Let’s delve right into it, shall we? What new bits of wisdom can we get from Hannahkins and hey; what can she tell us about her cosplays and I even pose a tougher question of creative freedom in cosplay.
Interview with the Cosplayer – Hannahkins
Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! As is customary of this series, please could you introduce yourself?
A: Thank you for the warm welcome. Hi everyone. I’m Hannah Elizabeth Torry also known as Hannahkins from Hannahkins Cosplay. I’m 21. From Cornwall in the UK and seeing as I’m here it’s obvious I’m a cosplayer.
Q:You frequent Anime League and indeed the Cosplay section. How did you first get into cosplaying? What was the drive behind it?
A: Well, it all began during my first convention, London Anime Con 5 in Summer of 2012. I couldn’t sleep so was sat in the corridor of the hostel and after a while was joined by the lovely Jess, who is a staff member for the forums and cons. We got chatting and I commented on all the amazing cosplays and how I’d love more than anything to join in and cosplay, but was too scared to because of my size and shape. Back then I didn’t know about how big cosplay was in all shapes and sizes around the world. But after some persuading from Jess that night I decided to make my first cosplay which was of course, Eevee from the Pokemon series.
I decided I didn’t want to show my shape or figure at first so chose to do a Kigurumi style cosplay. My only issue was I didn’t have a clue where to start! I asked for help in the Cosplay section on the forums and got some amazing help and made many friends along the way. After 3 weeks and 1 week before my second convention, London Anime Con 7 in Summer 2013 I completed my first cosplay! I was so proud! My parents helped me more than I expected or asked and was over the moon when I wore it to the con for the first time! I even had compliments from the judges after the cosplay masquerade!
As for the drive behind it; Well that was mainly down to my love for the characters and the awe I had for other cosplayers! My confidence was so low I wanted to find a way to boost that and have fun. I wanted to prove to myself that I can do things that other people can. The feeling I got after my first cosplay was the best thing I could have imagined! I just couldn’t stop after just one so my drive for it grew!
Q: Cosplaying is a broad subject which interests many people for different reasons. What do you feel you get from cosplaying? Do you feel you get more from the community than you could give back; or do you feel you try to give back to the community as good as you get from it?
A: As I said in my last answer it’s the feeling of confidence and being proud of something I’ve created that I get out of it mostly. I get the confidence back I had lost in my school years previously, cosplay has changed me for the better and I’m so grateful to everyone’s support because I wouldn’t be here without it. I just give what I can to the community and anything and everything I get back I put into my heart and try even harder. People like my cosplay so I aim to do better each time. I want to make people smile and make them happy but also get something out of it for my self as well. Cosplay does this in so many ways for me.
Q: Have you picked up any new skills on the way to becoming a cosplayer, or are all of the skills you use just regular skills for you? What kinds of skills do you use as a cosplayer?
A: Don’t really know if these are skills or not but I’ll say them as they have some meaning to them. I’ve learnt to not be so hard on myself, go for things I want and not be held back by my confidence. I have learnt where and when to save money. I learnt how to sew better and how to find items for cosplays. I learnt to be myself when I want to be and open up to people better. I already had acting and performance skills, as have been part of a dramatics group since I was 3 and also studied Performance and Dramatic Arts in secondary school for my GCSEs.
Skills I use as a cosplayer are mainly my acting and performing skills. Once I get on stage or have to be in character I’ll lose myself in the role. I do all I can and try my best, it’s all I can really do. When making cosplays, I try to use all the skills I use on a daily basis and others I’ve learnt along the way.
Q: We ask this question of everyone who takes part in this series so please forgive me if there are many; but what costumes have you made? What was your favourite and least favourites amongst them?
A: Ok right. I think I’ll make a short list of all cosplays completed and planned as there isn’t many at all. (In order first to most current project.)
Eevee from Pokemon. Completed July 2013.
Stuttgart Loki from The Avengers Assemble. Completed February 2014 for London Anime & Gaming Con.
Suited Loki from Thor. Completed February 2014 for London Anime & Gaming Con.
Causal Captain Steve Rogers which is a mix of my own version from The Avengers Assemble for Alcon 2014.
Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony, which is still currently being put together for Alcon 2014.
I also have a secret project I am planning to begin after Alcon 2014.
As for my favourite and least favourite, I’m not actually sure.
I think as it was my first, Eevee will be my favourite but my Loki cosplays are amazingly fun to do and be in so will have to join the favourites.
My least favourite might have to be Steve Rogers because it’s not come out how I wanted it to and it needs a bit of redoing. I’m just not as happy with it as I wanted. Though I love the wig. Well see what happens at Alcon.
Q: You’ve been a member of Anime League for a few years now. What has the community meant to you in general? Has having that community made any difference in your life?
A: Been a member of Anime League for 2 and a half years now. Wow time flies! I call AL my second home! Thanks to the world of Anime League I have made and met some AMAZING people and am happy to call them my friends. I have never been happier since joining the site. I was in a bad frame of mind and state before joining and even though there has been a few downs since then, the ups have been the best. I couldn’t have asked for a better community to join. I love the forums with a passion and will never leave. In general the forums have given me more life and confidence than I could have ever thought possible a few years ago.
Q: Once the costume is off and the crafting is done, what are you like as a person? Is it different to the cosplayer side of you; or are you and the cosplaying you “one and the same” as it were?
A: I’m not actually sure. The cosplay and non cosplay side of me is pretty normal. I think that when I’m in costume I get into and out of character better but out of costume I’m still the same just the acting isn’t as easy. When I have to be in character I’ll completely change, but that’s only the acting and performing side of me. Everything else is just, well, me. I think I’m a little of both.
Q: Another important question for a cosplayer is to do with conventions. I’ve not been to many myself; how many conventions have you been to? Which ones are they and what did you think of them?
A: I have been to 4 conventions over all so far, next is Alcon. I’ll list them in order of which I’ve been to and tell their stories. I like lists:
London Anime Con 5, summer 2012 – My first convention and it was amazing! This is where my journey and my life really began. Made so many amazing new friends! Celebrated my 19th Birthday on the Sunday! Loved every moment! After this I just knew I wasn’t going to miss the next!
Sadly I did miss the next one; London Anime Con 6 which was in February 2013. I had to miss it due to being in a Pantomime the same weekend.
But summer 2013 was London Anime Con 7 and I had only just gotten my first paid job and was due to go on holiday the weekend after the con! I got the weekend off work and went to my second con with a good friend I had made on the forums that lived only 15 minutes away from me! :D Was his first con and my second! And we both loved it! Made new friends and met ones from year before! Had an amazing time! My first cosplay, Eevee, was debuted here and was loved by all! I cried like a baby when I had to leave!
Then came the big one; Alcon 2013, my first Alcon! I had to work like a horse for 4 weeks before but the moment it came to the week of the con, I was ready! I have family living close to Leicester so my parents drove me up so they could have a weekend away as well! Free travel! I stayed overnight with them and then got to Alcon the next day. All I can say is it was my best convention to date! I have never had more fun in my life, it was amazing! I cried during the whole 8 hour journey home on the Monday! Will never forget Alcon!
Then we come to the first London Anime and Gaming Con this February! I had decided to stay with my Aunt and Uncle in London for the beginning of the week and then the con for the weekend! I met up with my friend from Cornwall again and we had a great weekend! This is the convention my Loki cosplay came into action for the first time! The Sunday was the best; I met Tony Stark and Pepper Potts cosplayers and had a blast with them!
We and a few others are all amazing friends now and have developed a cosplay group for Alcon: Avengers Assemble for Alcon 2014. It will be as epic as my first Alcon was! I will never stop going to conventions now! I’m hooked and will go to the moon and back to see my friends whenever possible! Conventions are my home from home, my life wouldn’t be the same without them!
Q: Here on GeekOut South-West, we love to celebrate all geekdoms, no matter what they are. Other than cosplaying now then, what are your geekdoms? What are you really passionate about?
A: I have varied passions. Not sure these are all classed as Geekdoms but here is what I am passionate about! I love the Marvel world and most Disney and Pixar worlds. I have a love for a very random mix of things. I love Supernatural and My Little Pony thanks to my amazing friend Sarah! I really like TV shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock, also Top Gear and Mythbusters. I love movies, mainly comedy or animation. I love Anime and Manga as well of course. I love gaming, Pokemon mainly!
I love acting and performing. Singing. Dancing! Anything else… I love animals! I have 5 years of college training in Animal care! Cats! I’m crazy for cats! Love them all! Ahhh, so many things!
Q: One last question before you leave; you are this weeks “Super Sensei Guru”! A new cosplayer has approached you and she wants to cosplay as “Krystal” from the Star Fox franchise, but isn’t sure about doing a full body fur-suit for it. What are your thoughts on creative freedom with a costume and what would you advise this new cosplayer?
A: Oh wow! Ummm okay, not really sure how to answer this one…
Firstly I’d say “GO FOR IT!” If she is passionate about the character then she shouldn’t hold back and take control! If she doesn’t want to do a full body fur-suit then find an alternative. Find something she’s comfortable with and can work around. If a cosplayer isn’t happy with what they are wearing then it’s not going to be a fun experience. She could look into body paint or a lycra body suit. Even just normal clothes would work with the right altering and added parts. It could actually be a very successful cosplay if she finds other ways of putting it together.
Not all costumes like that have to be a fur-suit. My Eevee costume is a fleece kigurumi, could have done it as a fur-suit but for my first cosplay it was a perfect alternative. Overcoming these things is what makes cosplay rewarding!
If you worry about the way you’ll look too much you forget to have fun making it but once people see it finished you’ll get amazing compliments and it’s all worth it! Just do what you’re comfortable with! No one is going to laugh at you for making it to your needs. It’s your cosplay no one else’s. My thoughts on creative freedom explained just there I think.
We’d like to take the time to thank Hannah for joining us today. She’s certainly brought us a lot of enthusiasm in this interview!
No matter what your backgrounds are, all cosplayers tend to share the infectious enthusiasm with one another. Be it for the convention scene for be it for costuming in general. There’s also the fact that creative freedom is accepted within the cosplay scene, which is part of why there are so many diverse and wonderful people within the communities.
Hannah shared some wonderful stories with us and I hope that we can continue to get some more impassioned stories from more cosplayers, coming up soon in our next interview and beyond, in another Cosplayer Highlight!