“I feel great seeing myself looking in the mirror as the character”

Corinne was surrounded by people when I tried to find out more about her costume. But people kept coming to take a picture of her or together with her. She eventually gave me her email to talk about her presence at The San Francisco Anime Festival that happened in July.

What’s your story?

My name is Corinne Young, I am 25 years old and I’m from Santa Clara, California. I discovered this culture at a really young age, when I watched anime on VHS tapes and  on TV. I really loved the shows I watched back then. Also, I got inspired by other cosplayers and got to go to my first anime convention in 2008. 

Can you tell me about a special moment related to this activity? 

One of the special moments I experienced was seeing a little kid react excitedly to me playing the Nyotengu since that’s his favorite character from the game. He talked to me as if I was the actual character and he was happy and excited to meet me. It seemed like he wanted to hang out with me all day.

Cosplay is a word that means “costume play” in the anime community. Anime is not only Japanese animation because there are many other types. But many people think it’s only associated with Japanese style art.

There are many gatherings and conventions to make friends and form long time relationships. There are many cosplayers that are very serious about their costumes, and they compete in contests. There are also professional cosplayers that do it for a living. And there are cosplayers that do it just for fun, like myself. Cosplay is a worldwide hobby, and there are many conventions around the world.

Why do you love dressing up?

It’s part of my life because it’s fun, you get to meet people, make friends, and I love dressing up. I feel thrilled to be as accurate as I can, looking like any character I’m playing.

The reactions I get from friends and family are very positive. They’re very proud to see that I have a hobby I really enjoy. They compliment me on my costumes on my social media and in person.

Why do you relate to a character? 

I relate to characters because sometimes I like their outfits, or their facial features, their personalities, or because they look similar to me. It’s fun to play a villain because I’m not like that at all. I’m very friendly, outgoing, polite, and sweet. While the Nyotengu is sarcastic, rude, arrogant, cynical, and harsh. That’s why it’s fun to cosplay as a villain.

What’s the story of your costume?

The costume is meant to resemble the Nyotengu from the game. She’s a female version of a Japanese tengu demon from ancient Japanese folklore.

When I develop a costume design, sometimes I get inspiration from other cosplayers, or from fan art. Sometimes it can take the longest way to figure out how to do it. There’s a lot of trial and error that can happen during the making. 

My mom helped me make the Nyotengu costume by ordering an ordinary plain kimono. Then we took it apart, made separate sleeves, got it hand painted, and then we sewed on embroidery appliqués. The hairpiece was added to a headband and sculpted to it. The hair ornaments were hand beaded as well. 

The wooden sandals called geta were ordered from an online website called Rakuten and were spray painted, and decorated with round bells. The fabrics we used were nylon and bitik. We worked on it all at home. It was really fun because my mom’s so supportive and enthusiastic of my hobby and is always there for me when I need help. She’s a wonderful mom. She’s very nice, funny, supportive, and will always look after those she loves.

How did you enjoy the festival?

The day at the festival was really fun and exciting for me. I saw a lot of my friends, made new friends, participated in a cosplay show, and took pictures with other cosplayers and people at the event. 

It took an hour and a half to get my makeup on, get dressed and do my hair. A lot of people were amazed that I can walk in the one arched geta sandals all day. People’s mouths were open looking surprised and amazed, and I got nice compliments telling me how they loved my costume. 

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