Arkady Cosplay is such a force of good vibes and dedication. It feels like she can do no wrong whenever she comes out with a new cosplay! Please enjoy our interview with her!
What is your cosplay origin story?
Three of my close friends were going to New York Comic Con 2012 dressed as Thor characters. They elbowed me on knowing that I love Thor and Amora the Enchantress and convinced me to buy a ticket the month before the con (back when you used to be able to get an NYCC ticket a month before the con!) and start working on my first cosplay. I spent a couple of weeks sitting on the living room floor teaching myself how to make armor for Enchantress. There were only a handful of tutorials online at the time and they were so valuable and encouraging so I’m incredibly thankful to those past cosplayers who openly shared their knowledge! I really fell in love with armor making with that first cosplay. And I had a blast at NYCC too! The con environment was so accepting and fun that I instantly got hooked on it too. I still have that entire cosplay and revamped pieces of it because Amora and that first con are still dear to my heart!
Out of all the years you have done cosplay, what has been one of your more favorite/proudest memories?
I love all of them so much, but Knight-Commander Meredith from Dragon Age 2 always sticks out because it was the cleanest work process I’ve ever had with a costume and is a really great end result. It was specifically made for a competition and despite that, there was no crunching, very little stress, and it was really enjoyable to work on such a complex piece. The process felt like one big fun puzzle to figure out and pushed me to learn skills I didn’t have at the time. It’s just incredibly powerful to wear too because it has giant shoulder pieces, a spiky crown, and a sword that lights up! I also placed in that competition so it was really rewarding to have that work acknowledged. Dragon Age is my favorite video game series so I’m always really excited to work on costumes from it even though they are some of the most bonkers designs out there.
Many people online will simply see one of your images, appreciate it for the moment, and move on. However, I know that a lot of care and time goes into photoshoots. Could you describe your process for a cosplay photoshoot from the concept to when it hits your fans?
When working with photographers, I almost always default to their expertise because they know more than I do! A lot of us are shooting our own photos at home right now and it’s definitely a big undertaking to do everything yourself. When you’re by yourself, you’re like every single role on a film set! When thinking about a shoot, I usually have a pretty clear idea of the colors and tone I want to achieve. Like with a shoot for Ingrid from Fire Emblem: Three Houses I recently did, I wanted the photos to look like pages out of a medieval illuminated manuscript; rich colors and strong poses evoking holy iconography. I then gather pose references so I’m not struggling to come up with ideas during the shoot. I usually try to set up my backdrop and lighting the day before a shoot so I don’t have to use up energy doing it the day of and can shoot longer. On the day of, I usually spend an hour on hair and makeup and then set up my camera and do a few test shots before getting into cosplay. From there, it’s a lot of running back and forth between my camera! It’s a long process of taking a string of pictures, checking them, slightly adjusting yourself, and doing it all again. It usually takes me a few hours and a couple of hundred shots to get a handful I like. Once I have 5-15 shots I like, I spend the next day editing them in Photoshop or LightRoom. I don’t worry a lot about algorithms or timing my social media posts for engagement, but I do try to post them during the daytime soon after I’ve finished the shoot. The whole process is usually about a week of work off and on.
Out of all the cosplays you have ever done which one was your personal favorite even if it was not super well received by fans?
Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. It’s generally well-received but it’s a bit of a dead fandom so it never gets as much attention as newer characters. She’s my all-time favorite fictional character though and means so much to me. Her armor from Return of the King was such a dream project and I’m so happy with how the “leather” armor looks. I’m never going to stop wearing her and one day I’d like to do a photoshoot in that armor on a horse!
You feature a lot of awesome geeky content, what is your absolute favorite geeky medium? (Video games, anime, comics, film, etc.)
Video games. I think they’re the most fun to translate into cosplay. For me they’re the right mix of realism and fantasy that gives you a nice base to reference from but a lot of room for creativity and personal preference. Armor is always my favorite type of cosplay to make too and video games have some of the best!
Subbed or Dubbed Anime?
Dubbed with subtitles playing underneath! I almost always watch anime while I’m crafting so I need to hear it in English so I’m not stopping to look up at the screen all the time. But I’m also slightly hard of hearing so I always have subtitles on too in case I can’t hear something properly.
It is apparent that you hustle to provide content for fans but when you actually have a day off, how do you spend it?
I do very standard nerdy things. I play dnd a few times a week, play video games (I’m currently making my Animal Crossing island pretty for Halloween and just downloaded Baldur’s Gate 3!), read a lot, and watch so much tv. With guarantee still in full swing, I mostly just hang out with my cat and watch Netflix now!
You just radiate such confidence and the swagger of a champion. However, a lot of geeks often struggle with overwhelming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. When you have those bad days and get down on yourself, what do you do to remind yourself that you are wonderful?
I usually remind myself of what drew me to cosplay in the first place. When I started, I had never heard of cosplay, had no social media, and was just making a costume I loved so I could go to a con with 3 friends. Taking it down to that very small scale reminds me of how much joy I had when my nerdy worldview was just me and my friends and I had no expectations beyond doing what made me happy. Reminding myself that no matter how my cosplay life has evolved I ultimately still only need to do what makes me happy helps me to refocus and not be hard on myself. It’s kind of become the measure of projects I take on now: if doing it alone in my living room floor just for 3 friends wouldn’t make me happy, I don’t do it.
What is one piece of advice you wish you received when you first got into modeling/cosplay?
Invest in safety equipment. The amount of people who don’t use respirators or dust masks and use chemicals indoors now is really upsetting and I worry we’re going to see a lot of health problems in cosplayers in the near future as a result. As professional tools become available to hobbyists, we need to make sure our safety measures are professional too. From the start, every cosplayer needs a good respirator, good ventilation, and consistent safety measures. Get into the habit right away and you’ll have fewer accidents in the future.
Where can we find you online?
I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/