In the middle of the UK Summer heatwave, we sat down with Queen of Cosplay, Yaya Han at London Film and Comic con to chat all things cosplay and fandoms.
How has your LFCC been? Have you managed to get out from your table and onto the con-floor?
It’s been very hot so I feel the heat has definitely affected the enjoyment level… That’s made it more difficult. The highlight has been the cosplay contest; judging it and y’know, being able to see everyone’s work up close during pre-judging and seeing them on stage. That was fantastic, so I enjoyed it.
The usual question; when and how did you get into cosplay?
I was lucky to discover cosplay very early on. I got into it summer of 1999 and so I was very young, I was very inexperienced and just basically a little fangirl. There was no reason behind getting into cosplay except that it seemed a very natural thing to do, y’know, as a fan. And I had to teach myself how to sew and basically learned everything on the fly because it was impossible to buy costumes back then so you had to make everything.
Which is great because it’s turned into a business for you..
Which costume do you think you are most recognised for and which is your personal favourite?
Hmmmm.. Most recognisable… I would say, I think it’s a toss-up between Jessica Rabbit and Chun-Li. Which are very different characters with very different costumes!
I don’t really have a personal favourite because they all have sentimental meaning to me. I have a lot of memories with each one; making them as well as the conventions and the photoshoots I’ve done. But I think I really like dynamic characters that are fun to pose in like Catwoman but then I also like characters like Camilla, that are some of my personal favourite characters. And I like costumes that are transformative, so like, outfits that I really have to change my appearance such as Jessica Rabbit.
So, what was your most complicated costume to make and/or which took the longest?
Hmm… The costume that took the longest was Camilla from Fire Emblem but that’s because I used a technique that required a lot of time. And I sort of took my time with it, I didn’t rush it so it took about three months. Other than that, um, my Banshee Queen from Lineage 2 was most challenging due the logistics of being on stilts and having to build something proportionate to the height and because it had a lot of weird aspects to it like wings and horns and a giant wig… and a skeleton [Laughs]!
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I got up at 5am today for a shoot with @worldofgwendana, and only held out for a little more than an hour despite starting before 9am. That’s the Georgia heat for ya. The humidity did a number on my wig, too ? Thankfully, it was overcast and the location was undisturbed at the early hour, so I hope to have new Camilla photos to share with you soon! #fireemblemcosplay #camillacosplay #yayahan #fireemblemheroes
So, what skills have you learnt just through cosplay? A skill that you wouldn’t have learnt any other way?
Everything! Cosplay has taught me countless skills, y’know, it’s not just sewing or sculpting, prop work, wood work. Also things like photography, posing, makeup. I even learned how to code a website; my first website I coded in HTML [laughs]. I think that’s what’s unique about cosplay, is that it’s all DIY.
What are your favourite fandoms at the moment?
2018 is like, my year of just super getting back into Anime. I’ve been following a lot of current shows, so, My Hero Academia- definitely lives up to the hype [laughs]. I’m really into Free! and some of the other summer Anime, Darling in the Franxx, that just finished…
I’m more of a Marvel fangirl than DC [laughs]. That probably is not gonna change any time soon. Yeah, this is a big Anime year for me!
Which of your costumes had the most unexpected reaction? Was there something you put together quickly or was obscure but it surprised you how many people got it?
I’ve had several costumes like that and its.. I don’t know, I feel like I’ve just made too many costumes! Like, it’s very hard to even think back on how it all happened. When I did Kitana- I did Kitana from Mortal Kombat in like four days and that had a pretty unexpected reaction but that was also because I took it to South East Asia and did a big photoshoot with it. When I did Black Cat D.va recently that was definitely, kind of, a little bit of a throw-away costume, I made it in like two days and a lot of people really liked it and I was like ‘Really?!’ but then they’re also really unexpectedly fun to wear. It’s comfortable, it’s cute, fun to pose in.
Chun-Li, when I made it I actually didn’t expect many people to recognise the character because it was a fan-design but it was VERY recognisable to people and so… Certainly, I don’t make costumes expecting any sort of reaction.
Are you working on anything new at the moment? What’s coming up for you?
Yeah, I am, I think my current-I call it a pleasure project as I’m just taking my time with it-is another Sakizou illustration so lots of fabric, lots of lace, very sewing intensive. But I also am making Zero Two from Darling in the Franxx, I’m making a costume from My Hero Academia and finally going to make something related to Yuri on Ice which is, of course, one of my favourite Anime but I still have to design it.
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Well, I had a genuine blast at #londonfilmandcomiccon, and I hope you did, too!!! Thank you to @officialshowmasters and @cosplayatshowmasters for having me over across the pond, thank you to everyone who came to the photo ops, the cosplay zone or participated in the contests, and thank you to the amazing staff and guests who helped me out and spent time with me. Photo taken in the Sherlock set put up by @221b, a new interactive experience coming to London soon. I hope I get to visit it on my next trip here! #thegameisnow 3 years was too long, Great Britain. I really missed you guys!!! ❤️❤️❤️