How does one become a professional cosplayer, anyway? Yaya Han describes how she got there:
The short answer is that I went to a con, saw cosplay in action, and got hooked. But to elaborate — I have been an anime/manga fan since childhood after watching “Saint Seiya”. By my teen years, I had read and watched tons of Japanimation and was an avid artist in Arizona. Through the local anime club I learned about Anime Expo and decided to attend the con to sell my artwork. I found the former website “A Fan’s View” and photos of the previous AX years, including pictures of people dressed up as these cool anime characters. Before knowing what this phenomenon was, I instantly became attracted to it — what better way to show my childhood love for the anime/manga fandom than to “become” my favorite characters?
Unfortunately I didn’t know how to sew back then, so I asked a kind friend to show me the basic use of a sewing machine and patterns. With her help I made my first (Asian inspired) garment and wore it to Anime Expo. Throughout the weekend I kept seeing more people dressed up and learned that this was called COSPLAY! It was all over from that point on.
A few samples:
It was this last appearance that drew my attention. (What, doesn’t everyone have a Google alert for Jessica Rabbit?) In the top photo, she’s Psylocke of the X-Men, or I guess “X-Persons” these days, and in the middle she’s done up in high Yakuza style.
Needless to say, a lot goes into these transformations:
Yaya Han is thirty-six and has been doing this for half her life. I think we can safely assume she’s awfully good at it.