First name and last initial: Alexei G.
Where are you from originally, or where do you currently reside? Boston, Massachusetts.
How long have you been cosplaying? Since 2009.
Which characters have you cosplayed? Oh man, so many. My most recent tally was near 40. Some of my favorites / most notable are Ezio Auditore, Desmond Miles, Kadar Al-Sayf, Altair Ibn’ La-Ahad, and Mary Read from Assassin’s Creed; Switzerland and Ireland from Hetalia; Katsuki Yuuri from Yuri!!! On Ice; Himura ‘Battousai’ Kenshin from Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal; and Abel from Starfighter.
What inspired you to start cosplaying? I went to my very first con in 2008 as a teen in the height of my weeaboo phase, and was totally enamored with the sheer amount and variety of cosplayers. I could dress as my favorite characters outside of Halloween?! Woohoo! I made and wore my first cosplay the next year, one thing led to another, and here I am.
What do you do when you’re not cosplaying? I actually work as a freelance Stitcher, Wardrobe Technician, and Stagehand for Theater, so costumes are my job! Outside of that, I moonlight as a photographer on occasion and spend most of my free time working with my dog and binge-watching shows on Netflix. I sing in a community choir, play video games, and volunteer as an organizer for special events in my community.
Which costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far, and why? Kenshin was my most recent challenge, because I had never actually constructed traditional Japanese garments before. Period-accurate Hakama are no easy feat! His wig was also the first time I had ever styled any kind of up-do, which took quite a bit of trial and error. He ended up looking incredible though, and I got a lot of compliments when I debuted him this spring.
What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying? Remember that taking care of yourself is a priority. Stay hydrated, fed, and get as much sleep as you can leading up to cons and during the con weekend itself. Being deprived of sleep and hungry is only going to make you miserable in your cosplay. Pocky and Ramune are NOT sufficient snacks/hydration. Never bind with ace bandages/duct tape/etc. Also, iron/steam your cosplays before you wear them. It makes a world of difference.
What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other? Ease off on the elitism. I know this is becoming increasingly difficult with cosplay gaining more popularity in the media, and the scramble for ‘cosplay fame’ has multiplied, but we really need to be kinder to each other. Communicate clearly, support your fellow cosplayers no matter what their skill level. This hobby is meant to be a fun outlet for nerds. Lift each other up!
Featured Image Photo Credit: April Carr