There are many talented models and performers who bring their love & enthusiasm to dressing up as their favorite characters. Comic Book Critic will occasionally showcase a performer who embodies this spirit of cosplaying.
Whether it’s creating the costume from scratch, altering the appearance of an existing one, or just getting into character, these performers spend a lot of time and effort on their craft. As much as we all enjoy seeing our favorite fictional characters represented in real life, let’s not forget the behind-the-scenes work that goes into that portrayal.
One thing is for certain though, their love of cosplaying shines through in their work.
The Comic Book Critic Featured Cosplayer Interview is:
from Los Angeles, CA / Toronto, Ontario
Roughly six years ago Tenleid Cosplay decided to begin cosplaying, since then she’s created many different and amazing costumes and brought them to life through her cosplays. From anime to video games to comic books, she puts her all into creating intricate costumes – just take a look at her amazing New 52 Starfire costume.
Tenleid took some time from her hectic schedule to give us an interview into what it’s like for her as a cosplayer and costume maker and what she likes most about it.
How long have you been cosplaying and what made you decide that it was something you wanted to do?
My first cosplay was in 2008. It was also my first convention – I saw our local con, Anime North, covered on TV, and from what I saw everyone was in costume. I begged my mom to help me sew the costume with her machine, because I thought if I wore street clothes I’d stand out. That year I had so much fun; I met so many new people who were fans of the things I liked, and knew that I wouldn’t stop going to conventions for a long time. Somewhere in there, I discovered I also have a passion for creating things and sewing, which is why I make so many costumes!
What was the first costume that you made for yourself?
I guess technically it was my first cosplay, which was Ranmao from Kuroshitsuji. But like I said, my mom helped with most of it! She cut the fabric and pinned it, I just ran it through the machine. The first one I made all on my own was a gijinka of the Pokémon Shroomish.
Out of all your costumes, which was the most satisfying to make?
I think I’d have to say either New 52 Starfire because of how many hours of work went in to it, or Ryuuko from Kill La Kill simply because she’s one of my absolute favourite characters and is so fun to wear!
Have you ever modeled outside of the cosplay world, if not, is it something you’d consider doing?
Its nothing I’ve really done before. Last year I did a mini shoot with my friend Martin Wong that was just fashion, but I don’t know if it’s really my thing. When I’m cosplaying, I try my best to act like the character, and that makes photoshoots so easy. When I don’t have a character to mimic, I feel kind of awkward and don’t really know what to do with myself in front of the camera!
Which are some your favorite costumes that you’ve worn?
I really love wearing Blackbat, because of how comfortable the costume is. I also really enjoy wearing Chie Satonaka from Persona 4; I’ve made so many great friends wearing that costume, the people who attend Persona gatherings are always so friendly and fun. Ryuuko Matoi is also a favourite because its so recognizable.
Did you grow up in a comic book/video game/geeky environment?
Not at all! I was the odd one out in my family. I’ve got two older sisters that grew up loving fashion, dance and reading magazine. I, on the other hand, grew up loving video games, anime, and comic books. I was lucky to have such supportive parents. They didn’t really care that my interests were so different from my sisters, they just wanted me to be happy!
Did you consider yourself a nerd or geek while growing up and do you now?
For sure! I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon religiously. For a while in high school I tried to keep it to myself, since being a “nerd” wasn’t something cool, it was something that alienated you.
By the end of high school, though, I realized I didn’t really care if people thought my hobbies and interests were weird – It’s what made me happy, so I stuck with it! It was around this same time I started going to conventions and meeting good friends who shared my interests, and now my life is back to being dominated by my obsessions with comic books and anime.
What keeps you coming back to cosplaying and wanting to do more?
Honestly, its kind of a mix of a few things! The big thing is the community. I have so much fun at conventions, the people I’ve met at them have really changed my life. Honestly even if I stopped cosplaying for some crazy reason, I’d continue to go to conventions. That, and I love sewing. I actually sew a lot of things outside of cosplay, just because I love creating things! So when I see characters wearing outfits that are interesting or abnormal, the first thing that comes to my mind is “I have to make that. Right now.”
Your Koriand’r/Starfire costume is incredible yet “skimpy”, what sort of reactions do you get from it?
The reactions I’ve received in person vs. online have been SO different, and it’s no surprise. In person, I got a lot of questions and compliments; How do I keep everything on, I’m brave for wearing that in public, etc. Online the reaction is generally the opposite – People leave comments saying I’m only doing it for attention, and that its a lazy costume just to get people to look at me, that because my body isn’t exact the same as Kori’s (impossible) shape it’s a bad costume.
None of the negativity really bugs me, though. I know for a fact none of those people would ever come up to me in person and say that kind of thing, and I also know my friends and followers know exactly how much time and effort went in to that costume; And they also know that I’m a HUGE Kenneth Rocafort/Red Hood and The Outlaws fan.
People seem to have some crazy misconception that a skimpy costume = an easy one, but it’s the exact opposite with Starfire!
Have you ever had any bad experiences with people at conventions or while cosplaying?
Luckily, I haven’t really had anything too bad. I know there are some pretty mean, rude people walking around conventions who don’t have any sort of filter or understand the concept that the people behind the costumes aren’t pieces of meat, they’re fans of the show/comic/game/etc. who most likely poured hours of time in to what they’re wearing that day.
I think the worst I’ve had is someone getting upset and calling me a “shitty cosplayer” because I declined when he asked me to take my socks/shoes off for a photo. It doesn’t really ever bother me, I make a point to not let people cross lines with me and they respect that, most of the time.
What are your thoughts on how the hobby has changed or progressed in the last several years?
I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Cosplay has become extremely commercialized, with people using it simply as a way to make money without any actually passion for the content and community.
But at the same time, cosplay’s rise in popularity have made resources easier – Good quality wigs were a rare thing to kind 6-7 years ago, but now there’s actually US sellers dedicated to cosplay wigs only, not to mention the giant availability overseas! I just try not to think too much about the commercialized side of it; I make costumes because I like to sew, and I love the content I cosplay from. That’s enough for me!
What advice do you have for a novice cosplayer?
My biggest advice: Don’t get caught up in the current race for Likes.
Popularity isn’t important; What’s important is having fun, and enjoying what you do. I’ve seen too many cosplayers stress out and only do things that they think will “make them popular” – But conventions aren’t about how many people take your photo, they’re about having fun surrounded by people who are just as nerdy as you are. Be a genuine person, and make what you love – It’s a hobby. Too many people are forgetting that.
Also, there’s absolutely no shame in buying costumes! I’ve met so many cosplayers who don’t like to admit they didn’t make their outfit. As long as you’re having fun, it doesn’t matter where the costume came from. That’s what cosplay is about.
If you could change anything since you started, what would it be?
Honestly, nothing! I’ve really enjoyed complying, and conventions since day 1. I don’t have any real missed opportunities, or regrets.
Do you have any new costumes that you’re working on, that you can tell us?
I have way too many plans! I know the big stuff I’m working on for 2014 include lots of Evangelion costumes, as well as a little bit of Gundam and a lot of DC girls. I’m hoping to do a few of my bigger “dream” costumes this year, including a really detailed Angelea from Guardians of The Galaxy, and if I’m lucky, some more Starfire~!
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a lot of exciting things! But at the same time I try not to think too much about it. I just want to sew cute outfits, meet new people and make some cool armour; whatever happens, happens!
Thanks for giving us this interview, Tenleid! If you want to see a lot more of her great cosplay work, check out the links below. You certainly won’t be disappointed!
Tenleid Cosplay Links
Share your thoughts about Tenleid Cosplay and her work in our comments section below!
– The Comic Book Critic