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Jun 17, 2015

Cosplayer Interview: LennethXVii

I had the  chance and pleasure of interviewing Singaporean Cosplayer LennethXvii when she was a Guest at the STGCC last year (check out upcoming news of STGCC 2015 at their website!). Lenneth was born and raised in Singapore but currently resides in the USA. She has marvelled Anime, Manga and Cosplay fans all around the world with her intricate and handmade costumes. Lenneth is impeccably detailed and spares no expense to present the best and most accurate cosplays of her fandom.

Check out the video interview below or read the transcript further down.

Lenneth’s Deviantart: http://lennethxvii.deviantart.com/

Lenneth’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LennethXVIIxMako


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三日月宗近 (Mikatsuki Munechika) : Lenneth
Photo by:
Muze's photography and cosplay



Q: How long does it take you to make a costume?
 
It really depends on the complexity. For Zero, I spent 6 weeks to make because even though her general silhouette is relatively simple. But because of the excessive amount of details she has, it definitely takes a lot more time. SO that has to be taken into considerations as well.
Last week I cosplayed Nine from Zankyou  no Terror. So it’s like, it was a very casual outfit but I spent a lot time buying a lot of props to set up the room they were in. So it gives you a further sense of reality. Like it stays more ‘true’ to the series.
 
 
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Zero (ゼロ): Lenneth
Photo by
Muze's photography and cosplay
 
 
K: It puts the cosplay into the context
L: Yes that’s right.
 
K: Can you share with us your armour, it looks so beautiful.
L: Oh thank you. It’s like, so the actually the arm isn’t something you can see. But because it has a lot of details in it so it’s not something that I can/will not do just because you can’t really see it. Because when I see a detail I’m just like, it’s there, I can’t unseen it.
I’m not too good with prop making.
 
K: but this looks very nice.
L: Oh thank you thank you
 
K: You should totally tell us more about your armour.
L: Well this is supposed to be an artificial prosthetic arm but because I do have an actual arm, so what I can do is to make it as closely fitted as possible so that it doesn’t look as chunky.
 
K: What is it made of?
L: it’s actually made of just craft foam. Craft form and Plastic Styrene. These ( points to claws ) are actually made of paper. So it’s like, I work a lot with paper as well. Usually flat surfaces because it’s easier for me to make a shape out of it. It’s kind of similar to paper drafting in a way.
 
Q: When picking the costumes to wear for a specific event, what are the major factors for you to decide which costume to pick?
Last time when I was in Singapore, we actually have this thinking that “oh it’s a really complex costume so we need to wear it to an event so we can show people the hard work we put in”. But I think over the years, like right now, I would probably go for something , probably still a little complex but allows me to walk at ease. Yes, I do want to show people what I’ve done but more importantly , I want to be able to enjoy the event as well. I want to just run around, see friends or like visit booths and just be active and have fun.
 
Q: Is there any photographer that you like to shoot with or want to work with
My most active photographer who works with me is actually Muse. I enjoy working with him because he has a lot of ideas for his photo-shoot and he doesn’t only have just one style but various. So it really depends on the series so for example I tell him that, today I want to shoot Drakengard 3 and he would just think of how to go about shooting it, what kind of feel you should give. In a way, he is as equally crazy as I am. And that’s what makes us good working partners.
 
 
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宗像礼司 (Munakata Reisi) - *ImMuze
伏見猿比古 (Fushimi Saruhiko) - *LennethXVII
 
K: So you’ve been cosplaying for quite a while haven’t u? So how do u think cosplay have changed locally in Singapore for the last decade?
Definitely the scale of it. Over 10 years ago when I first started I think there were only 2 major event in Singapore. Cosfest, EOY and sometimes Street Festival. Right now you can definitely see the growing population in event attendees and also more specific conventions for our kind of culture. So that makes it even more fun and it’s really nice to see as previously.
 
K: we were like the sub culture but now we’re the main culture in the event
Yes, that’s very important actually. As previously when we embraced our hobby, it wasn’t very accepted. Most of the time, what came back was negative comments, which was a little hard at that time. So it’s nice to know that the general public are more receptive of it now. And right now most people even think Cosplay is cool. So it’s a really nice surprise.
 
K: How’s the cosplay culture in America? They have Cosplays on TV such as Cosplay Heroes but is it generally as accepted as it is in Asia?
I would say yes…
 
K: because Halloween’s a very big thing in their culture.
Yes, that’s correct. And also because of how open minded they are in general. Even if they are to see cosplayers out in the street, they would probably stop to take a 2nd look but they wouldn’t be too bothered by it. They’d just wonder “Oh I wonder what’s going on today” that kind of thing.
 
Q: How different are the Cosplay cultures in the different countries you have visited?
There are actually several countries that I’ve attended but because I’m not constantly at the same place but what’s similar is that, everyone reacts the same way to the same fandom. Like most people in Asia, they actually react in a more excited manner but they keep it to themselves. But in the western culture, they are more expressive and they would definitely go up to you and just like “Hey you look cool!” . That kind of thing. But basically events wise, they are quite similar. And the attendees are definitely as excited as well but sometimes their response may differ because of culture difference.
 
K: so you have a cosplay makeup panel tomorrow, so I definitely have to ask you about your makeup today. What do you think is the highlight of the makeup for this character? How long did it take you to makeup?
Emm.. I think about an hour? Like for me, when I do cosplay makeup. I just keep it light and as true as I can to the character. There are a lot of makeup tutorials online and in magazines but I think it’s a little hard because everyone’s eye is different. Like the shape, the fold, etc. So I always encourage cosplayers to practice more. It’s not about the technique but knowing your eyes better so you know how to angle it, how to draw it. With the least amount of lines, you’re able to achieve how this character look like.
 
K: So   what’s the highlight of the panel tomorrow?
My model is a female so I think what I want to do is to transfer , a non cosplayer, into a male character. So, I look forward to that and I hope it’s successful.
 
I: What are the challenges you face when photo shooting in the states that you didn’t face in Singapore.
Actually I would say its probably more challenging to find locations in Singapore because definitely America has more space. And because it’s so wide and all so the only difficult part is just driving. Like for my Zero shoot, I actually had to drive 7 hours up north. But then again, if I think about it this way, it’s a location that I cannot find locally (Singapore). That’s why it makes it worthwhile.
 
K: Can you share a bit about this flower here with us? How does it attach so…
L: You wanna see? I kinda made it like an eye patch. And I just taped it on with surgical tape.
 
K: wow the tape is very strong
Yeah because it’s like surgical tape so it actually has a stronger hold. Like you can see from the side , it’s just like an eye patch.
 
K: Wow but does it impairs your vision?
I do feel a little unbalanced since one eye is covered, I literally have a blind spot. So when I go out I need to hold onto someone so I don’t bump into people because I can’t really see on this (right) side.
 
K: Cosplay is very dangerous too
That’s why I chose to wear zero on Saturday so I don’t have to risk falling off stage tomorrow haha.
 
K: But the construction  of this flower should be pretty lightweight since it has to be here (on the face). So was there any other considerations other than the weight?
Actually not really , because how I did this flower was like…it was from a 6 petals tiger lily. I just trimmed off 1 petal and reconstructed it so it looks okay as a 5 petal flower. But what’s most challenging was actually the little crown. Because it’s so small, I spent a lot of time trying to make out it’s exact shape and then putting it on.
 
 
 
 
Q: Sometimes you cosplay with your golden retriever. he’s only 1 year old but how did you train him to be this docile?
Actually I waited 6 years before I could finally get her. Because in Singapore I live in an HDB and it’s only after I moved to America that I have the freedom to keep my own dog. So when I brought her back at 2 months, every day since then, because I’m so obsessed with him , I would just take photos of him and he grew accustomed to that. So every time I switch on my camera, he kinda knows what to do. But if you really want him to look your way, just hold a treat in your hand and you’ll get his full attention.
 
Q: What were you doing before moving to the States
Prior to my move to the states, I was actually a cake and dessert table designer. Like you know, those that you see at weddings? The dessert table and things. I actually designed the themes. I cater to wedding couples, birthday parties to like One Year Old babies. Etc. It was really fun to do.
 
K: So I’m sure you started off as a normal cosplayer like everyone else, but now you’re a guest at STGCC and you have screaming fangirls and fanboys. Looking back at the whole journey, how do you feel about it?
Erm, actually even up to now I don’t classify myself different from any others. Because to me, I’m just a fan just like everyone else. So just speak my fandom language and I’ll go crazy with you. So I just have the mind-set that I don’t want to put myself on a higher platform because I really am not. Because I’m just a fan like everyone else.
 
 
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Photo credit: Nik
 
K: So I’m sure you’re really honoured to be part of STGCC this year.
I definitely am.
 
K: I hope you enjoyed the event.
Yes I am, it’s been great so far.
 
K: So did you managed to meet any of the other guests?
Sugita *giggles*
 
K: So what did you do/talk to Sugita (Tomokazu) about?
Erm unfortunately my Japanese isn’t too good so I wasn’t able to converse much without trying to embarrass myself. But it was really an honour and a pleasure to have meet him as well.
 
K: So what was the exact word you said to him? Could you re-enact for us?
“ Otsukare sama desu~ ” *Bows deeply*
That was pretty much all I could say without embarrassing myself. You know there’s such thing called internal fangirling. It’s like internal screaming and I’m happy.
 
K: Come to think of it, why didn’t you cosplay Gintoki today? You’ve done a really impressive Gintoki cosplay before haven’t you?
Erm because when I cosplay a character. I actually first see the features of the character to see if I’m able to pull it off. A lot of cosplayers has actually done an even more excellent job of doing it. So I actually feel contented and I’m just like “okay I’ll leave it to you and I’ll just stay a fan”. And I’m just happy like that.
 
Q: Are your cosplay standards constantly improving over time or was there a period you feel it couldn’t improve anymore due to a certain reason .
I think for me, it’s always been a gradual learning progress. Because with every new character, be it simple or difficult. You’ll definitely learn something from it. So everything… I’ve just been fortunate enough to be able to pull it off. Even though it’s really really hard or I had a rough start or I bumped into a few walls in the midst of the progress. But other than that, I’ve also had really good help from people who really know their stuff on prop making. So I could turn to them to ask for their opinion, ask for help and they’ve been kind enough to guide me. So that definitely helps in me in how I turned out eventually.
 
Q: Having 14 years in cosplay, what would you recommend to cosplayers who are just beginning? How did you first started?
I think every cosplayer start small, they start with simple things. What I would strongly urge the newer cosplayers to do would be to start making their own stuffs. Back then, when started, there weren’t a lot of online stuffs for us to buy from. A lot of things were DIYed with whatever things you can find at home. Even for like wig colours, because it was so limited back then it was something that… let’s just say I needed a silver wig but there weren’t such thing as a silver coloured wig back then. So what we did was that we’d buy either a white wig or the lightest cream coloured wig. For me personally, I would actually spray paint it *giggles*. The colour wouldn’t come off because it’s spray painted.
 
I would style it and I’ll fix it in place and I’ll give it a light coat (of spray paint) so it still looks silver.
 
K: I kinda realize I should ask this question. Cosplay has gotten a lot of commercial interest recently, and there have been a lot of professional cosplayers who are coming out. So do you think you’d be joining them and what do you feel about this sudden novelty attention towards Cosplay?
I think for me, cosplay has always just stayed a hobby. And will always just stay as a hobby for me . There’s always been this talk, that because the amount of time and money we put into cosplay, it’s hard to turn it into a profession. Because it’s like, unless you are really really up there , it’s hard for you to sustain and give you a decent amount of salary. Just by selling your own merchandise and I think for me, I’m just happy staying as a fan and a hobbyist. So I’m just very happy being where I am right now.
 
 
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I hope you guys enjoyed this interview and getting to know the very meticulous and kind Lenneth. I apologies for the bad audio in the video, I tried my best to edit it but the interview area was just too noisy.


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