Cosplayer of the week – Illyria Cosplay

ilyria 01This week I interviewed Illyria cosplay who shares her cosplay plans, love of all things Buffy and her fun shenanigans at SBOC

How long have you been cosplaying for and how did the hobby begin?

I have been cosplaying since May 2012 when my friend invited me to MCM Expo with her. She knew I loved dressing up and told me all about conventions so I threw some costumes together out of what I had lying around and old Halloween costumes. Since then I have been hooked! I taught myself to sew and make props to try to gain and develop skills each time I cosplayed.

illyria 03What cosplay is your favourite and why?
My favourite has to be my signature cosplay, Harley Quinn. She is the first cosplay I did and she is constantly getting improved and upgraded. Plus Harley Quinn is one of my favourite characters, I just love being her!

What inspires you to choose your next cosplay?
I pick characters I like and that I think I can portray well. I also love a challenge when it comes to making my cosplays so I try and go for more complex and better things each time. I aim to have at least one new cosplay at each convention.

What future cosplays do you have in store for us?
My dream cosplay for next year is to have my Inphyy from N3 – Ninety Nine Nights completed. I also really want to do a Mouth of Sauron cosplay. Even though I’m short I don’t care he just looks so evil and ugly I really want to do it 😛

What do you find the biggest challenge when making your cosplays?
I find I always leave things until the last minute and then end up rushing around trying to get it done. Happens every time but I always manage to pull it off. I seem to be lucky with that!

illyria 02You have previously cosplayed Vampire Willow and cosplaying Faith at Eurogamer, what is it about the show and these characters?
Buffy was one of the first TV shows I watched religiously and I absolutely love the characters! Vampire Willow is my all time favourite character in Buffy and one of my favourite episodes of Buffy is “The Wish” which is why I just had to cosplay her. Faith is seriously badass which is probably the main reason I want to cosplay her, plus my cosplay buddy Laura is doing Buffy and we like to match our cosplays.

Any more planned Buffy/Angel cosplays planned…perhaps Illyria herself?
Illyria is definitely on the cards. I love her to bits and didn’t want to make the costume until I felt my skills were up to it. They are coming close 😛 Just need a nice windfall and she will be done.

What is the best part about being in cosplay at a convention?
I love the social element, I have made so many friends at conventions since May 2012. They are such a lovely bunch of people and really make cosplay fun. I love seeing all the new costumes people have made and just hanging out in general really.

illyria 06Do you find it gives you more confidence?
It definitely gives me confidence, when I started out I was so shy talking to people and really nervous in front of the camera. But cosplay brings people out of their shells, you are surrounded by like minded, creative and awesome people. It definitely brought me out of my shell.

What advice would you give a first time cosplayer?
If you love a character enough you should cosplay whoever you like. Don’t be scared to ask for help and advice there are so many tutorials out there and I know when I was starting out I really appreciated all the help fellow cosplayers gave me 🙂

Have you ever experienced a time at convention (or online), where attendees have overstepped the mark and acted inappropriately?
Unfortunately I have, I try to avoid it online and not get involved but it is harder to avoid at conventions. I have had a few inappropriate comments aimed at me and general pervy behaviour from some people there. I also had a photographer not ask me to do a pose but try and position me himself and as a result he broke a part of my cosplay which was quite upsetting at the time but other than that most of my con experiences have been fun and without incident.

ilyria 05What advice would you give to others who have or may experience this?
With the online stuff don’t let what people say bring you down, they do it to spark a reaction and make you feel small when no one deserves that. At conventions I tend to just ignore it and it doesn’t seem to be an issue. I know people can say hurtful things but at the end of the day you just got to be happy with yourself. Forget what anyone else says.

What do you like doing at a convention?
Wondering around visiting my friends on their stalls, playing games if there is a gaming section or just sitting around chilling with friends. I do tend to arrange a lot of photo shoots over the time at the con with some of my photographer friends as well.

As well as a cosplayer, you are also a reporter for SBOC News, tell us a bit about this?
I have only recently become a part of SBOC but it involves interviewing cosplayers, gamers, artists and generally awesome people at conventions. The first thing I did with SBOC was visit Artyfakes with Daniel to do our own version of “cribs” called SBOC gaffs. Which was so much fun, they are such a lovely talented bunch and so welcoming I had a great weekend. I also did some solo coverage of Dublin Comic Con when I was visiting there.

Keep updated with Illyria Cosplay here 

Photo credits – Harley Quinn – AJ Charlton Photography, Hawkgirl – Darren Rowley Photography, Vampire Willow Paul Elder Designs– , Anastasia – W.A.C Photography