Cosplayer Chats with Shalitha

Cosplayers have always fascinated me; even though I am not someone you could consider a “geek”. Their effort to build an outfit from scratch, the passion they have for the character and the pride they have in wearing the costume has always been such a pleasure to watch.

Therefore, I recently got the opportunity to sit down with one such cosplayer, Shalitha Senevirathne. Here’s how it goes:

  1. What made you start cosplaying and how long have you been into it?

My passion for cosplay started thanks to my love for geek fandoms. I’ve always being a fan of comic conventions and the culture surrounding those. I remember going through many videos of Comic Cons, like the San Diego Comic Con; including panels, cosplays etc.

But until I stumbled upon some pictures of a Lanka Comic Con on Facebook after its first edition, I never imagined that I would get to cosplay here. That really got me started [on cosplaying] and since then I’ve cosplayed 11 times during the course of  3 years now.

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  1. How do you choose which character to cosplay?

Well, my choice of character to cosplay takes a lot of research. I know this process varies from cosplayer to cosplayer. But my choice of character to cosplay is mostly based on a favorite movie or television series character which I love. I feel as if this is one way in how I can pay respect to that certain movie or television series.

So once I pick a trending show I love I go through the characters and decide on which character I can cosplay with the time, budget and skill level I have. As a cosplayer even though I believe resemblance helps I choose to neglect this as I believe it’s about having fun. I also know that if you put enough effort into your costume details and props any fan would recognize you, which is the best feeling ever!

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Likewise you might have seen me do a lot of Game of Thrones cosplays, because I’m such a big fan of the show. I’ve already done 5 Game of Thrones cosplays (Jon Snow, Joffery Baratheon, Lancel Lannister, Sons of Harpy and Nights King) which I’m well known for because I always love to somehow pull off a new Game of Thrones cosplay.

  1. What’s your favorite cosplay that you have done so far?

My favorite and most memorable cosplay would be my first ever cosplay. The cosplay I did was of The Lord Commander version of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. The thing I loved about this cosplay is how much detail I was able to perfect as a first timer. Wearing it as my first cosplay was very nerve wrecking as well, but people recognized me easily and almost everyone admired how much effort I put into the costume, which I really did!I even worked on the sword and the pommel just for it to look like Longclaw and even got myself a soft toy  which looks like Ghost.

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I loved the appreciation I got during the ramp walk session. It was mind-blowing and a perfect way to wrap up this cosplay. g

  1. What are some challenges you faced when in preparing for that cosplay?

Well as a cosplayer the biggest challenges I faced was with completing the costume in order for it to resemble the actual thing. So with that comes the struggles of the budget and time constraints. But although these challenges frustrated me sometimes, at the end of the day, when you go out in the cosplay everything is worth it. So more than these being the challenges they are, I manage it because it’s part of cosplaying and I suppose it’s part of the fun.

  1. Have there been any difficult cosplays? What made it so difficult?

Once I cosplayed as ‘Deadshot’ as part of a Suicide Squad group cosplay, which was the first group cosplay I was a part of. For this I decided to go with the full Deadshot costume, including the armor and the white mask.

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What made this costume so difficult was the use of EVA foam, which I was using for the first time. I struggled so much on the day of the event as I never got around to testing it prior to the event. I was also not very skillful with this technique and it was hard to get around for it to fit me, even though I managed it through the day.

But this was definitely one of the hardest cosplays. Not to take anything away from EVA foam, it’s really such a blessing for all us cosplayers since we use it to carve almost anything so easily. But it’s always good to get some practice.

  1. What are some cosplays you want to do in the future?

Right now I really don’t know when I will be doing my next cosplay since I have taken a break owing to personal commitments. But I do have some cosplays I would look at if I ever get around to doing them.

A bunch of cosplays from Game of thrones tops the list. From Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane, Mountain, and Berric Dondarrion etc. I also was thinking about doing ‘Main in Black’ from Westworld which I missed out on doing, but I always would love to. I am also willing to give many original concepts and trending movie characters a try.

  1. Do you prefer solo cosplays or group cosplays? Why?

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Group cosplays for sure. I’ve done many solo cosplays and no doubt I loved second of it, but group cosplays adds so much fun into the anyways epic experience.

I have been a part of around 3 group cosplays and I have noticed how well you recognize as a group and how many scenarios you can reenact together (which is an amazing feeling). It also feels nice to cosplay a character and have characters from the same fandom right next to you which kind of adds to the whole cosplaying experience.

  1. Who are a few cosplayers that you admire?

Well I admire so many Sri Lankan cosplayers and I cannot list down all of them since every person I have met at Comic Con has made my jaw drop.

But to mention a few among those would be my good friend Oshitha Narangoda. He is such a skilled cosplayer and many would know him for his Joker cosplays and the recent Nun cosplay.

Opula Fonseka, who always shows me how much makeup can be a game changer because she literally transforms into the character she chooses completely! I was so happy to cosplay alongside both Oshitha and Opula for our Stranger Things group cosplay.

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I would also like to mention two of my friends Hasthaka Weragoda and Dillon De Silva who have cosplayed alongside me from day one and I admire them for doing the best last minute cosplays and coming all the way from Kandy with me for Comic events in Colombo. If not for them I would have missed out on all the memories I have made as a cosplayer.

  1. Have you learnt anything new about yourself since you have started cosplaying?

Well since I started to cosplay, I have loved everything about it. But one thing I have learnt is how much a compliment is worth after putting on a cosplay, because that feeling of recognition and the jokes behind your back about the character (oh! I  got a lot of hate for cosplaying Joffery, which I loved) feels so amazing. To be honest, that is what I cosplay for.

Cosplaying also taught me to feel free, because after you put on that cosplay you get to be as free as you will ever be. The best thing cosplaying ever got me to unlock in myself was the ability to be myself and be so happy about it.

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