When I first started this site I had a goal of being able to support local cosplayers as much as I could no matter their kill level or popularity. I very briefly met cosplayer Luluko at Phoenix Comicon a few months ago in her version of Captain America which was very well done. This is another chance to support a local cosplayer who you can see at the end of the month at Saboten Con.
If you can’t make Saboten you can see her at other local cons:
Comic & Media Expo in Mesa
Librarycon in Gilbert
TaiyouCon in Mesa
DevCon in Glendale
To find out more info on other cons you can catch Luluko at, check her out on social media
LoS: What character did you find appealing enough to make you start cosplaying?
lulu: That’s a good question, and I’m struggling to remember! I don’t think it was any one particular character that made me want to cosplay, I just knew it was something I wanted to do practically the minute I found out that it was a thing. The Yu-Gi-Oh fandom was actually what helped me discover cosplay, so I think the first character I really wanted to cosplay was Yuusei from Yu-Gi-Oh 5D’s. Though if I could pull off a tall, menacing string bean, I would cosplay Kaiba in a heartbeat.
LoS: How much time have you dedicated to learning new techniques of costume making or working with new materials?
lulu:It’s hard to put an exact number on it. I began cosplaying in 2009 and became much more serious about craftsmanship in early 2010, but even though I don’t have much artistic ability, I’ve always been a crafter. When I was younger I hand-sewed quite a bit and I always liked drawing and class art projects. Since then most of my free time has gone to cosplay crafting. When I was in school I couldn’t wait to get out of class, finish my homework (or… ignore it completely…) and get to work on something. Now that I’m graduated, I start working on things almost the second I get in the door after work. That probably sounds really pathetic… but I’ve never found anything I enjoy as much as trying out new materials or improving the techniques I already know – except for proudly wearing the finished product. I’ve already learned a lot and I’m always wanting to learn more.
LoS: Do you have a dream cosplay that you really want to do?
lulu:I have a few of them! I’m working on one right now but keeping it secret in case I completely fail at it. I’ve attempted to make a couple versions of Saber previously and not done very well, so my dream is to come back to them someday and make them beautifully. Aside from that, Aigis from Persona 4 Arena, Dlanor A. Knox from Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Championship Riven and Ironscale Shyvana from League of Legends round out that list… for now!
LoS: Do you have a favorite Arizona based convention? Favorite out of state convention?
lulu: In state, probably SabotenCon. The last two years were a little iffy for me on a personal level, but I love to see how it grows every year. I began attending Sabo in its second year and I’m so impressed with how far its come since then. I started following the World Cosplay Summit more seriously this year so I’m thrilled that Sabo is hosting one of the qualifiers for 2015. Sabo usually ends my convention year, so it’s nice to finish it off with a con that’s big enough to be entertaining but close enough to home to feel more laid-back. But I’ll always have a very soft spot for Con-nichiwa’s first four years! I know it needed to move to a bigger space, but I love the old hotel.
Out of state, hands down, my favorite is Fanime. I started going to Fanime three years ago and it’s the con I look forward to the most. San Jose is beautiful, there are so many great photo shoot locations and lots of wonderful cosplays to go with them. I get to see so many of my friends and favorite cosplayers too. I’ve also run panels at Fanime two years in a row now, and it’s easily one of my favorite cons for hosting programming
LoS: How do you enjoy the cosplay scene in Arizona and do you want to see reach the same level of popularity seen in places like Los Angeles?
lulu: The Arizona cosplay scene is exciting to watch because not too long ago it was practically nothing. I started cosplaying and attending cons just as things started to expand – SabotenCon was having its second run, Phoenix Comicon moved to the convention center, and Con-nichiwa started up all within my first year as a cosplayer. It’s very exciting to see it grow. However, I don’t think it will ever be like the California scene. California has (generally) better weather, and there are so many cons and smaller cosplay events across the state that the culture thrives in a way that’s very unique (at least from my perspective, as I scroll through my Facebook feed watching my California friends doing all the things). It also helps that so much of the entertainment industry is there, including anime and video game companies. So, no, I don’t think the Arizona scene will ever be like California’s, but I definitely don’t see that as a bad thing. I like the “small/big” feel we have here especially with our anime conventions. I returned to Phoenix Comicon for the first time in a few years this year, and really disliked how crowded it was. But I enjoy how our anime cons have stayed small enough that you can find your friends easily while bringing guests you’d typically see at a larger event. I’m sure that will change eventually, so I’m glad to experience things the way they are now.
LoS: What’s the one thing you find the most enjoyment in when it comes to cosplaying?
lulu: As I already said, I really enjoy making things, so what’s really exciting to me is collaborating with others to make something we couldn’t do on our own. As pretentious as it sounds, I truly see cosplay as an art form – it fuses performance and modeling, makeup and styling, sewing and tailoring, painting and sculpting, and so many other things. How could it not be art? So I love when I meet someone who has a different skill set who can help me express myself in a way I couldn’t otherwise, whether it’s a photographer, videographer, fashion designer, Photoshop wizard, stylist, or even just someone cosplaying the same series who wants a hallway shot or two. Most of the people I’ve collaborated with are my friends or become my friend in the process, and it’s just great to be surrounded by a circle of people who are talented, inspiring, and altogether rad.
LoS: I’m a big foodie so I always try to throw in a food question, do you have a favorite restaurant in Phoenix?
lulu: Right now I’m obsessed with Umami, a ramen shop in Tempe! It’s right by ASU and my favorite comic shop, Pop Culture Paradise. It’s decently-priced, wonderfully delicious, and the service is always great. They managed to find some really rad people to work there and the atmosphere is cool and relaxed, so I always enjoy stopping by. (By the way, if you love food, Fanime is a great con for that. Psycho Donuts and Original Gravity Public House NOM NOM NOM)