This year’s EuroCosplay took place on October 29th during the ComicCon in London, and it brought a lot of joy to all Czech fans – the winner declared by the jury was the Czech cosplayer Germia and her costume of Pharah from the popular Overwatch game!
Germia, can you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Germia and you can know me either as a member of the semiprofessional gamer team eSuba, where I serve as the captain of the female CS:GO section, or a cosplayer specializing in armor and strong female characters, or an oldschool game streamer.
How long do you do cosplay and how you get into it?
I am doing cosplay about 2 years and I got into it through our eSuba team, where me and my female teammates attempted to impersonate characters from the games we played.
I have encountered some cases where (especially the younger) people faced the situation where their hobby was not accepted by their parents or friends…what is your experience?
I think that any productive hobby is more accepted than passive watching youtube or playing computer games, so I think that most cosplayers face no abnormal problems.
Some people does not know about EuroCosplay at all, how can one enter the contest and how much competition has he or she expect?
One cannot simply enter the EuroCosplay. One has to participate and win the most prestigious event in Czech Republic, the Animefest, to qualify for European championship. Similar qualifications occur in all European countries. In the EC finals one compete with selection of the finest cosplayers in Europe.
How does the final work and how it differs from the qualification contests? What all things are judged and for what has the contestant prepare to in order to succeed?
The finals was far more hectic than the qualifications, but it the criteria were the same and equally strict. The adherence to the original is evaluated – the faithfulness to the craft, then also the quality of craft, functionality and own invention. Sometimes, the WOW effect has quite…a big effect.
Besides EuroCosplay, are there any other international contests in Europe, ideally ones that you do not have to qualify for?
There are scarcely any, but considering the qualification contests, the second biggest event of that type is Cosplay World Masters in Portugal.
Back to your costume…why Pharah?
The Overwatch game, where Pharah comes from, is one of my most played games recently, and Pharah is in turn one of my most played characters. Many other factors played a role as well – mutual similarity in appearance, big armor with lots of details and big challenges (new procedures like electronics, painting on a black armor, good proportionality of the armor and its functionality, so far unsuccessful armor cosplays in the EuroCosplay). Anubis is moreover very tempting dark character from Egyptian mythology and therefore very tempting theme for cosplaying.
Your video shows that the costume includes also remotely controlled parts and electronics. Did anybody help you with those parts?
I made the costume fully by myself, it is a better feeling when one thinks everything up and then builds it. The internet tutorials were of most help to me. You can, after all, find pretty much anything on the internet these days ;)
A legend says that even an electric hand drill motor played a role…J
A legend says that if it has not died, it makes the wings of Anubis Pharah move even as we speak ;)
The first thing that occurs to a layman is probably that making this costume had to be outrageously expensive. How much investment, both financial and time, has anyone who thinks about a similar model consider?
Regarding time demands, this is sixth months of work in total, with the last two months consuming my free time almost totally. Financially, it exceeded several tens of thousands of crowns.
Now I virtually see jaws dropping after reading the last sentence, and beginner cosplayers descending into depression. What would you recommend to those who at this moment lack experience and especially regular income?
There is certainly no need to be terrified, cheaper solutions exist almost for everything and even some expensive materials can be substituted – as seasoned model crafters know. Ingeniousness and resourcefulness saves a lot of money too. And anyone a little bit frugal and hard-working is able to save something for his or her hobby ;)
Particularly in our country, the situation around cosplayers is not optimal. Gaming companies, especially, are less interested than one would prefer, and the chance to make some money back from your hobby is rather low. Where do you think the problem is?
In this case, the problems are several – cosplayers are attractive for a rather narrower community of people and their reach is about the same size of a beginner local (and even mediocre) youtuber. If they do not try hard for their work to be known abroad, they have no chance to be seen and make money through their fanbase. And that is related to another problem – the foreign scene is far larger, the cosplayers are far more experienced and longer practicing, and the chasm between them and those who are just entering the cosplay world now is abysmal. One have to make something yet unseen, something epic to draw the crowds, but it is, year by year, more and more difficult. And yet more, the local cosplayer “market” is oversaturated and laymen often are not able to distinguish a quality cosplay from something hastily sewn together – any work offers are then derived not from the quality of the cosplayer, but from connections. And finally, we still balance on the edge of a hobby. Many cosplayers do not know how to respect and prize their own work and regarding events where streamers, youtubers and celebrities are paid to show themselves, they often show up free of charge. There is only one way of improving the situation - to show ourselves to broader audience, to expand abroad and to create novel content.
Has your recent win had any impact on your popularity and overall renown, have you received any commercial offers?
I have to say that I received some offers for collaboration, but not commercial.
Thank you for the time you found to answer our questions and I wish you a lot of further successes!
Thank you for a pleasant interview as well!