Author: Dan Barnett
Dan first encountered anime at the ripe old age of six with a VHS copy of Laputa. Ten years later he re-discovered it in Robotech and overnight a DVD collection was born.
Behind the Costume with Ashe
The Canadian self-proclaimed 'murder waifu' Ashe (we understand her currant partner is still alive....probably) has been cosplaying for almost half her life now and she's taken it into a career as a successful cam girl. She took the time to speak to us in the middle of the night (stupid time difference...) to tell us how it all began.
When did you start thinking of cosplay as something you wanted to be involved in?
I’ve been cosplaying for..oh gosh, twelve years now! I’ve been an anime fan since I was really, really young so I’ve always kind of been in the scene. But professionally I’ve been a cosplayer for about 3 years now.
How did you get started – what was the first costume?
The first cosplay I did was actually Mello from Death Note. I was a huge Death Note fan.
That’s been a popular show over here as well! Was it just a cosplay for fun or did you take it out to a con?
I ah, I actually ended up taking that one out to a convention but originally it was just a closet cosplay. I also did Misa that was also from Death Note.
So you just started out with home-brew costumes then?
Yeah, I did quite a few cosplays out of my closet cause I had a very eccentric style to begin with.
What was the first con you cosplayed at?
The first big convention I ever went to was Aycon.
What was it like being out there in costume with other people for the first time?
That one I actually went out with a group of people and it was fantastic! I was Espeon with the Eveelution group and we had a great time! It was a lot of people and some craaazy costumes! There was a huge steampunk spider that I think was four or five people together.
We’ve seen loads of great costumes from you – how many do you think you’ve done?
How many cosplays have I done in total? Probably...oh gosh, probably thirty or forty at this point! I normally do two or three cosplays a month!
Is there a favourite one you’ve done?
Ah...My favourite cosplay...it’s a lesser know character but I put so much love and care into making the costume – it was Psycho from Tokyo Ghoul. She only comes in in the third season, but she’s just such a sweet character that I really felt with her.
Well, with a name like that why wouldn’t you!
So when you’re getting ready to do your next costume how do you go about choosing which one to do and putting it together?
Sometimes I go with what’s popular, but often times I go with who I kind of...resonate with...who I feel the most like. I’m kind of a little kooky, I’m kind of a little crazy so I often do the crazy girls, the yandere characters. The short girls because I’m quite short.
You’ve streamed yourself making costumes pretty often, but how much of your costumes do you manufacture vs how much you buy of the shelf?
I probably make...maybe sixty, seventy percent….probably seventy percent of my cosplays and then I buy thirty percent. I also just thrift a lot. I’ll just buy some clothing and modify it. Do a little here, a little there.
That’s practical! So what tools and skills do you think you need to start being good at cosplay?
Honestly, just a drive. You just need the drive to keep trying, because you can do anything as long as you just put your mind to it! It might not work the first time, it might not even work the second time, but as long as you keep trying eventually you will make something that looks good.
That’s excellent advice!
Oh and the internet is a great, great tool. You can look up anything and you can learn.
Is there anything you’re working on at the moment?
I’m kind of a little bit all over the place. I’m working on a Bombshell Harley Quinn right now and I’m working on Lucy from Elfen Leid. Those I really want to do.
Both great choices, we can’t wait to see them!
How many events do you normally attend a year?
I normally am to go to four a year, one every three to four months.
Are they always great experiences for you as a cosplayer?
Yeah, honestly I’ve never had a negative experience at a con that wasn’t do do with something personal, the con itself is always a great time. As long as you surround yourself with great people it’ll be a good time.
Do you just go for fun or do you enter the masquerades and competitions?
I’ve thought about entering some cosplay competitions...I’ve entered some of the smaller ones in my home area but none in the big cities.
When did you decide to start making cosplay into a business?
Um...when I saw that you could. I actually...some of the people around me, my friends had started taking cosplay a little more seriously and I also saw people online. I saw that it was profitable so I thought ‘I’ve always wanted to do this so maybe I’ll shoot my shot!’
What challenges did you find taking cosplay beyond hobby and into a business?
It’s definatley not something that happens overnight. I mean...for some people it does. But it takes a lot of time and dedication. You have to work more than a regular job I would say. Especially in the beginning. I work about 70 hours a week, normally from 2pm to 2am!
Do you think you’re able to maintain the same passion for cosplay when you’re doing it as a business?
Sometimes...it does get like...a job. But at the same time, as long as you continue cosplaying people that you love, you’re always gonna be excited. Because as long as you find a character you want to become and you’re watching anime you’re gonna want to keep doing cosplay. You’ve gotta keep yourself inspired.
Good advice! So where can people find go to find out more about you?
You can find me at instagram.com/ashecosplays_ or Twitter on @playwithashe (please note that these accounts ARE safe for work but may contain links to more explicit material)
It’s been fantastic to speak with you! Thank you very much!
*Please note all images are used with permission of AsheCosplays