He believes that cosplaying is about having fun, meeting new people and stepping into your favourite character‘s shoes for one day. It is something that has been an important part of his life for many years now and Imriel would not change a thing.
Imriel started cosplaying in 2003.
Please introduce yourself – what’s your cosplay name, where are you from, how long have you been cosplaying?
Hey people! I’m Imriel from Italy and I’ve been cosplaying since 2003!
How did you start cosplaying? What was you first costume?
I started as part of a Star Wars fan club in Rome and I didn’t even know what cosplay meant! My first costume was Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars Episode I and back then I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to sew or make props, so I had a lot of help from my parents, my auntie and my grandma. I have very beautiful memories of that costume.
Do you have your favorite costume? If yes – what is it and why?
Arthas from Warcraft III. It was my first Blizzard costume and a character I’ve always loved since I played the game back in high school. I don’t know why, I always like to play the bad guys, they’re so badass!
What part of this hobby/life style do you like the most? Why?
I love the crafting part, definitely. I like to challenge myself into finding the best solutions to bring to life characters that have been drawn for the paper or the 3D graphics of a videogame. After that, I really love to go to conventions and make friends, especially abroad, where I can touch with my own hands how cosplay has the power to unite people that come from very different cultures.
Why cosplay is important for you?
It’s been a part of me for half of my life now and I could not think about myself without it. It’s a life style, more than simply a hobby. I met the love of my life and most of my best friends at con, after all.
How do you choose characters that you cosplay?
It really depends: sometimes I like the design, most of the time it’s characters I feel a deep emotional bond with, others I choose together with my partner when we pair up.
How much time do you usually spend on one costume? What was the longest time you spent on one costume and which costume it was?
It can be from a couple of days to an entire year or even more. It depends on how complicated the costume is and what it’s that for. The longest I worked on a costume was one year and a half, for my Nobunaga armor from Pokemon Conquest.
What would you consider to be the biggest achievement in you cosplay career?
The participation to the World Cosplay Summit 2016 as Italian representative together with Daisy. That was a life-changing experience, the world has been looking smaller and much more welcoming since then, cause now we have friends in every continent!
Do you have any funny stories or accidents related to cosplay?
So, my first day of university in the UK, where I spent one year as a postgraduate student, I met two girls at a karaoke party, one from the US and the other from Taiwan. Five minutes later I found out they were cosplayers too. At the end of the night, we had already planned a Shingeki no Kyojin group, which happened six months later at a con in London. We modified a Barbie Doll to play Mikasa during a part of our skit in which I turned into Titan-Eren and at the end of the academic year, before going back to our countries, we buried her in the college’s garden as a symbol of never ending friendship!
What would you say for people who thinks that cosplay is pointless waist of time and money?
That nothing that makes someone happy is a waste of time and money, so they should think twice before judging someone for spending theirs into a hobby that brings them joy and personal satisfaction 🙂
What would you advice or whish for people who want to start cosplaying, but for unknown reasons are afraid or just don’t know where to start?
To be brave and just do it, cause there’s nothing to be scared of. Find a character you love and feel attached to, buy a costume online and go to a con. Make friends, have fun, because that’s the most important part. If you want to learn how to craft and make your own costumes, there are plenty of tutorials on youtube and when you enter the community, there’ll be other cosplayers more than willing to help you out. I understand cosplay may look complicated from the outside, and sometimes it is, but it’s also a very welcoming and open environment, where everyone can be whoever they want for a day, without being judged.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
One of the best things cosplay gave me through my life was the privilege to travel and meet a lot of people from other countries with my same passion. I’m deeply honored to have been invited to „Comic Con Baltics“ and looking forward to meet you all and have fun together. I’m sure I will go back to Italy with a whole new lot of beautiful and treasured memories.