Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know Cosplay isnt just some goofy fad, it’s becoming a big deal. So much so in fact the very first Cosplayer I’m interviewing hails all the way from Sweden! Meet Millahwood, at 23 she’s knee deep in the Swedish Cosplay scene that’s bigger than you’d imagine so without ado let’s get to this!!
What is the Cosplay scene like in Sweden?
The cosplay scene in Sweden is crazy big for being such a small country. But it has not been this huge for very long. I have been an active cosplayer since 2009 and then I did attend the largest convention we had at the time with maybe 1000-3000 people in total. I tell you not many of the people at that convention did cosplay. I felt like that on many conventions until 2011. Then bam! Suddenly the majority of the people at the conventions did cosplay and all was crazy good! We really have stepped it up in just a few years.We have prestine competitions such as the Swedish Cosplay Championship which is aired live on our biggest channel called SVT, and The Nordic Cosplay Championships, where all the Scandinavian countries compete to go to even bigger Cosplay competitions in the world. SVT also live and stream the competitions on tv and the web, So normal people like our parents and others that can’t come can watch it. It is incredible that they actually take cosplay serious and put it on live TV! For being a country that has to import most of our cosplay materials from other countries we are doing fairly good and I just think that Sweden will grow bigger.
What got you into the art of Cosplay?
I have always been interested in theater and the performance arts. I was a professional actress when I was younger and I have had a background in theater since I was seven (More than 10 years) So when I did not find a theater group that fit me when I was older I got sad. Usually they just focused on theater for younger kids and teens so when I was an adult not many groups fit me and my goals. I was depressed about it since acting was my passion. At high school (Gymnasium in Sweden) my friend introduced me to cosplay and conventions. I went to my first convention just as myself and I quickly got a taste for cosplay. It seemed like so much fun! I could dress up and act as my favorite characters , how cool is that!? So that was how it started.
Who are your favorite characters to Cosplay?
I really have the most fun with very flirty outgoing characters or personalities that are close to me but a very extended versions of my personality. If I have to pick two characters that have been the most fun to be then it have to be James Kidd from the video game Assassin’s creed IV; Black Flag and Kylo Ren from Star Wars Episode VII: The force Awakens. But worth mentioning is Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed II and Ellie from The Last of Us. Because Ezio is a flirty ladies man and Ellie is a swearing badass. I love them both so much. But Kidd and Ren are close to my heart because Kidd is just the perfect character for me. He is really close to heart since I love the Assassin’s Creed game series and he is (*Cough spoilers cough*) a badass lady in disguise. I have the most fun being her and act as her. It is the ultimate character with design as well. I enjoy being a pirate. As for Kylo he is close to my heart because I have acted as him on various cosplay panels we have had with the Star Wars theme. I have so much fun being him and my love for Star wars only grows stronger when I am him and hang out with my Star Wars family.
Can you tell me what it took to make these particular designs? (Time, cost, materials, etc)
For both Kidd and Ren it took a lot of research since they both have A LOT of layers on their outfits. So first you have to make an extended research on the characters to figure out which materials you are going to use, how much money it is going to cost and other pain in the ass things. It is very fun to do research but it is is also a drag when you have to figure out most of the things yourselves. Thankfully the Charity Star Wars costume group “Nordic Garrison” had an extended website with all of the information on materials they used on their costumes in the movies. So I had a little help there figuring it out. As for Kidd you need to have more historical accurate materials. I wanted it to be as close to the materials as possible and that was hard. Finding the right materials for the jacket was horrid. But finally I got something I was happy with and I love the end result.
As for time it is hard say, I do not count my hours making the costumes. I just do a little and then do something else and continue when I feel like it. With these costumes my husband helped me since his sewing skills are much better than mine. (I created my Esmeralda from The Hunch Back of Notre Dame for example) so it is hard for me to give an exact number. But these two costumes must have been one our toughest ones.
As for price. We usually try to stay within a 100-200 dollar budget for each costume. Since we have to import materials and wigs from other countries it is getting much more expensive than for example countries that have that just outside their doors. But as for time I really do not spend to much time thinking about how much my costumes land on. Of course I get overjoyed when a costume is cheaper than I planned it to be. But usually they end up in little over 200 dollars even if I don’t want them to! *hides*
Who/What is your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspirations are all my cosplaying friends and of course my husband. They are all so amazing and despite body types and skin color and other things that others may deem “not good enough” for a certain type of costume. They still wear it and rock out! So those are my biggest inspirations. Me and my husband always cospaly together. Pairings and other duoes that we like! We do panels and cosplay groups together as well. I would probably not cosplay as much if I did it alone so my hubby and my friends means the world to me!
What are the Biggest cons in Sweden right now?
I like Närcon because you meet all of your friends there. But I discovered a convention I was on just this past weekend called Kodachicon in Lund, Skåne. It was a fairly small convention (+1000 visitors) But it was so much fun! I took my first turn of being cosplay judge at the classic competition and I met a lot of new and old friends. It is now my favorite convention and I will go there next year.
What is your favorite cosplay moment?
I have so many positive memories from being in cosplay. I love all the compliments you get, all the laughs when you say something funny at a panel. all my memories are very precious to me. I have had a
lot of fun encounters with people wanting to take pictures of me and one was when me and my husband cosplayed as Edward Kenway and James Kidd. We both think that despite them not being confirmed as a romance in the game we think that they had a spark. So we see them as romantically involved (aka. Shipping, pairing) so we did not expect someone else to think that since their ship is fairly small. Not many people see them as romantically involved. But there came two people that wanted to take a picture of us and then both of them were all giggly and happy and asked: “You guys are so cute! Sorry but do you two ship them?” we answered yes and they said “Do you mind making a ‘shipping’ photo, like a kiss or something?” They were all excited and happy when me and my hubby kissed on photo. It was so funny and I got so happy after that. They really made my day!
What is your cosplay horror story?
Well I am thankful that I do not have as many horror stories as I have happy memories. Mostly it is people just making comments, usually about the character you are. I get a lot of negativity when I cosplay as Kylo Ren because he is an ‘evil’ character. People seem to think it is okay to be mean to someone when they are a certain character which I think is only okay if you know the person or you have asked if it is okay. Sure I can take it. I mean I act as Kylo on panels and such. I expect people to be mean to me. But still it is not fun. I have had some creepy people taking odd photos of me, requested photos of me in cosplay being “tied up” or other very sexual request that has made me very uncomfortable also I have had a few gropings and that is just not okay! There are many disqusting people in our community and we have our fair share of bullying. I hope that this can be something that gets better in the future, I don’t want my community to be toxic and unwelcoming.
Where do you see the art of Cosplay in the next 5-10 years?
I of course strive to do cosplay for a long time. It is my favorite hobby and I enjoy doing it. I strive to make my own cosplays simple as hard and I strive to maybe compete, do some sketches and judge in the future.
I want to continue making sketches, panels and more preformance things since I find that very funny.
Check out her Cosplay page she shares with her husband on Facebook where they have more excellent work
Also check out Kozekito Photography and Edits