Conversations in Cosplay: Soo Cosplay Talks About Her Journey From Fancy Dress Enthusiast, To Cosplayer, To Streamer
Based just outside of Paris, Soo Cosplay is making waves in the French cosplay scene with her intricately detailed cosplays. While the accuracy and realism of her costumes and props could not be achieved with serious hard work and dedication, what really defines Soo is her sense of joyfulness and her love of play. Through cosplay, a lot of people find a way to connect with the part of them that still experiences the world with a sense of childlike wonder. Of all the cosplayers working today, Soo embodies that perfectly, creating cosplays with love above all else and letting the results speak for themselves.
We caught up with Soo to find out more about her creations and her drive to build them.
What got you into cosplaying?
Two things got me into cosplaying.
Firstly, my brother and I always dressed up as characters we liked. Either my mom sewed the costumes or my parents bought them, but I loved it. Tinker Bell, Princess Amidala, or just a regular knight. I wish I had pictures, haha.
Secondly, in France, we have this big convention called Japan Expo. Being really interested in manga, anime and such, I asked my parents if I could go, and I went with my dad. I’m pretty crafty by nature, always loved to make stuff with what I had, and when I saw all those people dressed as characters they loved, without any judgement… It was like, when you entered the doors of the convention, rules change, everybody can be who they want to be. I was pretty insecure back then so I found it incredible! I went two years in a row before I actually cosplayed myself.
What was the first character you ever cosplayed?
Well. Technically, it was Chii, from Chobits. It was kind of awful! But I bought a pretty dress and thought ‘with the right wig and some accessories, I could be her!’ I enjoyed myself so much!
How did it feel going out in cosplay for the first time?
So good. Well, mostly for the second cosplay, Haruhi Suzumiya. I made her almost from scratch. Even if it was rushed and poorly made, I felt incredibly proud to have pulled it off with my mom, and wearing it was freeing. Looking back, I think it helped me to come out of my shell.
How does it compare to how you feel showing off new cosplays now?
It’s not that different, actually. I’m trying new things each time, so I’m never exactly confident with what I’m making, but I like to test and experiment. It’s always nice to see people liking what you craft! But I’d say that I’m prouder each year.
What do you think of that first cosplay now?
It wasn’t good craftmanship, but the memories that come with it are really important to me.
When did you realize you were first getting noticed as a cosplayer? How did it make you feel?
Hm, I guess I kind of realized it with Frostblade Irelia, since she’s a character that is not often cosplayed. And it felt weird haha, but satisfying and warm. I think most cosplayers think that way, but I’m never totally okay with my cosplays. I see all the flaws and it’s frustrating. So when people are paying attention to your work, it’s comforting. It makes me think, ‘oh, it wasn’t that crappy after all,’ haha.
What makes a character jump out at you as something you have to cosplay?
Hmm. It depends. It’s often the look, but I guess the attitude, maybe, or the vibe I get from the character is what make them stand out. I love cosplaying tough women, badass and somehow kinda scary or intimidating. I don’t think I’ll ever go for the cutesy, even Chii is weird and creepy most of the time.
What’s your most memorable con experience?
It’s hard to decide… Two years ago, at Geekopolis, I had to make a conference about cosplay and electronics and 3D printing and it was incredible. It was an amazing experience. I felt like I was taken seriously, that what I had to say about this hobby really mattered.
But this year, I went to Gamescon and I enjoyed myself so much, meeting people from all over the world, watching the Blizzard cosplay contest, going to the Legion Café etc. It was an awesome cosplay vacation trip!
What’s your favourite character to cosplay?
My favorite was Teresa, from Claymore. She was easy to wear, pretty comfy, but the sword weighed a ton so when I had to lift it to take a pose, I somehow felt strong. Haha, I feel silly saying that.
If you actually had to live as one of the characters you’d cosplayed, which one would it be?
Aww. Technically, I’d say no one, hahaha, they are always fighting and risking their lives. That’s not a life I’d want. I like to dress up as them without having their life.
But I’ve always been fascinated by characters like Batman and Batgirl and Catwoman. I’m not sure I could explain clearly why, I just like the fact that they are humans with no superpowers, fighting crimes and being creative. And having loads of money regarding Batman, haha.
Do you find that your graphic design studies have an impact on your cosplays?
It’s reciprocal, I’d say. Sometimes, my experiments in cosplay serve my studies. Other times, it’s the other way around. I’m actually telling people, even in work interviews, that I’m a cosplayer, showing them my Orianna cosplay. Nobody yet has ever replied, ‘wtf?! why are you showing this to me?’ So that’s good.
What’s the most difficult cosplay you’ve ever done?
Clearly, it’s Bladecraft Orianna. Not only did it take a good amount of time to make, but it was also a lot to think about. The challenge was hardcore, making everything movable, and I had no professional gears. I went with my own knowledge, some help from friends and family to figure it all out. I made one piece through 3D printing that required true engineering skills – so thanks to Philippe for that!
Have you ever given up on a cosplay idea because it was too difficult?
Well, not yet. I’ve rescheduled some, but mostly for lack of time. With the right help, nothing is too difficult if you put your mind to it… unless it’s impossible, like levitating, but you can cheat to create that effect. It’s super time consuming though!
You’ve made a lot of intricately detailed pieces. What kind of materials do you like to use for those trickier costumes and accessories?
For now, I guess it would be Worbla. I use it to make big pieces, details, and it’s also part of the mechanisms sometimes. It’s relatively easy to work with and you can make so many things with it.
What do you do with all the complicated cosplays once you’ve shown them off?
Hmmmm… Irelia was broken, so I had to throw her away… And Orianna, well, I don’t know what to do with her for now, but I’m seriously thinking about selling her, even though it’s tailored and I have a weird body.
Are you working on anything new now?
I am thinking of new ideas, doodling some cosplays, yes. I’m hesitating between several, but I have to decide soon.
Are there any characters you’re looking forward to cosplaying in the future?
I want to remake Teresa so badly. It’s not a big cosplay or anything but I loved this character so much. My cosplay list isn’t that long, but I would like to make Maya, from Borderlands 2. That’s my favorite game, and she was my character all along. She means a lot, somehow.
You stream a lot of your creative ideas on your stream channel, CosCave. What made you decide to share your secrets?
I believe that, like everybody on this channel, cosplay is about sharing. We all get inspired by what we see, and wonder how it’s made. Then, sometimes, some cosplayers show all the making process, allowing others to take one technique and apply it to their own ideas, twist it to their needs. That’s what makes cosplay so great in my opinion. It’s the community around it, how we can improve together!
Who else is on the CosCave team? What’s it like working with them? Do you think your work has been improved from being part of a team?
Right now, we are 4: Lowena Cosplay, Breci Cosplay, Ely Nar Hya and myself. We don’t often work together, per se, because we don’t live close to each other (at least not all of us). We discuss techniques, exchange advice, and we have the same vision of what cosplay is about, so it’s awesome! And yes, I think learning from them helped, of course.
You make an effort to share work by other cosplayers that you like on your social media. Do you think kind of community effort is important to cosplaying?
It is, it really is. I said it before, but this is how cosplay is taken to another level.
Who are your favourite cosplayers working right now?
I was about to say it in my previous answer, hehe, but Kamui Cosplay has always been a huge inspiration of mine. Her work is not only flawless, it’s also something you can learn from, and I love it.
And then… I’m following the work of so many cosplayers, but the members of CosCave,
Nebulaluben, Enayla Cosplay, Shoko and Jerome Cosplay, Narga and Aoki Cosplay. Papa Cosplay… and the list could go on forever, haha.
How do you think the cosplaying community could be improved?
Hm. Tricky question. From where I stand, I don’t think it can. Obviously, there’s always going to be people misunderstanding the point of it, yes even people from the inside. For instance, some think it’s about competition. But I think, overall, it’s a pretty rad community. People are always cheering others up, always ready to lend a hand, open to discussion and easy to talk to. As long as we continue to share and give good feedback to people (by that I also mean constructive criticism), we’re good.
Outside of cosplaying, what do you like to do with your time?
I work quite a lot, I play a few games and I watch a lot a shows, haha. And cosplay takes so much time that I don’t really do much else.
Do you think you’ll still be cosplaying in ten years’ time? Do you have any goals, in cosplaying terms or otherwise?
I hope for sure, it’s such an important part of my life right now. I don’t think I would make it a full time job, but joining it in a way or another to interactive design, my studies, would be so cool.
Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers?
Don’t give up. No matter what you think, what you’re told, keep trying and don’t hesitate to ask around if you don’t know how to make something, what fabric to use or anything! There’s always going to be someone to help you.
Special thanks to Soo for taking the time to talk to us. To keep up with her new creations, you can follow her on Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram. Or you can check out her CosCave streaming group on Facebook, Twitter and Twitch.