Makeup + costumes + everything nice = welcome to the glitzy world of cosplaying. With an art and design background and love for anime, Kazuki Vinca is a professional cosplayer who embodies the art of cosplaying. Here we take a sneak peek on her cosplaying journey, her advice against haters, and how to dream big.
DANIAL ISWADI: Hello there, Kazuki Vinca. How have you been so far, especially during this pandemic? Thank you so much for spending time with us, and to be honest I am very delighted to know more about you and your hobby! Could you tell us about yourself?
KAZUKI VINCA: Hello, I’m Vinca and I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’m doing well during this pandemic; working from home gave me a lot of free time to work on some cosplay progress. I’m working as a senior graphic designer in a local English newspaper (The Star publications), and a props maker a.k.a cosplayer at night.
DANIAL ISWADI: I know that you are one of the seniors that was involved in the cosplay community here in Malaysia. Not to mention, you have taken part in cosplay competitions as well as becoming a judge. So, tell us how long have you been cosplaying?
KAZUKI VINCA: I have started cosplaying since 2002, at the very first Comic Fiesta event in Malaysia. I went to the event solo-ing and everything looked so strange yet interesting. In the next coming year, I started to drag my siblings to the ACG events so I won’t feel too lonely. In 2010, my siblings and I decided to take cosplay a little bit further by forming an official cosplay team known as Team Blood till this day. Thus, our journey began.
DANIAL ISWADI: We all know that cosplaying is fun because not only are you able to cosplay as your favourite characters but you also get to wear beautiful and unique costumes. Out of curiosity, what got you into cosplaying?
KAZUKI VINCA: I have always loved art and crafts since I was a child. Being an art graduate herself, my mum encouraged me to venture into a lot of creative stuff including drawing, painting, building mini-house-props, lego, clay, etc. You can say that art is in my blood. I also love to watch anime, cartoons and always dreamt to be like those characters. We all have those chiIdhood characters that we love so much, right? I figured that maybe I can finally channel my love for art and crafts into prop making. I also studied art & design back then, earning both a diploma and degree in the field. In short, cosplay is part of my venture into the world of art.
DANIAL ISWADI: Since you have been cosplaying for quite a while, I have noticed that you always came out with different kinds of amazing props that were truly amazing and realistic. I am just wondering are those props made by you or did you buy them elsewhere?
KAZUKI VINCA: We have a fair share of buying our costumes and props, but most of the time we would prefer to do it ourselves – a little bit of DIY won’t hurt us. Reason is sometimes the costume of the character that we wanted is not available in the market. Sometimes even if it was available, getting a really good quality one is kind of hard. Commissioning a prop maker would be very costly, not to mention the quality issue. There’s also a lot of fraud cases where customers didn’t get their order on time or the quality is poor. To avoid all the issues, we decided to learn and DIY. Basically, I would study the props/costume and make a shortlist of the materials. Then, we would divide the job scope and do it together as a team. It saves a lot of time and is very pocket-friendly. Basically, your wallet won’t cry and look at you as a disappointment if you did the job well.
DANIAL ISWADI: Throughout your journey as a senior cosplayer, could you share with us what was the best experience you ever had?
KAZUKI VINCA: The best experience we had was in 2014, where my team came out as champions of the first Cosplay Invitational at Comic Fiesta. The contestants can only compete when they get an official invitation by Comic Fiesta. How to be invited? There are two ways; one, is by winning an affiliate event, and another is by online voting. Only eight teams were invited. We won RM2,500 and also an invitation to perform a cosplay skit at Fancy Frontier, Taiwan. Flight tickets, hotel accommodation, transport and tour guide was fully sponsored by Comic Fiesta. It was the first time we went to Taiwan and we were really excited to exchange our knowledge with their ACG culture.
DANIAL ISWADI: Many people tend to have this misconception that cosplaying is immature and not socially acceptable particularly for adults. As a senior cosplayer, have you ever encountered such problems while cosplaying, and if you did, how did you overcome it?
KAZUKI VINCA: When I started cosplaying, it was not as mainstream as it is today. People were not very accepting when they saw us wearing some weird fancy clothes in public. When we watch cartoons, a lot of people criticised our fandom. To me, it was pretty annoying at first but then I got used to it. My parents are very supportive, they don’t mind me cosplaying as they see no harm to us or anybody around. So I just went, meh~ We do what we love, if we’re not happy with it, then we’re doing it wrong. A hobby is something that you love, and you should love what you do.
DANIAL ISWADI: I myself have cosplayed quite a number of characters before, but I have yet to achieve your level of cosplaying. With this in mind, do you have any advice for those who wish to pursue their dreams of becoming a cosplayer?
KAZUKI VINCA: Cosplay is just like any other type of hobby; it is time and financially consuming. So be patient and compose your passion, then someday you’ll be able to buy that particularly super-expensive costume you always dreamt of. Dream big, young ones. Also, always remember that there are always consequences in every action we do today. Whatever was uploaded on the internet, stays on the internet. So make sure to present yourself properly as the way you would like to be seen. Trust me, I have seen my unglam photos circulating on the internet and it makes me cringe all the time. Haha.
DANIAL ISWADI: Thank you so much Kazuki Vinca, it was very great to get a sneak peek into your life as a cosplayer. Is there any way for people who wish to get in touch with you?
KAZUKI VINCA: You can catch a glimpse of our cosplay projects on Facebook, and also Instagram. Do PM/DM us away if you need help on your projects or simply to have casual chats or you can even feel free to hang with us. If you can bear to listen to a chipmunk screaming at the top of its lungs, feel free to invite us to a karaoke session!