Cosplayer from Finland

Please introduce yourself – what’s your cosplay name, where are you from, how long have you been cosplaying?
I’m Merryallnighter from Helsinki, Finland and I’ve been cosplaying since 2008.

How did you start cosplaying? What was your first costume?

My introduction to cosplay was through my girlfriend and local events that we’ve been visiting, I’ve always loved tinkering and building things, so realizing there’s an entire community of people with similar interests and skills just drew me in! In the beginning I wore costumes made by my girlfriend, and eventually I got into making my own. my first self-made cosplay was Soldier: 76 – a character from a video game called Overwatch.

How do you choose who you are going to Cosplay?

Sometimes I like a character and go from there, but they usually also need to have a design I’m interested in. I’m very craft oriented and enjoy working with different materials and techniques, and I’ve come to learn that I enjoy most wearing costumes that are detailed and well made and can stand some use. This means that I’m not necessarily very fast at putting costumes together by social media standards, and I prefer taking my time. Sometimes I just really like the design and want a challenge. Best costumes are those where I’m passionate about both, the source and the design.

How many Cosplay competitions/conventions have you been to? What was your favorite and why?

I’ve been to different conventions both in Finland and abroad for over 10 years so it’s really impossible to count. I’ve also pretty much competed since doing my first cosplay. Some competitions have been simple costume shows and some have been international. I’ve enjoyed all the events I’ve travelled to, but from competitions for sure I will always cherish the World Cosplay Summit and the EuroCosplay Championship finals. Both were amazing events and simply having the chance to meet cosplayers from around the world is always fantastic.

Do you have your favorite costume? If yes – what is it and why?

Like I mentioned before, I notice that I like the costumes I put more effort in to the most. If I were to name three here, Amir(Otoyomegatari), Roxie(Chicago) and Snow White(design doll version) at the moment. The first two are the kind where I love the character, I put a lot of effort and passion in to making the costume and I really wanted to share them with an audience. They are also relatively easy and comfortable to wear.

Do you have your favorite prop? If yes – what is it and why?

I think Amir’s quiver and wooden bow. I don’t have a lot of woodworking experience, so making it was kind of exiting. It’s also fun to carry and I like how it can be taken apart for travel.

What part of this hobby/lifestyle do you like the most? Why?

I enjoy crafting, materials and bringing designs to the 3D world. I also like the social aspect of doing cosplay with friends, especially if we can discuss and fuss about materials and techniques. I love seeing other people’s work and hearing about them. People are making amazing stuff.

Do you have any funny stories or accidents related to cosplay?

I don’t think I have any particular ones.. But regarding the fiberglass helmet I mentioned, that I made for my first Midna cosplay, it doubled beautifully as an actual helmet. Since it’s fiberglass it’s only a shell, and I had to fill it with foam so it’ll stay on. I was going down a flight of stairs in a lecture hall at the convention, not wearing shoes and ended up slipping at the bottom. Being very top heavy with the helmet on I did a cartoony flip on the floor, but the helmet was so well cushioned I didn’t feel a thing.
Oh, I always have a pocket in my costumes, for my phone and some important things. I think I only have one or two costumes where I was unable to include any kind of pocket.

What is your dream photoshoot as a cosplayer?

I don’t know if I have one over others.. I also do photography, so I always have a bunch of ideas. It would be fun to try an underwater shoot some day, but I’m not sure if I’d rather be in front or behind the camera!
I’d absolutely love a life size Tachikoma as a prop though, that would be amazing. That’s a shoot I think about every now and then.

Why Cosplay is important for you?

For me it’s a firstly a creative outlet, but also a chance to try different things, that you might not other wise dare or have the courage to. I was told long ago I should never dye my hair black because I would look terrible, so for a while I avoided black haired characters. But now I think they actually suit me quite well. You can wear a confident character even if you wouldn’t feel as confident in your own life. You can wear leather shorts and then a princess dress on the next day. It’s a sort of freedom to be something different for a while.

What would you consider to be the biggest achievement in you Cosplay career?

Both the WCS Brother Award and the EuroCosplay 1st place. I never thought either of those was possible, and both of them had more personal meaning than just “winning” something. I mention these because they are tangible achievements, but I think more personally, and this will sound sappy, the friends I’ve made abroad thanks to those chances. We never would have met other wise.

What would you advise or whish for people who want to start cosplaying, but for unknown reasons are afraid or just don’t know where to start?

I’m a very anxious person so I understand hesitancy. Especially social media can make cosplay seem really demanding. The hobby has changed a lot in a few years, and you see a lot of people with all these special tools and professional photographers etc.. But in the end it’s still just a hobby for most people, and you shouldn’t start by putting pressure on yourself. Figure out what aspect seems the most fun for you. Is it sewing, or making skits, or just putting on a wig and having fun with friends. Or maybe it’s a fandom you love, find other people who are passionate about the same series or game. When I started I didn’t have any friends who cosplayed, or any knowledge on how to do anything, but now it’s possible to find a tutorial online to almost any problem. People rarely regret that they tried something, and more often that they never did.