Cosplayer of the week – SJBonnar

sjbonnar02

Game of Thrones fan, The Gadget Show star and London Anime Con’s cosplay guest reveals all!

How did you become involved with cosplay?
Well, some friends and I went along to the London MCM Expo in 2005, saw a few cosplayers and thought that it looked like fun. So we threw together some shoddy costumes for the next event and thus, we began cosplaying!

What is your favourite cosplay?
It’s virtually impossible to narrow down! I loved being Ice King recently, but I love Robert Baratheon too and the reaction it gets. I also really adore my Jiraiya and Alucard costumes and Steampunk in general!

sjbonnar01What inspires you to choose your next cosplay?
Usually I’m hit by an amazing show/game/movie/animé and just feel attached to a specific character. Sometimes it’s a suggestion from a friend or even a follower on my page. Sometimes it’s that the likeness is uncanny (see Parker Luciani who is an upcoming costume) Sometimes it’s an amazing group I’ve been invited to!

What future cosplays do you have in store for us?
There are a few new ones headed inward for September onwards! I have an original concept Russian Assassin from Assassin’s Creed as part of the Birds of Truth’s “Assassins Through Time” project that I’m really excited about! I am also going to be Edward Kenway from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and I really want to make a Parker Luciani costume from Resident Evil: Revelations! Then again (and this one hasn’t been announced anywhere else yet!) I am also planning on cosplaying Harold Ziddler from Moulin Rouge! I love that movie and his outfits are awesome! Plus I’ll have a stunning Satine in Frederia La Noir and I’m hoping to snag myself a Green Fairy too…

What do you find the biggest challenge when making your cosplays?
Time. My biggest battle right now is lack of time hence the sudden surge in commissions I’ve been going for. I’m hoping to do something rather massive in 2014 though…well, two massive things!

sjbonnar 03When you’re not cosplaying or at a convention what can we find you doing?
I really enjoy writing, though my job is taking up so much of my time lately that I’ve had less and less time to do so. I really enjoy gaming, which is something I’ve been catching up on! I’m soon going to be giving LARPing a try, which I’m honestly pretty excited about!

You recently appeared on The Gadget Show, which aired on Channel 5 recently, how did this opportunity arise?
Word of mouth from both sides! Apparently I was suggested to the production company but I had also heard about the open call through some of my friends. I was glad that they wanted me to come along! Especially as some amazing friends were there too like Alias Cosplay and Dragonfly Cosplay!

What was this experience like, would you like to do similar things again? 
I would love to do similar things in the future! I was also asked to come along to the One Show but I didn’t feel I had an appropriate costume but saw some other amazing cosplayers on there like AlienQueen who definitely represented the Sci-fi genre better than I!

sjbonnar04Would you ever take cosplaying as a ‘hobby’ to a more professional level?
I am not planning on taking it to a professional level as I feel I am not good enough. I also don’t want to spoil my love for it -the minute cosplaying feels like a job, I’m out!

What advice would you give to those seeking a professional career through their cosplay?
I guess, make yourself known but don’t appear desperate. Make sure you’re good at what you do, make sure you are honest. Read up as much as you can on various techniques and decide what it is you want to be known for. A career in cosplay is extremely rare. You either need to be good at business and offering something unique or exceptionally good at marketing yourself. Ideally, both!

There is the growing concern of ‘cosplay bullying’ have you experienced this?
I don’t think there’s a single cosplayer out there who hasn’t had, “You’re too fat/thin/tall/short/masculine/feminine/ugly to cosplay that character!” at some point in their time cosplaying. The truth is, cosplay is a very diverse hobby and like in life, you get your amazing people and your assholes.

What advice would you give someone who had experienced this?
Push through and ignore it. If you know who the people are, cut them out of your life. If you don’t, ignore them. Cosplay is FUN. People who try and stop you having fun are usually sad, pathetic people who are having a miserable time themselves. Don’t let them steal away something you love.

sjbonnar05What changes have you seen in the cosplay community over the years you have been participating?
It’s changed drastically. It was once a collection of people doing something they loved simply for the joy of it. Now it is often used as a stepping stone to something else. Models use it to become wider known, businesses use it to push sales, people use it to become “known” etc.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing per say just that it is certainly different from how it was. Cosplay guests are a relatively new idea and it’s certainly different to how relatively few cosplayers there were in the past.

Do you find being in cosplay gives you more confidence?
Absolutely! You’re stepping into someone else’s shoes, being someone different for a day. You’re in front of cameras and people are telling you that your costume and characterization is good. Its an amazing feeling. What other field could someone who looks like me ever be described as a “model” for example?

What advice would you give a first time con-goer?
Try and meet new people! The experience is infinitely better when being shared with others! I’ve met my best friends (and girlfriend) through cosplay! Don’t be shy, but also don’t be insane. There’s a difference between casually saying hi to someone and complimenting their costume and running up to someone, glomping them and screaming how much you love them!

sjbonnar06How did you feel being asked to be a London Anime Convention Guest?
I was honoured! I mean, the other guests are people I literally look up to and admire. I don’t feel as though I’m in their league at all! Then to be asked to come to LFCC and help spread the cosplay love…it’s just been amazing!

What do you have in store for us at London Anime Con?
I’m mostly there to meet fantastic cosplayers! I’m hoping to impart some advice and useful tips to new cosplayers, hang out at the Cosplay Social and just chat with amazing people!

I’ll likely be bringing my Haytham Kenway costume out to play again as I LOVE being an assassin! (almost called him something else but that may be considered a spoiler!)

Overall, I’m just looking forward to hanging out with the brilliant crowd at LAC and the other fantastic Cosplay Stars!

Keep updated with SJBonnar Cosplay

Meet SJBonner at London Anime Convention