We met Eli at Kumoricon 2012. She is sweet, outgoing and an awesome cosplayer! Here’s an interview we got to do with her:
Introduce yourself! How old are you? Where do you live? What do you do?
My name is Hayley Elizabeth “Eli” Ebberts, but I usually go bu Eli or Ichigo_m. I live in Ellensburg/Yakima Washington where I attend Central Washington University. I’m majoring in Theater with a Fashion Design Minor. Other than school and sewing my cosplays I don’t really do much, they tend to take up all of my time.
How long have you been cosplaying and what made you start?
I’ve been cosplaying since 2007, so about 6 years. In ’06 I went to my first convention (Kumoricon) it was such a great experience but I felt very left out since I wasn’t in costume. The next year, much against my parents will, I bought a cosplay and was Ichigo from Tokyo Mew Mew. I found that cosplaying made the con experience much more fun and I felt more involved.
What is your process for deciding to cosplay a certain character? What inspires you?
It’s hard to describe how I choose characters. I have some rules like, I won’t cosplay something if I haven’t seen it’s source material. But really I just cosplay characters that appeal to me, whether that be how they act, what role they play in the story or what they wear. It really is a difficult process though. There have been many times when I’ve chosen a character then (usually after starting on the outfit and buying all the materials) I feel uninspired by it. I have a whole box in my room of unfinished outfits, which will probably never been finished. Usually you can tell if you really want to cosplay something if you keep going back to it though.
To date, what cosplay are you most proud of?
There’s always something I’ve proud of for each of my costumes and of course there’s always something that I wish I could fix. I’d say the one costume I’m most proud of right now is actually one that’s still in the works. Maybe that’s just because I haven’t been able to screw something up yet or maybe just because it is some of my best work. My Princess Zelda costume is what I’m working on currently and it includes quite a few techniques that I’ve never used before, but I’m finding them all to be easier than expected and they make my work look a lot better. (Ps. I can send you a WIP photo if you want it (: )
What has been your favorite convention that you’ve attended? What made it great?
My favorite convention I’ve attended was Kumoricon 2010. This was the first year that I went with more than just a few of my friends. My group consisted of 6 people and my parents (who were dressed up as well) so a totally of 8 people! Most of us were dressed as the gang from Gurren Lagann and were a pretty popular group at the con. It was great to have so much fun with all of my good friends.
What are your upcoming conventions and cosplays?
I have a busy con schedule these next few months. I’ll be attending Chibi Chibi Con in Olympia Washington on February 23rd, Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle on March 2nd, and Sakuracon in Seattle March 29-31! It’s busy, but it’s exciting! I’ll be cosplaying a mixture of Asuna (SAO), Zelda (TP), Pinkie Pie (MLP), Ranka (MacrossF) and Katara (Atla) to all of these cons.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome thus far?
The biggest challenge I’ve over come thus far with cosplaying would be learning how to sew in general. When I started sewing it was on a little kids machine and I had no clue what I was doing. I’m glad that I was able to learn how to create patterns from scratch and create costumes for both myself and my friends. Even now though I do struggle with it. Sewing is difficult and I like to improve with ever costume I make.
What is the most satisfying part about cosplaying?
The most satisfying thing about cosplaying is when you get a costume done and put everything on for the first time. It’s a feeling like a burden of not getting a costume done in time is lifted from you. Not to mention I usually feel pretty cool when I put my costume on. xD
Cosplayers often find posing for a photograph very difficult. I noticed when I photographed you, you had a lot of poses down. Do you practice? Do you have any tips?
I practice all the time actually! It’s fun to act like your favorite characters! But also, as an actor I have quite a bit of experience moving and posing on stage and I think that it really translates into cosplaying.
Any advice for new cosplayers?
Never give up! If you are feeling down about something put it down then come back to it. Cosplaying is fun, but it’s frustrating and takes a lot of work. So really, never give up.