[Salty Feature] Ellemonade: From Closet Cosplays to a Full-Time Passion
When we look at cosplayers, some might think that it's an easy hobby - just don a costume, slap on some makeup, and strike a few poses right? What we don't see is the hours of work and expenses spent to create the final outcome - as well as the months or years of trial and error to finally hone the skills needed to produce a top-notch cosplay.
Adele, also known as Ellemonade. is one of the fastest rising stars in the local cosplay scene. What started out as a casual closet cosplay soon turned into a full-blown hobby, and cemented her as one of the mainstays of the local cosplaying community.
How and why did you get into cosplaying?
I initially started my very first cosplay entirely for fun. I grew up performing, so I always saw it as almost another form of expression and performing! Naturally, growing up with video games and loved characters, I wanted to try it at least once.
My first ever cosplay was a homemade closet cosplay of Xayah from League of Legends. At that time I was starting my college life and had little to spare, but it was super rewarding to be able to become a character that you love, admire and relate to so well!
Eventually I started filling in for people’s cosplay groups and met more and more cosplayers who had similar interests with me and found myself planning more and more cosplays without even second guessing it. And I guess it just snowballed from a one-time thing to a hobby, and eventually even paying my bills now!
Which is your favourite cosplay so far, and why?
My favourite cosplay so far would probably be Tifa, because Tifa is a character I remember seeing when I was about 5? Even with the blocky graphics of Final Fantasy 7 back then, I really enjoyed her character; how she is both strong, caring and feminine at the same time.
When I planned my cosplay for Tifa’s remake version, I wanted it to be perfect. I customized her from head to toe and even had a heavy exercise and diet regimen just to achieve her abs ;_;
But after all the hard work, her character was one of my favourites to portray and everything paid off - to the point I believe some would say that I’m Malaysia’s Tifa? But I don’t know - I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that title yet! *laughs*
Tell us about your own cosplay process
Everybody has a different cosplay process. For myself since, I am busy juggling my studies and streams I often have to commission my costumes or buy them; but if I need to, I craft minor details that need to be added to the finished costume.
As for character selection, I will pick characters that I relate to and also analyse their design and whether it’s suited to my taste and portrayal. As much as I love anime characters, video games are what owns my heart, so that is what I prioritise when choosing characters to cosplay as.
How much time and money do you spend on creating one cosplay?
My, my...each costume costs about RM400-RM1,000 depending on its complexity. Photography and photo shoots would cost an extra RM300 minimum. And if you’re looking to produce merchandise, that’s another RM300.
I would say the most expensive aspect is not a specific part but more of just the concept of quality. I know people who can buy the costume and cosplay it for RM200 and others who cosplay the same character for RM2,000, but of course the quality vastly differs.
Who are your favourite cosplayers?
When I first started, I really looked up to Kamui Cosplay and Stella Chuu for being so inviting when it comes to picking up cosplay and crafting. It’s their infectious personality that really encouraged me to invest into it.
L-R: Kamui Cosplay, Stella Chuu, Rikka Blurhound
Eventually, I started getting more serious in cosplay and started competing in cosplay walks and skits and met Rikka Blurhound. In my first ever skit, I got personal feedback from her and encouragement to assure me that I was on the right track. Since then, all of these names have inspired me to push forward and improve, costume by costume :)
What advice would you give to aspiring cosplayers?
Honestly, cosplaying is one of the most rewarding hobbies to have if you’re into geeky stuff and fun! But you will slowly realise that expenditures and burnouts are real.
For me, as long as you have a set principle and mindset of wanting to try something new and have fun, cosplay is really enjoyable - If not, why would I be doing it up til now? ;)
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