The MAGIC Rain team had the honour of interviewing the talented Stella Chuu, an international cosplayer who had come all the way down from the United States as a cosplay guest and judge for C2AGE X-Treme 2017 which was held on the 15th and 16th of July 2017.
With around 700k likes on her Facebook page, she has made various appearances to conventions around the world with her own handmade costumes. Some of her most notable cosplays would include her Devil Homura, Imp Mercy, and Master Yi characters. Other than that, she has been featured on several websites including Kotaku, Mashable, Tech Insider, Nerdist and many more.
Q: Since this is your first time in Malaysia, how’s your experience so far?
A: It’s been really great. So far, everyone’s super nice and I really love the culture of it, with how everyone kinda mixes together. I thought America was a mixing part, but this is definitely a mixing part of different cultures and languages. I’m really amazed that the people here can speak three to four languages like Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil, and I’m jealous of that, because I thought I was cool since I can speak English and Mandarin. It’s really awesome and nice to see people holding on to their cultures.
Q: I heard that you really wanted to try roti canai. Did you manage to eat it?
A: Yes, I did! They brought us to this banana leaf place last night and it was so good.
Q: How long have you been cosplaying and what was your first cosplay?
A: About 6 to 7 years. When I was in high school, I was in this anime club and I made my friends cosplay Naruto with me ‘cause Naruto just came out. I cosplayed Sakura by the way. However, I don’t really count that as the time I really started cosplaying. It wasn’t until I graduated from college when I started to really get into cosplay and learn how to make my own costumes and then travel to lots of different conventions.
Q: Since the US is really famous for their comic conventions like the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), do you feel that there is a huge difference between the conventions in Malaysia or this region, and the ones back in the US?
A: Well, I feel like all conventions have the same kind of people, and it’s just the scale of how many people are there. I don’t really know any major differences but it’s probably more commercial in the States. It’s definitely a lot more bigger, more booths, more companies and there’s a lot more industry involvement, but I feel like the fan conventions (those run by fans for fans) are still very similar to this. It’s exactly the same kind of culture and people/fans are really involved. So, I feel there isn’t that much of a difference.
Q: So just recently, our team (TMR) organized an event called Cosplay Commuter where you do group-based activities along different stops of a railway. Do you think this event would be possible back in your home country?
A: So, that’d be a really difficult thing to do in the States as safety is a major issue there and everyone’s concerned about it. They probably won’t be able to work directly with the station managers to produce the event and it’ll probably be done somewhere outside the stations or something like that. The only times I’ve heard of events happening in train stations or private places were when it was vaguely planned. No one else knew it was happening and it was a secret. So, if you’ve heard of No Pants Subway in New York, that was something that wasn’t organized at the beginning but now it’s organized and the subways know about it. However, if they wanted to organize an event like Cosplay Commuter, they’d have to be quiet about it.
Q: Are there any major limitations when it comes to cosplay in the US?
A: I don’t know, there really is no limitations. Anyone can wear whatever they want as long as it’s not nude. You can be as big as you want, really anything at all. The US is just huge and we have both cold and hot areas so anyone can just cosplay whatever they want to. Like for example, if it’s snowing, you can cosplay something really warm but in Southeast Asia, that’s going to be way too hot.
Q: I really love your props and I think you’re really great at prop-making. So, I’d like to ask what was your toughest cosplay project and how long did you take to complete it?
A: I recently finished my Pharah cosplay which is from Overwatch and her cosplay looks like a human-sized Gundam. It’s very complicated and I spent a long time building it, probably over 9 months. I even took a break in the middle because it felt like my skill level wasn’t good enough. So, I trained myself over the course of the break and I finally completed it which I’m happy about. I actually made the costume once before for the whole of 2016 and I threw it away because it just wasn’t good enough. I was like, “I’m not gonna wear this because it looks terrible and I’m not happy with it”. So I gave myself time to start over again and learn new techniques like airbrushing. I also put LEDs into the costume and it looks really cool now.
Q: Is there a certain line that you draw when it comes to cosplay? For example, your pet peeves, etc.
A: Hmm, I don’t know, I just really love it when people cosplay even if it’s not a very good cosplay. It’s the fact that they tried and they came to the convention. Oh wait, you know what, my pet peeve is when cosplayers think they’re better than other people and they make the convention about them. They say things like ‘Excuse me, excuse me, get out of the way! My costume’s too big’, ‘Don’t touch it’, etc. But you know what, people ARE going to touch it as it’s crowded. If you’re worried about your cosplay falling apart then don’t bring it to conventions. Your costumes are very beautiful and all but respect the fact that other people want to be able to enjoy their time in the convention too. However, there’s not a lot of people like that which is great.
I just want people to cosplay what they want, it doesn’t matter what they’re wearing, because if they cosplay, it means I’m cool cause I’m cosplaying too haha. As soon as my friends are like ‘You know I think I’m going to retire..’, I’ll go ‘Please don’t retire! Then I’ll be weird and the only person cosplaying. I don’t want to be alone!’. It’s just important to me that people still love the culture because even if they’re wearing a crappy costume, who knows in like 2 years or so, they’ll eventually become a really good cosplayer.
Q: Cosplay is often associated with negative connotations and perceptions. Have you personally experienced anything negative directed towards you and if you did, how did you overcome it?
A: Thankfully, all my fans are really cool and I’ve never really had that much negativity towards me directly. It’s always those offhanded stuffs like ‘Ugh, I hate it when cosplayers are too sexy’ but they’re never attacking me which I feel lucky for. I have some friends whose fans are just awful and always attacking them like one of my friends recently was on a video and she was crying, talking about she wishes that people were nicer. That really sucks and man, I wish her fans were like mine because my fans are really nice and they always support me. They treat me really well and I’ve actually become close friends with a few of my fans. What’s negative to me is just when I watch people attack my friends and that’s what makes me really angry.
Q: Throughout your cosplay journey so far, have you experienced anything that just made you feel like you wanted to quit cosplaying?
A: A few years ago, I didn’t have any close friends in the community, like from a Level of 1 to 10, I had a lot of Level 4 friends but no Level 10 friends. I felt very lonely and that made me want to quit. However, I then met this group of friends at ColossalCon, clicked with them so fast and we’ve been hanging out ever since. It’s been great and they are definitely Level 10 friends. I love them so much and they go to almost every convention with me and they are also cosplayers, photographers, YouTubers. I see them almost every 3 weeks now because we travel all the time and it’s nice. We don’t get jealous of each other and we want to help each other become successful. And even those that just come along with us to have fun, they’re just really supportive and wants us all to succeed. It’s just a really good feeling to have. If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably have quit cosplay so thank those guys! (laughs) So, make friends in conventions!!
Q: How do you think cosplay would change in the next 5 years?
A: I feel that there are a lot more professional teams in Asia that not only just make the costumes but also have the main models. I would like to see more of that in the United States as 99.9% of cosplayers there are making the costumes themselves and it’s really time consuming, expensive and it’s lonely. You then end up with costumes that are rushed and aren’t as good. What I would like to see is more cosplay teams in the US. Those teams actually do exist but they eventually become more commission-based and they’re not representing themselves as cosplayers. I want them to be famous themselves like making props and costumes for themselves and not others, posing in a really good picture and then working for a company.
Q: Personal question! I watched your BlizzCon Pickup Lines video and which one was your favourite?
A: Can I ryuu ga waga tek you out to dinner sometime? (laughs) I’m so glad you guys watched it!
With that, we’d like to thank Stella Chuu for the interview and we had a great time doing so! We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Find more cosplays and details on Stella Chuu at:-