“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton
We love Cosplay, unabashedly so, and one of the cool things about hanging out at Cons is hearing why someone enjoys a character or genre. Cosplay is the biggest form of that flattery, and we aim to bring you the stories behind all those people in funky, fun dress up.
CosTalk Featuring Keren Lin
Keren tells her story all the way from Israel!
MoGT: Who is Keren Lin, tell us about why you Cosplay?
Keren: First of all, hi, I’m Keren, 21 years old from Israel. Been cosplaying since 2008. I usually make cosplays from video games and , sometimes some other stuff as well. I usually cosplay the “bad-ass” chick, the one that kick ass and is very cool, I rarely go for the “kawaii” type or the small cute one, cause I’m just not like that and I find it a lot easier for me to cosplay to a character I can relate in my character 😛
MoGT: What does cosplay represent for you?
Keren: Great question! Haha. Well cosplay for me is the freedom to create and be creative. I come from a world of acting and was preforming for 7 years while I was younger, after I quit acting I was looking for something else to “replace” it, or give me some kind of a similar feeling. Cosplay supplies just that and a lot more for me.
MoGT: What are your favorite events to attend? Tell us any good stories…
Keren: I love every event that my friends go to, cause let’s be honest – it’s all about the people you’re with! But my top favorite are the international cons I attend (Katsucon is my number 1) and cosplay gatherings, which are smaller, gives a great opportunity for a photo-shoot and to just hang out and derp with friends while in cosplay!
MoGT: How did you get your start and who’s your biggest supporter?
Keren: I started out when I was in 9th grade and actually owe it all to a group of people who I was friends with at the time. We played Final Fantasy X together and one of the girls (who got into cosplay with me and does cool stuff) showed us one day people dressed as Yuna and Tidus who are the main characters of the game. Both of us got super excited and I think she did the research and found out that it’s called “Cosplay” and that there is going to be a convention later that year in Israel. My first cosplay was made by a seamstress and was just awful, never talking about it! But it gave me the experience of dressing up to a con and getting amazing positive feedback from people, and that’s the only reason I kept on doing it!
MoGT: What are your biggest pet peeves while Cosplaying?
Keren: Late night crafting sessions. I’m a terrible morning person and can never work at my full speed on day time. When I’m in crunch time I will always pull all-nighters and work till the sun come up. I also can’t work in silence, I must have either music or my TV on while working, even if it’s something I don’t like, I just can’t stand silence!
MoGT: What’s the cosplay culture like where you’re from, do you have friends that cosplay as well?
Keren: Today I’m lucky enough to have plenty of friends from the cosplay community who I cosplay with and see on a regular base, one of them even works with me! Such a small country. As I said, I started out with who used to be my best friend, so I was very lucky to be able to share my passion with someone so close to me. The cosplay community here in Israel is very friendly and close to each other, since we’re a very small country we see each other all the time! The furthest I’ll need to travel to see someone is about two hours. So there are plenty of meetings and gatherings and it’s great to be part of it! The culture in cons is very pro-cosplay and the general public usually respond nice to seeing us walking down the street, though comic book and video games aren’t as big here as they’re in the states so people are usually less excited, but there’s always Disney for that.
MoGT: What are your hobbies outside of dressing up?
Keren: First and for most, I am a medic (EMT), I volunteer in the Israeli EMS called Maged David Adom for 5 years now. I call this a hobby since it is my second home, I have friends there who are like family to me and people who raised me. It’s my outlet, even from cosplay, I sometimes go there for quiet “me” time, as much as saving lives can be called quiet time. Other than that I love doing photography and videography, have been doing it professionally here and there when I get the chance, but not too much. I love playing video games (mostly LOL lately) and editing (pictures and videos) is another thing I enjoy
MoGT: How did your costumes come about, did you make them or do you have good shopping tips? If you design and create your own Cosplay tells us about the process.
Keren: I do make my own costumes, the only one I bought was my first one and not making that mistake again! The process usually starts with my having a crush on a design, then I sketch like a mad man and collect all the reference pictures and just start working! I don’t have anything special that I do, but I usually like starting with my props, it’s my favorite part and since I hate patterning for sewing I will always avoid it as much as I can. Even though I always try working by a schedule I usually fail miserably and pull a few all-nighters before an event.
MoGT: Do you have any favorite photographers you’ve worked with?
Keren: My top favorites will have to be: GQ Bravo, Kyle Mistry, Roy B.a, & Amit Stein the stuff I get from them are always mind blowing and they’re close friends. My favorite places to shoot vary from one cosplay to another, but I will always have a warm spot in my heart for Katsucon’s Gazibo ♥
MoGT: Cosplay is not consent is a huge movement Cosplayers are getting behind, what are your thoughts/experiences?
Keren: In 2012 when I was wearing my Dovhakiin cosplay for a con (not a very covering cosplay) I was having fun with friends and was standing on a skate board and trying to balance, while I was laughing with my friends a guy came behind me a smacked my butt laughing toward his friends. I immediately turned around yelling at him “No! What the hell do you think you’re doing?! This is not ok! Never ever do this again!” and a small amount of random people turned around to look at him. The guy felt bad and came to apologize right after the incident and a few more times during the con, since the incident was really upsetting to me I pushed him away every time he got near me and I want to believe it left its mark on him. Looking back I’m happy I responded that way, though feeling sorry I didn’t went to the manager of the con to report this person. I highly support the movement and I agree that no one should feel uncomfortable wearing a cosplay, no matter how skin showing it is. I only had one unfortunate experience in that field and luckily I was able to be strong and stand up against the person.
Keren: I’m not sure what are the next cosplays I’ll be working on, but one of them will hopefully be Pyrrha from RWBY! She’s just amazing. My next big event will be Katsucon 2015! I miss my American and Canadians friends so much and can’t wait to see them all again. Though before I’ll head to Katsucon I will attend a few local cons here in Israel.
MoGT: Are there any cosplayers that have inspired you or that you look up to?
Keren: I also look up to Volpin props, who is a fantastic props artist and a cool dude. Other cosplayers who I admire and get inspired by are Its Raining Neon, Ryoko Demon, Lightning Cosplay, and Yaya Han. Kamui Cos literally one of the best cosplayers out there today, an amazing crafter and a wonderful person! I had the pleasure of meeting her at last year’s Katsucon and am honored to be able to call her a friend today.
Cosplay on friends!