
Don’t be afraid to thrift! I am so happy that there are so many online resources that are so accessible to young cosplayers. However, those outfits might be a bit costly (and/or teenagers do not have access to credit cards and other forms of online payments) so thrifting is always a great idea.
Sewing things from scratch seem so intimidating at first so it’s never a bad idea to start small and work your way up, picking up tricks and ideas here and there. And of course, just have fun with it.
Sometimes the outfit may turn out gorgeous just as you planned but sometimes you need to take shortcuts because of budget or time constraints. Don’t beat yourself over it if that happens though. At the end of the day, we are all just chilling in costumes and all love geeky stuff.
I love to attend conventions in Toronto, Canada and I try to make it to as many as them as my time allows. This year. I also visit Taiwan often so I very likely will be at Comic World Taiwan, Fancy Frontier, and Petit Frontier this summer.
If anyone is interested in collaborating with me as a model (outside of cosplay), feel free to send me a DM! My model portfolio is on My Tumblr Account. Many thanks!
I wouldn’t have made it this far without the collaborative efforts of my photographers so I would like to give extra thanks and love to them as well.
Silent Hill, CatWoman, and Howl Jenkins by Luirae Cosplay, Canada/Taiwan