Saya Costumes is a ridiculously talented cosplayer from Belgium who first hit our radar during hte European Cosplay Gathering Finals in 2015 where she not only cosplayed Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty but also Prince Philip. Her cosplay is so varied and each one is so clean and finished to such a high level that we had to give her a feature!
Age: 27 years young!
Location: Land of chocolate, fries & beer
What is your favourite food? Ohh easy one: PIZZA. I also have a weak spot for strawberries
You enter a tonne of competitions and you’ve represented Belgium at the European Cosplay Gathering. What is it that you like about entering competitions and competing?
I just love being on stage and bringing characters to life for other people, it’s such an amazing feeling. It gives me the chance to really ‘act out’ my character and (hopefully) entertain people with my stage-shenanigans. Plus the backstage area is always filled with wonderful people, and it’s a great way to make new friends!
All your costumes are quite complicated, on average how long does it take you to make each costume and which has been the most complicated one for you?
Mmm, not sure if they are all that complicated. The ‘simple’ costumes (ie Bolin, Jinora, Ruby) take 2 to 4 weeks. More difficult costumes (ie ECG, costumes with armour bits, corsets or just many many layers) take around 2 to 5 months, depending on the difficulty and how busy real life gets. I work full time so the only time I can work on costumes is late at night (though I like sleep a lot, so that rarely happens), or during weekends.
The most complicated costume I’ve made so far was my first ECG costume, the Elementalist from Granado Espada. So many new elements I had not done before (jewellery, non-stretchy boot covers and my first corset!) and figuring out how to make the skirt took me months.
Looking back now I know I could do much better with my current skill set, but I’m quite proud how I managed to pull it off and learn so much from that costume.
Ahri and Elise were also rather difficult to make. I spend the most time of the built trying to figure out what layer goes where and how it all ‘connects’. Once I got that down it was just a matter of sewing, time management (the hardest part!) and crossing my fingers it’ll all work out how I engineered it.
You make a very attractive Dean Winchester, have you got any funny stories from being in either this costume or another costume?
Wearing a crossplay is always quite hilarious. People often call me a handsome boy. I guess I have one of those faces where I can get away with both genders, which is really cool. The most difficult thing for me is lowering my voice, since that’s the only part that gives me away as being a girl. The question I get asked most when I crossplay is ‘why’ but I wonder ‘why not’. If I love a character so much I want to portray that character, I will not be stopped by their gender. I do try to ‘fit’ the character though, so I will never crossplay The Rock.
People have felt guilty about ‘offending’ me while wearing a crossplay (referring to me as a man) but I just find it a huge compliment! It means I can actually pull of the costume.
Wearing a crossplay often means a tonne of funny stories, but the most memorable one is from last year while wearing Dean. A girl had been looking in my direction for a while and finally she worked up the courage to ask ‘Can I please get a hug?’. I just nodded and gave her a hug, and the way she clung to me told me she really needed that hug. Afterwards she told me ‘thank you’ about five times, saying it meant a lot & quickly ran off. I think to her, at that moment, I was Dean, and she drew strength from that hug. Just being able to put out a character like that and being able to support that girl by simply ‘dressing up’ means a lot to me and warms my heart.
Is there a construction method you haven’t used yet but would like to try in the future? What is it?
Foam armour! I’ve followed a workshop and I’m currently reading Bill Duran’s foamsmith book, and I hope to make more armour projects in the future. A mix between fabric and armor would be great, since sewing is still my strong point. I would love to upgrade my prop work in the future as well. Sewing wise I’d like to work with more stretchy fabrics (spandex maybe?) since I’ve yet to completely master those.
What advice would you give to new cosplayers?
To meme this up: Just DO IT!! Cosplay is a wonderful and versatile hobby, and can teach you many new skill sets. Plus it’s just super fun!
Do expect to fail though. Even the most seasoned cosplayers still fail from time to time! But do not let failure stop you, keep fighting, learn and make BIGGER BETTER STRONGER costumes! Also don’t forget to be your goofy self, and make lots of friends.