About a few weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting veteran cosplayer HezaChan at KrakenCon. During the convention I was lucky enough to have a quick interview with her about her journey as a cosplayer and how things have been over the years for her as a cosplayer.
How long have you been cosplaying?
“Well I think this year it makes 16 years.”
What are some of the earliest memories that you remember when you first started cosplaying?
“Actually before my first con back in 2001 I had done a cosplay, and I didn’t even know it was cosplay at the time. I’m a huge Sailor Moon fan and so I created a fan character for myself and my friends and we went as Sailor Anarchy (which was me), because I really like punk music, rock and roll and heavy metal, and my friend was Sailor Chaos. But little did I know there was a real Sailor Chaos back then, but for Halloween I asked my mom if she could make me a costume based on my fan character for the Halloween of 2000, and that technically became my first cosplay.”
We met and talked in the past about how you first lived in Ohio, was there some difficulty making the jump to live in California?
“Well I actually jumped 2 times before hand, the first time is when [my husband] got his first job and so we moved to Wisconsin. It was really difficult because that was the first time where I was really on my own, I didn’t really know anybody there. The only person I knew was my husband, then boyfriend at the time, but through the internet and cosplay I still had tons of friends to talk to. After being there for 4 years I made the move to Boston for another job for [my husband] and there was a huge bunch of cosplayers and a larger community and I really really loved it there; and to tell you the truth it was difficult to make the jump from Boston all the way to California because I was comfortable there, but I was greeted warmly and welcomingly by the cosplay community here.”
How many cosplays have you done?
“I think its around fifty-ish, maybe more than that. For someone who has been cosplaying more than me though, I know a lot of people who have made way more.”
What would you say is your favorite cosplay that you have made and what would you say is your least favorite/most uncomfortable cosplay that you have made?
“It‘s hard because I can actually answer that question with one costume and that would be my Morrigan (from Darkstalker). I like wearing it but it is difficult and very uncomfortable, but I love the creative process that went towards [creating] it because it was a costume that I attempted back in 2002 [or] 2003 and I was like ‘I am not quite at the level where I wanna be to execute this the way I wanted this to look.’ So I’m proud of myself because I wanted it to look that way BUT it’s also not comfortable to wear so I don’t like wearing it too much, I enjoy it then I don’t. It’s a love hate relationship.”
Have you ever had second thoughts about cosplay as a hobby or a career?
“Never, well at least for the career part yes, because it’s not my career, it’s still my hobby. I mean who doesn’t want to make money doing what they love? I think that it’s extremely wrong to bash people who are doing cosplay because if you had the opportunity would you take it? There’s a quote from Eminem, ‘you only got one shot would you take it?’ But it’s true, I did have hesitations because not even that long ago selling prints was a big no no in the community, so I waited till it was more comfortable to do so because I’m going to be putting myself out there. I’m really uncomfortable with certain types of criticism and I think a lot of people take it to heart and I take a lot of things to the heart. I wear my heart on my sleeve, you meet me that’s who I am, I don’t fake myself so it’s really hard to take criticism, even un-constructive criticism where people are like “Oh that sucks.” [It’s hard] not take it to heart, it’s really hard, but now that I’m older I think it’s easier to be like “[forget] the haters, I do what I want!”
Were there some people that you used to look up to back in the day?
“Back when I first started the biggest cosplay name was (and still is today) Yaya Han and I looked up to her and Alisa Chan at the time because back then they had the best constructive costumes as well as variety and you just saw them everywhere. I was like ‘I just want to be as good as they are’ because they are also nerds like me, right? Back at Ohio there wasn’t that big nerd community back in the early 2000’s and 90’s and if there was I don’t know were the hell they were, so I looked up to those two in particular.”
What advice would you give someone who is just starting to cosplay? What would be some choice words that you would give them?
“I would say that there is always going to be criticism no matter what, I mean you could be the best at what you do and there will always be somebody saying ‘You suck!’ Don’t listen to them, if it makes you happy continue to do it and if you’re not having fun anymore then maybe it is time to stop; but as long as it’s fun, as long as you’re making friends and enjoying what you’re doing just keep at it and don’t listen to them. It’s difficult, I understand it’s easier said than done, but you have to keep pushing pass those negative comments and always be positive.”
Great, now where can people find you and keep themselves updated on your cosplays and any events that you are going to be at?
“I usually update my Twitter the most when it comes to events, and my Facebook. My Twitter account is @HezaChandotcom and my Facebook is just Hezachan you can find me there. I also have a website hezachan.com and you can also follow me on Instagram at Hezachan.”
So that was my interview with Hezachan at spring KrakenCon, I hope you got to know a little about her now, so please give her a follow and see whether you can find her at a convention near you.